Jamin: I’m sure you get this question all the time, but what are your feelings about steroids and drugs? Are they necessary to build a cover model type physique?
Obi: I am definitely against anybody taking steroids just to achieve a certain physique. It sends a wrong message to the young kids out there that look up to us for inspiration. There are so many fitness models out there that I believe that are taking steroids because they can’t achieve a ripped physique without it.
Any time you see someone put on 12 pounds of lean muscle in less than a year your suspicion heightens or any time you see someone look like a bloated Michelin man 11 ½ months out the year and then looks super ripped once a year your eyebrows will raise a little bit.
It is not necessary to take steroids to achieve a cover model physique. If you take the time to learn about nutrition and to learn about training and you apply these principles to your body then you shouldn’t have a problem attaining a cover model body.
There are even some people that think I take steroids. I’ve heard people say there is no way someone can be that ripped all year round or be that ripped for all the photo-shoots he does within a year. If I took steroids I would be 250 pounds ripped and it is so silly that some people actually think that. At the same time you have to take it as a compliment because I truly believe modestly speaking I’ve set a standard in always coming at my best and shredded for every photo-shoot I do.
You can maybe count on a finger or two of fitness models in this industry that can say they come in under 4 percent in every single shoot they do or shoot 12 times a year or more with that conditioning. It is hard for any fitness model to try to do that because I know how hard it is for me at times.
Jamin: I know exactly how you feel man and yes it is extremely hard to come in 365 days a year in your best conditioning. Most people don’t understand how hard that is to do naturally but it is do-able and it’s sad that not enough people are willing to put in the work and be disciplined enough to do it the right way. Let’s go behind the scenes. What kind of foods would we find in your kitchen these days?
Obi: Oatmeal, turkey, chicken, lean steak occasionally, broccoli, spinach, brown rice, white rice, etc
Jamin: So do you even touch “bad food”? Do you ever eat cheat meals?
Obi: Yes I touch bad food and it is ok as long as you do it within moderation. I consume on an average about two cheat meals a week.
Jamin: I get a ton of emails from readers who are under the impression that fitness models are all blessed with amazing genetics…and that they will never get their bodies to look like the models they see in the fitness magazines because their genetics are holding them back. While genetics do play a small role in physical development, a person’s genetics shouldn’t COMPLETELY hold them back right? Could you shed some light on this?
Obi: Genetics always plays into the fact of the development you can make on your physique but you still have to train very hard to see the potential you have. I was a very skinny kid growing up and I know how hard I had to work to put on the amount of muscle I have now. I remember back in the day training 6 to 7 days a week, 3 hours a day just killing my body.
I had so many deficiencies growing up because I wasn’t someone that was just this naturally built person. I still remember being that skinny kid with no real muscle in my body. I had to train so hard for so many years to get the physique I currently have now.
I think what some of these readers to need to know that it takes time to build a lean ripped physique that you see on the covers of these fitness magazines. The advice I tell people is just be patient and continue to put in the work and your time will come.
Jamin: That’s good advice, and it seems like in our fast food slash instant download culture we all want things so fast without putting in any work. I see this constantly, especially with people who are new competitors and fitness models. Just like with any other career or serious goal…it takes time and work! Ok Obi, I know you were a lot like me as a kid, skinny, no muscle, and got addicted to weight lifting in high school. Not everyone has a “biggest loser” fat loss story and many of us have a similar struggle adding muscle, which can be even tougher that losing fat. Tell us about how you packed on all of that muscle while staying ripped and not getting fat in the process.
Obi: Yes that was me that skinny kid that used to pick up the bodybuilding magazines and use to dream about having a physique I saw in the magazines. I just ate as much quality and healthy food that I could and I would train 6 days a week, 2 ½ to 3 hours a day for many years when I was a teenage and in my early 20’s. I wanted it so bad that I believe I willed myself to attain a ripped physique but like it said it didn’t happen overnight and it took many years to have the development that I currently have muscularity wise.
Jamin: Let’s talk about some accomplishments that you’ve had in your fitness career.
Obi: It is always weird for me to talk about my accomplishments in an interview but I’ve been very blessed and I’ve worked very hard. I’ve done a fair bit in 2 years and I truly believe that I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg in this industry. I don’t think I’ve hit my peak yet and I am truly excited about what the future holds for me. So far I’ve done over 17 covers over the past 2 years and I have been on covers and campaigns all over the world.
Jamin: What is the coolest project you have worked on in your career so far?
