The 25 Fittest Men in the World – Part 2

For the past five years, Mens Fitness has been compiling a list of the fittest guys in the United States. This year they decided to include the rest of the world.

In Part 1 of this post, I covered the Top 10. In today’s post, we will take a look at the rest of the list

And here we go:

richard roll

11.      Richard Roll

Richard Roll is a Mens Fitness inspirational selection.

In 2006, Richard turned 40. At that time, he was 30 pounds overweight and at a crossroads. Instead of investing in a mid life crisis, Richard decided to invest in his body. Two years later, he earned the honor of being the second “Regular Joe” on the MF25.

“When I turned 40, I found myself the most out of shape I’d ever been,” says Roll, a former elite swimmer at Stanford. “I didn’t want to live that way.” He adopted a plant-based diet and used multisport training to achieve a base level of fitness. But “base” wasn’t enough, so he set his sights on the 2008 Ultraman, a three-day, double Ironman distance triathlon in Hawaii. Roll began 15 to 20 hours of training per week, eliminating “anything extraneous” beyond family (he’s married and has four kids) and work. He finished 11th overall in the Ultraman but first among non-pros. “Working out makes me adhere to a tight schedule,” Roll says. “I’m much more productive.”


12.      Tim Tebow

How much more can he do? He’s won two national titles and a Heisman, and at 6’3″ and 235 pounds, he’s reshaped the idea of a quarterback’s physical capabilities. “[Fitness] has played a huge role,” says the Florida Gator. “A lot of my game is being a physical player, a runner as well as a thrower, someone who plays all four quarters. You see a difference between us and other teams because we’re in better shape.”

Tebow’s off-season regimen comprises shoulder work, bench presses, squats, lunges, speed and agility drills, and position-specific exercises with resistance. He can max out with the linemen but knows he doesn’t need to be “the strongest guy on the team.” Instead, he says he lifts smarter without hurting his body. He prefers to continue to hurt defenders, instead.

lebron muscle

13.      Lebron James

He looks more like a linebacker than a small forward, at 6’8″ and 250 pounds. And he’s really just begun working out seriously. Seriously. The co-best basketball player on the planet does yoga and Pilates to endure the rigors of his sport. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of physical talent and a strong body,” James recently told The Plain Dealer. “I’ve focused on working hard to maximize those gifts.” Could James grow to 275 pounds with ridiculously low body fat? Could he average an unthinkable 40 points, 12 boards, and 10 assists per game over a season? The trouble with numbers is that they have measurable limits. LeBron James, it seems, does not.

jared padalecki

14.      Jared Padalecki

According to Mens Fitness, Jared exhibits Supernatural strength — on-screen and off.

To prep for his role as reluctant hero Sam Winchester, Padalecki underwent a regimen of kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. “What’s funny is [co-star] Jensen [Ackles] and I were meeting one of our producers at a bar in Vancouver, when we were jumped by eight drunken guys,” he remembers. “I broke my left hand, but they walked away with broken jaws and noses. Considering it was us against eight, we did all right.”

15.      Simon Dumont

Last April, Dumont soared 35 feet to shatter the world record for height on a quarter pipe. He credits not just his ski skills, but also his work in the gym. “I do a lot of balancing stuff with weights in the air and do one-footed squats on the Bosu ball,” he says. “I’m just tightening up my core and all the little muscles, rather than trying to bulk up. I’m trying to create longevity. I want to make sure I’ll be this strong when I’m 30 or 40.”


