If there’s one thing we love to cover on Men’s Health, it’s incredible body transformations. We look to the likes of Tom Hardy, Michael B Jordan and the notable Christian Bale-who deserves a Gold Medal for his staggering transformations-to see just how far these actors have pushed their bodies this time, all in the name of a film character.
But we also know, that none of these transformations would be possible without the trainers that work beside them, day-in and day-out, and that is where Corey Calliet comes in.
A Body Transformation Specialist who has been working with the entertainment industry since arriving in Los Angeles in 2014, Corey’s roster is an impressive one. Working with the likes of John Boyega, Megan Thee Stallion, Jonathan Majors, Queen Latifah, and Kane Brown, he has stamped the motion picture world by way of Fox, MGM, Universal Pictures, Marvel, and Walt Disney for studio films such as Star Wars Episodes VII and VIII, Fantastic Four, and Pacific Rim Uprising.
But Corey’s first transformation had nothing to do with celebrities, Hollywood, or any other person, for that matter
“My career journey started long before I touched down in Hollywood – it started with me,” he explains to Men’s Health. “I wanted to change my life, so I started changing my body. I wouldn’t be here today to tell my story if I hadn’t.”
“Training (bodybuilding specifically) saved me from what statistics say I shouldn’t have made it out of. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I had to find my way through with little to no resources available to me. In mentoring youth in my home state, which is ranked among the highest in the US for childhood obesity, I felt it was my duty to fill a void I had experienced in my childhood – to be an inspiration for achieving big goals, and leading a healthy lifestyle to fuel the pursuit.”
And in inspiration he is – alongside his work with the biggest celebrities in Hollywood, Calliet is a motivational speaker, a passionate advocate for the fight against childhood obesity, and a devoted father of one.
He works as the Leading Trainer and Personality on E!s Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian, has done stints with brands such as Nike, ADIDAS, Bowflex, Nordictrack, Amazon, Spotify, and Beats by Dre, and lends his expertise to workshops and expos, including Shape’s Body Shop and The FitExpo.
“I experienced the incredible power [of transformation], found a passion for the process, and began sharing it with others. Word of my work spread and I had people from all over looking to experience my training methods – this soon turned into transforming A-list celebrities who were filming projects locally in Louisiana and eventually led me to Los Angeles. When I touched down in LA, I hit the ground running and haven’t slowed up since.”
So what does being a ‘Body Transformation Specialist’ entail? A lot more than you think, explains Corey.
“I take a mind-body approach to every transformation. Change begins within us before we see it on the surface,” he tells us. “In my experience, you have to break cycles, and you have to be willing to face obstacles head-on to successfully improve your mental and physical state. I coach my clients to push past the limiting beliefs they hold by showing them what they are capable of when they consistently show up for themselves. We pair the mental and physical work with proper nutrition, and a powerful shift happens.”
“We put the main goal into focus first. I then assess needs based on fitness level, past/present injury, and the other things their life demands of them in a day.”
“You have to be willing to face obstacles head-on to successfully improve your mental and physical state.”
That wholistic approach is one that Calliet applied to his favourite transformation yet (other than himself, of course) which comes in the form of Hollywood heartthrob Michael B. Jordan.
“We’ve consistently risen to the occasion morphing his physique with each project; from Fantastic 4, to Black Panther, to the Creed Series – we have brought the best to every character,” he explains.
Michael B. Jordan was already in impressive shape for the 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed, but it was in the following years that he claimed his spot among Hollywood’s heavyweights. Working with Calliet, he went into beast mode for the role of Erik “Killmonger” Stevens in Black Panther, as well as packing on a reported 11kg of muscle for Creed II. While boxing and conditioning formed a key part of his training, weightlifting remained the pillar around which his body was built.
“We’re coming for our best physique yet [for Creed III]. Given the nature of this role, we’re implementing a heavy dose of HIIT and strength and conditioning based workouts. In a day he will go from boxing to HIIT to weights to cardio. We’re creating a world class athlete on the big screen – we aren’t about to just look the part.
“We have the goal to grow with every role. We’ve taken everything we’ve done up several notches. The weights are heavier, the cardio is more intense, and the recovery regimen is more important than ever.”
Train like Michael B Jordan
Here, Corey shares an example one of his sessions with MBJ.
“Perform in circuit fashion using any weights you have available (we train in a traditional gym, but if you are at home you can get creative)”
Round 1 – 5 reps
Round 2 – 10 reps
Round 3 – 15 reps
Round 4 – 20 reps
Double Unders for 30 seconds ( perform jumping jacks if you do not have a rope)
Quick fire questions
What exercise would you say is a waste of time?
“Any exercise performed without intention – form and function is crucial! If you are doing a bodyweight squat, I want you to really connect with the working muscles and control your movement to get the most out of the exercise and prevent injury. For example: adjust your stance to allow your feet to maintain constant contact with the floor (your toes or heels should not lift), control your descent as you lower into the squat position keeping the knees in line with your toes, then push through the floor as you come up making sure you are feeling your glutes, quads, and hamstrings doing the work through the entire movement. Repeat this with every rep and you will feel the difference!”
What is one exercise you think we should be doing more of?
“Burpees. They are by far the best to hit all angles head to toe, inside and out! They are a full-body exercise, they hold both fat-burning and muscle building potential, and there are many variations and modifications that can be performed based on your needs/goals.”
What does your personal fitness routine look like?
“I start every day with cycling – I either ride indoors on my stationary trainer or outdoors. This is a non-negotiable for me, even when I’m travelling. I also hit another workout (or two) consisting of either weightlifting or HIIT to keep my body working in all the ways I need it to. My life is in constant motion, I have to keep moving and challenging myself!”
What about your diet?
“I stick to a clean, nutrient-dense diet but also allow myself the occasional treat. Food is fuel, you wouldn’t put tar in your car and expect it to get you where you need to go!”