Obi: I think the coolest thing for me that has happened to me in the fitness industry was being the guest honor at this biggest bodybuilding show in Australia in 2009 for the 2009 Asia Pacific Championships.
To be the guest of honor in a completely different country so early in my career was very special to me. Australia is a very special place for me because of how the people treated me and they were so warm and I was so very well received.
My goal within the next year or so is to have a house out there and a place for me to stay when I am out there. I’d love to live out there a couple of months out of the year.
Jamin: Let me know when you get that house down under so I can come kick it haha. Ok Obi, serious question. You have broken down several color barriers in the fitness industry and helped quite a few minority athletes break into the business. Would you mind talking about those barriers and why you selflessly mentor and help aspiring minority fitness models?
Obi: First of all when I talk about this subject I am very passionate about it because I am still affected by it as well as many blacks that are trying to succeed in the fitness industry. I’ve broken some color barriers but they still exist especially in the United States.
My success in the industry doesn’t take away from the fact that racial discrimination in the fitness industry still exists. The fitness industry first of all has never really been favorable for people of color that have aspirations of gracing the cover of a magazine. If you look at it there are still about 4 to 5 fitness magazines still in 2010 and almost 2011 that have never put a black person on the cover of their magazine. If you think about that it is honestly ridiculous.
Any magazine that refuses to put a minority or ethnic fitness model on the cover of their magazine ruins the integrity of their magazine and it is not a fitness magazine. Fitness magazines should appeal to all races, all ethnicities and all demographics and I think when you continue to put out the same race every single month you send a wrong message to our society on what fitness truly is.
To be honest with you I refuse to pick up or support a magazine that continues to perpetuate that cycle that has been going since I was consumer of these magazines as a teenager.
Recently I had a conversation with one of the top fitness photographers in the industry and he told me point blank, “Obi what you are doing in the fitness industry right now being African-American is really incredible because it is two times as hard for a black person to succeed in the fitness industry compared to a white guy”.
Now by the way this statement is coming from a white photographer who has submitted an infinite amount of male and female images of all ethnicities to some of the biggest decision makers in the fitness industry for over 12 years.
First of all to answer your question man I try to help out everybody but I do go out of my way a little bit more to help many aspiring minority fitness models because of how scarce and minimal it is for ethnic models to grace fitness magazine covers. I feel like I have to at least do my part to help out as many minorities as I can with the success I’ve had. I’ve always been socially conscious about things like that and it came from my father and this was way before I ever entered in the fitness industry.
My father went to college in the south in the 60’s and so he shared many of his horrible racial discrimination experiences while trying to attain his education during the heat of the civil rights movement. I get so many emails from so many aspiring minority fitness models that email me the struggles they have and I feel their pain because I completely identify with that struggle because I was in that same boat just 2 years ago.
The racial discrimination experiences that I’ve dealt with in this fitness industry very few people know but my immediate family and I won’t talk about it because it is very disturbing to even to share with people but it still exists and it is very hidden but still quite prominent. In my early career I was forced to create a lot of opportunities for myself with magazines internationally because of so many domestic magazines that rejected me because I wasn’t the color they wanted to grace on the cover of their magazine.
Those discriminatory experiences made me work harder, smarter and I was able to find magazines that nobody has ever heard of before in so many different countries and now many fitness models of all ethnicities I am observing are benefiting from those magazines I brought to the light which is pretty interesting and cool to see. Hopefully within 5 to 10 years we won’t be having this conversation and maybe those decision makers of those domestic magazines will start to open their eyes and make those cover opportunities available to all ethnicities.
Only time will tell in regards to this inequality fitness modeling dilemma. Fitness should always be color blind and people just want to be motivated to get in great shape and I don’t think consumers really care about the color of a fitness model that graces the cover of a magazine. In 2011 it is so silly and ridiculous that we are even having this conversation and I truly hope this changes.
Jamin: Well said bro and you’re right…it is sad that racial inequality still exists in this day and age. Especially in the fitness industry. And I’m sure we could probably write a book on this very topic so we may need to save it for another discussion but you brought up some very good points. Let’s change the subject. What is the difference between the social networking Obi and the Obi that people meet in person?
Obi: The social networking side of me is all business and everything I do in terms of how I promote myself on the social networking side is incredibly calculated and planned. It is 100 percent business in terms of how I promote myself within the fitness industry.
