If you’ve seen those infamous photos of Barack Obama kitesurfing on Richard Branson‘s private island in the British Virgin Islands, or heard Margot Robbie’s hilarious story of running into the former president in a hotel gym in Tahiti during her honeymoon, you know the 56-year-old has been keeping active since leaving the White House.
But now personal trainer Cornell McClellan, who has worked with both Barack and Michelle Obama for the last twenty years, has revealed the specifics of their workouts, and how things are different now that they’re no longer tasked with keeping the country in shape.
Unlike a certain 6 foot 3, 239 pound Oval Office occupant who doesn’t believe in exercise, the Obamas were always publicly advocating for the benefits of exercise, and they really put their money where their mouths were.
Back in 2015, in honor of her “Let’s Move” initiative to help kids and families lead healthier lives, Michelle Obama posted a video on Twitter of her intense workout, which included jumping rope, kickboxing, and lifting a pair of 35-pound weights with McClellan.
Now out of office, McClellan told People that the former First Lady still maintains her hardcore circuit training, but now “she’s been able to do some of the classes that weren’t as convenient when they were in office. She can do sociable things and get outside. She loves SoulCycle.”
As for the former POTUS, McClellan said “he works out as much, if not more, as [Michelle Obama]. He really believes in it. One of the things we say when people complain that they don’t have time to work out is, ‘The President of the United States works out every day! You’ve got to find another excuse.’”
McClellan said that he likes to vary their workout a lot, which is important, as your muscles get used to the same exercises day in and day out, and need to be challenged. Generally speaking, though the workout will consist of “things with weights, with kettlebells, with bands and tubes and TRXs to keep the body guessing.”
As when they were in the White House, both of them love boxing. “We generally don’t talk about what’s going on with the new administration,” McClellan said “But one of the things I used to love to do with the President is making sure we had time to box. And the First Lady will do it, too. For people with high-stress jobs, boxing really works for them. To be able to punch some things.”
The real secret to their workouts, however, is simply their enthusiasm.
“I enjoy training them more than anything, because they’re people who feel like I feel about fitness and the importance of it. It’s great to work with people who have that mindset. So my task as their trainer is to find ways to make it tough on them. When they say, ‘Are you crazy?’ I know I’m doing my job.”
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