16.      Manny Pacquiao

He’s only 5’6″, but this Pac-Man packs a ton of power. “It comes from his speed and his legs,” says longtime trainer Freddie Roach. “His legs are so strong, and his explosive speed is a God-given talent. With those two working together, he’s almost unstoppable.” To prep for fights, Pacquiao, winner of four titles in four divisions, works out for two weeks before training with Roach in California. Then for two months, he’ll run in the mornings, do 1,000 situps, shadowbox, jump rope, punch the heavy bag, and spar in the afternoons for four rounds, building up to 12 as the fight nears. Roach says Manny’s unparalleled discipline gives him the edge. “He’s a machine,” he says. “I tell him to take Sundays off, and he says, ‘No, I have to run.’ I ask why, and he says, ‘Because my opponent might be.'”

adrian fenty

17.      Adrian Fenty

“I’m training as much as humanly possible,” says the mayor of Washington D.C.. Fenty exercises like a pro athlete—rigorously and regimented—despite having a crazy schedule. “The chance of getting a workout once a day has gone down dramatically,” he says. Three times every week, he gets in a long early-morning run and also swims and cycles when he can.

And apparently his work ethic is rubbing off. Washington was just voted America’s fittest city.

robert downey jr

18.      Robert Downey Jr.

Once on the verge of Hollywood oblivion, thanks to his famous addictions, Robert Downey Jr. is now simply Iron Man. Before filming, he engaged in a rigorous fitness regimen under renowned trainer Brad Bose. Through intense cardio, weights, and martial arts training, the actor transformed his body, gaining 20 pounds of muscle over just five months. He maintained that physique for the lead role in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes.

kevin rose

19.      Kevin Rose

Kevin launched, one of the most popular social bookmarking Web sites. He also often launches himself to the top of local climbing walls near the company’s San Francisco offices. “Typically I’ll climb for about an hour and a half and then finish off by hitting the free weights,” Rose says. “I also play racquetball twice a week and run twice a week.” Rose also maintains a healthy diet and practices Zazen, a meditation. “It’s nice to have that balance,” he says. “You work so much in front of the computer that it makes everything level out and keeps you from going crazy.”

phil keoghan

20.      Phil Keoghan

Taping The Amazing Race is a grueling four weeks of nonstop travel with little sleep. Keoghan, the host, typically loses 10 pounds before the winner crosses the finish line. So before he hits the road, Keoghan ratchets up his workouts. To get ready for the most recent season, the Santa Monica resident brushed up on his boxing. “It absolutely kills me,” he says. “I’m still a terrible boxer, but it gets me in shape.” Since turning 40, Keoghan has done 100 pushups daily. “Sometimes I’m struggling and have to stop and stretch,” he says. “But if you take care of things on the inside, it allows you to take care of things externally as well.”


21.      Akon

His infectious hooks on hits like “Smack That” and “Don’t Matter” have drawn in millions of fans worldwide. “Mostly women,” says the Senegalese-American singer, with a chuckle. “So it’s important to keep your fitness up. Sex sells!” He maintains his lean, muscular build with a preshow pump that consists of 500 pushups, pullups, and dips.
“The show continues the cardio; I’m always running back and forth for 90 minutes,” he says. Akon also jacked the beats per minute of his new cuts to 130, up from the usual 95 to 105 bpm. “I kept it up-tempo, so that people at the clubs could rock out to it, and people at the gym could put on their headphones and go crazy with it.” When not on the road, Akon plays hoops and soccer, and kickboxes, “which has really helped me get my form and flexibility together.”

georges st pierre

22.      Georges St.Pierre

By dismantling UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn earlier this year, St-Pierre took ownership of the “best pound-for-pound fighter” mantle. GSP routinely kills it in the gym with strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg, a fellow Montreal native. Chaimberg has taken him from only eight body-weight pullups per set to now banging them out with a 120-pound dumbbell attached to his waist. Normally 188 pounds, St-Pierre cuts about 20 pounds for a fight and carries only about 5% body fat. “He’s probably the most gifted athlete you’ll ever meet,” says Chaimberg.

