In the world of sport, at the very highest level, you will see sportsmen and sportswomen that have honed in on certain skill sets, exercising and building their bodies around that set activity. You see the likes of Mo Farah built for endurance and speed, Cristiano Ronaldo built for 90 minutes of soccer, and Tyron Smith built to block anyone who tries to get to his quarterback. These finely tuned athletic machines are built for the purposes of their sport, but now and then, a gigantic muscle-house will break onto the professional scene, using the power of their bodybuilder-type frame to their advantage in their preferred sport. Here, we’ll be looking at four athletes who have utilized the bodybuilder frame in their respective fields.
Adebayo Akinfenwa, Soccer
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Currently plying his trade in League Two of the English Football League for Wycombe Wanderers, Adebayo Akinfenwa achieved global fame when the video game FIFA 15 labeled him as the strongest soccer player in the world, per The Telegraph. Back in 2014 when the London-born striker earned this acclaim, he could bench-press 400 lbs, coming in at 5’ 11’’ and weighing over 16 stone. Nicknamed “The Beast,” Akinfenwa has continued to find work in professional soccer thanks to the huge strength advantage that he holds over opposing defenders. With testosterone coursing through his gigantic frame in every match, the now 35-year-old – who is still incredibly buff – has scored ten goals and seven assists through 18 games this season, standing as Wycombe’s top goal scorer despite his unconventional physique for the sport and his advancing years.
Chantae McMillan, Heptathlete
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At the London 2012 Olympic Games, Chantae McMillan drew the attention of the crowds. Representing Team USA, McMillan battled hard but finished in 28th place in the heptathlon, but went on to come fifth at the Pan American Combined Events Cup in 2015. Even though she didn’t find herself on the podium in 2012 or 2015, her tremendous physique landed her on the cover of ESPN’s 2015 Body Issue, lauded for her superbly ripped body and competitive desire. It’s clear that McMillan has kept herself down to around ten percent body fat – avoiding that dangerous sugar and protein combination – while competing, which is very impressive.
Anthony Joshua, Boxing
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Having spent over a decade as the understudy to the rest of world sport due to the sport at the professional level going somewhat stale, boxing is finally on the up again, headlined by a new batch of stars. While you could pick out a couple of top-class fighters in each division, there’s no doubt that the rise of Anthony Joshua has headlined the sport, bringing it back to the headlines. There are two major factors behind Joshua’s popularity, the first being his world champion-worthy body. Joshua stands at 6’6’’ and over 250 lbs looking like he could have been a bodybuilder, even being branded as just a bodybuilder by a rather fleshy former world champion, Tyson Fury, per BBC Sport. The power that Joshua possesses from his immaculate body is undeniable, and with each passing bout, he’s proving that he’s the best boxer in the heavyweight division as well. Another reason why Joshua has become so popular is his charisma. Waking up with a cup of coffee seems to put the big Brit in a good mood each day, as he’s always smiley and jokey when in the public eye. He’s even earned the appraisal of the BBC’s prestigious Sports Personality of the Year Award, with Betway Insider backing him to join the likes of Lennox Lewis as legendary boxing SPOTY winners. After a tremendous year in the ring which included him conquering Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium, London, and the adoration from sports fans all over the world, Anthony Joshua fully deserves to be honoured with such an esteemed award.
J.J. Watt, Football
J.J. Watt, Football
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There are so many muscled powerhouses in the modern NFL, with the desire for power and strength pushing players to be more competitive. While former quarterback Tim Tebow, Tennessee Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, and Indianapolis Colts running back Robert Turbin certainly possess physiques like that of a bodybuilder, the acclaim has to go to Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. Despite suffering some major injury setbacks in recent years, Watt’s career numbers are simply incredible, and he has his rigorous training regime and monstrous build to thank for it – for which he requires over 6000 calories a day to fuel. On each snap of each game, Watt needs to find his way past one or two 300 lbs-plus offensive linemen, and yet he’s managed to haul in 76 sacks and 394 combined tackles in 88 NFL games as well as three touchdowns.
All of these athletes have managed to utilize the benefits that can come with forging a bodybuilder’s frame and have applied it to their career in sports. All are very impressive athletes and will continue to reap the benefits of having such fine physiques as their careers continue.