He’s the man behind all the swoons over Morris Chestnut in The Best Man Holiday. He’s labeled the “world’s most ripped fitness model” and has graced over 40 fitness magazine covers and has written more than 150 articles over the past 5 years. It appears by looking at his covers that he has landed more covers than any African-American male fitness professional expert or fitness personality. World-renowned fitness expert and fitness personality Obi Obadike believes there is no greater feeling than to help enrich the lives of others. So what was it like training Morris Chestnut for The Best Man Holiday? What does he recommend for people looking to lose weight and build muscle? Get these questions and more answered in our exclusive and candid interview with Obadike and get inside the mind of one of the most decorated fitness experts around!
BFT: Morris Chestnut has been getting a lot of attention with his recent role in The Best Man Holiday – but many don’t know the man behind the scenes who helped him get into tip top shape!
Obi: I know that his transformation and his physique in general got a lot of attention. I didn’t realize it was going to be that big and neither did he — we had a conversation about him being interviewed to promote the movie and it seemed like his physique was the bulk of the interview. I know he probably felt a little embarrassed because it was all on him, but I’m really happy for him because it was literally a transformation.
When he came to me he was in the worst shape of his life by far and when a man drops 33 pounds that’s a lot of weight! He literally went from potbelly to ripped abs looking like the black Terminator [laughs].
But yeah, the movie seems to be doing well from what I hear and it looks like they will possibly be doing a third movie.
BFT: That’s a good look for you too! [laughs]
BFT: So let’s talk about your experience training Morris. A lot of people want to know — what type of diet did you have him on? We remember seeing him on Wendy Williams and he said he couldn’t eat [laughs]. However, we know he was eating something! (Fast forward to 1:40 to hear Morris talk about his transformation, with the help of Obi – 2:52)
Obi: Yeah, he wasn’t starving but I think what he meant was that he was eating very clean. He wasn’t eating any junk food — a lot of chicken, turkey, steak, veggies, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, oatmeal and egg whites — so it was a very clean diet. He stuck through it. Obviously he’s a huge sex symbol in the African-American community, but like anyone, he had his ups and downs and he definitely did have his struggles on the program. But ultimately he got into the best shape of his life at 44 years old. He trained very hard but I’m sure you guys know when you’re trying to lose a high amount of body fat diet is 80% of the battle. Yes weight training and cardio are important but the diet is so very important. As his trainer and nutritionist, we had weekly weigh-ins; he trained five days a week doing circuit training and super-setting similar to something like P90X.
He did a lot of sprinting, plyometric drills and he loves to play basketball, so once a week we played basketball to do some cardio that was actually fun. We also did some distance running where he would go on a three-mile run. He was lifting weights four to five days a week, everything from legs to upper body.
When he came to me he was in his worst shape and my goal with Morris was for people to go see The Best Man Holiday and see the best Morris Chestnut they’ve ever seen in their life, physically. That’s what I wanted to do for him and that’s what he wanted as well. Ultimately he did it; he committed to the program and got into the best shape of his life!
The interesting thing is that sometimes when people lose a lot of weight, especially for some people of other ethnicities, you look older in the face. But for Morris, what I’ve noticed is that I watched the first Best Man and the second movie multiple times and I thought he actually looked younger than he did in the first movie! His features were so pronounced especially his cheekbones. I thought he looked 28 in the movie — would you say that’s correct?
BFT: Yeah we saw the movie on opening weekend and he did look younger, reflecting back on it now.
Obi: It’s a lot like the Benjamin Button effect. [laughs]. His skin was so clear because when you’re drinking eight glasses of water a day and you’re on a clean diet, no extra oil and other garbage, your skin will clear up and become flawless.
Example of a Morris Chestnut workout: Monday: Chest, biceps and abs circuit (one set of chest, followed by one set of biceps and a final set of abs) Rest no more than 30 seconds before repeating.
What happens when you’re constantly rotating is that even when you lift weights you’re sweating profusely, and raising your heart rate while still building lean muscle. Even though he was dropping fat he was still building lean muscle at the same time, which is very difficult to do.
When he came to me he was 220 pounds with a potbelly, his arms were thin and his chest was kind of flat. He went down to about 187 pounds; his arms got bigger, back got wider, waist got smaller and his chest was more pronounced. The illusion is that although he dropped weight and lost body fat, he still built some lean muscle for the movie.
