Michael B. Jordan seems to exist in near-perfect physical condition. Though some actors will give up their newfound fitness obsessions after production wraps on a film, since debuting his epic transformation in Creed, Jordan seems to have carved a name for himself as the go-to actor when it comes to roles that are physically demanding, mentally challenging, and require the kind of buff, gym-honed physique most would tap CGI to achieve.
Naturally then, you would assume nothing could challenge an actor known for embracing the physical transformation. But in his latest film, Without Remorse, in which Jordan plays an elite Navy SEAL named John Clark, the training was of a calibre Jordan had previously never undergone. With the help of his trainer, Corey Calliet, Jordan went through an arduous combat-preparedness program that saw him put in months of gym work while wearing a weighted vest of nearly 12kg simply so he would be comfortable with exhaustion.
If they say the mark of a great athlete is getting comfortable being uncomfortable, Jordan is up there with the best. Now, his trainer shares the workout that got Jordan in fighting-fit shape so you can try it at home, too.
As Calliet explained to Men’s Journal, he took it “back to the basics” for Jordan on Without Remorse. Jordan prioritised lean proteins, vegetables, slow carbs, whole grains and good fats throughout his training program. While his schedule was a gruelling one and varied day-to-day, he typically consumed these foods over the course of five to six meals a day. While Calliet believes you should be able to achieve most of your nutrition naturally from food, Jordan still had a small selection of vitamins that he took and which were sent by his mother. As Calliet told the publication, “I don’t even know which ones he was taking, but you know mums. They know best. All I know is it worked, because he didn’t get sick once, which is a concern when you’re working internationally.”
The training was tough, and naturally recovery was imperative to ensure Jordan not only didn’t get injured, but could sustain the arduous training program and the demands of filming. Jordan has become an ardent fan of meditation, believing it to be a powerful tool to focus and heal the mind and the body. He also had a masseuse that would come four times a week to ease muscle tension and improve circulation. “I really put him through it with his training, so he needed it,” admits Calliet. “Between that and putting an emphasis on sleep, I was glad we avoided any injuries.”
Calliet and Jordan enlisted the services of highly decorated U.S. Marine Buck Doyle prior to filming, picking the mind of the veteran who shared his insights into the extreme physical preparation elite soldiers go through. With that information, Calliet then crafted a training program for Jordan that ensured he’d be ready to play the part of a Navy SEAL with conviction.
As he told Men’s Journal, “I had him wearing a weighted vest during majority of our workouts because I wanted him familiar with that level of fatigue.” This can’t be underestimated; in the film, and given the nature of his character being in the special forces, Jordan was carrying heavy guns and wearing a lot of gear. It was exhausting work, but something he had to be physically prepared for. “Every single session we did was intense,” said Calliet. “Every session was elite.”
Before arriving to Germany for filming, Calliet and Jordan worked out for three months and then continued training throughout production, often putting in late night sessions after filming wrapped. Calliet created a HIIT-style approach to build lean muscle mass. As he explains, “There are movies where you’re focused on the aesthetic. This wasn’t one of those. We were driven to give him that military physique.”
So, just what exercises did Jordan do? Read on below for the full Without Remorse workout the actor endured under Calliet’s direction. This sample workout was used to increase strength and challenge Jordan’s cardio. It might seem easy, but remember Jordan was wearing a 11kg weighted vest throughout.
Directions: Perform this four-exercise circuit for a total of 6 rounds. You’ll perform 45 seconds of intense effort followed by 15 seconds of rest for each move. You should push yourself and go at full capacity, before taking 1 minute of rest at the end of every round.
2. Kettlebell Swings
3. Med Ball Slams
4. Chest Press
Without Remorse will premiere on Amazon Prime on April 29.