Being fit for a sport requires that the athlete reach or exceed the level of competence in just the fitness capacities of that sport, which makes it hard to compare athletes from different sports.
A fit body means different things in different sports. For sprinters, a fit body is bulky and compact, capable of explosive speed. A wrestler or a cricketer is another beast altogether.
Obviously most professional athletes are pretty fit, otherwise they wouldn’t be professional athletes.
But there are some athletes who take physical fitness to a whole new level. Sure nobody will sign Terrell Owens to play receiver on their team, but there’s no shortage of sports broadcasters who are willing to compliment on his ability to model underwear.
We have found several lists of the world’s fittest athletes, and not surprisingly they do not agree. Some lists are limited to a certain sport, region, or time period.
Comparing athletes across sports and over time to find the fittest athlete ever is very difficult, and possibly impossible. Still, many have tried. With fitness being a hard thing to define, these lists are always controversial.
Athletes, both pro and amateur are constantly looking for ways to help boost metabolism, have more energy, and burn fat away in order to be the lean machines we all enjoy watching compete.
That makes the job of judging the fittest athletes on the planet difficult.
Difficult, yes, but not impossible.
Here at GFE Sport, we have taken the easy way out. Our GFE Sport – Top 10 Fittest Athlete Awards for 2014 go to the Athletes we think are the fittest. We have our reasons. Nuff said.
Natalie Couglin is an all-time great Olympian, and she definitely has the upper body of a swimming champion.
American gymnast Alexander Naddour doesn’t have an Olympic medal, but a bronze at the World Championships and one of the greatest bodies in sports is a decent consolation.
Wrestler Jake Herbert won his weight class at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials and represented his country at the London Olympics.
If I was hanging out at a bar with all the ladies on the WTA tour, and I got into a fight, the first one I’d call is 2011 U.S. Open champ Samantha Stosur. Look at those guns.
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Nadine competed in the heptathlon at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She’s not the only Olympic heptahlete on this list, either. The multi-disciplinary sport seems to create some of the most well-rounded physiques on the planet.
Serena. On the one hand, when she’s in top shape, she has one of the most fit, athletic bodies on the planet. On the other hand, a series of injures over the last several years have prevented her from maintaining that level. So I decided to just play it safe and put her right in the middle of the pack.
Now, if given the choice between the physique of Phelps and Nathan Adrian here? I’d go with Adrian—assuming becoming the winningest Olympian of all time wasn’t my main priority.
Cristiano Ronaldo: too sexy for his shirt?
Pretty much every beach volleyball player is lean, but they’re not all at toned as Germany’s Laura Ludwig.
German decathlete Michael Schrader (center) probably does pretty okay with the ladies.
49ers running back Kendall Hunter: he’s a pretty fit guy.
via Total Sports
Lenny bernstein asked Jeff Potteiger, dean of Graduate Studies and a faculty member in the Movement Science department at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., how he would approach the issue of Athletic fitness.
Which athletes do you believe are, overall, the fittest?
First, we have to define what “fittest” means. There are a number of ways that you can measure fitness…Let’s take body composition as one measure of fitness.
For many athletes, having a low level of body [fat] is particularly important. So if you take a look at sprinters in track and field, or distance runners in track and field, they have a very, very low percentage of body fat, and they do very well.
If you take a look at maybe, long distance swimmers, or professional football players, in particular offensive and defensive lineman, they have much higher levels of body fat, and one can certainly argue that they still do well in their sport.
So when you’re talking about fitness, you have to identify the parameters, and you also have to identify what particular sport you’re talking about.
If we’re going to compare disparate sports, what criteria should we use?
I think you have to use cardiovascular fitness. I think you have to use anaerobic power. I think you have to use muscular strength. You have to use muscular endurance. And I think body composition as well, comes into play when you’re talking about overall fitness.