The 2016 Presidential election might be more than a year away, but the next presidential hopefuls are already coming to the forefront. The President of the U.S. is not only the leader of the free democratic world, but also an example to us, our children, and indeed the rest of the world. Because of this, presidents have a moral and ethical responsibility to serve as a good example – and this extends to the way they live their lives as well.
“The president’s job is a very stressful one that requires him or her to be on duty 24/7. The stress that they are exposed to can affect their health so drastically that if they don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, they can be subjected to any number of chronic illnesses – both physical and mental,” said HFR Founder Samir Becic. We are noticing an increase in healthy and fit heads of state in other countries who are becoming dominant world leaders. With this article we hope to make sure that our future president is healthy and fit in order to improve this country, so that it can continue to be a dominant force in the world for decades to come.
“Our future president will have much more competition than the previous presidents because of where the modern world is heading – and against other leaders whose views differ, such as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.” – Samir Becic
With this being said, HFR is politically neutral and not affiliated with any political party.
Here at Health Fitness Revolution, we did a combination of research on each of these politicians through various interviews, internet sources, library, industry literature and videos. This project was led by HFR founder Samir Becic, who is a leader in the industry and has knowledge and experience of over two decades as a health and fitness professional, coupled with his experience as a four-time No. 1 Fitness Trainer in the World.
Hopefully this motivates these presidential hopefuls to improve their nutrition, fitness and advocacy about healthy lifestyle in the next couple years – who knows, maybe in our next report card, we can give them all A’s! This list is ranked in alphabetical order and frequently updated:
Joe Biden, 71
Fitness Grade: A-
(Note: Previous grade was A-)
Because he is currently the Vice President of the United States, it is important for Joe Biden to live a healthy lifestyle in order to cope with the heavy stress and demands of the position. In college, he played football and admitted to having a love of sports more than education. Regarding his candidacy, he told CNN, “There may be reasons I don’t run, but there’s no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run.” He makes sure to stay fit by using the Senate gym. In the gym, you can catch him biking, running or just working on core exercises. We did however, find a tumblr page solely dedicated to him eating ice cream, with over 20 individual pictures!
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: I must say that Joe Biden looks like he is in good shape for his age. His posture, energy and demeanor reflect his healthy lifestyle. My recommendation to Joe is to stretch as much as possible in order to decrease muscule stiffness. Regarding his love of ice cream, I would suggest that he makes sure to eat it in moderation. Also, because of his well-known temper, I recommend he try calming exercises such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation/prayer. Considering that he has been in really good shape throughout his life, he will maintain his grade of A- because everyone still has room for improvement.
Jeb Bush, 61
Fitness Grade: B
(Note: Previous grade was C-)
Following in his father, George H. W. Bush’s, footsteps, Jeb Bush is part of a legendary family in politics. To cope with all of the stresses of campaigning and being in the spotlight, Jeb stays calm by golfing. He recently hosted the annual AT&T Jeb Bush Florida classic which includes golfing, fishing, a beach bash and gala. To encourage health in kids, he has expanded KidsCare and MediKids, while also supporting programs to fight teen substance abuse. Jeb has made tremendous improvement in the last six months with a Paleo diet, which is based on natural foods, meats, berries and nuts. He looks slimmer and is losing weight.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Jeb’s brother George W. Bush made our Fittest Heads of State list which went viral worldwide and our Top 10 Fittest American Politicians list. Towering at 6-foot-3, Jeb could benefit from a weight loss plan that includes abdominal and core strength exercises. Also, it is important to note that men his age often start developing prostate issues, so I recommend he eat a very balanced diet and incorporate foods that are good for the prostate such as tomatoes, broccoli, green tea, soy beans and legumes, etc. I am glad to see Jeb is improving his nutrition and physical fitness. I hope that the low grade he received on our first report card helped motivate him to make a positive change. He is also promoting healthy lifestyle to his followers, and he is the most improved politician in this report to date. I hope he realizes this is a lifelong change, not only for the election.