BFT: For people looking to make a similar transformation as Chestnut, how long did it take for you to help Morris get into the best shape of his life?
Obi: It took about 12 weeks. He lost a total of 33 pounds; about 25 in first 9 weeks and then he lost the last 8 to 9 pounds in the final 3 1/2 weeks. If you’re looking to lose 30 pounds or more, 12 weeks is the normal time frame for doing it the healthy way.
Morris went from about 17-18% body fat to about 6%. When you think about the character he played, he had to get in that emotional state along with dieting, so it wasn’t easy for him.
BFT: Yeah, we can imagine it had to be very difficult! It’s safe to say you’re probably Hollywood’s most wanted trainer right now! How did you and Morris Chestnut end up linking up and working together to prepare him for his role in The Best Man Holiday?
Obi: We have a mutual friend and he told me that he saw me on the cover of a magazine and told our friend “I need to get on that guy’s program” and our friend told him that I was good trainer. So he did his research thoroughly and contacted me. But you know, I’m very appreciative because he didn’t have to acknowledge me the way he did. He mentioned me on all of his interviews about the movie as helping him get in shape. A lot of celebrities don’t do that but I know how much he appreciated my help, so I’m very appreciative of that.
BFT: What type of personal feedback have you received as Morris Chestnut’s personal trainer?
Obi: So many people emailed me and Morris asking “what did you do?” “how did he lose the weight?” – so many people contacted me based on his transformation and his appearance on the Muscle & Performance magazine cover, through my relationship with the editor. He and I are in discussions in working on a possible huge fitness project together.
He and I are in discussions in working on a possible huge fitness project together.
BFT: So, how do you respond to people who say “oh, well Morris Chestnut can afford a personal trainer, I can’t.” How do you empower an everyday person to accomplish a transformation like a Morris Chestnut?
Obi: Well on my website, I have a lot of transformations – none of which are celebrities – they’re just regular people. I really don’t promote celebrity clients because a lot of them want to keep it confidential, but regardless of that most of the time if you go to my website and see a transformation, you’re able to identify with the pictures. Also, I stay approachable by writing fitness articles and give out free information and tips on social media.
Here’s a reader question: What is the best way to lose body fat while adding muscle?
Obi: I will put that person on a weight training regimen at least four days a week and try to hit every body part at least once a week. The diet would be a 40/40/20 diet and 12 to 14 calories per pound. I would have them doing least 30 minutes of cardio four days a week.
I’m really really big on HIIT training – let’s say on the treadmill the first 15 minutes you jog at a slow to moderate pace and for the last 15 minutes you would alternate sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 30 seconds. It’s an incredible fat loss cardio workout where you’re able to burn a high amount of calories.
Here’s another reader question: Do you have any fitness products or DVDs available?
Obi: Yeah, absolutely — I have an online training service and six-part e-book fat loss system that is very affordable called Ultimate Fat Loss For Men and Women, available in my online store.
BFT: How can the BFT community stay connected with you?
Obi: For anybody that wants to contact me:
Future NFL Hall-of-Famer Edgerrin James Talks Running 500 Miles in 365 Days
No matter what he does, Edgerrin James knows how to lead. During his time in the NFL, James averaged 4.2 yards per carry and is one of the all-time leaders in career rushing yards. Although retired, these days, the future Hall-of-Famer also rushes toward opportunities to give back. A beloved member of the University of Miami community, James contributed the largest-ever donation of any former athlete that has ever attended. He is also the founder of the Edgerrin James Foundation and the Edgerrin James Youth Football Skills Camp.
Black Fitness Today caught up with James to learn about his recent decision to embark on a 500-mile journey this past year, and what set him apart in his training as a professional athlete.
Why did you decide to embark on your 500-mile journey across the country? What has the journey taught you?
I always like to challenge myself. Running is something I’ve always hated doing, so that made it pretty interesting! This experience has really pushed me because there’s no reward at the end of the [500-mile journey] except the fact that I did it and I was consistent. There were many times I didn’t feel like running, but once I agreed to do it, I knew I had to accomplish it.
Tell us more about your partnership with Adidas.
The Adidas partnership was good for many reasons. They provided some nice uniforms for my youth football team from top to bottom. That’s more important than anything — to lace a team of inner-city kids with custom uniforms meant a lot to me and the kids. Another reason is the relationship with the University of Miami; that’s my school and I rep the gear faithfully. So it’s only right I locked in with Adidas. I’m glad the deal worked out and look forward to building on that relationship.