lewis hamilton

23.      Lewis Hamilton

The youngest Formula One World Champion ever, Hamilton is also one of its fittest. F1 cars can reach speeds of up to 250 mph, putting the British driver under 3.5 G’s of stress (which is the equivalent of three and a half times his own body weight). “It can feel a bit like someone is trying to rip your head off,” he says. To stay fit, Hamilton trains for nearly four hours at least six days a week during his off- season. “Leg strength is essential to be able to brake late into a corner,” he says, “and core stability is key.” Hamilton’s trainer, Adam Costanzo, travels with him all over the world. “It isn’t just in the gym the whole time,” Hamilton says. “We get outside, climb mountains, run cross-country, or go snowshoeing. We train anywhere.”

clive owen

24.      Clive Owen

Talk about a big star. Literally. At well over six feet, Owen towers above Hollywood’s typical pint-size heroes. From King Arthur to Sin City to Children of Men, he has fought his way through the past, the present, and into the future.

To prepare for such demanding roles, the Coventry native trains with a London kickboxer. “You have to get physically fit for any film you do,” he told MF. “They’re quite grueling shoots.” While he regularly goes to the gym, “when I am getting ready to film, I train much more intensively,” he confesses. Of course, once the cameras start rolling there’s no time for working out. But there’s little need. His role as a machine-gun-toting do-gooder in Shoot ‘Em Up was particularly hard on his body. “It was all action, and there was lots of ropework,” he says. “That was very physical.” His main inspiration for training so hard? “My fitness regimen is completely dictated by, ‘Do I have to take my top off in this movie?'” Fit, and smart, too.

larry fitzgerald

25.      Larry Fitzgerald

Move over T.O. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is now the man among NFL wideouts. The 6’3″, 220-pounder was the biggest reason the Cards reached the Super Bowl last season for the first time in team history. Though Arizona lost to Pittsburgh, Fitzgerald made one of the game’s most memorable plays when he caught a pass over the middle and adroitly shed Steelers defenders on the way to a thrilling 64-yard fourth-quarter TD. His ridiculous physical ability can partly be attributed to intense off-season workouts that improve his already-profound jumping ability and speed. In addition to plyometric box jumps and track drills, Fitzgerald and Cardinals strength coach John Lott do barefoot drills to stabilize his leg muscles and utilize a trampoline-like device they call a “super-chute,” which, if you’ve seen him play, explains a lot.

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26.     Health Habits


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  • This list is kind of ridiculous — I mean, I like Clive Owen as an actor, but calling him one of the fittest men in the world, when by his own admission he really only hits the gym hard when he has to buff up for a role… ???

    I guess if you were really going to take the list seriously it would be all athletes (like the entire Olympic swim team, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, etc. — yes, I’m biased toward swimming and tennis), but if you’re going to water things down to appeal to a broader audience, then maybe the mag should change the list’s title. To “25 of our favorite fit men” or something.

  • I have to agree with both you and Emily on the make-up of this list.

    No disrespect to Messrs. Owen & Branson, but there is no way that they even close to being one of the 25 fittest men in the world.

    It was just a “fluff” article in a “fluff” fitness magazine. And yet, that “fluff” magazine has a much larger readership than I do.

  • Oops! Sorry, my bad! Wrong word. I should have said something like “muscle bound figure”. I thought the word for that was ‘meathead’. I am missing that word…. So sorry!

  • “It was just a “fluff” article in a “fluff” fitness magazine. And yet, that “fluff” magazine has a much larger readership than I do.”

    — Yes, but people actually respect your writing.

    I deal with this all the time. The big numbers are in appealing to the lowest common denominator. As such, I think most sites offering good information are going to have a limited readership, because they’re not telling people what they want to hear.

    (The majority of) people don’t want to be told HOW to improve themselves, their health, or their athletics, because it involves a lot of hard work. They want to stumble onto some magical “20 minutes, three days a week” formula that will provide a shortcut.

  • Taking nothing away from Health Habits, this was one of the worst fitness lists ever. Georges St. Pierre – yes. Larry Fitzgerald – yes. Clive Owen, Kevin Rose, Adrian Fenty? FAIL

  • If bruce lee was still living he would be number 1 on that list.

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