Athletes & Celebrities

Steve Weatherford is the NFL's Fittest Man

The most ripped man in all of football just so happens to play the least respected position on the field. But N.Y. Giants punter Steve Weatherford's approach to the game is making the entire league do a double take, and he's just getting started.

Steve Weatherford is the NFL's Fittest Man

Steve Weatherford doesn’t have to look like this. To be a punter in the NFL, you don’t need to be lean and muscular or have six-pack abs. You don’t need 18-inch arms, striated delts, separated pecs, or V-shaped lats.

And although it might seem counterintuitive, you don’t even need big legs.

Punters and placekickers have traditionally been the only average-looking guys on an NFL roster—the guys who fuel the daydreams of regular fans specifically because their physiques are so unremarkable. If an ordinary-looking guy can make a living in the NFL, then maybe we all can. At least that’s the thought. Jeff Feagles, Weatherford’s predecessor on the New York Giants who set league standards of consistency and longevity, was an underwhelming physical presence to say the least. His slight build and balding pate made him look more like a DMV clerk than a professional athlete.

There are a lot of things that make Weatherford an anomaly. For one thing, he’s the first punter who seems tailor-made to transition into TV when he retires; he already appears regularly on ESPN and Fox to talk fitness and football. For another, he’s a philanthropist who is equally generous with his time and money: Look no further than his Project Prom charity or Rush the Punter initiative, both detailed at weatherford5.com.

Then there’s this: despite signing a $12.75 million contract with the Giants in 2012, he drives a family sedan that looks like it’s seen a few too many miles. “It’s an Infiniti… something, I can’t remember,” he says with a laugh. “Me and my wife decided if we were going to have all these kids, then I wouldn’t have too many toys.”

What truly sets him apart, though, is his physique. At 6'2" and 230 pounds, with meticulously shaped symmetrical muscle and a scant 5% body fat, he is a perfect example of an overused term: a freak. Judging by the standards of the IFBB’s physique division, no one in the NFL is fitter than Weatherford—in fact, no one’s even close.

It’s important to remember, of course, that it doesn’t behoove skill position players (wide receivers, running backs, quarterbacks, etc.) to get ripped to the bone like Weatherford; constant contact demands a little more padding, ie, bodyfat. Neverthless, the “NFL’s fittest” distinction, at least in the eyes of this magazine, belongs to Weatherford. For a league filled with physical specimens, it’s a landmark achievement, regardless of the circumstance. No, Weatherford is not the biggest guy in the league and he might not be the strongest or fastest (although his weight room numbers and sub-4.5-second 40-yard dash time could make him competitive with most defensive backs), but in terms of possessing the most enviable—and for so many guys elusive—body, Weatherford is tops. In the fitness industry he is known more for his physique at this point than his exploits on the field. His 110,000-plus Twitter followers continually ask him training and nutrition questions. These spike every “Weatherford Wednesday,” when he dedicates time to answering nearly every question.

Weatherford doesn’t just look the part, either. He has hit a 308-pound power clean for two reps; a 420 back squat for five; a 315 bench for six, and a 475 deadlift for five.

He’s often asked—even by teammates—why he’s so obsessive about his training and nutrition, so the answer he gives is succinct.

“I have little man syndrome,” Weatherford says. “As a kid I was always very athletic and very fast. I was always good at sports, but I wasn’t big and I wasn’t strong. I wasn’t big enough to compete at an elite level, so I developed an elite work ethic. I’m glad that it happened the way it did, because I wouldn’t have developed that work ethic otherwise.”

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