After losing 30 pounds and looking dangerously thin in his most recent movie Emancipation, Will Smith is back looking strong—and he’s feeling “real confident” in his fitness according to his latest Instagram post. Confident enough, it seems, to run a 5K in 100-Fahrenheit heat.
“Damn near WRECKED me,” the actor joked in the caption of the photo, in which he shows off his jacked arms and shoulders.
Prior to the Slap which derailed his career and the subsequent apology tour, Smith’s fitness journey was one of his top priorities and the main thing he was posting about on social media: in May 2021, he shared a shirtless photo of his belly, saying that he was in the “worst shape” of his life.
Smith had put on weight and got, in his own words, “thicky-woo-woo” to play Venus and Serena Williams’ father in the tennis movie King Richard, and then almost immediately went into lockdown, where he, like many others, acquired his “Covid body.” After sharing his self-proclaimed dad bod online for accountability purposes, Smith then resolved to change that, and embarked on a mission to get as fit as possible.
Having already launched his own athleisure clothing line (named Bel-Air Athletics, after his iconic Fresh Prince role), Smith hit the gym and documented every step of the process, going “back to square one” and working with trainer Aaron Ferguson to learn the best practice for how to train safely in his fifties.
“For me, I’m a performer, so the cameras act like my sponsor,” he said at the time. “They keep me accountable, when I know the world is going to see it, it’s like the greatest peer pressure there is. I’m not going to fail if it’s on camera.”
From there, he took on increasingly difficult workouts with the goal of losing 20 pounds in 20 weeks. Along the way he trained with NFL quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, and even inspired some of his famous friends including Dr. Dre, Anthony Anderson and Marlon Wayans to join him in the “Big Willie Challenge.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.