Michael B. Jordan Is on a Mission to Get You Moving

The "Creed" star talks daily meditation, his favorite lifts and the healing power of group wellness

A photo of Michael B. Jordan, who we recently spoke with about his fitness routine
The 37-year-old wants to spread the gospel of wellness in underserved areas — including his hometown of Newark, New Jersey.
Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty

Michael B. Jordan has been interested in fitness for a long time. “Probably since I first realized I had legs and arms,” he says. Alongside juggling childhood roles in The Sopranos and, famously, as Wallace in The Wire, Jordan says he was into anything and everything athletic, from soccer to basketball, baseball and swimming. 

“I was just an active, super competitive kid,” he says. “My dad kept me involved in a lot of sports growing up. And as I got older and started appearing on shows like Friday Night Lights [as a high school football player], you start to take yourself more seriously as an actor portraying a professional athlete.”

Now 37, Jordan’s physicality has become a large part of his career. He has played a boxer not once but three times (even directing the third Creed film), a Marvel villain (Black Panther) and a Navy SEAL (Without Remorse). 

He’s also rumored to be playing a vampire hunter in his latest collaboration with Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler. We spoke with Jordan over Zoom — he’s in New Orleans on the set of his latest film — to discuss the role fitness has played in his life, and his Propel Your City Project, an initiative to drive access to fitness across the country, in partnership with Propel Fitness Water. 

A still from the Propel shoot, featuring Jordan with members of WalkGood LA.
As part of the initiative, Jordan teamed up with WalkGood LA, a Black and Brown-led nonprofit dedicated to community healing through wellness activations, including run clubs, group yoga, guided hikes.

InsideHook: How important is physical fitness to you? Have we seen you at your peak in a film role?

Michael B. Jordan: Not just as an actor, but for all of us, I think: you look good, you feel good. Those things go hand in hand. And they definitely contribute to confidence. In terms of peak fitness, I think it’s Creed II, that was probably my best shape so far. But I’ll say my peak is still to come.

Youre known for putting in the hard work. What does your daily routine look like? 

I want to change my body for the roles. I don’t want to look the same in everything, so my weight and body fluctuate. A typical day for me is up in the morning, trying to get some type of meditation in before I jump into my day. In a dream scenario there’s some kind of fasted cardio whether that’s on a treadmill, jumping rope or shadowboxing. Just something to break a sweat, get your heart rate up. Then I’d like to do some sort of weightlifting in the afternoon or evening to round it out. Two workouts a day is ideal, but it doesn’t always happen.

Do you have a favorite exercise? 

I like working back. Probably lat pulldowns or dumbbell rows. Everybody has a part of their body that just naturally suits them and that’s easier for them to work. For me, it’s my back. I can work it every day, it’s just kind of my thing.

You mentioned meditation. How much do you focus on recovery, both mental and physical?

Mental health and meditation are extremely important. There’s a lot of noise in the world, a lot of distractions. Having that mental strength is extremely important. [Meditation helps me] stay focused and stay locked in on the things that matter. It’s something I do daily. As far as recovery, when I’m working out intensely, ice baths are definitely my thing, and saunas and massages, too. Getting stretched is an important part of that. To do a cold plunge every day would be a dream, but I’m just not there yet.

You came up with the Propel Your City Project and it’s starting out in your hometown of Newark. Why was it important to you to promote these fitness hubs, community spaces where local people will have access to fitness leaders and free classes? 

As an actor, you go on these press tours to different cities and countries to promote your movie, and people come out and support you, and then you leave. I think finding ways to support the communities that support you, to leave something behind after you’re gone, is really important. [The idea is] to create fitness hubs where organizations can maximize their curriculum in their own particular program. 

We’re going back to my home state of New Jersey, and we’re starting with the Brick City Rowing team, which is a rowing team in North New Jersey. We’re building a dock on the Passaic River, which is a river that runs through our city. They say there hasn’t been a new dock built in over 100 years. I didn’t know these things before, but I thought it was really cool. Then we’re taking that idea to Atlanta, Houston and back to Los Angeles, just creating spaces to get the communities out together. 

I think working out solo can sometimes be a bit intimidating compared to when you have a group of people with you. There’s strength in numbers, and to be able to have community of like-minded people around to push you to go beyond your limits is something that we have at the top of our minds.

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