muhammad ali

Muhammad Ali

The Greatest Goes to the Big Ring in the Sky

The former three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world died on June 3 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Ali remained one of the most beloved and revered athletes long after his in-ring career ended due to his role as an outspoken social activist and global humanitarian. A wizard with words, Ali often mesmerized opponents with his epic trash talk. But as he often said: “It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” and he certainly did that as a pugilist.

Ali also took strong stances on social issues, particularly in 1967, when he refused to fight in Vietnam. That position would cost him three years out of the ring when he was, arguably, in his prime.

The fighter, father, husband, Muslim, actor, activist, and the Greatest of All Time was a man of many tribes but exclusive to none. For much of his career, Ali was the most famous athlete in sports and the most recognizable face in the world. Yet he never placed himself behind a velvet rope. The highlight of Ali’s twilight career was lighting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Summer Games.

Ali was 74.

J.K. Simmons

You can’t spell Farmers Insurance without “arm,” and Oscar-winning actor J.K. Simmons showed off his massive new ones this summer. Despite reports saying he was getting in shape for the new Justice League movie, the 61-year-old Simmons admitted it was simply to stop being “superfat and out of shape.”


Would you spend $6 on a beverage that sometimes tastes like vinegar mixed with cigarette butts? What if that same beverage was effervescent and low in sugar and can help with digestion?



Throw on your rattiest workout clothes, down a few raw eggs, and run up a long flight of stairs! Sylvester Stallone’s classic underdog film turned 40 in November.

Robert Irvine

Robert Irvine

What does a jacked celeb chef do when he’s conquered everything in the kitchen? Host a TV show, of course! The longtime M&F contributor’s new gig on The Robert Irvine Show debuted in September. In the series, Irvine serves up no-BS advice on everything from broken families to cheating spouses—with a pinch of tough love.

Moreno Valley, CA

Long commutes, economic decline, lack of access to healthy food, and high obesity rates made this landlocked bedroom community 60-some miles east of L.A. our fattest city. Rounding out the top five: Modesto, CA, Riverside, CA, Jackson, MS, and Grand Prairie, TX.

Wade McCrae Washington

Suffering from cerebral palsy and scoliosis didn’t stop McCrae Washington, who was told by doctors he wouldn’t make it past his 10th birthday, from becoming a professional bodybuilder when he won his pro card at age 45.

Armenian Olympic Weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan Dislocates Elbow

Olympic Ouch

Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan got his big break at the Rio Games but not in the way he had hoped. During his 429-pound clean and jerk attempt, he dislocated his elbow in an incredibly gruesome fashion. He was in second place before the injury. Sorry, man.

Giancarlo Stanton

The Miami Marlins outfielder made our strongest MLB players list heading into Opening Day. His 475-foot home run, the longest during the 2016 regular season, further proved that he deserved to be on there all along.

Ricky Williams

ricky williams
The former NFL running back, who was suspended multiple times for marijuana use during his NFL career, including the entire 2006 season, announced he’s taking the high road. As in, he’s opening up a cannabis-friendly gym. Williams is partnering with Jim McAlpine, creator of the 420 Games, to open Power Plant Fitness and Wellness in San Francisco. Gymgoers will have their weights, cardio machines, yoga classes, and acupuncture, but they’ll also have the chance to smoke weed or ingest an edible before and after training.

Brock Lesnar

From the squared circle to the Octagon and back, Lesnar was a freight train who dominated opponents in WWE and the UFC. Too bad he got popped for testing positive for hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogen. Guess Lesnar was afraid to connect with his feminine side.

