Alistair Overeem is a Dutch-born mixed martial artist, kick boxer, and currently one of the highest ranked fighters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Overeem once competed as a light heavyweight and weighed only 220 lbs. Through an extremely intense workout plan and diet, he put on 40 pounds of lean muscle. Through his workout, he achieved massive lifting gains. He can deadlift 660 lbs. for five reps, can squat 484 lbs., and can bench press up to 475 lbs. This training nut also eats eight meals a day to fuel his intense workouts.
Brian Deegan – 5’9, 170 lbs
Brian Deegan is an absolutely chiseled professional freestyle motocross racer. With three gold medals and seven bronze medals, Deegan is the only rider who has competed in at least one event in every X Games. Over the span of his career, Deegan has broken his ankles, his femur in four spots, his wrists five times, his humerus, and has suffered a ruptured kidney. Due to the grocery list of injuries and surgeries he has withstood over his near 20 year career, the motocross racer works hard to build a strong physique. At 32 years old, Deegan works with physioballs frequently to improve his core and spars with punching bags to better his body.
Erica Bartolina – 5’5, 125 lbs
American Olympian Erica Bartolina is very fit. She’s the only woman on this list and for good reason. As a pole vaulter, she has to use all of her muscle to propel herself over the bar and onto the mat of success. Having lost her right eye in a car accident at four months of age, Bartolina has been battling adversity since practically day one. She stayed away from sports for most of her life due to her eye, but was encouraged to try vaulting at the age of 14 in high school. She found success and received an athletic scholarship to Texas A&M where she became the school’s first female pole vaulter. From that point on, the rest was history. Bartolina follows a strict workout regimen, often training in four hour sessions. She trains with sprints, hurdles, flexibility drills, and vaulting practice. While she practices power cleans and squats several times a week, she abstains from lifting too much weight so she won’t get too bulky to lift herself up.
Sam Byrd – 5’7, 220 lbs
The current world record holder for the 198 and 220 lb. weight class in squatting, Byrd squatted 1,003 lbs. to put himself at the top of the powerlifting world. In addition to powerlifting, Byrd is also involved with bodybuilding. With a lean yet massively built physique, his goals are to gain both size and strength. In addition to his feats of strength, Byrd also has quite the brain. A graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law, Byrd passed the Bar exam and plans on becoming a trial attorney. Despite his powerlifting background, Byrd incorporates many aspects of fitness into his workouts including stretches, long runs, and dynamic exercises.
Race Car Driving
Carl Edwards – 6’1, 185 lbs
Although NASCAR athletes are more revered for their driving abilities than their physiques, Carl Edwards is a driver who has got both sides covered. He won the 2007 Busch Series championship and was just barely edged out of first place in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011. Though he attributes on-track success as 90% mental, the remaining 10% is physical. To stay in shape, Edwards plays racquetball, climbs stadium stairs, lifts weights, and bikes. In the weight room, Edwards focuses on a total body workout. He incorporates bench press, leg press, military press, and tricep and bicep workouts.
Olaf Tufte – 6’5, 215 lbs
Tufte brought home the gold medal in single sculls rowing for his home country of Norway at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic games. A world class athlete, Tufte understands the importance of training as consistently as possible. In 2004, the Nordic rower recorded 1,100 hours of training. Not counting off-days and holidays, that’s an average of over three hours of training per day! He also noted that 92% of his workouts focused on conditioning and endurance while the other 8% focused on strength. Despite his emphasis on endurance training, he can squat 190 kg (419 lbs.) for 8 reps.
Kayne Lawton – 5’9, 187 lbs
Standing at only 5’9”, Australian Rugby League footballer Kayne Lawton is one massive guy. He is one of the biggest lifters on his rugby team – the Gold Coast Titans whom he joined in 2009 at 19 years old. Lawton can bench press 145 kg (320 lbs.)
