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The 2009 MF 25

The fittest guys in the world for 2009
 

THE ENTREPRENEUR

KEVIN ROSE
Age: 32
Country: U.S.A.
Career: CEO

Five years ago, the former Attack of the Show host launched Digg.com, 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. (His skill came in handy once when he had to free climb to the top of a three-story apartment building when a friend's keys got locked inside.) "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."

 

THE RACER

PHIL KEOGHAN
Age: 42
Country: New Zealand
Career: TV Host

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."

 

THE CROONER

AKON
Age: 30
Country: U.S.A.
Career: Singer

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."

 

THE FIGHTER

GEORGES ST-PIERRE
Age: 27
Country: Canada
Career: UFC Fighter

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.

 

THE DRIVER

LEWIS HAMILTON
Age: 24
Country: United Kingdom
Career: Formula One Racer

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."

 

THE LEADING MAN

CLIVE OWEN
Age: 46
Country: United Kingdom
Career: Actor

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.

 

THE FREAK

LARRY FITZGERALD
Age: 25
Country: U.S.A.
Career: NFL Star

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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