But if you meet me in person I am very humble and will never talk about my accomplishments or even what I have going in my career unless you are a very close friend or family member and even if that is the case you would have to pry it out of me. You would know more about my accomplishments if you went on face-book or on my website as opposed to me telling you in person. I am a shy and a pretty conservative person to people I don’t know very well.
I feel very uncomfortable signing autographs because I don’t feel like a fitness celebrity or a fitness superstar as some people have referred to me which is quite funny and silly. I always say to myself and my close friends why would anybody want my autograph. I guess I don’t take being on covers of magazines too seriously and I am no different then the next person. I always get a kick out of fans emailing me and being surprised when I email them back right away or if a fan pops up on facebook chat and they say hello and I acknowledge them and say hello back. The response I get is that the real Obi? I get a real kick out of that one.
Jamin: Tell us about your new contract signing with MusclePharm?
Obi: MusclePharm in only 2 years in the industry has established themselves as one of the premier top supplement companies in the industry. The rapid success they’ve had in 2 years is very similar to the success I’ve had in 2 years in the industry.
I had a phone conversation recently with the President Cory Gregory over the phone and he told me, “You are going to be the general face of MusclePharm”. To hear that from the president made me feel so good because as an athlete or fitness model you dream about being the face of a top supplement company and growing together.
President Cory Gregory and the CEO Brad Pyatt are two young guys that have created a supplement company that has done more in their first 2 years than any supplement company around in their first 2 years. They both remind me of a young Bill Phillips and they plan on dominating the fitness industry globally.
I truly feel blessed and to be able to sign the groundbreaking contract that I signed and be their first fitness model that they ever signed is truly humbling and I thank God for this wonderful opportunity. I truly believe that I will end my career with MusclePharm and I honestly can’t see myself with another supplement company. To view more information about our products, top sponsored athletes and supplements you can go to www.musclepharm.com. MusclePharm is going to dominate the fitness industry for the next decade.
Jamin: Good stuff bro, you’ll have to send me some samples! We’ve both been in the game for a while Obi and none of us can do it alone, we all need support to succeed. Who were your mentors and how did they help you get to where you are today?
Obi: Clark Bartram was the first person who I met in the fitness industry who helped me tremendously when I first started out. Paul Dillett the president of the WBFF is someone who I respect a lot and who has helped me a lot as well early in my career.
Nobody has any idea what discriminatory and racial things he has to deal with being a black promoter in the fitness industry. I identify with him more than anybody in the industry because of the discriminatory experiences we’ve dealt with. He and I have spoke about that privately and have compared experiences and it is quite remarkable the parallel in our experiences.
The success he has had as promoter in the fitness industry being of color is absolutely amazing. He is the best promoter in the fitness industry hands down. The third person that has helped me big time internationally is Steve Jones who is the publisher of Australian and American Natural Bodz. He really put my name out there on the map in Australia and I owe him a lot.
Jamin: I’m a big time Paul Dillett fan and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he has done in just the past 2 years alone. It is mind blowing actually. So since you are called the most ripped fitness model in the world I just had to ask this question. What are the 5 best tips you recommend for others to become more ripped?
Obi: Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day, follow a high protein/low carb diet, perform your cardio at least 3 to 4 times a week, weight-train at least 3 times a week and limit yourself to one cheat meal a week.
Jamin: What tips would you give to someone who wants to get into the fitness/bodybuilding industry?
Obi: I would say to open up a face-book and twitter account and start to promote your self right away. Pick up your favorite fitness magazines and look at the editor information on the inside of the magazine and email the editor your interest in being a fitness model for their magazine.
Jamin: Where can we find you on the internet? You sign up for my monthly newsletter at www.obiobadike.com where the readers can gain free diet, training tips, training videos and read many of my published fitness articles every month for free. You can also add me on my facebook fan page or add me at twitter. My username is obadike1
Jamin: Well, Obi it has been awesome to sit down and talk with you today buddy. We will have to do it again sometime. Before we get out of here do you have any last words?
Obi: Thank You Jamin for interviewing you and you are doing some incredible cerebral things in the fitness industry as well man. Keep up the great work and continue to represent as you have been doing.
I want to say thanks to all my fans that have supported me over the past 2 years and I appreciate all the kind compliments and acknowledgement I’ve received from so many people all over the world. Also please pick up the American Natural Bodz cover that I am gracing the cover of that is in the stands all over the U.S and Canada. You can also buy the cover if you don’t live the U.S online at www.naturalbodz.net