The Year in Sports and Fitness: 2016

We’re giving 2016 a proper send-off by highlighting the most significant fitness stories from the past 365 days.

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.