Chris Christie, 51
FITNESS GRADE: B-
(Note: Previous grade was C+)
You may have heard Chris Christie’s name in the news recently because of his political work as Governor of New Jersey. But as far as being healthy, he recently lost over 85 pounds because of a lap band procedure to better his health. To keep the healthy momentum going, he exercises four days a week, an hour at a time. He has started a healthy diet to gain the nutrients needed for those long days campaigning. Although side lift exercises with dumbbells are not his preferred exercise, he loves the stationary bike to get his heart rate going. Due to his recent lifestyle change, Chris made our list of Top 10 Fittest Governors because he is a good example that everyone can become healthier in their lives.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Even though he lost 85 pounds, my recommendation for him is to maintain a healthy lifestyle as one of the most important aspects of his life, especially because he had lap band surgery. Because strength exercises are not his favorite, I suggest that he does strength training by incorporating exercises he enjoys. Strength training is extremely important in breaking plateaus and helps maintain prolonged weight loss. In case he does encounter a plateau, here are our tips to break it.
Update: Chris continues to lose weight and now is up to 100 pounds lost (as of Feb. 20, 2015). To continue what he is doing, I recommend he improve his healthy lifestyle in every aspect possible, including but not limited to physical fitness, healthy nutrition, and mental, social and spiritual balance. Also, he has stated that he is aware that losing weight will help him with a potential campaign. I am glad he is aware of how healthy lifestyle is becoming a crucial element of success in every aspect.
Hillary Clinton, 67
Fitness Grade: B+
(Note: Previous grade was B)
Hillary Clinton is no stranger to politics and presidential elections. She first stood by her husband, President Bill Clinton, when he ran in the 1990s (he also made our Fittest American Politicians list). Hillary recently ran for the presidency herself in 2008 and many believe she is poised to run again in 2016. Being a major political figure, it is important that she maintains a healthy lifestyle. She stays fit by working out 3-4 times a week, does yoga and water aerobics. Working out is just one of the things she does to stay fit, and Hillary also aims to eat a balanced diet mainly consisting of fish and veggies with little starches, one influenced by her husband’s healthy lifestyle changes. In a recent interview, she told Katie Couric that she eats hot peppers regularly to keep her metabolism up and boost her immune system. She also likes to snack on Boca Burgers in between meals and says she drinks as much water as she possibly can and cuts out diet sodas altogether. While she takes vitamins and opts for tea instead of coffee, Clinton admits that eating healthy on the road is impossible.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: A woman her age that has a BMI over 25 can have future problems with coronary and cerebrovascular disease, arthritis, hip-fractures, and diabetes. I recommend that she increase the intensity of her workouts. To help deal with her stress and improve her sleep quality, which is a crucial element of healthy lifestyle, she should also take some time for herself everyday. She should aim to eat light dinners, which also improve sleep quality, and will help her feel more rested upon waking. Because she is known to like burgers, both veggie and beef, I would recommend that she eat them in moderation. Even if they appear to be healthy, they are still high in fat and calories. I like that she promotes a healthy lifestyle to American society!
Update: Considering that she admits to having a problem eating healthy on the road, my recommendation to her is to read this article on the best foods for a roadtrip. Also, based on an interview I saw from January 2015, she looks more vibrant, energetic and slimmer (which is why her grade improved from a B to a B+).
Ted Cruz, 43
Fitness Grade: C
(Note: Previous grade was C)
This U.S. Senator from Texas feels the pressures of working in politics just like everyone else, but he keeps his cool by running, lifting weights, and occasionally playing basketball or tennis, according to Red Alert Politics. He also enjoys hunting in the quiet nature of Iowa.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Considering that it was hard for us to find information on Ted Cruz’s fitness or nutrition, it is difficult for me to give him suggestions based on information in the media. I would like for Senator Cruz to advertise physical fitness and healthy nutrition to our country because we are losing billions of dollars in unhealthy lifestyle costs. He told the Washington Post that he eats “anything with cheese on it,” which can lead to health issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure because copious amounts of cheese have a lot of saturated fat. In the same article, he said he hates avocados, but I recommend he start eating them or another form of healthy fat with omega-3s. It’s good that he is doing a variation of sports. I really wish, however, that he would promote a healthy lifestyle because a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.
