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: