The Obamas: First Couple of Fitness
Will the exercise program of Barack and Michelle Obama inspire Americans?
The Obamas are making history, not just as the first African-American
president and first lady, but perhaps also as the fittest first couple
That role model, in turn, may inspire millions of sedentary Americans to get
moving, exercise and preventive health experts hope.
Both the new president and first lady are regular exercisers, managing to
squeeze in workouts despite their hectic schedules. It's difficult not to
admire their dedication. When in Chicago, the new first lady was said to begin
her day with a 4:30 a.m. gym workout.
Instead of kicking back and getting some extra sleep the day after he won
the election, Obama showed up at his gym at 7 a.m. for a workout. The new
president's washboard abs -- snapped by photographers during his Hawaii
vacation -- rival that of a 30-something leading man in Hollywood.
Comparisons aside, it's clear that exercise is serious business for the
Obamas -- and more about maintaining health and mental acuity than looking
"Barack is almost religious about getting in his workouts," says Alan
S. King, a close friend of Obama's and an attorney at Drinker Biddle &
Reath in Chicago. "He values his workout time as time to think and relieve
stress. I'd say he's also driven by the fact that he wants to be fit and
healthy to be around for Michelle and the girls [daughters Malia, 10, and
Obama Exercise Program: The Routine
The new president's workout program would put many men half his age to
shame. Obama, 47, combines his love of basketball with treadmill workouts and
weight training, say those who have observed his workouts or played hoops with
Obama told Men's Health magazine in its November issue that his
typical routine includes working out for 45 minutes, six days a week, including
cardiac-strengthening routines and weight lifting. That's in addition to his
famous basketball games -- played whenever possible and always on election
"He alternates days between strength and cardio training and gets in as
much basketball as his schedule permits,'' King tells WebMD.
Irene Trantas, a master trainer at the Philadelphia Sports Club at Rodin,
observed Obama work out on three different occasions when he stopped in while
on the road. "You could definitely tell he has a routine, he works out, and
he is familiar with the routine," she tells WebMD. During his stops there,
he combined a treadmill run and elliptical trainer with weight training,
including the chest press, overhead press, leg press and other conditioning
exercises, she says. "He is strong."