Ryan Sheckler – 5’9, 150 lbs
Popularized on MTV’s Life of Ryan in 2007, this young skateboarder quickly became the heartthrob icon of every teenage girl in America. Aside from his television career, Sheckler turned pro at the age of 13, taking first place at the Slam City Jam, the Vans Triple Crown Street competition, and at the Gravity Games. As the accolades piled on, so did Sheckler’s muscle mass. He currently hits the weights about two to three times a week and rides 20 miles on his bicycle three times a week. The combination of these exercises allows him to maintain his lean, muscular physique while still having time to skateboard as much as he can.
Jeremy Bloom – 5’9, 170 lbs
A three-time world champion, two-time Olympian, and eleven-time World Cup gold medalist, Jeremy Bloom is quite the accomplished freestyle moguls skier. However, Bloom wasn’t always on the track to become a skiing star. After a career of high school football stardom, Bloom received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Colorado, then was drafted in 2008 by the Philadelphia Eagles. His professional football career proved to be short lived, and the natural athlete soon turned to skiing where he has found success ever since. Bloom recorded a 4.48 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 lbs. for 19 reps at the National Scouting Combine in 2006.
Ade Akinbiyi – 6’1, 189 lbs
Ade Akinbiyi is an absolutely ripped English-born soccer player. With his career beginning in 1993, he has played for over twelve club teams, and has competed on the Nigerian national team in 1999. Although generally regarded as an all-around solid forward, he has received criticism around the soccer world for something a bit trivial…actually being too muscular.
Apolo Anton Ohno – 5’8, 145 lbs
An eight-time Winter Olympic medalist, Apolo Anton Ohno is a short track speed skater with a dynamite reputation. As the most decorated American Winter Olympian of all time, Ohno keeps himself in peak physical condition. In order to stay lean and quick on the ice, he cut himself down from 10 percent body fat to a ridiculously lean 2% before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In order to accomplish this feat, Ohno was put under a strict training routine and diet. The speed skater performed plyometrics, interval training on treadmills, and weight lifting. For his diet, he consumed a lot of lean protein from sources such as wild salmon, organic chicken, and whole eggs.
Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – 5’11, 210 lbs
This English sprinter became the first athlete to ever win gold medals at the 100 and 200 meter races at the World Youth Championship. Since then, the sprinter of Ghanaian descent helped the British 4×100 meter relay team take home the bronze medal at the 2009 Berlin World Championship. Aikines-Aryeetey maintains his impressive physique by training for four hours a day. He incorporates speed and endurance training into his workout, as well as circuit-based sessions, power cleans, and other lifts. Ironically, Aikines-Aryeetey avoids the bench press, claiming that as a sprinter it would not be beneficial to get any bigger than he already is.
Mariusz Pudzianowski – 6’1, 310 lbs
The former Polish strongman, Pudzianowski won five World’s Strongest Man titles – a record that has yet to be broken. Pudzianowski currently competes in mixed martial arts. As a strongman, he recorded a bench press max of 275 kg (606 lbs.), a squat of 360 kg (794 lbs.), and has deadlifted 410 kg (904 lbs.). When competing as a strongman, Pudzianowski’s diet was very liberal. Though focusing mainly on high protein sources, he didn’t put restrictions on himself in regards to other macronutrients. A standard breakfast for the training athlete consisted of ten eggs and two to three pounds of bacon – for energy, of course.
Laird Hamilton – 6’3, 215 lbs
Laird Hamilton has a dynamite build. Starting his professional career as a model at the age of 17, Hamilton quickly moved on to the world of competitive surfing. To maintain a near perfect physique, he trains for six days on and one day off. He circuit-trains with weights for nearly two hours on some days. Other days, he’ll ride a mountain bike for two hours and do bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and sprints. On top of all of these workouts, his biggest one is surfing, which is really a full-body workout in itself.
