In 2024, Anthony Mackie will take on a new responsibility in the MCU as he plays the leading role of Sam Wilson/Captain America in Captain America: New World Order. Moving into a bigger role following his time in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Mackie now has a great deal of preparation to take on thanks to his biggest role in a Marvel Studios movie to date.
While some of the plot details for Captain America 4 have been teased through various interviews, specifics on the new Captain America's first solo adventure are still being kept under wraps. But what's unquestionable is that Mackie's hero will have a tough fight on his hands due to the return of Tim Blake Nelson's Leader, meaning he'll have plenty of work to do from a physical perspective.
Now, Mackie has spoken about his preparations in a new interview, noting one specific part of the end result that he has on his mind already.
Mackie's Training for Marvel Action
Speaking with Men's Journal, Captain America: New World Order star Anthony Mackie shared some insight into his physical preparation for his 2024 solo movie.
For his dietary and training regimen, Mackie gave a big list of foods that he focuses on with his diet, mostly noting that he "[kicks] out all the bad stuff" a few months ahead of shooting:
"The most important thing is diet. I go to a lean protein and veggie diet of fish, chicken, and turkey with assorted vegetables. I don’t really need carbs for energy. I have high energy already. So I just kick out all the bad stuff. I’ll do that for three months—eating five to six meals a day so I can get some bulk on my frame. Then I’ll carb-load for about a month."
On the physical side, Mackie looks to take care of the muscle on his body first before "[stripping] all the water and fat out of [his] system" with cardio-focused workouts:
"For me, it’s impossible to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. One of them has to be sacrificed, so I try to put the muscle on my frame first, because I have the muscle memory. After that, I strip all the water and fat out of my system by doing lightweight, cardio-heavy workouts in the morning then cardio again in the evenings. So, the first three months, I lift as heavy as possible—literally everything I can pick up. And that last month, that’s when I’ll just run and burn as much fat as I can."
Touching specifically on exercises Mackie does to stay fit, he largely enjoys centering in on his legs, using lighter weights so that he can still get his upper body going during the rest of his training:
"I love doing legs. I’m into deadlifts, squats, lunges, and burpees. Anything with legs—I’ll do it. When I switch over to the high-cardio workouts, I’ll do more explosive leg workouts with lighter weights—like five or 10 pounds—so I can still get those delts and traps during my training."
One specific part of his body that Mackie revealed a focus on is his shoulders, noting that he feels good to go once those are in place:
"Yes! You want to build those caps. You can look mediocre, but if your shoulders are looking great, everybody’s like, 'Oh, he has nice shoulders.' So that’s my biggest thing when I’m leaning out—focusing on my shoulders. Once you get those caps on, you’re good."
But in the end, Mackie's main thing has been taking care of his core, which is "always the foundation of [his] workouts." He jokingly made it clear that this matters with fans "waiting for that scene when you take your shirt off:"
"No, I’ve always been core-strong. From doing all the flying stuff, there are times when I need to stay in a plank for a long time, pull myself up, or throw my feet under me. So core strength is always the foundation of my workouts. That’s what really matters, y’know, because everybody in the audience is waiting for that scene when you take your shirt off. [Laughs] You gotta get your cores and your caps ready!"
Mackie Ready for Shining Shirtless Moment
Even though Chris Evans' Captain America had actually only had one shirtless scene throughout his time in the MCU, Mackie seems to understand the responsibility of taking on this major new role. The new Captain America has also had his own half-naked moment in Episode 3 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, showing off some of the work he's put in over the last few years.
While Mackie is certainly one to joke around about this kind of stuff, he's clearly taking his training seriously as he gets ready to embody the character that will take over the Star-Spangled mantle. He'll have that responsibility for the foreseeable future, likely serving as a leading figure for Earth's Mightiest Heroes in major outings like Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.
Even though there are no guarantees that Mackie will find a moment in Captain America 4 with his shirt off, he's ready for that moment to arrive.
Captain America: New World Order will debut in theaters on May 3, 2024.