Three years after the release of the first Creed film, Jordan and Calliet felt like his character, Adonis Johnson, had grown up — and that his body should reflect that in the Rocky series continuation.
“As he evolved physically for his characters in Creed and Black Panther, that growth became a stepping stone and a building block to getting his body to where it is now,” Calliet tells PEOPLE.
Jordan started training for Creed II after Black Panther, which required a different kind of look.
“We came off of Black Panther where he was doing more weight training to bulk him up, and looking much bigger,” says Calliet, who has worked with Jordan for about four years. “When we did Creed II, it was much different, and we did more boxing. We implemented everything we’ve ever done: We weight trained, we did plyometric work, and we boxed a lot more. It was much more boxing. His conditioning and his body were on point.”
To get into prime boxing shape, Jordan would work out six or seven times a week for two or three times a day, and each session would be something different. He might start the day with weight training, do cardio in the afternoon, and mix in his boxing workouts and choreography — which he did for about two hours a day — in between.
Luckily, Calliet says that Jordan is a “very much a natural athlete,” so his body could handle the intense training.
“Athletic-wise, there’s nothing that he can’t do,” Calliet says.
But the workouts only made up half of how Jordan got in fighting shape. Calliet also put him on a strict nutrition plan to fit each day of training and filming.
“I designed his diet, and I had a chef on set to cook his food,” Calliet says. “His basic diet was protein and carbohydrates for about five or six meals a day. You have your basic proteins — chicken, fish, turkey, steak — and then carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, brown rice and white rice, depending on what I was trying to do. But his diet never stayed the same; it wasn’t like he ate the same exact thing for 12 weeks. His diet always changed depending on what he needed to look like and his energy levels and what the progress was.”
And while Jordan is a world-class actor and athlete, he still experienced moments of wanting to to ditch the healthy meals for junk food like everyone else.
“Who really wants to be on a boxing movie and be an actor and go to a workout and eat food that’s not as delightful as you want it?” Calliet says. “So yes, every day was a struggle, but that made him more mentally tough, which played out in the film.”
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With the movie ready to debut on Thanksgiving, Jordan’s had a few months off from his diet and workouts until his next film — possibly Black Panther 2 — starts up. But Calliet says he wants to get Jordan in a real boxing ring if the Creed series continues.
“I think if we do Creed III and IV, we’re doing a prizefight right after,” he joked.