You mentioned that you’ve always hated running. Did that have any impact on you while playing football in terms of how you approached your training?
Basketball was my go to sport. It is fun and exciting and also gets you in shape. I used playing ball as my running to get in shape.
What was your favorite off-season training routine?
I’ve always liked the late-night sessions in the off-season. I would train before going to the club or after leaving the club — sounds unusual but it was the best for me. I didn’t drink and was well-rested before I would go out. My training was always very quiet with no distractions. During the day I would go to the University of Miami and get it in with the younger guys in the hot sun.
In addition to your 500-mile journey, how else do you stay in shape these days?
I always work out three to four times a week. Nothing hard, but I consistently get some type of work in.
What role does nutrition play in your everyday life? What are some of your favorite healthy foods and foods you can’t live without?
I don’t worry too much about what I eat. I just make sure I maintain a certain weight and follow up any heavy eating with a nice workout to make sure I’m back on track.
Many people know you for your accomplishments on the football field, but many don’t know that you are also passionate about giving back. What are some of your initiatives? Why is philanthropy so important to you?
My purpose is to empower my people and all people that share stories similar to mine. Too many times, you see other cultures having success and wonder why not us. It’s up to us to look out for us and when you see examples, it makes it really real to the younger generation. It also gives them realistic goals to chase without making the excuses. I’m just trying to be an example that’s tried and true without any excuses. Just hard work and determination…
What advice do you have to young men who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
Learn as much as you can and just become a good example for the next generation, understand how this world works, and play the game of life to win!
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
The legacy I want to leave behind is that I did things the right way and never tried to be anyone else except myself, that I showed people you don’t have to conform or be something you’re not to be successful, and just put in the right work and let everything else work itself out.
Carmelita Jeter Talks Personal Connection To Breast Cancer and Her Fight For a Cure
There’s still no faster woman alive than Carmelita Jeter. We will always remember her amazing achievements on the track as a world record holder with three Olympic medals. You may even remember her signature pink cleats she wore during some of her races. But the story behind them reveals an inspiring journey. In 2012, while training for the Olympic games, Jeter’s aunt — Brenda Washington — lost her battle with breast cancer. However, Jeter found new strength and turned tragedy into triumph. From partnering with NIKE to nonprofits, Jeter has become an outspoken advocate for breast cancer awareness and is dedicated to using her platform to fight for a cure!
In 2012 as you prepped for the London Olympics, your aunt, Brenda Washington, passed from breast cancer. And much like you did, people have to find the strength to pick themselves up, go to work and continue living after tragedy. How were you able to find that strength?
I was able to find the strength to keep going from my family, my coaches and my agent. At the time, I questioned my faith a lot. I just couldn’t understand why God would take her away from me. But I concluded that if my cousin Lachondra (her daughter) was able to be strong, I could not be weaker than her, for her sake.
What’s the best advice you can offer for supporting family members who are battling breast cancer?
The best advice I can give is to stay very close and experience moments with each other, even if it is just a small gathering at a relative’s house where everyone brings a dish. Also, never be afraid to speak about the person that is sick or has passed away. You have to keep their spirit alive.
You’ve partnered with various non-profit organizations to raise breast cancer awareness. Tell us a little bit about some of your partnerships including “The Pink Jet” with PINTRILL.
I partnered with Pintrill who made a Hot Pink Jet and a bracelet made from MyIntent with the words, “Mind over body,” inscribed. I’ve been the ambassador for Susan G. Komen’s Circle of PromiseInitiative that was based on African-American women getting tested more frequently.
In what ways did your aunt’s battle with breast cancer impact you on and off the track?
My aunt Brenda Washington’s battle made a huge impact on the track for me. Nike, my sponsor, made me my very own hot pink signature spikes in her honor. Every time I lined up to compete, I ran for her.
What advice would you give to African-Americans in the fight against breast cancer?
The advice I would give African-Americans would be to not give up, and remember to stay a unit.
What are some tips that you can offer in helping with early detection and decreasing the rate of diagnoses?
My major tip would be to stop thinking African-Americans don’t get breast cancer. Also, stop thinking that you have to be over 45 to get diagnosed with the disease. We need to be more educated on the topic and we need to stop being afraid to go to the doctor. Go to the doctor and get checked up regularly!
