Why you have no excuse not to work out

One of the busiest men in the world has time for fitness. So do you.

Being elected president forces a man to take inventory of his life, so Barack Obama has trimmed his schedule to the bare essentials. He’s not in the White House yet, but gone are the hours he once spent reading novels, watching television and obsessing over the daily transactions of Chicago’s sports teams. He eats out only once every few weeks. He visits friends rarely, if at all.

But one habit endures: Obama has gone to the gym, for about 90 minutes a day, for at least 48 days in a row… The more Obama’s life intensifies, friends said, the more he relies on the gym — which is why he might be taking office in the best shape of his life. The gym is where he releases stress, maintains a routine and thinks without interruption. He sometimes wears headphones and barricades the outside world.

“He does it every day like clockwork,” said Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama’s closest friends from Chicago. “He doesn’t think of it as something he has to do — it’s his time for himself, a chance for him to reflect. It’s his break. He feels better and more revved up after he gets in his workout.”

Also note this part, in bold:

“That’s one of the first things you learn working for him: You better make sure he gets his workout,” said Jim Cauley, who managed Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. “If there isn’t any time, he’s not going to feel his best that day. If he only gets 30 or 40 minutes, he’s still not really happy.

You have to make time for him to exercise, at least an hour or so. You block it out and put it on the schedule, because that’s what makes him happy.”

Watch and learn, folks!


What you need and what you don’t

It’s tempting to think when starting out that you need a whole array of belts, straps, gloves, and suits to begin strength training, especially if you see a lot of folks in the gym all decked out like medieval cyborgs. Well, the truth is that you don’t. Here’s what you need and what you can do without.

Don’t fear the free weights!

Remember that one of the big lies in the gym was that women should stick to machines and stay away from free weights? Related to that is the lie that one should “start out” on machines and then “graduate” to free weights. Well, here’s why it ain’t so, as well as why free weights are often better for women.

Olympic weightlifter Maryse Turcotte

Maryse Turcotte was the first woman in the Americas to clean and jerk double her bodyweight. I first interviewed her in 1999, and since then she’s had a distinguished lifting career.

Powerlifter Linda “The Phantom” Schaefer

Linda “The Phantom” Schaefer is a competitive powerlifter whose claim to fame is a truly impressive deadlift. I asked her about her achievements and advice for other women lifters.

Krista Schaus

Nearly 10 years ago I got an email from another Krista. She was a police officer and powerlifter, and we hit it off pretty much right away. I asked her for some pics to put up on my site, and as it turned out, she had penned a few strength training articles of her own.

When I saw her compete at her first powerlifting competition, I noticed that her opening lifts were higher than many of the women who were heavier than her. In other words, she wasn’t just strong for her weight, she was strong compared to women who were much bigger than her. So, I figured she knew what she was talking about.

Kat “Mighty Kat” Ricker

Writer, bodybuilder, and Renaissance woman Kat Ricker (a.k.a. The Mighty Kat) has been training since 1990. Here, she shares some of her writing.