Meat Snacks

Many of you snapped into more than just Slim Jims this year as the meat-snack category grew into a $1.5 billion industry, with brands like Savage Jerky, Wilde, and Field Trip bringing new and healthy bars, sticks, and jerky to market.

conor mcgregor

Conor McGregor

The Face (and Mouth) of UFC Retires, Returns, Wins

No fighter had a bigger impact on MMA in 2016 than current featherweight champion Conor McGregor. The 5’9″ Irishman talked the talk—and kept on talking—and then backed it up. First, he KO’d former featherweight king Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds, catapulting himself to superstardom at UFC 194. Then the Notorious fought two weight classes above his own against Nate Diaz at UFC 196 and UFC 202. He lost the first bout by submission but came back to win a close decision just four months later, proving he can fight any man. Their rematch earned McGregor $3 million and was the UFC’s largest pay-per-view, with an estimated 1.65 million buys. And who can forget when he stepped away from the Octagon, saying he was retiring? Mostly everyone since he returned in what seemed like 13 seconds.

UFC Sold

Since its inception in 1993, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has single-handedly put the sport of mixed martial arts on the map. Fast-forward 30 years, and the organization—once referred to as “human cockfighting” by John McCain—sold for $4 billion to the entertainment group WME-IMG. Now, thanks to superstars like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor and a whole new host of 23 celebrity investors (including Conan O’Brien, Tom Brady, and Ben Affleck), the UFC is in the bright and bloody spotlight of mainstream sports.

Ancient Grains

Quinoa was, like, so 2015. The fascination of cooking “old-school” has led to getting your freekeh on and using other ancient grains such as millet, einkorn, and amaranth. So go ahead and be a, ahem, teff guy if you want to fuel up on iron, protein, B vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants.

Jake Arrieta Pilates

Jake Arrieta

The Pilates Pitcher

Hey, Cubs fans, the key to getting to your first World Series in 76 years may have been Pilates. Jake Arrieta, the Cubs’ bearded and dominant righthander, revealed how he went from a struggling pitcher to a Cy Young winner by using Pilates, a low-impact exercise method that has been proven to improve core strength, muscle control, coordination, and flexibility.

Yolks Are OK

No need to be a chicken when it comes to eating egg yolks. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating whole eggs, including the cholesterol in the yolk, won’t damage your heart.


Shelling out upwards of $75 to freeze your ass off became a thing. Next time you need to relieve pain or want to speed up recovery, go find yourself a cryotherapy chamber and submerge yourself in liquid nitrogen, where the temperatures reach as low as -184°F and -292°F. Science has its doubts. No word yet if it causes shrinkage.

Kimbo Slice

Kimbo Slice

The backyard brawler turned professional mixed martial artist Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson died on June 6 from heart failure. Ferguson rose to fame as a viral street-fight star, shocking viewers across the

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt
Three events.
Three gold medals.
The fastest man on the planet has officially left the track.

WrestleMania 32

101,763 members of the WWE Universe attended AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The record-breaking attendance witnessed Shane McMahon leap off the top of the Hell in a Cell, perhaps the Undertaker’s final match, legend Stone Cold deliver a stunner, and The Rock deliver the People’s Elbow. WM33 can’t come soon enough.



Former Army Special Forces Communications Sergeant Jason McCarthy brought this military-inspired workout—which has you carrying 45 pounds on your back for 12-mile marches with intervals of body-weight exercises—to civilian life in 2008. Now rucking is a fitness trend that builds strength and endurance all in one convenient, and heavy, package.

CM Punk’s MMA Debut

Former WWE champ and black sheep CM Punk dedicated two years of his life to training MMA in preparation for his UFC debut. Despite his world-class coach, MMA legend Duke Roufus, the match ended as we all expected. Punk (real name Phil Brooks) got punked when he was choked out in less than two minutes by up-and-comer Mickey Gall. The $500K check he cashed at the end of it must’ve have eased the pain a little, though.

Luke Cage

Mike Colter made his debut last year in Marvel’s Jessica Jones as Luke Cage, the ex-con with superstrength and impenetrable skin. To play the role in his own Netflix binge-worthy show, Colter packed on 30 pounds, beefing up to 235 by sticking to a diet of whole foods and logging two-a-day workouts. Harlem is now safe.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps

The king of the pool added five gold medals to his total of 23 (28 overall) in Rio, leaving South America as the most decorated Olympian of all time.

