We can all use a little extra motivation now and then, and where better to look for it than in professional athletes? Even the fittest among us, or those of us who spend the most time at the gym, can usually find something to aspire to when we set our sights on world-class athletes. Because of this, we’re dedicating this piece to identifying four such athletes who can inspire you to get in the best shape of your life.
1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaican Sprinter)
On some level, sprinters always seem to be the fittest athletes. They compete without a shred of excess body fat, move at blinding speeds, and tend to have rippling muscles all up and down their bodies as they race. Every sport is incredibly impressive at the professional level, but the simplicity of sprinting almost elevates it – it’s pure, human physical achievement. Because of this it’s only natural to include a sprinter on this list, and Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is perfect for it. Though not as heralded as her male counterpart, Usain Bolt (who is the fastest human who’s ever lived), Fraser-Pryce won glory at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and was still competing at a high enough level to earn a bronze medal in Rio in 2016! Judging by some of her comments about Jamaican sprinting after Bolt’s retirement, she may also still be gearing up for Tokyo 2020, at which point she’d be 33 years old. For Fraser-Pryce to be in such phenomenal shape, and remain so capable for so long, is surely an inspiration.
2. Alex Morgan (American Footballer)
Alex Morgan may be the most relevant athlete on this list at the present moment, because this summer she’s leading the U.S. women’s national team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Americans are something of a powerhouse, and were you to look through any of the UK’s popular bookmaking sites,you’d likely see them listed as World Cup favourites across the board. These favourable odds are due to more than just Morgan, but she’s the reliable scorer and the biggest name on the U.S. team, and it’s thanks in large part to her fitness. Now 29 years old, Morgan has become about as well known for her flat abs and flawless physique as for her football skill – and both have helped her to become one of the defining players of her generation.
3. Amanda Nunes (Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist)
Amanda Nunes still doesn’t seem to be the most famous woman in MMA. That distinction, in fact, may still go to Ronda Rousey, who was the sport’s first female star (though she’s since moved on to WWE), or perhaps to Holly Holm, who was the first to beat Rousey. Nunes, though, may be the best woman the sport has ever seen, and it’s starting to become hard to deny. Nunes now holds titles in two separate divisions, and in a sport that’s so demanding of athletes’ entire bodies, this more or less positions her as one of the fittest people her organization has ever seen. You need only watch Nunes fight for a few minutes – whether or not you enjoy MMA – to want to get to the gym and start working!
4. Serena Williams (American Tennis Player)
Serena Williams may be heading toward the twilight of her career, but whether or not this is the case she’s established herself as one of the most impressive athletes in history. The unquestioned best tennis player of her generation (and possibly all time), Williams has long been a physical force the likes of which her opponents simply couldn’t keep up with. Yes, she happens to be naturally bigger than most of these opponents, but rest assured she’s put in the work to maintain her strength and shape her athleticism to dominate the way she does. Throw in her courageous comeback after a post-pregnancy blood-clotting incident threatened her life, and the story of her fitness only gets more remarkable. Williams will be in contention at this summer’s Wimbledon and U.S. Open, and despite the comment about her approaching her twilight, no one would be surprised to see her hoist more major trophies. Few athletes in the world can inspire you so throughly from a fitness standpoint.