Growing up as a kid Obi was very skinny and used to be made fun of all the time. The main incentive to train was to lose this image. Here's a past and present look at how he became the most ripped fitness model in the world!
[ Matt Weik ] First off I want to thank you, Obi, for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. There's much to cover as a lot of exciting things have been going on in your life—so let's jump into it.
Can you give us a little background about yourself?
[ Obi Obadike ] I grew up and was raised in Southern California since I was 2 years old. My love for fitness and staying in shape came from being a top track and basketball athlete in high school and college.
Growing up as a kid I was very skinny and used to be made fun of all the time in high school so I would say the main incentive why I started lifting weights was to sculpt my body to a point that the name calling would stop. The first time I touched a weight was when I was 16 years old after that I got hooked.
Click To Enlarge. Growing Up As A Kid I Was Very Skinny And Used To Be Made Fun Of All The Time.
I attended Cal State Fullerton on a track scholarship where I broke every major collegiate sprint record there and attained athlete of the year honors at the school. I also attained my first degree at Cal State Fullerton in communications with an emphasis in public relations.
[ MW ] I hear you were faster than a speeding bullet? Can you tell us a little bit about your collegiate sprinting days? There is an incredible high out of running very fast and I've been fortunate in my life to feel that many times.
[ OO ] Well I said before I attended Cal State Fullerton on a track scholarship. I broke the 100, 200 meters and 4*100 relay records. I was athlete of the year and all attained All Big West conference honors two years in a row. I missed qualifying for the 2000 Olympic trials by a tenth of a half of a second.
My sprinting career was a sad one because it ended very early at a tender age of 24 years old because I suffered so many hamstrings injuries in college and after college. I had the talent to compete as a world class sprinter but I just had too many injuries that prevented me from competing at that level.
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I've beaten guys in college that are competing at that world class level now so it is just one of those things that happens to certain athletes unfortunately. Despite the injuries I still held the title as the fastest man in Cal State Fullerton history for a 5 year period. And I am still considered one of the greatest sprinters ever at the university which is something I feel proud about.
[ MW ] Speaking of college, I had to do a little research but found that you are holding down 2 bachelor's degrees as well as a master's degree! That's incredible. By all means please elaborate on this!
[ OO ] Although fitness and staying in shape has been important to me education has always been more important to me. You are nothing without your education. I have a B.A in communications, a B.S. in computer networking with cum laude honors and a Masters in Information Systems earning cum laude honors as well. Your looks and physique will deteriorate over time but your education lasts you a lifetime and no one can ever take that away from you. My education means the world to me.
Click To Enlarge. Your Looks And Physique Will Deteriorate Over Time But Your Education Lasts You A Lifetime.
[ MW ] You then started modeling and have 8 national commercials (one of them being Gatorade) and 15 national print ad campaigns. What has that been like?
[ OO ] Many people think I started modeling in 2008. I started fitness modeling in 2008 but I actually started doing mainstream modeling in 1994. I landed my first National commercial back when I was 18 years old for an NBA Jam Commercial.
I did a lot of mainstream fashion and sports modeling back in the 90's. I did international fashion shows for Nike back in the mid to late 90's. The most notable commercial I did was a Gatorade commercial called the "Winning Formula". It is still considered one of the greatest Gatorade commercials ever. You can view this commercial on YouTube.
RELATED VIDEO: Winning Formula
Gatorade Commercial Featuring Obi Obadike!
One of the greatest commercials of all time. This commercial presents a view of what might have happened if athletes weren't performing at their best.
[ MW ] What made you want to get into the fitness industry? You started out in 2008 and have got your face just about everywhere.
[ OO ] What made me get into the fitness industry because I wanted the opportunity to inspire people all over the world to be fit and healthy. I felt the only way to do that was to make a big name for myself in the fitness industry and then to use that platform to help people get in better shape.
I feel fortunate to have had some great fitness professionals help me along the way such as Paul Dillett and the WBFF, Clark Bartram and my good buddy Greg Plitt. All of these people have played a part in the success I've attained in the fitness industry.
[ MW ] Your first year you landed 2 covers! What did it feel like and what emotions did you feel after having such great success your first year in the fitness industry?
