You run, you bike, you lift, you stretch. Do you think you’re in awesome shape? Where would you rank yourself on a scale of 1-10?
There are some men out there who far surpass the standards most exercisers can be judged by. These athletes have developed the steel abs and iron will needed to sustain relentless fitness regimens that would reduce most reasonably active people to jelly.
Here are three of the world’s fittest men.
If you run a search on the “The World’s Fittest Man”, one of the first people to come up is Joe Decker. Decker’s past is what makes him especially impressive as an athlete. He was once very overweight and out of shape — and then reinvented himself so drastically that he was able to achieve the Guinness World Record in the planet’s toughest 24-hour physical challenge. Decker ran, cycled, hiked, rowed, skied, kayaked and swam farther and completed more muscle-melting exercises than the last winner of the challenge. Moving forward, his idea of a gentle jog became the Spartan Death Race or the Badwater Ultramarathon.
Decker has since written a fitness book and now leads his own boot camp, Gut Check Fitness. As he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he believes success comes from being “well-rounded in all areas of fitness — strength, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.” He suggests constantly changing up gym regimens and remembering the simple acronym FIT: Frequency, Intensity and Time when it comes to working out.
Born in 1962, Georgia native Herschel Walker has been displaying insane physical fitness abilities for decades. Originally playing college football for the University of Georgia, Walker earned All-American honors three times and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. He then went on to play for some of American football’s top teams and in 1999, won induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. Walker ranks as the only player to gain 4,000 yards three different ways: rushing, receiving and kickoff returns.
As proof of his work(out) ethic, the fifty-year old also has a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, competes in MMA and once ran the 100 meters in 10.22 seconds. He told CNN.com that he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every day to do 750 to 1,500 push-ups and about 2,000 sit-ups. He is well known for his disciplined vegetarian diet of bread, soup and salad.
“When I started out as little kid, I didn’t say I just want to run football. I wanted to be a great athlete,” he said. ”It’s mind over matter. You got to work at it.”
Who is Bjorn Daehlie, you may ask? We decided to highlight him for two reasons. First, we wanted to underline that not all supermen live in the US. Second, he is a cross-country skier and cross-country skiing is one of the toughest sports around — constantly putting your major muscle groups under intense, sustained pressure. Born in 1967 in Norway, Daehlie attributes much of his sports success on his outdoorsy upbringing. He was hunting, fishing, kayaking, hiking and skiing at a very early age. Daehlie actually hoped to be a football player for much of his childhood, but after a coach’s encouragement, he tried Nordic skiing.
Daehlie went on to snap up no less than eight Olympic gold medals, making him the most successful winter Olympic champion ever. Underscoring his uber-athlete credentials, in his heyday he measured the highest VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption) ever logged, at 96 ml/kg/min.
Cover Photo Credit: jontunn – flickr.com