Michael Phelps – 6’4, 185 lbs
Michael Phelps is simply one of the most decorated Olympic athletes of all time. His 22 Olympic medals speak for themselves. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Phelps won all his events and captured 8 gold medals, which broke Mark Spitz’s record of 7 gold medals. He followed that up with 6 total medals at the 2012 Olympics Games in London. To perform at his peak, Phelps endures one of the most physically demanding training and diet routines around. Phelps swims a minimum of 80,000 meters a week (which is nearly 50 miles) and lifts 3 days a week, preferring bodyweight exercises like pushups and weighted pull-ups. He also reportedly consumes 12,000 calories a day in his diet, around 4,000 calories per meal. For breakfast, Phelps eats three fried-egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayonnaise. Then he drinks two cups of coffee and then consumes a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes. For lunch, Phelps eats a pound of pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread with mayo. He then drinks about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks. For dinner, Phelps eats another pound of pasta and a full pizza followed by another 1,000 calories of energy drinks. Since Phelps can train upwards of five to six hours a day, he needs to consume enough calories to have enough energy throughout his training sessions.
Wang Liqin – 6’1, 165 lbs
Wang Liqin is a force in the world of table tennis. He once held the number one spot for 25 consecutive months. The Chinese athlete puts a lot of work into maintaining a lean but strong physique. Table tennis, like regular tennis, takes a lot of toll on the upper body as well as the lower body. With a body fat percentage well under 10 percent, Liqin can maneuver around the table with speed, agility, and limberness due to his low weight and muscle tone.
Rafael Nadal – 6’1, 190 lbs
Rafael Nadal is known by many as the greatest tennis clay court player of all-time. Nadal won five straight French Open singles titles from 2010 to 2014 to become the only player in this event to win five consecutive singles titles. In terms of his workout, Nadal normally wakes up at 8:30 in the morning and plays tennis from 9:30 to 1:30 in the afternoon. He then trains in his gym from 4:30 to 7 in the evening, incorporating everything from the Power Plate to resistance band training. To answer many people’s questions, Nadal’s left arm is actually bigger than his right, in what one would call a “Popeye arm”. Even Nadal confirmed it, telling Men’s Fitness “My left arm is much more developed than my right arm. This is because I play lefty and that’s sort of my gym, the tennis court. That’s where I have fun.” In terms of his diet and eating regimen, Nadal stays away from eating meat or heavy meals and is more cautious with what he eats leading up to a match. He also has a love for chocolate.
Moon Sung-Min – 6’6, 187 lbs
Sung-Min has been the face of Korean volleyball for quite some time. After winning the Korean Volleyball Association’s College Player of the Year award in 2005, Sung-Min was drafted to the Korean Men’s National team in 2006. In order to maintain his sleek physique, Sung-Min utilizes resistance bands, and works his shoulders with external rotations in order to develop more serving power and to prevent injury.
Genai Kerr – 6’8, 220 lbs
The recently retired Genai Kerr represented the United States National Water Polo Team for over a decade. His wide 6’8 frame and tenacious, aggressive style of play dominated the pool and brough a striking presence to the team as the top goalie. He got involved in water polo by accident, following the whistles to what he thought was a basketball game and ended up at the pool. In terms of his workout, Genai mainly does legs, back, abs, and arm workouts. Some of his preferred workouts are lunges and one legged squats for legs, straight leg crunches and russian twists for abs, super men and reverse thinkers for back, and push ups and shoulder stabilizers for his arm training.
Scott Steiner – 6’3, 285 lbs
In the world of professional entertainment wrestling, bigger is better, and Scott Steiner is no exception. This hulking mass was involved with the WWE, the WCW, and TNA. He is perhaps most famous for his title as a 12-time World Tag Team Champion. Steiner was known to have been able to bench press 525 lbs. Due to the popularity of his chiseled physique, Steiner released a workout DVD titled Scott Steiner’s FREAK SHOW: The Big Poppa Pump Workout. In March 2012, at 49 years old, Steiner was released from TNA after three months of inactivity.
Jordan Burroughs – 5’8, 163 lbs
An American world champion in freestyle wrestling, Jordan Burroughs won a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games, and the 2011 World Championships in Istanbul in the 74 kg weight class. He followed that up and won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Coming out of a successful wrestling career at the University of Nebraska, Burroughs won the Hodge Trophy – the wrestling equivalent to the Heisman trophy.