I've never quite got the ESPN Body Issue, except for the fact that it's ESPN's answer to Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue masquerading as some kind of tribute to human athletic specimens. Let's not kid ourselves though, it's largely just an excuse to push magazines and for men to see female athletes without any clothes on. It's basically the sports equivalent to Discovery Channel putting naked people out in the woods for no other reason than to put naked people out in the woods.
This year's edition may represent the most surprising choice in the history of the Body Issue – 77 year old golfing legend Gary Player. Player's physical fitness and workout regimen is downright mythical as he was decades ahead of his time as a golfer who was an honest to goodness athlete. Gary Player was Crossfit before Crossfit was cool. Here's the description of Player's workout routine from the Wall Street Journal in 2011…
"I still do 1,000 sit ups and push ups every morning," says Mr. Player. "You can do that anywhere in the world." He exercises for about an hour, five to six days a week. He warms up by stretching and then moves on to weights and cardio.
At his house in Jupiter Island, Fla., he will spend 30 to 45 minutes jogging on the treadmill in his home gym. At his ranch in Colesberg, South Africa, he had almost 200 stairs built into a hill and he alternates between walking, jogging and taking two steps at a time.
"I like to mix it up so my body doesn't know what's happening, but no matter what I choose, my legs burn at the end," he says. He also has a pool at both homes and will swim for about 20 minutes just using his legs to kick while holding onto a paddleboard. "I'm even out there in the South African winters when it's minus-five degrees."
For strength, he does three sets of 20 to 25 repetitions of lunges and squats and then another three sets while holding light weights. He does his 1,000 sit ups on a stability ball or on the floor with a dumbbell on his chest. He also does back extensions to keep his lower back strong and flexible.
Mr. Player performs wrist curls, rolling a 20 pound dumbbell down to his fingers and then back up while curling his hand upward toward his forearm.
He also meditates for 20 to 30 minutes every day. "I think it's important to work on strength of mind, patience and gratitude," he says.
Sheer madness. Other athletes in this year's issue include Matt Harvey, Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis, Kerri Walsh Jennings, John Wall, Kenny Faried, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Sydney Leroux. Of course, none of them are 77 years old. I don't know if this sets any kind of record for "oldest person to pose nude for a sports magazine" but God bless Gary Player for flaunting what he's got. As for me, it's the blogging regimen of Chipotle, Oreos, and maybe a Diet Mountain Dew for lunch.