Mustafa Shakir Discussed How He Got In Shape To Play The Villain Bushmaster On ‘Luke Cage’


If you haven’t finished watching the second season of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, and especially if you are only a few episodes in, you might be wondering if Power Man has finally met his match in Mustafa Shakir’s evil Jamaican villain John “Bushmaster” Byrne.

That’s because this season Luke’s most threatening bad guy isn’t wearing an armored battle suit to help him do his dirty work like that sissy Diamondback. This season Bushmaster is going to go mano y mano with our friendly Harlem hero for hire.

With that kind of challenge facing him, the actor who plays Bushmaster has to look like he can actually take down Luke Cage in a one-on-one fight. No easy task considering the workout regimen Mike Colter goes through to get and stay in bulletproof shape.

As for how Shakir achieved this menacing look, he explained some of it to Men’s Health

Shakir ramped up his already-intense training from daily to two-a-day workouts to prepare to enter the Marvel Universe. For leanness, he incorporated hot yoga to his schedule; for Bushmaster’s martial arts mastery, Shakir endured formal Capoeira training.

“The character, he moves squirrelly,” the actor said. “I ended up dropping about 15 pounds.”

Before stepping into a fight with the hero of Harlem, Shakir’s frequent gym partner was a B.O.B. Body Opponent Bag.

“I got a lot of work outs in on that,” he said. “That pretty much prepared me to go to the fight choreography, so I could follow along and do the majority of my own stunts.”

Shakir also shared the fact that he is a very strict vegan with a diet primarily made up of whole fruits and vegetables, raw foods, beans, and nuts (and no alcohol or caffeine).

Not that he isn’t down for a cheat day or two, saying his sticks to his diet “about 85 percent” of the time “because sometimes I just got to eat the french fries.”

Who doesn’t?

Learn more about Mustafa Shakir’s diet and exercise program over at Men’s Health.

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