A decade after his debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 50 Cent is a very different man. He’s eschewed his trademark bulletproof vest for tailored suits (or no shirt at all, if you consider his most recent campaign for underwear brand Frigo), acts now more than he raps (he’ll join Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw this summer and has a leading role in Starz’s crime drama Power), and launched health brand SK Energy shots. The Cut spoke with 50 Cent about his surprising admiration of Floyd Mayweather, how he staves off boredom at the gym, and why he always surrounds himself with cheese.
How I start my day: It fluctuates, but this morning I got up at 7 a.m. to be at the gym by 7:30 a.m. I usually wake up at 9 a.m. to be at the gym by 10 a.m. I’ll have liquid protein before the gym. I’m not really a breakfast person. Like this morning, I was like: I’m not hungry yet. I was still wiping my eyes at the gym. When I do have breakfast, it’s at 11 a.m. I’ll train and go to the office by 11:15 a.m. If it’s a press day, a stylist meets me there to figure out what I have to wear, and after I get dressed, I make my way over to start publicity and professional stuff.
How I like to sweat: I have a trainer because it’s easier for me to take my mind off of how much I’m doing. If you concentrate too hard and you’re writing down how many sets you did, then you’ll only do a few and feel like you did enough. Without the trainer, I’d be walking around, looking at people, and listening to music. I could sit there for two hours and do half the work. When I go to the gym casually without him, it doesn’t feel like a workout. I’m not really into lifting heavy weights, but using smaller weights as cardio. It keeps your heart rate higher and I keep track of my heart rate on my tablet to make sure it stays high. I only take 30 seconds of recovery.
To me, wellness is: Just being conscious of your physical [body]. When I work out, I feel better. Everything about me — my spirits — is just in a different space. Because I do it before work hours, it gives me a chance to think about everything that’s in front of me for the day. Like me, females will go towards cardio. They’ll go for cardio work and while they’re there, it gives them a chance to think for a while.
How wellness has changed for me: Watching professional fighters and their process changed everything for me. I don’t care how out of shape they are, they can make weight. [Editor’s note: Boxers frequently gain or lose weight to fight within a particular weight class. It’s referred to as “making weight.”] They’re training to perform on the highest level. In four weeks, you can see a guy who’s 180 pounds drop to 154 pounds. Like Floyd [Mayweather], he’s naturally 147 pounds, and he’ll fight at 152 or 154. He has Fatburgers during training camp. He doesn’t even like to stretch. Before his fight with Ortiz, we were in Orlando together and I was like, “Yo, when are you going to start [training]?” This was two in the morning in the nightclub. He goes: “I’ll start tonight.” When we left the nightclub, he pulled around the corner, put his clothes on in the backseat, and ran six miles.
My biggest wellness struggle is: Dieting. It is the toughest part and the most important part. Usually, when people try to lose weight, they start eating less and it’s the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be continuously eating. If you eat one meal a day, like a salad, your body is just holding onto the fat from the dressing because it’s in survival mode. People don’t make the adjustments well.
How I eat when I’m alone: I can have a cheese sandwich and feel like it’s a full-on meal. That’s what was in the house when I was growing up. If you ask my grandma, she’ll tell you I like cranberry juice and that cheese always has to be around.
My wellness advice is: To be conscious of what you think is the best version of yourself. To create those goals and not necessarily feel like you have to do it the first day you go to the gym. What happens is, people will go in, they’ll train hard, and it will hurt. The recovery process will make you not want to come back tomorrow. If they haven’t stopped by GNC to get something that will help them recover, or they’re not taking any amino acids or something that would help them not feel completely fatigued following their workout, then there’s going to be a point when they won’t show up to the gym anymore. Also, trying to adjust to a healthier lifestyle. Child obesity in America is an extreme issue. It’s because kids are at the computer or on Playstation instead of at the park. Creating situations where kids can be active and physical is also the responsibility of the parents. If there are things like organized sports, they can actually get in and get out and get moving.
This interview has been edited and condensed.