Keep up with Jeter’s work in the community and dedication to fighting for a cure!
WNBA Legend Lisa Leslie Talks Hall of Fame Inductions and Healthy Partnership with Boston Market
Lisa Leslie became not only the most recognized player in the WNBA, but changed the face of women’s sports. As a two-time champion, three-time WNBA MVP, four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and eight-time all-star it should come as no surprise that Lisa is being inducted into both the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 13th and September 11, 2015 respectfully. As a wife, mother, Olympic athlete, model, author, speaker, and businesswoman, Leslie is a true leader and pioneer. But part of her success and ability to be Superwoman is through smart choices and taking care of her health. Recently, she teamed up with Boston Market in celebration of National Rotisserie Chicken Day, June 2nd – to celebrate the healthier cooking method. Read our interview with Lisa as she discusses her upcoming hall of fame inductions, teaming up with Boston Market, and a list of her favorite healthy rotisserie chicken recipes.
BFT: Things have changed since 1985 when Boston Market first opened its doors, the obesity epidemic being one. As a spokesperson for Boston Market why did you feel it was necessary to join in promoting healthier eating?
LL: Absolutely. I feel like we are in a time where we can no longer accept the bad food that is bombarding our community. Boston Market is definitely taking a stand with the new brand promise, All Good. The fact that you can find fresh, never frozen chicken with no added steroids or hormones makes Boston Market a frequent stop for me. As a working mom, I understand the importance of healthy food and trying to make healthy choices for my family. The Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken is not only yummy by itself but can also be used to make a variety of other meals, salads, tacos and enchiladas.
BFT: We were surprised to learn that Boston Market offers more than 150 meals 550 calories and under! When you’re on the go what is your favorite menu option at Boston Market?
LL: My favorite is breast of chicken with a wing, the green beans, sautéed spinach, which is only available at select stores, and yams. I try to load up on vegetables.
BFT: What are some of your favorite Rotisserie Chicken dishes and recipes?
LL: I love to use Boston Market rotisserie chicken in many different kinds of recipes. First, it is great by itself with some healthy sides. Then I can use the leftovers for additional meals, like Chicken Wraps and a great Waldorf Salad.
BFT: As a pioneer of the WNBA, how does it feel to know that you are being formally inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in less than two weeks, June 13, 2015 in Knoxville, TN?
I am really humbled and excited to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It took a lot of hard work but I did not get here alone. I had so much support from teammates, coaches and family. It seems unfair that only I get an award.
BFT: This September you will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, “the highest honor in Basketball.” Many players dream to one day be in your position. What type of work, training, dedication, support etc., did it take to get you to this point?
It takes an abnormal amount of focus and dedication to your craft; it takes about 10,000 hours of repetition to become good at anything. I had a great support system as well, from my mother to my family to the coaches and teammates I played with throughout the years.
BFT: When you think back on your career and your many accomplishments, what are you most proud of?
LL: It is hard to choose one thing: I am proud of being a mom. I am proud of being a wife and businesswoman. I am proud of my basketball career and philanthropic work.
BFT: What do you want people to take away from what you were able to accomplish during your career?
LL: I would love to be known as a person who really gave her all in everything she did, as a wife, mom, athlete, captain, teammate, businesswoman. Along the way, I have met some wonderful people. I have helped people and received so much in return. I am just thankful for the journey.
Here are the recipes:
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
1 whole Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken, picked and diced in small pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced in small pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup roasted peanuts chopped in half
1 head Greenleaf or Iceberg lettuce, separated into whole leaves
1 – 8 oz. pouch or 1 cup of your favorite Hoisin Sauce
Heat oil over high heat in large frying pan or wok
Add chicken, all vegetables and half of the peanuts, stir fry for two minutes
Add 3/4 pouch of Asian sauce, bring to a simmer, add green onions and remaining peanuts
Scoop the mixture into a lettuce leaf cup
Drizzle the remaining sauce on top
Waldorf Chicken Salad
1 Boston Market Rotisserie chicken, picked and diced
½ cup apples diced
½ cup celery diced
¼ cup grapes cut in thirds
¼ cup walnuts chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, chill and serve on bread, croissant or on a bed of lettuce. Serves five to six.
This recipe calls for one whole Boston Market Rotisserie chicken but if you want all white meat buy two whole chickens and use dark meat in another recipe.
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