Credit: WB Pictures

Despite getting decimated by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, Apollo Creed's ripped physique, as displayed by actor Carl Weathers, was beyond enviable. Some other, less motivated, actor may have been daunted by the task of sizing up to the Creed name, but Michael B. Jordan used the challenge to push himself beyond his previous fitness limits.

"I was thrilled," says Jordan, a lifelong fan of the franchise. Partnering again with Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, Creed follows the struggle of Apollo's son Adonis to step out of his father's shadow in the sport that he also loves. In the film Adonis tracks down Rocky, reprised again by the iconic Sylvester Stallone, to whip him into shape. But in real life Jordan enlisted trainer Corey Calliet to achieve his incredible body transformation.

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"I felt muscles I never knew I had," Jordan says.

That doesn't mean Stallone just stood in the corner. The big-screen veteran mentored the young actor through the boxing scenes, of which he is well-versed after six previous installments of the Rocky series. "He's filled with wisdom," Jordan says. "He really helped me find the authenticity in the ring and let me know when I shouldn't hold back."

Though they boxed daily during training, it was Calliet's experience as a body builder that helped him target every muscle group and shape Jordan's full form. "I wanted to make him look even more ripped than Apollo, and I think we did that," Calliet says. It didn't come without hard work, but the trainer admits it all paid off when Stallone stood ringside looking up at Jordan. "He said, 'Mike looks good.' That meant a lot coming from him."

Training Regimen

CARDIO
For 45 to 60 minutes daily: Interval training, sprint work, plyometric drills, and speed rope.

ABS SERIES
Every other day, do 3 sets of 25 reps of each move:

Crunches Lie on floor with knees bent, feet flat, hands behind head; crunch upper body up so shoulder blades lift off floor, pause, and slowly lower back down.

Leg Raises Lie on floor with legs extended; with legs glued together and straight, raise legs perpendicular to floor, then slowly lower to a few inches above floor.

Reverse Crunches Lie on floor with legs extended, feet hovering a few inches off floor; tuck knees to chest, pause, then lower back to start without allowing feet to touch floor.

Toe Touches Lie on floor with legs extended, arms by sides. Raise legs perpendicular to floor, and lift torso off floor to reach arms to touch toes; slowly lower back to start.

Traditional Sit-Ups Lie on floor with knees bent, feet flat, hands behind head; engage abs and lift upper body until you're fully upright; slowly lower back to start.



UPPER-BODY SERIES
Start the series with a 1-mile warm-up on the treadmill:

Press and Push-Up Superset
Alternate between dumbbell presses and push-ups, for five rounds total. Do this rep scheme for the dumbbell presses: 10 reps, then 9 reps, then 8, 7, and finally 6. You'll do 15 push-ups immediately after the presses each time. Take a 15- to 30-second break between rounds.

Fly and Push-Up Superset
Alternate between bench-press flys and push-ups, for five rounds total. Do this rep scheme for the bench press flys: 10 reps, then 9 reps, then 8, 7, and finally 6. You'll do 10 push-ups immediately after the flys each time. Take a 15- to 30-second break between rounds.

Dumbbells Curls
Do 4 sets of 15 dumbbell curls, taking a 30-second break between sets.

Hammer Curls
Do 3 sets of 12 hammer curls, taking a 30-second break between sets.

Kickback and Dip Superset
Alternate between dumbbell kickbacks and bench dips, for four rounds total. Do 15 dumbbell kickbacks, then immediately do 20 bench dips. Take a 15- to 30-second break between rounds.

PLYOMETRIC SERIES
Complete in circuit fashion for 3 rounds. Take 2-minute rests between each round, and no rest between exercises:

Box or Bench Step-Ups 20 each leg
Box Jumps or Jumping Over a Step 20 reps
Side Step-Ups on a Box or Bench 20 each leg
Jump Squats 20 reps
Burpees 15 reps
Bench Push-Ups 25 reps

BOXING TRAINING
Every workout day ends with 3 hours of boxing:
Heavy bag
Speed bag
Hitting the mitts
Jump rope

DAILY MEAL PLAN

Meal 1

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 45 g carb (ex: oats, rice, etc.)

Meal 2

  • Protein shake
  • 35 g carb (ex: steelcut oats)

Meal 3

  • 8 oz lean protein (ex: chicken, ground turkey)
  • 65 g carb (ex: rice, sweet potato)
  • 1 cup green veggie 

Meal 4

  • 8 oz lean protein (ex: chicken, ground turkey, or fish)
  • 35 g carb (ex: rice, sweet or red potato)

Meal 5

  • Protein shake
  • 35 g carb (ex: steelcut oats)

Meal 6

  • 8 oz lean protein (ex: chicken, ground turkey)
  • 1 cup green veggie
  • 1 tsp oil (ex: olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil)

Supplements:
Pre-workout supplement
Recovery supplement

Calliet set a cheat day for Jordan starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Having the movie shoot take place in Rocky's hometown of Philadelphia lead to one obvious indulgence. “I don't know if a person has ever eaten as many cheesesteaks as I saw Mike eat,” laughs Calliet.