Andrew Cuomo, 56
Fitness Grade: A-
(Note: Previous grade was A-)
Andrew Cuomo is no stranger to us. In the past, he had made our Top 10 Fittest Governors list and Top 10 Fittest American Politicians list. He is the father of three girls who play soccer and run track. In fact, he loves fitness so much that he has established Sept. 26 as Women’s Health and Fitness Day in New York. He also has a boxing gym with weights at his home. Aside from boxing, he also jogs for at least two to three hours a week. He participated in whitewater rafting and created the Adirondack Challenge.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Andrew Cuomo is in great shape, and is a great example for other politicians. As I would recommend with all other politicians, he should take some time alone to de-stress and re-center himself daily. Since he established Women’s Health and Fitness Day in New York, he clearly likes spreading the idea of healthy lifestyle to his constituents. Because we couldn’t find much on his eating habits, I recommend he follow a balanced diet in addition to his fitness regimen.
Update: Cuomo continues to be in great shape. He is now adding more sports to his fitness regimen, like whitewater rafting. My recommendation is to continue adding more activities to his fitness list.
Mike Huckabee, 59
Fitness Grade: C-
(Note: Previously he was not running for president)
Mike Huckabee has a family history of health issues, and was previously overweight at 280 pounds at age 47. He had aching knees, lost his breath going up flights of stairs, and according to his doctor, was on his way to an early grave. However, he went to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Weight Control Program, where they prescribed meal-replacement shakes of 800 calories. After losing 40 pounds in three months, he increased his calorie intake with vegetables and lean proteins. His health improved and he lost weight, and in 2005, ran a marathon in 4.5 hours. After losing more than 100 pounds, he also wrote a book titled “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork,” which contained a 12 “Stop” Program. He made obesity and healthy living a central issue in his political agenda in 2003-04. But in 2014, Mike looks to be gaining weight again.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: I actually am very sad to see that after losing all that weight and being such a fitness enthusiast, Mike is gaining the majority of his weight back. Considering that he was a preacher, I recommend him to use his spiritual strength to improve his physical health again. Spiritual awareness is one of the key components of healthy lifestyle that impacts the whole body and rejuvenates the spirit. Considering he was in very good shape several years ago, he can do it again. But this time, rather than go from one extreme to the other, he should make healthy lifestyle a part of his daily life. He should follow his own example, much like the title of his book, “Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork,” and maybe ask his friend Chuck Norris to help him out 🙂 Again, I hope that he will change his lifestyle back to the one he had in 2004-05.
Amy Klobuchar, 54
Fitness Grade: C+
(Note: Previous grade was B-)
Amy Klobuchar has set nutrition standards for all food sold in schools. She is an advocate of promoting healthy lifestyles and ensuring that she does her part in promoting health. While having a passion for promoting health, she also loves cycling and as a junior at Yale, went with her father on an 1,100-mile (100 miles a day) bike ride from Minneapolis to the Grand Tetons.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Because we couldn’t find much data on her current workouts, my recommendation to Amy Klobuchar is to continue with as many athletic activities as she had in her college days. Women over 50 need to start checking their bone density and can do strength training in order to prevent osteoporosis. Eating a balanced diet high in magnesium, calcium, potassium, Vitamins D&C will also help. I also hope that Amy will begin promoting her healthy lifestyle to her constituents.
Update: I still do not see additional effort from Amy on her own physical fitness, therefore her grade has dropped.
Martin O’Malley, 51
Fitness Grade: A-
(Note: Previous grade was A-)
Martin O’Malley is not only concerned with the overall health in his state, but a main point on his agenda is also about the health and physical activity level of people with disabilities. He passed the Fitness and Athletic Equity Act in Maryland, which promotes expanded athletic opportunities for people with disabilities. While being concerned with others’ health, O’Malley stays in shape by doing P90X and participates in the annual Special Olympics Polar Bear Dip.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Not only is Martin O’Malley fit himself, but he also promotes fitness among people with disabilities, which is very honorable. With our country being among the fattest in the world, and 1 in 5 Americans having a disability (according to the Census) we need more politicians that will lead by example and spread the message of a healthy lifestyle. I applaud him on this noble task and wish that he continues the progress he has made for disabled Americans. He is definitely making our next Top 10 Fittest Governors list!
