Performance Upgrade: Fitness

The man who turned Michael B. Jordan into Adonis Creed schools us on training like a boss

Celebrity Fitness Trainer Corey Calliet

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Daniel LaRusso had Mr. Miyagi. Neo had Morpheus. Luke Skywalker had Yoda.

Long story short, never underestimate the value of a good mentor — a truly savvy gent knows that the shortest path to improvement in any aspect of his life is via someone who knows the ropes better than he does.

And thus we bring you Performance Upgrade, a handy series in which we tap battle-hardened experts in various fields to help you elevate your game.

Today’s subject: physical fitness, with celebrity trainer Corey Calliet.

Read on and get pumped.

Our Expert

In the quest for fitness results, one would be wise to heed the advice of trainer Corey Calliet.

After all, he’s the party responsible for transforming Michael B. Jordan into the shredded beast gracing countless magazine covers and the silver screen in flicks like Black Panther and Creed II.

As far as results go, those are pretty hard to argue with.

So your pals at InsideHook journeyed to Los Angeles to meet with the celebrated “body transformation specialist” and see if we could get some tips on how we workaday chaps can take our own fitness game to the next level.

“My philosophy on fitness starts with the mental first.” says Calliet, “Because if your mind is not in check and your heart’s not right, your body won’t follow it up.”

Good first step, if you ask us. Below, the rest of his pointers on preparing for your next role — even if that role is just “Guy Who Used to Have Dad-Bod.”

A lot of us want to be in shape, be healthy and strong, and we have the ability to control that by making better choices. Not the easy choices that are gonna continue to set us back.

On getting started:

“A lot of people tend to get into fitness and don’t know what to do first — I tell people, ‘Join a gym.’ Do workout classes, because the best thing to have when you’re starting your training journey is a point to hold you accountable and not to feel embarrassed.

Sometimes having one trainer, that’s intimidating. Group settings are always the way to get started.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

On being real with yourself:

“It’s being able to acknowledge where you are and where you want to go. Most of the time people go to the gym, they pay attention to the person next to them. ‘I want to look like them. I want to look like that.’

Until we’re able to identify who we are, we won’t be able to get anywhere. At the end of the day, my goal and my purpose is to always make people believe in themselves, because you’re the only person who is going to make it happen.”

On Consistency:

“You can’t wait. Too late and it’s like waiting for the doctor to tell you, ‘You have 30 days to live.’ We want to start before the doctor actually tells us it’s time to work.

I always say find something you love to do regularly. There’s spinning, there’s hiking, there’s running, there’s jogging, crossfit — whatever it may be, find something you love first. Because if you don’t find that thing you love first, you’re gonna hate it fast.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

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On warming up:

“I just like to warm up on a bicycle, do a light job. That’s all. The goal is not to get a workout before the workout, just to get the blood going and break a sweat so you don’t have to be cold going into the workout.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness
Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

On cardio:

“Jumping rope. That’s a good cardiovascular exercise. It’s good for the lungs, it keeps you conditioned, it keeps you in shape, and it’s simple stuff.”

On using your body:

“Tap into your own body doing different plyometric exercises, like boxing jumps or burpees, push-ups. The older I get, I want the more plyo-athletic style workout — still maintain my traditional weight training, but start adding the value of using my own body to actually become more functional so that I can use it even more.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade Fitness
Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

On the importance of core:

“As you get older, core strength goes away really fast. Just keep it simple doing your basic crunches, reverse crunches, lower leg lifts, things like that.

You don’t have to do the craziest things, you just have to do the things that are gonna keep you moving before it’s too late.”

On boxing as a workout:

“Boxing is one of the most intense conditioning workouts that you can do. I think that everyone should somehow incorporate that into working out. 

Not only does it help you burn fat, and build strength, but also build endurance.

When you box and you have to defend yourself, you’re putting your body through a mental and physical conditioning that I’ve never experienced outside of bodybuilding.”


“I always have my Beats headphones. I like a lot of southern rap, Migos, Young Jeezy, Two Chainz. And then more at the end of the workout when it’s slowed down and I’m really focusing, I listen to R&B music. My philosophy is when you’re working out, you’re thinking about looking sexy.”

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Powerbeats 3 Wireless Earphones
Beats by Dre

Proper form. Proper form and stop lifting that heavy-ass weight like you’re 25 again. Those are honestly the two most important things. Don’t go in there trying to lift the whole gym — lift the weight correctly, squeeze and focus on the actual set, you’ll be fine.


On cooling down:

“Honestly, I’ll be the first to say, I never used to do recovery until I got up in age. Now I’m 34 years old, and I don’t recover like I did when I was 28. Deep tissue massage — getting work like that done on your body is perfect.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness
Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

“The different machines that they have out now, it’s perfect because you can put it right on the spot where it’s hurting. Press a button, and it starts getting the exact same result as using a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball without the hassle of getting on the ground and rolling my shoulder around, not really knowing if I’m hitting the spot.”


“My go-to right now is using the Hyperice — that’s what I use to get the blood flowing. At the end of my workout when my muscles are very tight, I’ve got to loosen them back up so I can continue to be functional and move around.”

Hyperice Hypervolt Vibration Massage Device Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

Hypervolt Vibration Massage Device

On your diet:

“When I’m getting to know a person, or trying design a diet for them, I need to know certain information. What do they like to eat? What do they do throughout the day? I make sure that their goals are realistic based on what they do for a living, on what they’ve been eating, on who they are and what they’re willing to do. Because there are diets that set you up to fail.”

People come up with these fad diets because they want overnight results. It didn’t take 30 days to gain that weight, so don’t think it’s gonna take 30 days to lose it.

“I’ve never veered away from the basic foundation of what nutrients are: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. I’ve always created a diet that’s balanced out for a person — we never try to reinvent the wheel. All we do is keep it well-balanced, polished and clean. Repackaging the old school.”

Corey Calliet Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

“I like to start a person at a certain place, and depending on what their goals are and how their body is changing, that’s how I make my changes. If a person has never been on a real diet plan, the first time around they’re gonna get some crazy results. If they’ve dieted before, their body is used to it and we’ve got to play around. We’ve got to throw some tricks in there to keep the body guessing so we can get the results that we need.

For example, the timing of your food better speeds the metabolism up — doing things like intermittent fasting. [With a guy who is a little older], I’ll suggest carb cycling. Because he’s not doing enough activity to actually burn the food off, so I don’t want to give him too many carbs where it’s gonna sit on the body.

Let me put it like this: I’ve been doing the same type of diet my whole career and I’ve always gotten great results. Michael B. Jordan, case closed.”


Nutribullet Balance Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

Nutribullet Balance

“It’s the only [blender] I’ve ever used. Others don’t grind the food as well. Nutribullet is the best if I need to make a smoothie with oatmeal, protein, ice, whatever. It just mixes it all really well.”

“I’ve always used Combat Protein. It’s a good meal replacement. The big thing about a lot of proteins is taste, because protein sucks sometimes. So you want something that tastes good and you’re going to get a good benefit from.”

Muscel Pharm Combat Protein Powder Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

Combat Protein Powder
Muscle Pharm

Essentia Ionized Alkaline Water Lexus Performance Upgrade: Fitness

Ionized Alkaline Water

“I like alkaline water because it helps to balance the pH in your body. I drink two gallons every day.”

Understand that it’s gonna take the sacrifice of not doing what you’ve always done or what you always want to do to get to that next level. No pain, no progress.

Custom Photography by Ricky Lesser