With the dawn of the new year, we are proud to present our 4th annual list of the fittest heads of state. Starting in 2014, and again in 2015 and 2016, the Health Fitness Revolution institute, along with founder Samir Becic who was #1 fitness trainer in the US, and has 20 years of fitness expertise, started ranking the fittest heads of state in the world. This list was the first ever of its kind, and it immediately gained national attention from US journalists at outfits like the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times and went so far that even Cuba Debate (whose most famous contributor was Fidel Castro) published it on their home page. As of now, over 10,000 media outlets worldwide have published previous years’ lists, making our list one of the most prominent in the world next to Forbes.
Each year, we continue to release annual updates of the list to increased international and national acclaim. Journalists from all around the world have inquired about our methodology and millions of readers have seen the lists. We’ve used the list as a foundation to become the foremost pioneers in health and political journalism, interviewing US senators, and many influential politicians across the world.
During the past year, we honed in coverage of fitness in the US presidential election, which was repeated by journalists at countless publications internationally. Now that the election dust has settled, we have once again returned our efforts to ranking national leaders based on their promotion of health.
On this, Samir Becic says “unfortunately, this is the first time that an American president is not part of this list. President Obama was on this list from the start, but he is leaving office. I hope President-elect Donald Trump will continue this tradition in 2018. We will be following his fitness progress closely.”
Samir Becic continues “I am extremely proud that this list, besides being covered in countless media outlets worldwide, has influenced many heads of states to become fitter and healthier. Through this, they have motivated millions of people across the world to do the same.”
FYI: Just in case you were wondering why some leaders are on the list even though they are not officially heads of states, it is because we always use #1 and #2 in each country in order to maximize our potential of people who are able to motivate their respective nations in health and fitness.
Justin Trudeau, 45 – Prime Minister Canada
- In 2012, Trudeau and Senator Patrick Brazeau engaged in a friendly, contemporary dual when they boxed each other for charity. Although the larger Brazeau was known for his military and martial arts expertise, Trudeau stunned the crowd when he claimed victory with his endurance and strength. Check out his incredible knockout in round 3 here.
- Running for prime minister hasn’t stopped Trudeau from enjoying his passion of boxing. In fact, he made time to workout and train every week throughout his campaign.
- Trudeau believes that “Boxing is as much about receiving hits as giving them.”
- His boxing gloves never collect dust because Trudeau goes boxing every week to relieve stress.
- In case boxing wasn’t enough to convince you of Trudeau’s capabilities, he reached the top of the 853-metre Grouse Grind 36 minutes faster than the average 90 minutes people strive to do.
- He likes taking his physical activities outdoors by snowboarding and/or canoeing.
- Made our list of Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016
- Samir Becic: “What a continued refreshment for Canada! Justin Trudeau is clearly one of the fittest political leaders in the world and a great example to other world leaders. I’m looking forward to sparring with him in the near future!”
King Felipe VI, 48 – King of Spain
- Graduated from two military schools and one air force academy.
- During the 1992 Barcelona Games, King Felipe VI participated with the Olympic Sailing team.
- Made our lists of Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, Fittest European Royals, and Fittest European Heads of State
- Samir Becic: “Spain is very fortunate to have a King whose energy and dynamic approach can help the country return to their former glory.”
Malcolm Turnbull, 62 – Prime Minister Australia
- Changing his dietary habits and being a more conscious eater enabled Turnbull to shed an incredible 14kg off his weight in 2012. He has also been using Chinese herbs to treat his overall health.
- Turnbull reveals that how he lost weight “may seem like a penetrating glimpse of the obvious, but it is an insight that most of us ignore because it is too painful”.
- Turnbull’s attributes not eating in excess to being a major factor for his weight loss. Additionally, fasting taught him how to view healthy eating as a liberating choice rather than a restrictive chore. Turnbull feels invigorated by the physical improvements his lifestyle changes has brought.
- Aside from eating better, Turnbull is persistent about being active throughout the week. He only allows himself one or two rest days. You may catch him biking around Lake Burley Griffin or rowing a machinery during Parliament meetings.
- If time permits, he will do pull out a yoga mat and do pilates. However, he particularly enjoys seasonal activities in Sydney such as swimming and kayaking during warmer months while rowing during the colder months.
- One of his favorite exercise buddies is his wife. They usually take strolls together.
- Made our list of Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016.
- Samir Becic: “Australians, you rock! This is the second vibrant and fit Prime minister back to back- and this is clearly a testament to how Australians think and what they like. Prime Minister Turnbull is a positive example for everyone in the world, that even in your late 60s, you can become healthier and fitter should you choose to.
Mauricio Macri, 57 – President of Argentina
- Working out under the same trainer at Barrio Parque, a prestigious gym for aristocrats, was how Macri met his wife, Juliana Awada.
- Macri disclosed in a 2013 interviewer that his wife is sexually “insatiable” and they are very active.
- In 1991, he was kidnapped and kept captive for 12 days for being the son of a politician.
- Macri was the team president for Division 1 Argentinian soccer team the Boca Juniors for 12 years
- Promotes biking as a form of public transport. He endorsed a Mejor en Bici (“Better on Bike”) campaign in 2011 and is often seen bike riding while on international trips (China, NYC, etc.). In fact, he gifted an electric bike to Obama in April 2016.
