Michael Jai White has one of the finest physiques in the Hollywood. Along with well-defined abs of a track athlete, he has a massive bulk of muscles like that of a seasoned bodybuilder. So, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he has been cast in main roles in a number of badass movies such as Mortal Kombat (1995) and Never Back Down 2 (2011). Let us take a look at his workout routine and other factors that have helped him develop an amazing physique.
Michael started taking care of his fitness at an early age of 7. He has stated in his interviews that martial arts were his armor as he grew up as an insecure kid in a difficult environment. However, he had to keep his love for martial arts secret from her mother as she was unsupportive of her martial arts endeavors because she felt that he would use his martial arts skills to get into fights and trouble.
So, to keep it secret, he used to practice self-taught martial arts in abandoned buildings, occasionally punching holes in the walls. He also used to accompany friends to martial arts classes but was only allowed to observe initially. Eventually, impressed by the progress he had made by observing, the trainer made a provision for him to train for free. He had received his first black belt by the age of 13, which were followed by 6 more.
First Thing in the Morning
Michael is an old school fitness enthusiast and believes that best time to workout is in the morning. The fresher air and quiet and peaceful environment help focus on the fitness regime in a better way. With a good night’s sleep, the body is fresh so you can give more to your workout in comparison to evening regime, where your body is already tired out from full day’s work.
Also, Michael believes that working out in the morning help burn more fat and revs up body metabolism to torch more fat throughout the day. Also, if you have a morning exercise routine set up, you are less likely to miss your workouts.
For Michael, the early morning surge is a powerful emotion and the feeling of accomplishing his fitness goals first thing in the morning has become addictive for him. It makes him feel good and sets him perfectly for the rest of the day.
The driving force behind his workout routine and fitness obsessed lifestyle is to delay the cane day. Michael knows that aging is inevitable and he will have to use cane one day to move around. And, the day, he walks with the help of a cane, he would wish he had the choice to run. So, he performs and enjoys his workout and fitness activities to the fullest, so that he doesn’t have any regret in the future.
Also, he has a burning desire to constantly improve the quality of his life. According to him, your life and your body are your only possessions. Once lost, you can’t repossess it. It is up to you to build equity on your prized possessions.
Michael Jai White works out five days a week with Thursday and Sunday being off days. In the morning, he has cardio sessions that usually stretch to 45 minutes. The cardio sessions usually comprise of running, stair mill exercises or working out with a heavy bag. He is particularly a big fan of running and often heads out for a run even in his leisure time.
The strength and conditioning workout sessions are often held in the afternoon or the evening. These sessions usually last to about 90 minutes and comprise of weight lifting, kettlebell exercises, bodyweight exercises and Martial Arts moves.
As he is not aiming to add bulk to his muscles and only lifts weight for muscle tone, he keeps each exercise limited to about 3 or 4 sets with reps ranging from 12 to 15. In total, he performs about 12 sets per body part.
Michael believes weight lifting not only improves muscle strength, it also corrects the imbalances naturally present in the body. Therefore, he designs his weight lifting sessions to correct the imbalances in his physique. By training the whole body in the same way, you are only going to emphasize your flaws. He had a weak back, well-rounded shoulders and too big arms and legs. To balance it out, he started training his back before other body parts.
He also pursues strength training like a sprinter. It has to be noted here that White is a big fan of sprinter’s physique, which along with being ripped and buff, also has powerful and useful muscles. To train like a sprinter means going for explosiveness in terms of exercise execution as well as the end result.
To develop maximum power, he basically throws the weight as hard and as fast possible. For example, if he is doing bench presses, he explodes in the upward movement and will throw the weight at the top of the rep and lower it down slowly. It can be said that he is punching with the weights. It isn’t just about throwing the weight, he makes sure that he is squeezing and contracting the muscle as hard as possible at the top of the rep.
The New York City native is a big fan of pull ups exercise. It doesn’t come as a surprise, as the pull ups have helped him develop the body part that he felt was lagging behind his overall physique. Michael believes that by strengthening your back muscles, you make your chest and biceps look more pronounced as it opens up your chest and pulls shoulders back. Another benefit of pull ups is that it straightens your spine.