These Ex-Athletes Could Still Destroy You at the Gym
You have two paths you can take after retiring from professional sports.
The first is a glazed trail through the Bourbon-Bacon Forest. Chest pains and $400 Cheesecake Factory tabs wait behind ever bend.
It's the way many athletes go, and justifiably so.
They've put in their time, and after all those years of physical strain, they can finally lay down the cross of physical perfection and pick up the pot roast at the end of the rainbow.
Then there is the second path, which leads back to the gym for more physical exhaustion and blisters. Not all athletes drop the ball after leaving the game. Some kick it into overdrive, hitting the weights like they're staving off the Reaper on a daily basis.
The following are former athletes who could destroy you at the gym. They took the second path with a vengeance, and they've managed to maintain scary levels of physical strength and endurance since leaving the game.
"Muscle Santa" comes to mind when you see Brett Favre today.
The former Packers legend always had a strong arm. He threw hollow-points out of the pocket that broke his receivers' fingers. But he was never huge. Never shredded as a julienne salad.
Nowadays, he looks like a Viking king that scientists found in a glacier next to a saber-toothed tiger. His beard is enormous, and those are pit vipers slithering up his arms.
Favre skips legs day, however. I'm starting that rumor just to see if it sticks.
Jose Canseco may have stopped taking steroids, but he's never stopped being crazy or an absolute monster of a man.
He seems like the type of guy who shaves his arms to promote muscle definition, and I'd bet money he screams while maxing out at the bench station.
Laird Hamilton is the adult version of the friend we grew up who was born with a six-pack.
The 50-year-old former pro surfer founded tow-in, big-wave surfing—a sport that isn't about power as much as it's about the weight you carry in your board shorts.
That said, riding giant, man-killing waves requires core strength and a body that won't crumble under immense pressure. Hamilton's fitness regimen involves carrying boulders underwater. Do not challenge him to a push-up competition.
At the age of 48, Herschel Walker stepped into a mixed martial arts fight and destroyed another man.
The former NFL running back knocked out 40-year-old Scott Carson in the first round of a 2010 match.
Starting an MMA career on the cusp of 50 is insanity personified, but your jaw fully smacks onto the floor when you learn about Walker's training regimen.
He doesn't eat. Walker is a vegetarian who skips breakfast and lunch. He consumes a daily meal of salad and bread for dinner, if that. No protein.
"It's just unbelievable," said Walker's MMA trainer Javier Mendez. "He shouldn't be able to do what he's doing. I don't think it's possible to eat as little as possible and work out the way he does. There's no way. He's an unbelievable athlete."
They don't call him "The Natural" ironically.
Randy Couture was and continues to be a physical freak of nature. The 50-year-old former MMA fighter fought his last match in 2011 at the age of 47—a losing effort against Lyoto Machida, who was 15 years his junior.
He does jump squats and one-handed push-ups like we eat Pringles. And we love Pringles.
Evander Holyfield is not a slouch. He's never been a slouch.
The former heavyweight champ last fought in 2011, taking on fellow aging boxer Brian Nielsen. At 51 years old, Holyfield recently filmed a documentary about his training regimen. The film's narration isn't in English, but he sounds confident he could put most 20-year-olds in the dirt.
Paul Michael Levesque, aka "Triple H," continues to be a gym rat.
Cast in the same mold as his father-in-law Vince McMahon, the years seem to just bead off Levesque's back. At the age of 44, the semi-retired WWE wrestler continues to hit the weights like a man possessed.
Just watch this video. He's flipping 500-pound tires and doing J.J. Watt workouts like a defensive end who is preparing for the combine. If you come into Triple H's Church of Pump, you better be prepared to taste the gain, bro.
Qualifying for a spot on the American Olympic swim team at the age of 41 is no joke.
Age is an arbitrary figure for Dara Torres, who became the oldest woman ever to compete for a medal with the U.S. women's swim team in 2008. This accomplishment marked the fifth Summer Games of her swimming career.
She birthed a child barely a year before winning gold at the U.S. Nationals in 2007, and you could probably still cook a flank steak on the 46-year-old's abs.
Vince McMahon is less of a real person and more of a walking hyperbole.
The WWE promoter/occasional wrestler has made a livelihood of being gigantic and in your face.
This is video of him training for WrestleMania in 2010. He was 64 years old at the time. Think about that, and then thank God you don't have to lift next to this monster, who's now old enough to collect Social Security.
Matt Birk could have retired from football, let himself go and ballooned to the size of a small moon.
Instead, the former 310-pound Ravens lineman put himself on a diet and began lifting religiously. He's dropped more than 70 pounds since leaving the game and models occasionally for ViSalus, a weight-loss product company.
It's hard to fathom how a strong lineman who shed all fat would be, but I know I probably wouldn't volunteer to spot Birk.
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