The Cyborg’s Skull Fracture

At Bellator 158, Michael “Venom” Page threw a flying knee at Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, visibly denting his forehead and fracturing his skull. According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, it was “the worst MMA injury I’ve ever seen.”

Ryan Lochte

Ryan Lochte
What a gas-hole. One of the greatest swimmers in Olympic history furthered his dim-witted image when he fabricated a story about being robbed along with three teammates at a gas station in Rio during the Summer Olympics. Subsequently competing on Dancing with the Stars doesn’t help, either.

Fit Scanners

First TSA began using body scanners, and now the fitness industry is jumping on the trend. The difference is that the fit scanners, like the $500 Naked 3D Fitness Tracker, don’t emit radiation—they capture detailed metrics, such as your weight, body-fat percentage, muscle growth, and fat loss. With the Naked—a scale-mirror combo—you strip down to your birthday suit and step on the scale while the mirror captures the data. The stats are saved in a smartphone app and even allow you to compare changes in size over time. And by size we obviously mean weight and muscle mass.

beet juice

Beet Juice

Beet juice was trending when some fellas in lab coats announced that the inorganic nitrates from beet juice can lower blood pressure as well as improve your performance in the gym and increase blood flow to the heart. The health benefits surely outweigh the purplish/red pee and poop that comes from consuming it.

CrossFit Games

Mat Fraser is officially the “Fittest Man on the Planet” after winning the 2016 CrossFit Games by 197 points. Out of 40 competitors, Fraser placed second in seven of the 15 events, not dipping below 10th place, and clinched first place in the Ranch Trail Run—a brutal 7km race set in Aromas, CA, with steep hills and treacherous terrain.

Ryan Jimmo Death

Ryan Jimmo
Seven-time UFC light heavyweight Ryan Jimmo was killed back on June 26 after being struck by a car in Alberta, Canada, outside of the H20 Lounge following a parking lot altercation. He was 24.

Weightlifter Faints at Olympics

Olympic weightlifter Milko Olavi Tokola clean and jerked an incredible 385 pounds and was mid-celebration when his blood pressure dropped, causing him to face-plant off the stage. Tokola was in good spirits, though, saying that passing out after a big lift is a common occurrence.

Dave Chappelle Muscular Arms

Dave Chappelle

No Joke, Dave’s Jacked

The star of Chappelle’s Show, who astonished fans two years ago with buff arms, appeared superjacked at Game 7 of the NBA Finals and looked more like Terrell Owens than the Prince impersonator. Now he just needs to quit chain-smoking.

Sleep Better

Looking for non-Ambien ways to battle insomnia? Eat more fibrous foods and fewer foods rich in sugar and saturated fat. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine had 26 subjects spend five nights in a sleep lab. Researchers analyzed sleep data after controlling what participants ate—high-protein, high-fiber meals—and also allowing them to munch on anything they wanted. The healthier meals translated to falling asleep quicker and better overall sleep quality.

1-Min. Fit

A 12-week study published in the journal PLOS One had sedentary men train three times per week using either 20-second cycle sprints followed by two minutes of light pedaling until sprinting time equaled a minute or 45 minutes of moderate pedaling. Both groups saw their cardio endurance improve by 19%, and untrained subjects improved more because moving is easier than being glued to a couch. Fit people need more HIIT to see changes, but the data should tell you that even when you’re pressed for time, doing some work can prove beneficial.

Fight Cancer

As if you needed another reason to hit the weights: Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that highly fit people were found to have a 7% reduced risk of developing 13 types of cancers in a 12-study review that covered nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. and Europe.

The Arnold Classic

The 2016 Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH, was highlighted by an insane 1,025-pound long-bar deadlift by Eddie Hall and the return of IFBB bodybuilder Kai Greene. The Predator hadn’t competed since the 2014 Mr. Olympia but managed to capture first place at the Arnold Classic, wowing audiences with a viral-worthy posing routine.

