There was a time when a footballer with a six-pack was a rare, mythical creature, like a golfer with a decent bench press, a rugby player who looked good in a compression top or a darts player who could climb stairs without wheezing. These days it’s not exactly the standard – yet, anyway – but players who look like Spartan warriors are more and more common, as the brutal Darwinism of modern football forces teams to look for every possible edge.
Jack Wilshere is a prime example of this modern phenomenon – a product of Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal revolution, which introduced periodised training, plyometrics and proper nutrition before almost anyone else to create the strongest, leanest players in the Premier League. Wilshere takes training seriously, with a six-pack that’s a side effect of a core regime laser-targeted at midfield efficiency.
He’s had injury trouble, but he’s tackled it the right way – mixing modern sports science with old-fashioned hard work to come back stronger. That’s why we’ve picked him to head up our special on the new breed of athlete (p50) – men who’ve left traditional training dogma behind and embraced the latest methods to elevate their sports.
You’ll also meet Mat Fraser, tipped to be crowned the world’s fittest man in 2015 (p28), Whitney Miller, a former Miss USA who’s turned her attention to choking people unconscious (p28), and ten other men who exemplify modern sporting success (p60). But because not everyone has access to hi-tech training facilities and tailored nutrition, we’ve also included a training plan that you can do with a £ 40 weight kit to make elite-level gains (p76), and some simple ways to reset your brain in less time it takes to have a tea break (p72).
Boxer Anthony Joshua makes the grade in our run-down of the new breed of athlete. Have we left
anyone out? Let us know – or get in touch about any other fitness issue @MensFitnessMag