This week, Men’s Health announced its list of “100 Fittest Men of All-Time,” including such fitness greats as Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the man deemed the “godfather of fitness,” Jack LaLanne.
While it must’ve been a difficult process to select only 100 bodies out of hundreds of thousands of elite athletes who’ve walked the Earth, the final cut boasts some of the most amazingly fit men of all time who will continue to inspire greatness well beyond their peak years of health. Here we review the top five picks with a brief snapshot of each, starting with the athlete who came it at number five: College Football Hall of Fame member Herschel Walker.
For those not familiar with Walker (we certainly weren’t), he’s a former NFL player who made a triumphant return to sports as an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter 13 years after retiring from football. At age 40, not only was his comeback commendable but impressive, as he performed quite well winning two pro MMA bouts to date.
Perhaps more impressive is Walker’s daily workout regimen which includes up to 3,500 sit-ups, 1,500 push-ups, and an 8 mile run. Can you imagine the amount of calories it would take to sustain such a grueling routine? Men’s Health also pointed out that the athlete is considering making a return to the gridiron at the ripe age of 50, which leads us to ask “Is there anything Herschel Walker can’t do?”
Coming in at number four is nutritionist, author and bodybuilding icon Jack LaLanne, who is often referred to as the “godfather of fitness” for his enthusiasm for nutrition and the importance of keeping your body in peak shape at all stages of life.
LaLanne also authored several books including “Live Young Forever,” “Revitalize Your Life,” and “Total Juicing,” which highlighted the bodybuilder’s firm belief in the importance of juicing for health. The book included more than 125 unique ways to use fresh fruit and vegetable juices and pulpit to achieve optimum health. Though LaLanne passed away in January 2011, his legacy lives on as one of the greatest fitness figures of all time.
The third fittest man on the top 100 list is no stranger to a bikini. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a movie star-turned politician that has made quite the name for himself as one of the great bodybuilders of all time. As reported by Men’s Health, at his prime Schwarzenegger was capable of a 470-pound squat, 440-pound bench press and 680-pound deadlift. As if that isn’t impressive enough, he also secured Mr. Olympia at the age of 23, making him the youngest man ever to hold the coveted title.
His fitness career blossomed into a Hollywood acting career where he starred in such classic roles as Conan the Barbarian, the Terminator and Hercules. Though Schwarzenegger is now nearing 70 years old, he is still in incredible shape and continues to be an inspiration of health and fitness to many.
The number two man on the top 100 list is another big screen star, Bruce Lee. Though Lee stood at just 5 foot 7 inches and weighed 125 pounds, the pint-sized action star was nothing but muscle and made his name in the fitness world as an actor, martial arts instructor, film director and producer and screen writer. Lee was also the founder of a style of martial arts he called :Jeet Kun Do,” which translated means “The Way of the Intercepting Fist.”
Of Lee, Schwarzenegger once said, “Bruce Lee had a very – and I mean very – defined physique. He probably had one of the lowest body fat counts of any athlete around…He was one of a kind, an idol.”
Chuck Norris was also in awe of Lee once saying, “Bruce took off his T-shirt, and I marveled again, as I always did every time I saw his physique. He had muscles on muscles.”
Though Lee died in 1973, the man known as “Hong Kong’s favorite son” continues to influence martial artists and fitness enthusiasts alike.
It’s no surprise that the man who comes in at number one is also the most decorated Olympian of all time. Michael Phelps, born on June 30, 1985, officially retired from competitive swimming this year after another amazing showing at the 2012 London Olympic Games in London. His performance there left him with a total of 18 Olympic gold medals.
Phelps started his swimming career at the age of 7 and by the age of 10 he held national records for his age group. He’s won a total of 71 medals in major international competitions, including 57 gold, 11 silver and three bronze. He’s also been deemed the World Swimmer of the Year six times and the American Swimmer of the Year eight times. Sports Illustrated also dubbed him Sportsman of the Year in 2008, and he’s currently the world record holder for the 100-meter butterfly, the 200-meter butterfly and the 400-meter individual medley.
Phelps has also been made famous by his tall ripped n 6-foot 4-inch physique and his 9,000-plus calorie diet that he consumed to sustain his vigorous Olympic training regimen. Though Phelps is now officially retired, he stays active in the fitness community through his involvement with the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting the importance of a healthy lifestyle especially among kids.
Phelps image via Details Magazine