Update: Martin recently broke his elbow at the gym in February, and I wish him a fast recovery. I hope he continues to be fit and a great example to his supporters.
Rand Paul, 51
Fitness Grade: A-
(Note: Previous grade was A-)
This U.S. Senator from Kentucky has always been pretty active. He swam and played football in high school, which gave him a sound foundation in fitness. He now volunteers in little league baseball, soccer and basketball for each of his three sons. Paul also founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic to provide free eye exams and surgeries to families in need, helping the community to keep their eyes healthy.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Congratulations on being healthy and fit in addition to promoting healthy lifestyle to our youth. It is vital with the childhood obesity rate ever-increasing. We could not find much information on his fitness and food, so I hope he starts promoting his healthy lifestyle, should he start campaigning.
Update: Rand Paul continues to promote healthy lifestyle by sharing pictures of him working out on his social media platforms. If he continues like this, he is a great candidate to receive an A.
Rick Perry, 65
Fitness Grade: A-
Perry often touts the importance of fitness and notes the cost to states and companies of obesity-related ailments. He is also an avid promoter of fitness by example, he has ran in countless fun runs and marathons across the state of Texas during his tenure as Governor. He also runs almost daily around his home in Austin, and complained that when he had back surgery in 2011 and was unable to exercise regularly- he developed sleep apnea, which had been under control with his healthy lifestyle previously.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations:
Former governor Perry is in very good physical shape, and he works out for many years. His wife is also in great shape, which is why she made the list of fittest First Ladies. But considering that he had back surgery in 2012, my recommendation is for him to do more core training, stretching, drinking plenty of water and not do too much running or other exercise that impacts the low back.
Marco Rubio, 43
FITNESS GRADE: B
(Note: Previous grade was B)
Marco Rubio has said he is ready to become president, but how does he keep down the stress and a healthy lifestyle while on the road? During high school and college, he stayed fit by playing football and even got a scholarship for it, but that ended because of an injury after his freshman year of college. Now he exercises early in the mornings before his four kids wake up, and attends daily Catholic mass to continue his spiritual health. He also works out at the members-only Senate gym with his gym partner, fellow senator Richard J. Durbin.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: After checking his photos throughout the last 10 years, he seems to fluctuate in weight and fitness. Stress can cause weight gain even while exercising, so I recommend these 10 tips for staying calm. Because he used to be an athlete, he definitely has a strong muscular foundation that can help him recover his lost muscle rapidly and decrease his fat mass. I like that he balances his family life and spiritual life as well. Considering that athletes often gain a lot of weight once they stop training, I am glad this did not happen to Marco.
Update: Marco admitted that he tried CrossFit, but it hurt his shoulder. My recommendation is to go to a more traditional fitness regimen because CrossFit is a very aggressive form of exercise that, if not executed properly, can cause injury. But I definitely applaud him for trying new avenues to approve his fitness.
Mitt Romney, 67
FITNESS GRADE: A-
An avid jogger, Romney has said he runs at least 3 miles a day and reportedly hits the elliptical machine for 30 to 40 minutes at hotel gyms while on the road. While campaigning for the 2012 presidential election, he said he used fellow lister Paul Ryan as both his running mate and personal trainer. He loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches (getting protein and antioxidants without resorting to higher cholesterol lunch options), and counts skiing among his hobbies—after all, he was President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Even though he said he would not run in 2016, you never know! For 67, the man is in phenomenal shape. My recommendation for every male above 55 is to focus on mobility, flexibility, and plenty of water to hydrate the body even if the majority of people after 55 do not feel thirsty often. I also recommend he focus on healthy foods for prostate health. Other than that, he seems to be in top shape and he should continue his fitness routine.
Update: Mitt announced that he will not run for president.
