Busta Rhymes’ Weight Loss Journey (Diet & Workout Revealed)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: December 8, 2023
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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Busta Rhymes, a famous old-school rapper, always had a muscular appearance. But during a recent period in his career, this 50-year-old rapper gained serious weight and became obese.

In 2020, he decided to take action and get back into good shape, which resulted in an astonishing 100-pound loss of weight within a year.

His achievement prompted us to go through his interviews and social media posts linked with his weight-loss journey. We carefully studied his workout routine and all possible tools and approaches he took that may be helpful for our clients and readers on the same mission.

This is what we found out.

How Did Busta Rhymes Lose Weight?

Busta Rhymes losing weight in the gym by lifting weights

Busta Rhymes lost weight by changing his diet and engaging in physical activity after he experienced life-threatening health issues linked to his obesity.

The loss of two most important male figures in 2012 and 2014 (his manager and his father) triggered his weight gain spiral.

As he said for Men’s Health, he felt betrayed and depressed. He neglected his self-care and his diet and stopped his workout routine.

What Motivated Busta Rhymes to Lose Weight

In 2019 Busta had a near-death experience with sleep apnea. He woke up with a sore back because he slept wrong.

He had emergency surgery as the throat doctor found polyps in his throat, restricting 90% of the airflow.

“The doctor told me that if I caught a cold or slept wrong that I could die. . . . It felt like this was on me now, and I had to steer things in a different direction. I was too young to be on all of these blood-pressure medications and acid-reflux medications.”

- Busta Rhymes

There were another two reckoning moments pushing him towards his weight-loss transformation: a video shoot where he duct taped his stomach and his son slapping him on the stomach, which started to happen routinely.

According to Harvard Health, there are numerous issues linked with obesity [1]. These health risks motivated Busta to take control of his health.

Stats:

  • Born: May 20, 1972
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Starting weight: 340 lbs
  • Total Loss of Weight: 90 lbs

How Weight Loss Affected Busta's Performance and Stamina

Here's how weight loss affected Busta:

  • Elevated energy levels: Post weight loss, tapped into a new reservoir of energy. This is evident in his recent performances, where he showcases a more vibrant and lively stage presence. For an artist whose performances are characterized by high energy and intensity, this boost can significantly enhance the audience's experience.
  • Improved endurance on stage: Performing on stage, especially in the high-octane manner typical of Busta Rhymes, requires a great deal of stamina. Since losing weight, there's been a noticeable change in how he handles long sets and back-to-back performances. This can be attributed to improved cardiovascular health, a common benefit of shedding excess weight.
  • Enhanced breath control for rap performance: Rap performance demands exceptional breath control, a skill that Busta Rhymes has always excelled in. Following his weight loss, there's a discernible improvement in this area. With a leaner physique, Busta Rhymes can better control his breath, allowing for a more precise and impactful delivery of his lyrics.

What Was His Exercise Method?

Busta Rhymes exercising for weight loss in the gym

He shared his exercise method in his interview for Men’s Health, saying the connection with former Mr. Olympia and professional bodybuilder Dexter Jackson was crucial for his workout plan and routine.

He helped him develop his 30-day training program.

He moved to Florida, where Busta trained three times a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and two times a day on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

His routine mainly consisted of weight lifting to burn fat with a small portion of cardio.

Following this program, Busta Rhymes initially gained some pounds, but this muscle weight was significant for kick-starting his metabolism.

After a 30-day program and its results, he went back to New York, staying committed to his fitness journey and still training five times a week and watching what he eats under the supervision of his coach Victor Munoz.

Looking at Busta Rhymes' workout routine, I'm reminded of when I first incorporated similar exercises into my regimen. I started with basic strength training and gradually increased intensity, much like Busta.

The sense of achievement I felt when I was able to complete a full set of these challenging workouts was exhilarating. It's not just about the physical strength gained, but also the mental fortitude developed along the way.

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What Was His Diet Like?

Busta adhered to an ultra-healthy and strict diet, eating every two and a half hours to fast-track his metabolism.

We found out he usually had a breakfast consisting of 12 egg whites and oatmeal as a pre-workout meal.

His post-workout meal (lunch) was some red meat, like a ten-ounce steak, followed by fish and vegetables for dinner.

His diet was clearly high-protein. A study in the National Library of Medicine found protein is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and fat loss, but with a fair amount of carbs to keep energy levels high [2].

Just like him, I found that cutting out processed foods and focusing on lean proteins, vegetables, and complex carbs was a game changer. It's not easy to overhaul eating habits, but I've seen the results in both Busta and my own clients – more energy, better health, and a fitter appearance.

Busta’s Supplements

Close up shot of workout supplements on a white table

We couldn’t find anything about Busta’s supplements, but our professional experience suggests he might have used at least two to fast-track his journey.

Considering his diet was high-protein, and Rhymes committed to eating every two hours, we suppose he used some of the recommended whey protein powders to help them recover from a strenuous exercise regime.

We also think he used a fat-burning supplement which helped him curb his carb cravings and steer clear of processed foods he was addicted to.

These supplements also boost metabolism, which, combined with diet and exercise, further improves the body’s fat-burning potential.

FAQs

Why Did Busta Rhymes Gain So Much Weight?

Busta Rhymes gained so much weight initially because he lost two most important men in his life in a short time - his longtime manager Chris Lighty died in 2012, and two years later, his father passed away. These dual tragedies struck him and induced mild depression, which led to poor lifestyle choices.

How Long Did It Take Busta Rhymes to Lose Weight?

It took about 12 months for Busta Rhymes to lose weight. Becoming strongly motivated to shed pounds, he began training with the former Mr. Olympia winner and changed his diet and daily habits altogether, leading to an astonishing result when he lost 100 pounds.


References: 

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-consequences/health-effects/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6087750/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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