In addition to providing health tips, Fitness and Film will occasionally shine a spotlight on the actors and actresses who embody fitness on the big (and small) screen. With the imminent release of The Expendables, we have reason to cover any number of action heroes, past and present, but our first spot in the Fit Hall of Fame is going to the man who’s making it all happen: Sylvester Stallone.

From his first truly notable appearance on-screen as Rocky Balboa (a film that saw him nominated for two Oscars), Stallone carved a name for himself through chiseled abs and athletic performances. How many people in the word can claim to have been in such shape that a statue was carved of them and prominently displayed for decades?

After three decades of non-stop ass kicking, Stallone has created some of the most memorable action characters of all time, portraying Judge Dredd, whipping up on Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man, or bringing to life the gold standards of masculine heroes: Rocky Balboa and John Rambo.

When he was going Over the Top, Stallone was jacked and in Copland he famously gained a hefty amount of fat, but few would have expected that his resurrections of both Rambo and Rocky would see the 60 year old (for Rocky, 62 for Rambo) be bigger than ever, making us believe he could go toe to toe with a much younger boxer or tear the throat out of a Burmese asshole.

As if that weren’t impressive enough, in The Expendables Sly has managed to do two amazing things: gather the most spectacular line-up of testosterone laden talent ever and, at 64, cut his frame down from the bulky Green Beret to a ripped Barney Ross. If you ignore the tattoos, Stallone is in the best shape of his life right now. Well, maybe not the best shape of his life, but he’s in damn good shape. His physique has not only allowed him to become one of the world’s premiere action stars, but it may have saved his life while filming The Expendables. In one scene where he was fighting Steve Austin, Stallone broke his neck. Now, clearly he didn’t die and further, he finished the movie and can still walk. While the break itself wasn’t serious (as far as broken necks go), it is likely that his athletic abilities and musculature contributed to the injury being less severe than it could have been. See, kids, working out just isn’t for looks!

Certainly Stallone’s critics, perhaps jealous of his old man abs or fighting off erections at his shirtless appearance challenging their perception of their own sexuality will bring up his use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Commonly mistakingly referred to as a steroid, HGH is being touted as the fountain of youth and it has played a role in Stallone’s relatively youthful appearance at 60+ and his continued physique, but the fact remains that taking an anti-aging (and medically prescribed) serum alone does not craft 8-pack abs and 18inch arms.

For his 30 year history of on-screen ass kicking and his consistently impressive physique, Sylvester Stallone earns our first spot in the Cinema Fitness Hall of Fame. Check him out this weekend in The Expendables. And now let the gay jokes begin.

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