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December 28, 2016 9:59 AM EST

Just like everyone else, Kate Beckinsale doesn’t love going to the gym — but she keeps going because she loves the way it makes her feel afterwards.

“I start out absolutely dreading it, do an incredibly punishing workout, bitch about it the whole time, and end up feeling 100 percent better when I leave,” the actress, 43, tells SHAPE in the January/February 2017 issue, on newsstands Jan. 3. “Working out is basically nature’s antidepressant.”

Beckinsale meets with celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson five or six times a week for intense workout sessions.

“I love yoga, and that’s all I used to do, but hardcore workouts have really made a big difference in my life,” she tells the magazine. “I have a lot of internal energy, and intense exercise helps me channel that energy. I find balance by doing a workout that makes me pour sweat. I never was that girl before, but I am now.”

A typical exercise session for the Underworld: Blood Wars star mixes circuit training and cardio for full-body toning.

“I do circuit training interspersed with brutal cardio, such as crazy things on a nonmotorized treadmill. That part is torture,” she says. “But the thing I like about circuit training is that you’re never doing one thing for very long. You get to the point where you almost can’t bear it, and it changes to something else.”

As for diet, Beckinsale tried being a vegetarian but found it made her energy levels too low, so now she sticks to a clean diet that incorporates chicken and fish.

“[My 17-year-old daughter] Lily and I eat clean — we have a lot of sautéed vegetables like brussels sprouts and broccoli and chicken and fish,” she says. “Also, I don’t drink alcohol. I feel [its effects] very quickly, so I’ve never actually had an entire glass of anything alcoholic.”

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