Like any elite athlete, Manny Pacquiao has a conditioning coach to help put him through his paces. The Brazilian Alex Ariza has held the role for the past three years.
It has been quite the adventure.
Ariza's star client is a physical outlier with a resting heart rate of 42 beats a minute. During intense workouts, that rate will rise to 205—a level the boxer can sustain for long periods. Pacquiao does 2,000 repetitions each day of situps and other punishing abdominal exercises. He rounds out these exercises by, among other things, fast hill runs, interval training, zipping around cones to improve footwork and even, when no fight is coming up, playing basketball.
Some endurance athletes, like Olympic cross-country skiers, have lower resting pulse rates—somewhere around 38, Ariza says—but they also train at high altitude, something Pacquiao doesn't. "Manny is on the level of the most conditioned athletes in the world," the trainer says. "He's a phenomenon. I wish we could do in-depth tests, but he doesn't like anything invasive."