We look to professional athletes as the pinnacle of health and fitness. In many cases, however, that’s far from the truth. Professional athletes are a prime example of how someone can appear fit and healthy without either one being true.
We want to celebrate the athletes that who made the effort to lose unhealthy pounds or do more to be truly fit. In the long run, a healthy lifestyle is more beneficial than a pro sports career, and we think it’s great these athletes make the commitment to health and fitness.
As a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, Steve Atwater was in peak physical condition. That changed after he retired and put on weight. Now, he has lost 21 pounds with Retrofit. He says his biggest hurdle to losing weight was his mind. “I knew I had a problem, especially when it came to large, multiple servings. I couldn’t resist. I knew I needed more discipline.” After joining Retrofit, he said the changes that led to weight loss were fairly easy. “It didn’t seem like I had done anything major. It didn’t really feel like dieting because I just made small adjustments.”
Football star turned talk show host Michael Strahan is another retired player making news for his slimmed-down physique. The former New York Giants defensive lineman told Men’s Fitness he’s following a whole new workout routine and eating plan. “Now I eat more smaller meals instead of just gorging myself,” he told the magazine. “As an athlete you’re brought up with that mentality that you finish everything you start…I had to change that mentality to one of where, ‘I eat until I’m full and leave the rest.'”
It’s not just football players shaping up; Olympic skiers like Bode Miller are shedding pounds as well. After a knee surgery in 2023, Miller decided to skip the 2023 World Cup season and focus on recovery. That recovery led to a 20-pound weight loss, which keeps his knees from taking such a beating on the slopes. Though fellow skiers view Miller’s slimmer frame as a disadvantage, he disagrees. “I feel good. I feel balanced,” Miller has said. “I feel athletic on my skies.”
When retired basketball player and current analyst Charles Barkley decided it was time to lose weight, he didn’t do it on his own. Instead, he became a spokesperson for a weight loss brand, and used his celebrity status to encourage men to lose weight. Through his efforts, he lost upwards of 38 pounds and reminded men that losing weight isn’t just for women.
Alan Faneca has achieved an accomplishment that many thought a football could never do. He has re-invented himself since retiring from football and completed his first marathon, in less than four hours to boot, earlier this month. The former member of the Steelers weighed over 300 pounds during the peak of his football career. Now three years removed from it, he has lost over 100 pounds and is focused on running and staying healthy. He told ESPN that he hopes a healthy lifestyle will slow the effects of a long football career. “I’m doing good now and hopefully (surgeries) come much further and hopefully the weight loss helps push those even further off. That’s all part of what you sign up for and it comes with the territory.”
Images from mensfitness.com, latimes.com, lostletterman.com, Videos from Retrofit and ESPN.com