[ OO ] To set out a goal and exceed it is unreal. I am definitely humbled by all of the success I've attained in the fitness industry. It hasn't been easy but I always felt that if you believe in yourself and you work hard great things can happen. 2008 was an incredible start for me in the fitness industry but I believe 2009 has been even a better the year for me and has really helped to establish me as one of the top fitness models in the industry.
Click To Enlarge. I Am Definitely Humbled By All Of The Success I've Attained In The Fitness Industry.
[ MW ] It seems 2009 has really been your year in the fitness industry. We hear you've set some incredible milestones in the fitness industry. Please tell us some of those accolades.
[ OO ] 2009 has been an outstanding year for me and I've worked tirelessly this year. I really feel that I am really benefiting from the fruits of my labor. To be a fitness model that hasn't been in the fitness industry that long and to be able to set some of the milestones I've done is humbling.
These are some of the milestones:
First American male fitness model to land a major European campaign with a nutrition company called Natural Sports Nutrition. I am the new face, name and physique of a new sports performance meal product coming out very soon.
First American male fitness model to be featured in a natural bodybuilding and fitness magazine in Australia. This natural bodybuilding and fitness magazine is called Australian Natural Bodz.
Landed more international supplement campaigns in 2009 than any fitness model or bodybuilder in the world this year with 4 campaigns with four different supplement companies. These supplement companies were with Labrada Nutrition, Dymatize Nutrition, Natural Sports Nutrition, (UK) and Power-zone Nutrition (Australia).
First African-American male fitness model to be on the cover of Inside Fitness. Inside fitness is the #1 fitness magazine in Canada.
Click To Enlarge. First African-American Male Fitness Model To Be On The Cover Of Inside Fitness.
First African-American male fitness model to be featured in 7 different fitness and bodybuilding magazines for the month of March.
The supplement ad campaign that I was a part of for Dymatize Nutrition has been nominated Supplement Ad of the Year by Bodybuilding.com.
2009 Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards!
The Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards are the industry standard and give recognition to truly exceptional products!
[ MW ] You also were in tons of magazines for an ad campaign with Dymatize. How did that come about?
[ OO ] The international Dymatize campaign has been incredible for me exposure wise. Dymatize's ads are very graphical with lots of innovative creative art design attached to the campaign. The ads have been in about every domestic and international fitness and bodybuilding magazine worldwide.
Many of the top fitness professionals have said that my airplane propeller Dymatize ad is the best Supplement Ad of 2009. So just to be a part of that ad campaign is an honor.
Click To Enlarge. Just To Be A Part Of That Ad Campaign Is An Honor.
[ MW ] You were actually the first African-American to land an ad campaign with Dymatize. What does that mean to you?
[ OO ] I didn't think about that I guess I am. Actually from my research I am actually the first African-American male fitness model to land an international supplement ad campaign. Anytime you are the first anything is an honor and privilege.
To be able to use your success to help influence more diversity in the fitness industry feels pretty good. I feel like my success will help pave the way for more young African-American fitness models that have aspirations of succeeding in the fitness industry.
[ MW ] You were also the first African-American male to be on the cover of Max Sports and Fitness as well as a Canadian fitness magazine for Inside Fitness. Can you touch on how these opportunities came up and what they meant to you?
[ OO ] I was actually part of the first African-American male and female fitness couple on a U.S. fitness cover with Max Sports and Fitness in September of 2008. The African-American female fitness model who graced the cover with me was celebrity trainer Basheerah Ahmad. To be able grace this same honor on the #1 Canadian publication in Inside Fitness is incredible.
I and six time Oxygen Cover Girl Francisca Dennis were the first black male and female fitness model couple to grace the cover of Inside Fitness which is the #1 fitness magazine in Canada.
WBFF president Paul Dillett was influential in helping us attain that cover and Clark was influential in helping me attain the Max Sports and Fitness cover. I have to thank Paul Dillett and the WBFF for what they've done for me in my fitness career. I can't thank him enough for what he has done for me.
I also have to thank Clark Bartram for help breaking me in the fitness industry. I've learned a lot from him in terms of marketing myself. He has a great book called "You Too Can Be A Fitness Model" which has helped many fitness models all over the country attain success in the fitness industry. That book has helped me tremendously and I always tell aspiring fitness models to buy the book.
