Why Tony Kanaan Might Be the Fittest Athlete In Motorsports | STACK

Why Tony Kanaan Might Be the Fittest Athlete In Motorsports

February 5, 2013 | Daryle W. Hier

Must See Training Videos

On top of being one of the best drivers in IndyCar, Tony Kanaan might be one of the fittest athletes in the entire motorsports world.

Kanaan is unmatched in his preparedness, training regimen and fitness schedule. The 38-year-old Brazilian, who won the IndyCar championship in 2004, stays in shape by training for and competing in triathlons.

Because weight training is not recommedned for racecar drivers—especially as an child—Kanaan stayed in shape by swimming. In his early teens, he also ran and biked. Of course, those are the three components of the triathlon. For the past dozen seasons, Kanaan has competed in many triathlons, and in fact he has won sprint triathlons in Florida (Kanaan resides inthe Miami area). He does Ironman competitions as well. Of the three sports, Kanaan favors cycling. He has historically been a big supporter of Lance Armstrong and Livestrong.

Diet Plan

Livestrong.com is a great place for information on health. Kanaan once offered up the recipe for one of his favorite pre-race meals: picanha, a specific cut of sirloin that's turned on a grill. Kanaan eats it with rice and beans, and the meal is one of his training staples (source: Livestrong).

Kanaan stays away from junk food. He says, "I don't eat fast food, don't drink soda or alcohol or eat anything fried. I believe you have to take care of your body."


Tony Kanaan eats every three hours during the day. A typical set of meals includes a two-egg omelet; a protein shake with toast; rice and beans with red meat, chicken or fish; another shake; a turkey sandwich; and at night a salad with pasta and tomatoes. Once a week, he cheats, treating himself to a couple of hot dogs (source: Chicago Tribune).

Strength Regimen

Kanaan's percentage of body fat beats that of many other professional athletes. Incredibly, it's been stated that the 5'5" 150-pound driver is almost as strong as an NFL linebacker. He also integrates CrossFit into his regimen, along with stretching exercises. He trains seven days a week, including cycling for up to two hours, swimming for 45 minutes and lifting weights for 45 minutes. His weight training focuses on the shoulders and neck, critical areas for a racecar driver due to g-forces; but he also does core training for his back and abs. Kanaan's training motto is "The pain is momentary. Giving up is forever."

That's how a relatively small man has prepared and performed at such a high level for so many years as a premier racecar driver. Tony Kanaan stays ahead of the pack thanks to his nutritional habits, intense workout regimen and unwavering will to win.

Photo: Racin' Today

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Inside the Athlete Factory

Hanley Ramirez's Explosive Sled Row

7 Training Tips from Professional Triathlete Linsey Corbin

Floyd Mayweather Trains for Rematch With Marcos Maidana

The Lowest Moment in High School Football History

How Lolo Jones Got Lean After Bobsledding

Avoid the Most Common Muscle Imbalances in Your Sport

Kelly Clark: Strong Enough to Fly

Find Your Hidden Weaknesses

Why CrossFit Is Perfect for Me

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

The Easiest Fixes for 4 Common Exercises

3 Workout Styles Every Athlete Should Try

Sanya Richards-Ross Looking Sharp in the Gym, Training for Rio

GHD Sit-Up: The Worst CrossFit Exercise?

11 Strategies for Getting More Done During Your Workouts

Carlos Boozer Does 'The Airplane' and AcroYoga

Breaking Down Eddie Lacy's Untacklable Performance

Preparation Nation: Hoover Buccaneers Basketball

Above and Beyond: STACK Velocity Sports Performance San Diego

Make Your Training Weaknesses Your New Strengths

How to Stay Safe When Exercising in Cold Weather

Guy Does Insane Strength Workout on Park Parallel Bars

WATCH: Clay Matthews Move the Earth in New Muscle Milk Ad

Antonio Brown Built His Ridiculous Footwork With Pilates

Why You Need to Follow the F.I.T.T. Principle

6 Training Ideas Shaping the Future of Fitness

Katie Eberling: One Athlete, Many Sports

5 Soothing Ways to Treat Sore Feet After Practices and Games

DDP Yoga: 'It Ain't Your Mama's Yoga'

Hit the Hole Harder With Maurice Jones-Drew

The 4-Day Deloading Plan for Recovery

WATCH: Jon 'Bones' Jones's Brutal Uphill Sprints

Fix Bad Posture and Increase Athletic Performance

Training Trash Bin: Dumbbell Side Bends

The Training Formula Behind Drew Brees's 5 TD Passes

What's Up With Elite NBA Players Losing Weight?

How to Personalize a Workout Program for Better Training Results

Jump Higher and Faster With Transitional Med Ball Box Jumps

How to Determine the Best Exercise Order for Your Workout

The Underwater Box Jump? David Wilson Is a Dolphin

EXOS Announces Online Certification Program

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'