Using language more akin to sex scandals, drug addictions or undercover political deals (you know, like selling a Senate position), news reports are coming out right and left about President-elect Barack Obama's fitness and his fitness routine, not to mention his fit wife Michelle's buff biceps.
"Barack Obama's gym routine revealed"
"AP probes Obama's fitness routine"
"Outage doesn't short circuit Obama's workout routine"
"The Obama workout plan….leaked"
Yes, these are real headlines and words used in both print and on the web. The fitness industry and any other interested in getting the American public active will have, they hope, a friend in Barack.
Even from his holiday vacation in Hawaii in December came the New York Post front page headline: "Fit for office…Buff Bam is Hawaii hunk," which was accompanied by photos of "Bam's" six-pack abs. (Click here to see additional photos on paparazzi website TMZ.com, as well as a parade of comments, some gushing and some indignant -- yes, the President-elect is on a paparazzi website! That's likely a first since the ol' blue-dress incident.)
Since when can we remember has a president or even president-elect been called a hunk? Is that politically correct? Seems bloggers latched onto the headlines and photos with glee, calling Obama, among other things, "Commander in Beef."
And then we have the Dec. 24, 2008, news headline that ohmigosh a power outage in Kailua, Hawaii, on the Obama family's vacation didn't cut into his morning workout. Just before 8 a.m., per normal, he went to the Marine Corps Base there for his morning workout. We are so relieved.
Of course, everybody has heard of Bam's "body man" a.k.a Reggie Love, a former Duke football and basketball player who is of imposing stature, often seen in photos hovering near Obama. Among other things, it was the body man's job to find gyms and places for Obama to workout daily on the campaign trail, then convince the place to open early or close to the public so the man could get his workout with his body man, who acted like a personal coach, personal trainer and training buddy.
We loved the Politico.com posting last year when a reporter-spy was at the gym in D.C. on Dupont Circle where Obama was and followed his every move, which one reader said sounded "creepy." (We agree, considering the detail.)
"A Politico.com reporter spied on Barack Obama at the gym this week and reported exactly what the presidential candidate wore and lifted. Apparently Barack's gym outfit includes a Secret Service cap, gray T-shirt, black running pants, and white Asics sneakers," the site wrote.
"Obama ran a full body workout. Calf raises (70 lbs.). Lying triceps presses but with single 15-lb. dumbbells in each hand, his cap falling off. After the set he got up, placed the weights back and only then reached down and picked up his cap, ever so gradually. Shoulder presses. Step-ups with a high platform, clasping dumbbells. He had a prescribed workout on paper that Reggie held. Though at times Obama did his own thing, focusing mostly on his triceps. In one set he started with 50 lbs. for overhead dumbbell extensions. He lifted it once, grimacing. He moved straight away to 40 lbs. Later, in the corner of the gym he did calf raises alone, lifting about 80 lbs. and then cleaning the bench afterward, slowly, weight by weight."
Politico.com reported it learned that "he's clearly got a serious routine."
Never before have the abs, poundage lifted and workout attire been so carefully tracked with a resident or future resident of the White House.
As one website put it, "Now we can all train like Obama!"
SNEWS® View: If only more Americans would train even a little bit like Obama. It'll be interesting to say what kind of influence he has on fitness after he is sworn in on Jan. 20. We can, of course, all cross our fingers and toes that it will be considerable.