Pro athletes love to pressure the point that their success comes from the stuff that you don't see on television. The years of workouts and training are huge in determining success in professional sports. All of the greats have worked very hard. Michael Jordan attributed his thousands of missed shots to being able to make the game winners. The best basketball player ever had to put the work in to become the person the team trusted to make the last shot. He could have given up after being cut from his high school basketball team but he didn't. Instead, MJ worked to get to the level he was required to be at.
Natural talent and ability matched with a strong work ethic and a will to succeed seems to be the magical formula to success. While most athletes have crazy workouts, some take it above and beyond, spending the majority of the day and entire off-seasons in the gym.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and also one of the best to ever play in the position, trains for the chance he gets a concussion, even though he's only had one in his entire career. His daily schedule, both in and out of season, is planned until he is into his 40s. Every day of it is already micromanaged to ensure he can play football as long as possible. Rob Gronkowski and Adrian Peterson, while both obviously gifted genetically, began serious training programs in early childhood, giving them a huge advantage over other players for years to come.
He's not the only one with an extreme fitness plan. The top tier of each major sport seem to all have one thing in common...natural God given abilities matched with insane craving for success. Then, they add in a training program that can make people cry.
Here are 15 athletes with crazy workouts.
15 George St-Pierre
George St-Pierre's workout DVDs are only a small portion of St-Pierre's actual training regime.
In 2007, GSP lost to an underdog fighter and vowed never to lose again. So, he and his training partner became more calculated and prepared more seriously.
According to Muscle and Fitness, his workouts include gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting. He skips traditional exercises like the bench press and opts for high-intensity circuit training. He also trains in boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai and jujitsu, always ensuring he works out with the best in each discipline.
Even when he doesn't have a fight coming up, GSP goes to the gym twice each day, six times a week. Alternatively, when he is training for a fight, he works out even more intensively. In fact, in four days before his weigh-in, GSP loses 15 pounds through diet and training.
14 Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt became the fastest man in the world through some of the hardest workouts in the world. Bolt once posted a video on Instagram in which he had trained so hard he started to throw up at the side of the track. Australian sprinter Jarrod Geddes said, in an interview with Spikes, that there have been times when he was on the ground hollering in pain during training sessions. However, Bolt always completes his reps regardless of the pain and suffering he is experiencing.
Bolt has suffered from scoliosis since childhood so he gears a his workout towards strengthening his back and core. He spends about 90 minutes a day in the gym. Bolt also has a separate workout to build his muscles towards being capable of moving faster.
When all is said and done, he puts in about three hours a day.
13 Patrick Willis
Patrick Willis' workout is one of the most intense in the NFL.
Before Willis had dumbbells, he used to train with cement blocks.
Today, he says of his workouts:
"I do squats and bench presses at weights that mimic offensive players I’ll have to handle. I’ll do 225 pounds for 6 reps —that's a running back. Then 275 pounds for 5 reps —a big tight end. Then finish with 315 for another 4 reps—that's my offensive lineman."
Willis centers his workouts around core training. He can hold the plank position for up to 4 minutes.
12 Timothy Bradley
A few years ago, an HBO special showed Timothy Bradley jumping up stadium steps with 145 pounds across his shoulders. The guy has abs on top of abs.
Bradley has been training since he was 10 years old and his regime is pretty out there even for a boxer. As a child, according to Sports on Earth, his father would demanded things like he do a hundred pushups and sit ups a day for a month. Later, when Bradley was kicked out of school in the second grade, he began to train to fight. His father would drive alongside him while he ran and other drivers yelled things at him about child abuse.
The workouts and diet only got more intense as he got older.
While Floyd Mayweather eats Big Mac sandwiches during yoga, Bradley follows an ultra-strict vegan diet.
11 Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski loves to do the ultra-difficult Insanity workout with his brothers.
The Gronk bros have been training since childhood in both weights and other sports. He still uses two days of the week to cross-train in other sports while working out in the gym five times a week. But, that's just the offseason.
10 Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis personally develops his own workout plans. When he was still playing, in season, he would train to failure, which often means about 120 minutes, according to BodyBuilding.com.
Lewis would work out during the offseason in the Florida heat, where he'd do three different workouts. One of his three workouts is typically 90 minutes of 20-yard-deep sand sprints in a weighted vest. He wouldn't take time off after season's end, making sure to do a light workout each day.
Today, he says he cycles up to 80 miles a day and works out more than he did as a player.
9 Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield won the bronze medal in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1984 Summer Olympics at the age of 21. From there, he completely ignored weight classes, and used science to give him the competitive edge over larger Heavyweight fighters.
Holyfield's opponents were typically taller, fought about ten pounds heavier, and had a formidable five-inch advantage in reach. To overcome this, Holyfield hired scientists who crafted a three training sessions per day training program for him. He didn't even get a day off.
His three workouts per day didn't even include boxing practice.
The program would lead to Holyfield winning the Heavyweight Title.
Then, he got his ear bit off by Mike Tyson.
8 Allen Iverson
Just kidding. Dude didn't even go to practice.
7 Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps' Olympic workout and diet are insane. Trainer Bob Bowman is one of the hardest coaches to train with, planning the swimmer's workouts a year in advance.
