Undoubtedly one of the fittest athletes Australia has ever produced, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
The Logies have just wrapped, The Voice has begun, and My Kitchen Rules is still cooking in what feels like its 50th week of compe-kitchen-tition. Therefore, it's Boot Camp's turn to run an awards show. It's time to determine (drumroll please, maestro) ... who is the fittest of the fit in Australia?
We could argue the semantics and definition of "fitness" until MKR cooks its final dessert, so let's keep it simple and describe being physically fit as possessing speed, muscular strength and quickness, along with cardio and muscular endurance.
So who's the fittest athlete in Australia? The nominees are:
CADEL EVANS (CYCLING)
The Tour de France is a 21-day race, covering approximately 3200 kilometres. There are downhills with bends that flirt with death, steep climbs up mountains, sprints, and long endurance stretches that test riders to the limit. 2011's winner certainly deserves to be high on this list of the fittest of Australian athletes.
ALICIA COUTTS (SWIMMING)
Winning five medals in the pool at the 2012 Olympics means Coutts is one of Australia's fittest swimmers ever. To compete and score medals in the freestyle, butterfly, and medley requires incredible technique, making her a master in the pool and one fit athlete.
BERNARD TOMIC (TENNIS)
A tennis player that can ready himself to battle five-set matches with the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer is damn fit. Tomic is Australia's top-ranked tennis player, and matches that include long baseline rallies, powerful serves, and sprints to the net require serious fitness throughout a gruelling international season.
GARY ABLETT JR (AFL)
To excel as an AFL athlete, one must display a repitoire of athletic skills combined with world-class fitness. To sprint, run medium distances, catch, kick, jump, catch, pass, and hit (on offence and defence) with success is a serious athletic feat. AFL athletes might not be known internationally, but their fitness demands athletes such as Ablett Jr be placed at the top of any Australian (or international) list.
CHAD MACKAY (CROSSFIT)
CrossFit athletes aren't household names, but the sport's popularity is growing worldwide. Chad Mackay is one fit chap. In 2012, Chad finished 9th at the CrossFit World Games in the USA. CrossFit competitions are varied and unique, combining many (if not all) elements of an athletic endeavour, crowning the self-proclaimed 'Fittest on Earth'.
DANIEL GEALE (BOXING)
Middleweight boxing world champion Geale (sporting a 29-1 win-loss record) is at the top of Australian boxing. Preparing for 12, three-minute rounds of professional boxing is a bit more serious than entering boxing class at the gym. The strength, speed, and cardio fitness required to stand toe-to-toe for 12 rounds with a respected boxer like German Felix Sturm (and win) proves his incredible fitness.
MARK WEBBER (FORMULA 1)
A car driver? Yes indeed. Coping with shifting G-forces between three and five times your own body weight requires critical fitness, and Webber has done it for years. Historically, Formula 1 drivers partied throughout a season, but modern requirements dictate that drivers are lean, agile, endurance athletes with a level of fitness that cannot be ignored.
SONNY BILL WILLIAMS (RUGBY UNION/LEAGUE)
To play either code of rugby, you’ve gotta be strong, fast, agile, damn tough … and fit. Sonny Bill is all of the above, and playing for both the All-Blacks and The Roosters is an impressive feat. Add a pretty good start to a boxing career, and you’ve got one fit hombre.
SALLY PEARSON (TRACK & FIELD)
World and Olympic 100m hurdle champion Pearson combines speed, power and brilliant technique like few others. She won the IAAF's 2011 Female Athlete of the Year Award, becoming the first Australian to receive it. Check her physique and watch her run and you gotta say 'that woman is fit'.
ANNA MEARES (CYCLING)
Meares' inspirational journey is a story in itself, and since we're here to talk about her fitness, you can't dismiss that she came back from a broken neck in 2008. Her sprint event is short, but the power and speed required to win Olympic Gold mirrors the fitness levels of top 100m sprinters. Meares' victory over the UK's Victoria Pendleton shows she is one strong, fit athlete.
JAMES TE HUNA (UFC)
At 188cm and 93kg, Te Huna is a Sydney-based Kiwi fighting as a UFC athlete. Opponents' fighting styles vary, and so will Te Huna's fitness requirements from match to match. UFC athletes kick, wrestle, and punch with the additional mental fitness required to handle "I might get my face kicked in". To enter a UFC octagon, you better be seriously fit – or you might be watching the morning news from a hospital bed.
PETE JACOBS (TRIATHLON)
The Hawaii Ironman is a race made up of a 3.86km swim, a 180.25km bike ride and a 42.2km run. Add some Hawaiian heat, and only incredibly fit competitors will even finish. Jacobs from Sydney's northern beaches is the 2012 champion, finishing with a 2hr 48min marathon. Incredibly fit.
Certainly, this list could contain more names from the worlds of rowing and middle distance and marathon running. Women's soccer and cricket star Ellyse Perry is another, and then there's seriously fit Paralympic athletes such as Matthew Cowdrey (23 medals), Jacqueline Freney (eight gold medals) and Kurt Fearnley (gold and CRAWLED the Kokoda Track, if you don't mind). This shortlist remains open to debate. However …
The envelope has arrived. Ripped open. And the award goes to?
I would love to see an objective fitness competition between them all. Ultimately, I believe the AFL's best, a top UFC athlete, and Australia's top CrossFit competitor would be there in the end to fight - make that 'fit' - it out. To excel in those three sports, you must be the fittest in Australia.
But this is a people's choice award, so it's really up to you, the readers. Who's the fittest athlete in Australia?
Follow Michael Jarosky on Twitter: @michaeljarosky