Click To Enlarge. I've Learned A Lot From Him In Terms Of Marketing Myself.
[ MW ] Can you tell us a little bit about what your workouts look like?
[ OO ] I train about 4 to 5 times a week and I incorporate a lot of high intensity circuit training in my program. For example if I am working chest and biceps, I will work chest one set and then bi's the next set. I am always continuously moving and supersetting between two different body parts while giving myself minimal rest between sets which allows me to raise my heart rate level and burn an abundant amount of calories in my weight-training routine.
My anaerobic workout starts to become aerobic because of how I train. The way I weight train allows me to stay razor lean all year round. I also incorporate about 3 days a week of cardio. I have to be careful of not doing too much cardio because my metabolism is fairly fast and I don't want to burn any lean muscle. I will incorporate sprints on one of my cardio days and the other 2 days I will run about three miles at about 7:45 to 8 minute mile pace.
Click To Enlarge. The Way I Weight Train Allows Me To Stay Razor Lean All Year Round.
[ MW ] I'm sure you eat clean year round, so can you touch on what your diet looks like?
[ OO ] Well I follow a simple high protein and low carb diet. I eat chicken almost every day and my carbs are at a minimum in the morning to the early afternoon time. I would say I have about two cheat meals a week where I will eat anything I want. I do eat healthy but I also cheat within moderation.
[ MW ] You are identified by many people in the fitness industry by many people as the most ripped fitness model in the industry. Why is that?
[ OO ] Well first of all I am flattered for anybody to call me the most ripped anything. I think the reason why I am identified as one of the most ripped fitness models in the industry is because I am one of the rare fitness models in the industry that can get down to 2 to 3 percent body-fat consistently within days of being notified of a fitness shoot naturally. In fact I don't know of any fitness model in the industry that can do that honestly.
I think many people in the industry have taken notice to that and are able to appreciate the conditioning I bring consistently on fitness shoots. So to answer your question to be identified as the most ripped fitness model in the business is an honor and I am definitely humbled by it.
[ MW ] What does it feel like to be told you have some of the best abs in the business? People are continually talking about them.
[ OO ] I am flattered with any compliment honestly because I still remember when I was that skinny kid in high school that no one looked at. So for people to tell me that I have one of the best abs in the industry is something that I don't take for granted and I am honored for anybody to go out of their way and tell me that.
Click To Enlarge. I Still Remember When I Was That Skinny Kid In High School That No One Looked At.
I believe that my abs got developed at an early age as a young track athlete. The honest truth my abs routine is very simple and I don't really do any crazy ab workouts. I just try to keep it simple with high-intensity. I just try to do basic sit-ups and leg raises.
[ MW ] I heard through the grapevine that you are involved in a movie project. Can you give us the dirt on the project?
[ OO ] Well I can't talk too much about the details but I am going to be part of a fitness documentary movie that will be on the subculture of the fitness industry. I am going to be one of the main characters in this film playing myself in this documentary as well as the top fitness model in the business Greg Plitt.
Greg and I are great friends so for us to have big parts in this film and then on top of that being able to working together will be a lot of fun. This movie is being depicted as the 2nd version of Pumping Iron. There are many important people in the entertainment industry that are attached to this project production wise.
From speaking to the co-director this documentary movie will be in the theatres. We will starting shooting this documentary sometime this Fall. I will be making a formal announcement in regards to being part of this movie very soon.
[ MW ] We hear that you were in Australia this May? Were you there for fitness?
[ OO ] Australia was such a beautiful experience. I was a fitness celebrity guest at the Australian Natural Bodybuilding show in the Gold Coast. The way the people treated me with so much hospitality was incredible.
Australians are the friendliest people in the world and I've always said if I wasn't American I would be Australian. I shot an international supplement ad campaign for Power-Zone Nutrition which hits the magazines this month.
I was also given my own column where the readers of the magazine will email me questions on health and fitness and I will answer the best questions and they will be published in each issue.
For this magazine to give me my own column and I am not Australian is such an incredible honor. Steve Jones the publisher of this magazine is an incredible person who really promoted me heavily when I was in Australia. He and his wife are really good people and I will always be grateful for their help.
