MF Guy: Mekhi Phifer
From Harlem to L.A., this A-list actor is no-nonsense when it comes to his workouts
Weight: 180 lbs
Body of Work: Torchwood, ER, 8 Mile
When actor Mekhi Phifer first started working out in his hometown of Harlem, NY, it wasn’t to get in shape for a role. “I grew up in a rough environment,” says Phifer. “You want to be strong and have your presence felt out there. That attitude reflects how people see you.” And ever since he landed the lead for the Spike Lee movie Clockers at an open casting call, people have seen him as a leading man. His latest project, Torchwood, has him playing a futuristic CIA agent. “It’s like 24 meets X-Files,” he says.
When he first got to L.A., where Phifer now lives, he mostly trained his upper body. “Now I have a much more complete workout,” he says. Phifer actually has two trainers: one for the mitts, one for the weights. “Once or twice a week, I try to do some kind of boxing,” he says. “I’m hitting the bags and jumping rope—all that stuff.”
In the gym, Phifer doesn’t mess around. “I used to go to 24 Hour Fitness in Sherman Oaks, [CA], but that place is like going to the club,” he says. “Chicks are in there with makeup on, you got guys standing around talking, and I hate that.” Like any MF guy, he just wants to get it done. “I always go with headphones, get the work in, and continue on with my day.”
Mike Jones of Woodland Hills Athletic Club trains him three days a week with everything from SandBells and kettlebells to suspension training with the TRX. “It’s all total body,” he says. “We mix everything up.”
But he doesn’t mix up his diet, which always starts the same way. “It’s an egg white omelette with green peppers, mushrooms, and onions with no cheese,” he says. “Some- times, I add a side of turkey bacon and green tea.” Phifer knows what foods help him look his best. “Eating right has made the biggest difference in my body,” he says.
Phifer’s regimen revolves around trisets—three exercises, performed one after another without rest. Here’s a sample routine.
- 1A) Clap Pull-ups 3 x 10
- 1B) Push-up Row 3 x 10 reps each side
- 1C) Plyo Circuit: Perform four explosive plyometric movements, one after another without rest. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps each.
- 2A) Squat Curl and Press Combo 3 x 10
- 2B) Dumbbell bench Press and Leg Lift Combo 3 x 10
- 2C) Cable Squat Curl and reverse press Combo 3 x 10
During a one-minute rest period after each triset, Phifer jumps rope.