Political Beefcake

For anyone who hasn’t seen the barricades, standards, and the giant tent outside of the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Republican National Convention has officially arrived to our fair city. Between the convention and Tropical Storm Isaac, the week promises lots of headlines and photographs of people in patriotic attire.

The city is in a tizzy, and not just because of the circus that’s coming to town. No, it will also mean that convention goers will get the chance to marvel at presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s P90X-trained physique.


There has been a lot of attention paid to Mr. Ryan’s fondness for P90X, the high intensity workout routine that includes facets of cross training, which TampaSportsFitness has a well-documented fondness for. And while we hold avowed neutrality over politics in general, the recent media attention paid to Ryan’s fitness regime got us thinking.

Presidential fitness has been one of those interesting but not really important factoids the press brings out sporadically during election season; interesting because it’s always fun to compare workouts with VIPs, not really important because who really wants to know the number of sit-ups a candidate does every morning when other matters like job creation and taxation seem more important?

TampaSportsFitness takes the view that presidential health does play a major role in how a candidate will handle the big job. Aside from maintaining physical health, regular exercise helps promotes stress management. So, shouldn’t it be a good thing to know if a candidate can manage the most stressful job known to man?

Ryan’s P90X preference also demonstrates an evolution in political exercise. Fitness routines for high-ranking political officials have traditionally been limited to shots of the president and his staff jogging through Washington in track suits while the Secret Service keeps pace. But in the last twelve years, more tools have been added to the repertoire.

Some examples, with links for more reading:

Michelle Obama

The brains and brawn behind the “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign, the First Lady reportedly likes to hit the gym between 4:20 and 5:30 a.m. every morning to do a combination of cardio exercise, strength-training, and plyometics moves. She tries to work out with her husband, and usually brings a jump rope to the hotel room and rubber exercise bands.

Barrack Obama

In addition to basketball pick-up games, the president makes use of a personal trainer and likes to heckle his employees at the White House about missed gym appointments. Other articles on his views on health and exercise can be found here and here.

Mitt Romney

The Republican nominee maintains a healthy diet and, like Obama, seems to enjoy a pick-up game. Regardless of who wins the 2012 election, it would be interesting to see those two shooting hoops while discussing work.

A recent article also said he wouldn’t be opposed to doing Ryan’s P90X workout, which also would be interesting to see.

What do you think, readers? Anyone planning on braving the downtown Tampa crowds this week? And if you do, are political workouts going to be on your mind?

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