Midway through a set of lateral raises, Michael B. Jordan does the one thing you never do when you’re working out with a personal trainer—especially one who’s happy to make you pay for it. He tells him that the weight is too light, before the guy’s even given him the final rep count.
Today’s back-and-shoulder session is taking place at Mansion Fitness in West Hollywood, a personal training gym that borrows its aesthetic from a trendy hotel lobby: hardwood floors, chandeliers, large gilded mirrors on the wall. Power-pop blares through the house speakers, but Jordan can’t hear it over the Drake blasting through his own headphones. He’s wearing basketball shorts, neon yellow Nikes, and a black hoodie, which has become his workout ensemble of choice. “I tried all sorts of different things,” he says, “but I like the hoodie because when you’re done and you take it off, it’s sort of like an unveiling.”
Jordan’s trainer, Corey Calliet, a former boxer with a thick Louisiana accent, smiles at his client’s invitation to inflict more pain. “Come on, now, you’re not just showing off for the people, are you?” he chides, referring to either the journalist observing them or the cute girl in spandex shorts who just hit the water fountain. While we can’t speak for Water Fountain Chick, there’s no need for Jordan to show off on our account—his deep résumé does that.
First are his early standout roles in The Wire and Friday Night Lights, followed up by Chronicle, one of the most inventive super-hero movies in years; then comes his leading-man breakout in the heart-wrenching Fruitvale Station. Finally, there’s this year, which—with starring roles as Johnny Storm in the high-profile (if underwhelming) Fantastic Four and the title character in Creed, this winter’s spin-off of the long-dormant Rocky franchise—has been huge. And not just professionally but physically: As the son of Apollo Creed and an aspiring light-heavyweight champion, the 28-year-old was required to undergo a serious physical transformation—hence the ass-kicking training regimen on display today.
So, yeah, call us sufficiently impressed.
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