The Training Secrets Behind O-T Fagbenle’s Black Widow Physique - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The Training Secrets Behind O-T Fagbenle’s Black Widow Physique

Alongside Scarlett Johansson, Fagbenle stunned in Black Widow. Here, he reveals the training regimen and diet that got him into shape for the role.
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When you’re tapped to play alongside Scarlett Johansson in the highly anticipated Black Widow, chances are you’ll do everything in your power to look the part of the action movie star. If ever there was a man who embodied the kind of physicality and strength required to play a part with conviction, it’s O-T Fagbenle, a man whose artistic career transcends the world of film alone. He’s also a writer, director and composes music. As fans had to contend with the postponement of Black Widow’s release due to the pandemic, finally the film has hit theatres and is causing a stir for all the right reasons – not least of which is Fagbenle’s physique. Now, the star is spilling his secrets on diet and training that helped him get in shape for the role. 

Given the high level of secrecy that surrounds Hollywood blockbusters these days, Black Widow was no different. In an interview with GQ UK, Fagbenle revealed that he didn’t receive a script until the last possible minute. Still, he understood that taking on such a role would demand peak physical fitness and so he wasted no time in getting to work. 

As the actor lives between New York, London and Toronto, it made it slightly more challenging, and Fagbenle had to have separate fighting and weight training experts spread across his various home bases. While undertaking an intense training regime, the actor stayed on top of his diet which is best described as a “high protein, managed carb, low sugar, low alcohol diet.”

While the global pandemic has plunged our lives into an existence of uncertainty, Fagbenle admits he was grateful to have such a physical role present itself in a time where most were going into lockdown as it gave him something to do and work towards. As the actor revealed to GQ, getting into shape was no easy task. In the morning, he would drink a glass of water, have a four egg omelette, half a bowl of porridge with blackberries and banana and almond milk and then take a little pre-workout along with his morning coffee. 

“I’d have my morning workout, which would probably be 70 per cent fight training, 30 per cent weights, but constantly moving throughout, keeping the heart rate up. Then I’d have a protein shake, the other half of the banana, a scoop or two of protein powder – I try to have vegan protein powder, but I hate it – berries, almond milk,” he tells the publication. 

Throughout the day, snacks include nuts like almond and for lunch Fagbenle typically ate vegetables and fish, with a small portion of brown rice or quinoa. “I’m not a guy who cooks food,” he admits. “Eggs were an achievement, so I’d get the packets of rice or quinoa and put them in the microwave. Probably another protein shake or bar after that.”

It was a life of routine and consistency. Dinner was generally the same meal of fish with green, and potentially a drink in the evening. “I’m very boring like that, I’d rinse and repeat that, except for changing salmon for sea bass, I’d switch things out. Sometimes switch up the protein powder.”

As for his workouts, Fagbenle did a lot of boxing, saying he became a huge fan of MMA training. Other sessions focused on weights, but Fagbenle was quick to note: “To be honest, at my age, a big priority is not getting injured. If I injure myself it takes me out of being able to work out for a week or two and those weeks are so precious. We focus a lot on mobility and a couple of old injuries really nag. I think my twenties I was more hell for leather. “How much can I bulk?” Now, in my late thirties going into my forties, it’s a lot more about making sustainable progress.

Another element of his health Fagbenle ensures is a priority is that of mental health and he’s avid about practicing meditation. “I’m not perfect with my practice: you’re supposed to do it twice a day and sometimes a month will go by,” he says, but he is sure to incorporate it where he can. He does this by also using a gratitude journal, through an app called the five minute journal where “you do it once in the morning, once in the evening and list what you’re grateful for. That makes a huge difference to me.” Fagbenle adds that connecting with community is imperative to his mental health regime, “Looking at opportunities to help someone on the tube or across the road with the shopping, giving to a charity, helping my little brother with homework. I try to find opportunities to give.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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