[ MW ] Like myself, you are also a freelance writer. It's amazing to write articles to help educate people in various topics. What made you start writing?
[ OO ] I've always enjoyed writing and I believe that you can affect more people to get in better shape through articles as opposed to being on a covers. I am someone that wants to inspire many people all over the world get in great shape through my physique but also through my articles.
To be able to affect someone in a positive through your writings is such a treat and an honor. After I got my first fitness article published I got hooked. I think it is so cool to see your name published in a fitness magazine and I never take that privilege for granted.
Click To Enlarge. After I Got My First Fitness Article Published I Got Hooked.
I've written articles for Max Sports and Fitness, Inside Fitness and Australian Natural Bodz. I also the wrote the cover story/interview on Greg Plitt when he was on the cover of the spring edition of Inside Fitness and I wrote the feature story on Clark Bartram in the summer edition of Inside Fitness. I really enjoy writing about people's success and accolades.
[ MW ] What advice can you give to aspiring fitness models?
[ OO ] The advice that I give to fitness models is work very hard and believe in yourself. Another tip is to always be in shape. There are many fitness models that call themselves a fitness model but don't live the life.
If you are not in shape all year round then you are not a true fitness model. You don't have the luxury as a fitness model to give yourself a month to get in shape. Most fitness magazines will call you last minute to do a shoot when are you least expecting it. I wrote a blog not long ago called "Your face and abs will only get you at the door".
There is more to getting on covers than having great abs and a great face. More than half of being successful in fitness modeling is having the tools to know how to market you. I have a workshop this fall that I am a part of where many top fitness professionals in the business teach aspiring fitness models on how to be successful in the fitness industry.
[ MW ] We hear you are going to be stepping on stage on September 19th to compete for the male WBFF Fitness model world title. Do you think you can win?
[ OO ] There are a lot of great male fitness model competitors that will be competing at that show and I am excited to step on stage with them. But I do believe that if come in at my best and step on that stage that I will be incredibly difficult to beat for the WBFF male fitness world title.
Click To Enlarge. I Will Be Incredibly Difficult To Beat For The WBFF Male Fitness World Title.
I honestly like my chances of winning the world title. I am going to bring the best conditioning in the building and win this thing. That WBFF male fitness model world title has silently been my focus since the start of the 2009 so I am hungry and ready to be the 2009 WBFF Pro Fitness Male Model World Champion.
[ MW ] Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that we haven't already touched on?
[ OO ] I have a successful online personal-training business where I train many people all over the world so they can get in great shape. I train many female and male fitness competitors for photo shoots and competitions. And I train average people to get in shape.
If you are serious about getting in great shape they you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.obiobadike.com. Also I am on the current cover of Maximum Fitness (please support Maximum Fitness and buy the magazine) - It is one of the best male fitness magazines in the country. It has great articles that are educational for both males and females.
[ MW ] Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are today?
[ OO ] I want to thank Kris Gethin and Bodybuilding.com for giving me the opportunity for this interview as well as you Matt for writing this interview on me. I also have to thank Paul Dillett, Allison Dillett, Daryl Gazey, Angelique Michelle, Dennis Cruz and the rest of the WBFF staff for all of their help and support of my fitness endeavors this year.
Click To Enlarge. Obi Obadike With Kendall Wood And Some Of The Bodybuilding.com Crew.
The WBFF is the best fitness organization in the world and any fitness model that wants to get the most out of their marketability I would advise you sign up with the WBFF.
I also want to thank Steve Jones, Publisher of Australian Natural bodz, Terry Frendo, publisher of Inside Fitness and Michael DeMedeiros, editor of Maximum Fitness for all of their help in 2009 and the opportunities they've given me. I also want to thank all of my fans in Australia, UK and the United States for all of their support of me this year.
[ MW ] Thank you again, Obi! I wish you continued success in the industry and best of luck in all your future endeavors.
Matt is a Regional Manager for Met-Rx, Worldwide Nutrition, And Pure Protein. He majored in Kinesiology at Penn State. When he has some spare time he also writes articles for Bodybuilding.com. [ Check Out His BodySpace ]