Fitness

How Corey Calliet Built Michael B. Jordan’s (and His Own) Killer Physique

We talk to the celebrity trainer about training Jordan for Creed III, how he cut down 7 percent body fat, and his McDonald’s habit.

Even if you don’t know Corey Calliet, you’ve likely admired his work. The trainer built Michael B. Jordan’s ripped physique for films such as Creed and Black Panther. Most recently, he sculpted Jordan and Jonathan Major’s impressive builds in Creed III. But Calliet’s most impressive transformation may be his own.

Calliet’s Instagram feed is peppered with post after post of his washboard abs and superhero-worthy biceps, but the celebrity trainer wasn’t always shredded or happy in his body. “There was a time when I would shower in the dark because I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror when I got out,” he told The Edge in a recent interview.

Coret Calliet doing bent over rows

In 2022, Calliet dropped a whopping seven percent body fat and six pant sizes in mere months—without shedding a pound on the scale. “My transformation is proof to all the guys out there who are struggling to make a change that it’s not over,” he says.

How did Calliet flip the switch? We chatted with Calliet about training Michael B. Jordan for Creed III, the secret sauce behind his own impressive transformation, why he’s training less as he ages, and why he gets his blood checked regularly.


The Edge: Tell me about “The Calliet Way”?

Calliet: It’s a lot. The Calliet Way has evolved over time into something that’s more intense, because I believe you should always put your best foot forward. Everything you do should be done with purpose—that mindset is the underscore of everything I do.

You’ve been working with Michael B. Jordan since 2014. That’s included some impressive physiques along the way from The Fantastic FourBlack Panther, to most recently, Creed III. What’s it like working with Jordan?

It’s fun. It’s been amazing to watch his body transform. Mike is one of the hardest-working guys I know. Seeing what we can tap between my work—the training—and his discipline is powerful.

How has Jordan’s training regimen changed?

When we first started out, it was like teaching him how to walk. I spent a lot of time correcting his form and hammering different exercises. Now, he’s more knowledgeable and has the mind-muscle memory. It sounds like it’d be easier, but it’s not. When your body knows what to do you have to push a little harder to get to that next level—that’s what we’re pushing for now.

What did Jordan’s training for Creed III look like?

We trained five days a week for about four months before starting production for Creed III. This time around, he got to wear both the director and actor hat, so we couldn’t train two hours a day like we used to.

Instead, we broke it up into 30-minute increments two to three times a day—upper body in the morning, conditioning in the evening, and lower body late at night if possible. Every session was different to keep his body guessing. But I focused on a mix of fundamentals, functional training, and HIIT training to get the most efficient work we could out of the short blocks of time we had. And that’s on top of the boxing.

How did you keep Jordan motivated?

I was constantly checking in on his body, energy, and mindset and adjusting his training by a degree or two as needed—I like to call it checking the temperature. Mike’s highly motivated, but even he has days where I have to remind him why he’s here. When you know what you have on the line (especially when it’s to show up on movie screens all over the world), you show up and show out.

What about nutrition?

Nutrition is simple, and I like to keep it that way. I focus on balanced macros that we can adjust when needed. For example, whenever Mike was feeling sluggish, I’d throw some extra carbs in the mix; and, the closer we got to being on screen, the more protein I’d add. I gave him a cheat meal every now and again where he could eat whatever he wanted—it keeps it manageable.

EAT BETTER

You recently went through a pretty impressive fitness transformation of your own. What sparked this change and how did you achieve it?

I wasn’t happy internally. If your mind isn’t right, no matter how much you train your body won’t change. I was training a lot, but using working out as a distraction from things going on inside that I didn’t want to deal with.

When I took the time to figure things out, that’s when I started seeing changes. I dialed back from doing everything and just focused on doing less, and less ended up giving me more. Even though I weigh the same, my waist went from 37 to 31 inches, and my body fat from six percent to 13 percent.

I feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m a former bodybuilder, so I thought getting into the best shape of my life came down to bodybuilding, but it wasn’t sustainable. I’ve learned I don’t have to kill myself to look good. It’s all about balance. Now, I’m more athletic. I can physically do all of the things I want to do. I can walk around and live life in this body, comfortably.

What advice do you have for guys who want to make a change, and don’t know where to start?

Find direction first. You can’t get to a destination if you don’t know where you’re going. Don’t try to jump into something and figure it out as you go. If you haven’t figured it out by now you’re not going to. Make a plan. If you don’t know how, get on my ACHV app, and choose a plan. From there, all that’s left to do is start.

We have a lot of dads in our community that struggle to find the energy and time for fitness. As a father, how do you prioritize working out?

Every man has time. All it takes is 30 minutes a day. The way I see it you can watch television, or you can do something for your body for 30 minutes. You can do it in the morning, at night, at home, or at the gym—it doesn’t matter. Don’t find an excuse, find a time.

How have your fitness goals and routine changed as you age?

I’ve started doing more hybrid training as I’ve gotten older. At first, I wanted to get away from weight training because I wanted to separate myself from the bodybuilding I did when I was younger. So I started cycling, boxing, and conditioning more. But now I want to be strong and functional—if you can tap into both, you’ll get crazy results.

Corey Calliet doing tricep pushdowns

How are you tracking your progress?

I have a Fitbit and a Whoop. I love that my Whoop shows me metrics I can’t get anywhere else. It helps me track my sleep and heart rate variability—which helps me make sure I’m recovering enough, even if I think I’m feeling good.

Speaking of recovery, what are your go-to recovery techniques?

It doesn’t take a lot to take care of your body. Sleep, nutrition, and hydration are my bread and butter—and sleep is free. But I also do a lot of bodywork (deep tissue massage), I’m obsessed with my Normatec boots, and I like to get IV drips to help boost recovery.

What do you eat to stay on track?

At this point in life, I know what I want to look like, and I know what I need to eat to make that happen, and I’m okay with that. Your body doesn’t change if you don’t eat right, so it’s a big part of my strategy.

I eat five to six meals a day, plus a protein shake after I work out. For breakfast, I like to do three eggs, cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with a little honey on it, and turkey bacon. For the rest of the day I like to focus on protein, I usually alternate between chicken and salmon. I’m a chicken and rice kind of guy. I love sauce, sauce can make anything taste good. Sweet Baby Rays is a staple.

How else do you stay on top of your health as you age?

I like to get my blood work done to make sure everything on the inside is running smoothly. If you don’t know what’s going on on the inside you can’t change what’s going on on the outside. But you won’t know what’s going on if you’re in the dark. Get tested.

What do you think of TRT, when medically necessary? Any experience from your clients or realm?

As you get older, your testosterone goes down. So if you’re tired or your libido is low, your testosterone is probably low. TRT is a gift, as long as you don’t go by the bro science. Go to a doctor. With the help of a certified practitioner, TRT is something that can help you get your life back.

Finding My Edge: The One Thing…

What’s the one thing you wish you knew about staying healthy and fit in your 30s? 

To not overtrain. Overtraining sounds cool, but my body started changing the most when I stopped overtraining.

What’s the one thing you always have to do when working out? 

I have to listen to music. Either rap and hip hop, or my epic playlists—which I like to call superhero music. I love Hans Zimmer, the composer behind Gladiator. When I listen to that I feel like I’m training to save the day.

What’s the one thing you tell yourself on a day you’re not motivated to work out? 

If anybody can, Calliet can.

What’s the one thing you always have in your fridge? 

Zevia, it’s a zero-calorie soda, sweetened with stevia.

What’s the one thing you have every day?

Chicken and rice…and trail mix with the M&Ms. Don’t give me no healthy trail mix. I’m here for the M&Ms.

What’s your one unhealthiest habit?

McDonald’s will always be my number one.

What’s one exercise you’d be happy to never do again?

Burpees.

What’s the one fitness product you can’t live without?

A good treadmill. I like to do sprints on mine. I have the Reflex FreeMotion treadmill, it’s got some bounce to it so it’s lower impact—better on my joints.