Standing at 6'3" and a muscular 240 pounds, Ukrainian-born Andrey Ivchenko is an imposing figure. Throw in the thick accent and rugged good looks, and it’s easy to see why the 47-year-old actor is a Hollywood go-to for tough-guy roles. That turn continues with Season 3 of Netflix’s Stranger Things, in which Ivchenko plays a Russian KGB operative who wants to open the gate into the Upside Down—you know, that terrifying portal to an alternate dimension.
“The Russians are trying to open the gate to let the monster out,” he says. “Hopper [the town’s police chief played by David Harbour] is trying to stop me, and I’m trying to stop him.” He notes that he was particularly suited for the role because his appearance and voice are similar to those of an ’80s-era Schwarzenegger, which brought authenticity to the nostalgia-laced series.
Of course, you don’t get the role of a superjacked villain without putting in the work. For Ivchenko, that means hitting the gym four to five days a week and focusing on weights. “I’ve never been a big fan of cardio,” he says. “I’m a believer that even without much cardio you can burn calories, gain muscle, and stay lean.” He achieves that by mixing heavy days with lighter, higher-rep workouts to keep his heart rate up.
Ivchenko is equally dedicated in the kitchen but notes that he doesn’t worry about followin