What does an “athletic” body look like?

March 12th, 2011  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  7 Comments

A fabulous collection of male and female athlete photos assembled at Nina Matsumoto’s blog.

You’ve seen some of these before on Stumptuous, but the inclusion of the men’s photos further expands the concept that elite athletes — whose bodies are extremely fit, finely tuned, high-performance machines — nevertheless do not usually look like “fitness models”.


Click for larger version.

I particularly love this comparison of male natural (i.e. drug-tested) bodybuilders, heavyweight and middleweight weightlifter, and non-natural (i.e. drug-assisted) bodybuilder, as well as the high jumper and gymnasts comparison. And of course, the sprinters look fantastic.

Ladies, notice the gorgeous muscular legs that many of these grrls are sporting. Ya gotta have strong pins to drive those runs, jumps, and kicks. Notice that you probably couldn’t see daylight between most of their thighs — unlike the fashion model ideal (and the ideal that most women have of how their thighs should be).

Notice the incredible range in body weights, heights, shapes, and body fat %. Most folks are lean or at the low end of normal body fat % but not super-lean.

Also notice: strong midsections, shoulders… and confident faces. These are folks who know their bodies have the power to do things — which is what “fitness” truly is.

Whether you’re a marathoner, shotputter, or trampolinist (represent!), be you. As Bill Withers sang, “Whatever you do, do it good.”


  1. nina matsumoto says:

    March 12th, 2011at 9:00 pm(#)

    Hi, I’m stoked to see that my blog was linked to here! I’m a fan of this website (I enjoy strength training and going to the gym but find a lot of “female fitness” guides are too geared towards physical appearance and fad diets; this website has none of that BS) and I found the female-only photos you posted here years ago very inspiring. Thanks!

  2. M says:

    March 14th, 2011at 2:01 pm(#)

    I heard Vogue magazine is looking for you, Krista, and they want you dead or alive. They told me you’re undermining the very premise their success rests on, which is women failing to question these unattainable, homogeneous beauty ideals and doubting their own body imag..g..g.. oh, crap, I now hear Vogue just formed an alliance with ALMOST EVERY magazine and fashion catalog and they’re going to torture you!! Run, Krista, run!!
    [preferably with proper form, in moderation, and unaided by commercial so-called “fuel” and “recovery” substances]

  3. Mistress Krista says:

    March 14th, 2011at 2:21 pm(#)

    No problem; pretty sure I could take most of them in a fight.

  4. Nikki says:

    March 17th, 2011at 2:50 pm(#)

    Aimee Mullins is on there! She’s just amazing. If anyone wants to check it out, she did a TED talk a couple years ago…


  5. CrossFit Ireland » Tue, Mar 29th says:

    March 28th, 2011at 4:54 pm(#)

    […] What Does An Athletic Body Look Like? – Stumptuous […]

  6. Tony @ Olympic Weights Blog says:

    March 30th, 2011at 8:50 pm(#)

    This is awesome. I’ve been always trying to make comparisons of different body types when watching Olympics. Having them in pictures that are done in similar conditions is great. You can actually draw a lot of conclusions about different sports just by looking at them.

  7. Rose says:

    April 3rd, 2011at 2:57 pm(#)

    That’s why people keep telling me I look like a swimmer!


Get "Fuck Calories"

Enter your information below and the magical gnomes that run Stumptuous will send you a copy of the "Fuck Calories" e-book for free!
Email Marketing by Javelin