Before Olympic trials, Bowman brings his hopefuls to Colorado Springs so they can train at a high altitude for a month. where Phelps and company just "eat, sleep and train."
According to Phelps, in an article by Yahoo! Sports, the workout consists of:
"55 practices across 23 days, plus daily dryland strength workouts, and all of it in the thin air of 6,300 feet. The practice pattern per week: three-a-day, three-a-day, two-a-day, three-a-day, three-a-day, two-a-day, day off."
Phelps' diet matches his workouts. He consumes 12,000 calories each day while training. He drinks 1000 calorie energy drinks and a typical breakfast is three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise, according to The New Yorker. Followed up by two cups of coffee, a five egg omelet, one bowl of maize porridge, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar, and three chocolate chip pancakes.
6 Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett has been in the game for so long because of his mental toughness. Guys like Brian Scalabrine say he can change the energy in the room when he enters it. But, his workouts are also incredibly important to his career longevity and success.
In the beginning of his career, he only arrived at the same time as everybody else when coaches suggested he give the training staff an extra hour of sleep on holidays, according to Boston.com.
"I like my footprints to be the first in the sand," Garnett says.
The year before the Boston Celtics won their first title with Garnett, he spent the summer in Las Vegas at a training camp.
His trainer says Garnett preferred not to talk much about his tough regime, saying he's private about it. However, his trainer says he could be the hardest working player out of all the guys he's trained.
His trainer is Joe Abunassar by the way.
Garnett's training helped him overcome being one of the most high-risk draft picks ever. He had faced second degree lynching charges after a fight broke up between black and white students at his high school. He couldn't achieve an SAT or ACT score that would allow him to play college basketball as a freshman so he went straight into the NBA. His agent feared that general managers wouldn't touch him and so he arranged individual workouts for Garnett.
It was the workout that got him drafted.
5 Tom Brady
Tom Brady was never supposed to be Tom Brady.
He plans his diet years in advance and plans his life around being able to play football as long as possible. His workouts even include brain exercises to enable him to process information more quickly, increase his peripheral vision and help improve his memory. He exercises on land, on sand and in water.
Ex-teammate Rodney Harrison tells an anecdote about showing up to the gym at 6 a.m. and having Brady tell him, "Good afternoon."
Even vacations include two workouts a day.
4 Adrian Peterson
A typical exercise for Adrian Peterson is a Push-Up to a Plyo Jump to a 20 yard Sprint. This is followed up by a modified version of almost every other exercise known to man. Peterson alters exercise to make them harder. He performs his lifting routine as a circuit and begins speed, agility, and conditioning training immediately after lifting.
Peterson began to work out at the age of 7. He didn't have money for weights when he wasn't at the YMCA so he improvised. Running up hills was a major part of his workout. There is even a rumour that he selected the University of Oklahoma because they had a really good hill he could run up.
3 Floyd Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather's secret to success? Nobody works harder than him.
For Mayweather to stop his training regime, often someone needs to tell him that he's done enough work for one day and that it's time to call it quits before he will retire to the change room.
Mayweather never dishes about his entire workout regime even though he trains in front of a crowd regularly in a public Las Vegas gym. His workouts include yoga, core work, jump rope, and of course, boxing.
A 2 and a half hour workout with no breaks is a light day.
2 Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant's work ethic is legendary. Michael Jordan famously named him as the only player who deserves comparison to himself. Why? Because, according to Jordan, and many others, Bryant puts the work in.
Jason Kidd says that during the 2008 Olympic Games, Kobe practiced like it was Game 7. Why? "He wants to prove that he’s the best player in the world every single practice." Many people have testified Bryant goes to the gym before practice, then goes to practice with the team, then stays after practice to work out some more.
Although Shaq never really liked Kobe, he admired his work ethic in the gym as well. The former centre for the Los Angeles Lakers says:
"Kobe is a scientific dawg. He works out every day, practices every day. Most of the other stars are just dawgs, not scientific dawgs.
“Me, I’m a freak-of-nature dawg because of my size. LeBron could be a scientific dawg like Kobe, but he’s not, he’s got a lot going on like I did, so that’s preventing him from being one.”
Other former Lakers teammates agree. Metta World Peace once tweeted that he got to the gym for 6:45 to find out Bryant had been there since 5:30 for his first of three workouts.
1 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan worked very hard to succeed in basketball. Very hard. It was before trainers and nutritionists would suggest meat-free diets such as the one Ray Lewis follows or Brady's raw diet. But Jordan still put in more work than anybody else in his sport. He names Kobe Bryant as the only other guy who trains and works as hard as he did.
His "Airness" would hit the gym at 8:00AM and then head to the Chicago Bulls training facility for 11:00AM and practice for another two hours. Him and Scott Pippin used to stay at the gym to go one-on-one for hours after everybody else left. And that was when he was at his best.
When Jordan first entered the league, his jump shot wasn't good enough for him. So he spent his off season taking hundreds of jumpers a day until it was perfect.
Jordan's work ethic defined his NBA career. Johnny Bach said, according to News.com.au, that "he’s the most viciously competitive player I’ve ever seen. That’s what makes him, I think, the greatest player ever. He has practically ruined Rodney McCray for us."