Train More

The American Heart Association recommends between 75 and 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. A study that appeared in The BMJ says upping that to six to eight hours of intense exercise can help you ward off breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. U.S. and Australian researchers sifted through 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016 and cross-referenced the amount of total physical activity with one of the five aforementioned diseases. In short, people who exercise longer live longer.


We were as shocked as anyone after our extensive data dive to find M&F’s Fittest Cities awarded the No. 1 slot to a place known for being blanketed in snow from October to April, with an annual winter freeze capable of plunging the thermometer’s mercury as low as -30°F.

Phil Heath

Mr. Olympia

Phil Heath tied Dorian Yates by winning his sixth Sandow, Dexter Jackson appeared for a record-breaking 17th Olympia, and Kevin Levrone, one of the greatest bodybuilders never to win the O, proved that age is just a number by stepping back onstage at 52 after a 13-year hiatus. The highlight of Olympia Weekend was when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson graced the stage to receive M&F’s Man of the Century award and to announce that the 2017 Mr. Olympia will be broadcast live on CBS Sports.

Stroke It

Think about playing your skin flute or pumping your partner as often as you pump up at the gym? A Harvard study found that men who ejaculated more than 21 times per month had a 20% lower risk of developing prostate cancer than guys who ejaculated four to seven times.

Dark Chocolate

Milk chocolate will help you pack on the pounds, but Brown University researchers analyzed data on more than 1,000 random subjects and determined that the cocoa flavonols found largely in dark chocolate may have the ability to improve inflammation and insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Previous studies support dark chocolate’s ability to improve blood-vessel elasticity and reduce the risk of stroke.

John Cena Working Out

John Cena

You Can See Him… In His Own TV Show

John Cena, the face of the WWE, started the year off as M&F’s January cover star. Flying high from that fame, the 39-year-old took time away from the ring to film his first television show, American Grit. Following in the footsteps of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge (see page 100), Cena and his chiseled jaw hosted a competition show that had him and an elite group of mentors push 16 contestants through a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges. And speaking of challenges, Cena, who also starred in Total Bellas, had his own epic battles including losing to AJ Styles at SummerSlam.

Fry Veggies

Scientists cooked a potato, tomato, eggplant, and pumpkin by deep-frying in extra-virgin olive oil, sautéing, boiling in water, and boiling in water and oil and concluded that the method shown to increase antioxidant levels most was frying.

Stop Failure

According to the CDC, nearly 6 million people have heart failure in the U.S. Something that might help reduce those numbers: aerobic exercise. A study published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine found that rats that engaged in more cardio had their cardiac-protein quality improve. No word yet on whether the rats did CrossFit, Tabata, or steady-state cardio.

squat world record

World Records

  • MOST PUSHUPS WITH 80 LBS ON BACK: 51, Rohtash Choudhary, India
  • FASTEST TIME TO DESCEND 50 STEPS WALKING ON HANDS: 14.58 seconds, Kevin Delco, Switzerland
  • LONGEST TIME IN AN ABDOMINAL PLANK POSITION WITH 100-LB PACK: 4 minutes, 41 seconds, Paddy Doyle, England
  • HEAVIEST WEIGHTLIFTING, 56KG TOTAL (MALE): 307kg, Long Qingquan, China
  • MOST CLAP PULLUPS IN ONE MINUTE: 30, Blake Augustine, U.S.
  • LONGEST ABDOMINAL PLANK: 8 hours, 1 minute, Mao Weidong, China
  • MOST TWO-FINGER PULLUPS IN ONE MINUTE: 19, Jamshid Turaev, Uzbekistan
  • MOST PULLUPS IN 24 HOURS (FEMALE): 3,737, Eva Clarke, Australia
  • MOST CHINUPS IN 24 HOURS: 5,050, Joonas Makipelto, Finland

Jay Pharoah

This pharoah did not let his belly go. The Saturday Night Live alum moved on from his former physique to one that definitely makes him a ready-for-prime-time player by dropping 40 pounds.