Paul Ryan, 44
FITNESS GRADE: A+
(Note: Previous grade was A)
Working out and eating healthy has always been a top priority of Paul Ryan – even throughout all the elections, campaigning, and traveling across the country. He even made our list of Fittest American Politicians. His experience as a personal trainer helps him stay fit both in Washington and on the road. He leads a class in fitness right on Capitol Hill. While on the road, he retains loads of energy by avoiding fast food and desserts almost entirely. He will need this energy if he runs for President in 2016!
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Ryan is one of the fittest politicians in the U.S. He is extremely lean and muscular and because he used to be a personal trainer, he knows what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle and promote it. Because he trains a lot, I would suggest to him some foods that naturally help the body relax. I applaud him for his public display of physical fitness and healthy lifestyle – and the fact that he pushed his 2012 running mate Mitt Romney (who also made our Fittest American Politicians list) to workout during their campaign.
Update: Paul Ryan continues to be the fittest politician in America.
Bernie Sanders is a second-term U.S. Senator from Vermont and served as the sole Vermont Congressman for the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years. Sanders’ is known for supporting the working class, growing the middle class, and decreasing the wage gap between the rich and poor. Sanders also a long track record of fighting for rights in issues regarding minimum wage, race, and gender and sexuality.
Jill Stein, 64
Fitness Grade: B
(Note: Previous grade was B+)
Jill Stein is a physician and teacher of internal medicine, and has been a long-time advocate of making the planet healthy as well as the people. She created the “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” program, which reveals the links between the human health, climate security and green economic revitalization. She has won multiple awards for her efforts to protect public health. In terms of her diet, she eats mostly organic, because it is both healthy for her body and more environmentally sustainable.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: I know she is very active in promoting public health and personal health, my recommendation would also be that she promote physical fitness as part of her program. We couldn’t find anything on her fitness routine but she clearly works out. I hope she will begin to publicize her physical fitness routine as part of her healthy lifestyle and green agenda.
Update: Considering that we cannot find any new updated news on Jill’s efforts to exercise or promote healthy lifestyle, her grade is going from B+ to B.
Donald Trump, 69
FITNESS GRADE: C+
The business mogul has proved himself to be a tentative player in the presidential race, given the wealth of experience he has an an entrepreneur mogul. Along with his business empire, Trump has also penned a book, titled “Think Big & Kick Ass,” which feature a collection of motivating tips to keep in mind to promote maximum success. As a boy, Trump captained his baseball team (even wanted to go pro!) and played football, soccer, and wrestled. He continues to play golf today. He doesn’t smoke, or drink any form of alcohol ever.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: It’s fantastic that Donald Trump plays golf and has a positive and balanced view of life. But due to lack of information regarding other exercises and nutrition, I chose to give him a B-. That said, Trump needs to perform more strength and cardio workouts to improve cardiovascular function, and be more vocal about nutrition and healthy food intake. Furthermore, given how stressful his career is, Trump should partake in eating stress-relieving foods while also adding stress-relieving exercises to his workouts, such as prayer or meditation. Given Trump’s age, he should also be wary of his prostate health.
Scott Walker, 46
FITNESS GRADE: B
(Note: Previous grade was A-)
This Wisconsin Governor has always had healthy living on the top of his to-do list and even appeared on Sesame Street to inspire kids to eat healthy and be active – a very noble act considering the childhood obesity rate is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2013, he showed how eating healthy is important when he published his book The Eating Clean Simple Diet (Foods That Help You Lose Weight). Governor Walker shows his concern for healthy lifestyle in politics by signing legislation that promotes workplace wellness. He is also part of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health to help improve fitness, health, and nutrition programs with fitness legend Jake Steinfeld.
Samir’s Report and Recommendations: Childhood obesity is an issue close to my heart, so I really appreciate that he has actively promoted fitness and healthy lifestyle to kids through Sesame Street and his Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness. Not only does he live a healthy lifestyle, he has also written a book on it! He is an extremely healthy and fit guy, and I applaud him on this!
Update: We could not find additional information on Scott’s promotion of healthy lifestyle since our last report, so his grade will drop.