- Samir Becic: “President Macri is clearly one of the fittest Argentinian Presidents in a long time. Together with his wife Juliana, they are the definition of a power couple.”
King Philippe Maria, 56 – Belgium
- King Philippe Maria is a former fighter pilot and parachutist.
- He was awarded the title as Lieutenant General of the Armed Forces in 1980.
- He served as Vice-Admiral of the Navy
- His colleagues and friends have noted that he has a keen interest in studying people and working out to stay strong.
- Despite his military background in the sky and sea, King Philippe is passionate about skiing and other winter activities.
- Made our list of Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016, Fittest European Royals and Fittest European Heads of State.
- Samir Becic: “King Maria please use your health and fitness and take Belgian matters into your own hands- what a great country!”
Angela Merkel, 62 – Chancellor of Germany
- Enjoys cross country skiing, and even fractured her hip in the German mountains in 2014.
- In a rare interview about her private life in 2013, Merkel was asked whether she needs only four hours of sleep. “No,” the chancellor replied. “But I have a certain camel-like quality. I have a certain storage capacity. But then I have to recharge again.” ..There’s no source?
- In order to clarify the enigma surrounding Merkel’s endurance, Die Welt newspaper wrote that “Merkel’s fitness secret has been known for years and is very simple: There is none.”
- German weekly magazine FOCUS estimated that Merkel traveled nearly 12,500 miles in the past week, describing “Europe’s most powerful woman” as being of a “robust nature.”
- Her “power of concentration rises with the challenges,” the magazine quoted an unnamed member of her circle as saying.
- “If you promise to not tell Mrs. Merkel, I will admit that sometimes after a trip with her, when I awake from my coma back home, I wake up and see her on the news, already in another town and a different time zone, wondering, ‘how does she pull that off?” Thomas Walde, deputy Berlin bureau chief for German public broadcaster ZDF, told NBC News.
- According to the German media, she went on a strict diet in 2014 and her previously favored cheese and sausage sandwiches and biscuits are now strictly off limits, with the German Chancellor now munching on fruit and vegetable snacks instead.
- At meetings, she now has a bowl full of raw chopped carrots, red and green peppers, and leeks sitting in front of her. She has given instructions that the plates full of sandwiches for other members of her party should be taken out of her reach.
- Lost over 20lbs, a white house correspondent in 2014 calling her “much more fresh and sporty” according to British media.
- Her notorious will power drew praise from Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who guided Ms. Merkel on a South Tirol hiking trip last summer. He claimed that she could walk for six hours without stopping for food.
- Samir Becic: “It is my great honor for the first time since starting this list that we are including Chancellor Merkel! She is a perfect example of how healthy lifestyle can help discipline, energy, and self-esteem not ever take a back seat. Since we started the first list in 2014, she’s lost over 30 lbs and I hope, at least in a small part, due to us. If not, nevertheless, great job to one of the most powerful women in the world!”
Abdullah II, 54 – King of Jordan
- Abdullah II has a soft spot for sports. Although he likes dynamic activities such as sky diving and scuba diving, he is always up for a classic soccer match.
- When it comes to promoting health, he’s a man with a plan. Abdullah II advocates and awards students who prioritize fitness and education as an essential part of their lifestyle.
- He is a firm believer that engaging in physical activity to maintain fitness will revolutionize one’s self-esteem, value, and skill.
- Made our Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016
- Samir Becic: “King Abdullah is a refreshing change among the Arab heads of state in terms of physical fitness and health. No wonder that he is so determined and has a firm stance in making Jordan, which is a small country, a powerhouse. His wife, Queen Rania also made both our Fittest Royals list, proving that if both partners are health conscious, it is easier for them to maintain it and they are a great example to Jordanian families.”
King Norodom Sihamoni, 63 – King of Cambodia
- Norodom Sihamoni is renown for his efforts as a cultural ambassador in Europe. Norodom also promotes the arts by working as a classical dance instructor.
- The king of Cambodia is vastly educated in classical dance and music. He studied these arts until 1975.
- In 1981, Shaman relocated to France in order to work as a ballet instructor. Years later, Shaman became the president of the Khmer Dance Association.
- As far as exercise goes, the president of Cambodia stays active by bike riding and walking in the palace.
- Norodom Shaman also worked on his spirituality by spending a full year as a monk.
- Made our 2016 list of the Top Fittest Male Royalty
- Samir Becic: “The first time I heard of King Norodom, was in a documentary which mentioned that he is the only head of state not from the Czech Republic that speaks Czech. After that, I saw that he is a professionally trained dancer with a dynamic and outgoing personality. Considering that being a dancer requires a lot of training and discipline, we are welcoming him this year to our list.”
Theresa May, 60 – Prime Minister of England
- Has Type 1 Diabetes and was diagnosed when she was 56, but has said she refuses to let her diagnosis hold her back.
- Keeping on top of her condition has even led to her surreptitiously breaking the House of Commons’ strict rules on not eating in the Chamber- she will often bend over and sneak some nuts to keep her blood sugar stabilized during long hours.
- While on vacation in Switzerland, still does strenuous walks with her husband.
- Had recently started a new diet and fitness regime in November 2012 when she was diagnosed.
- Thinks that her healthy diet regime may have actually masked the symptoms of the disease for a while.
- Loves hiking and often goes on walking holidays.
- Samir Becic: “We are welcoming Theresa May to this exclusive list and I am very impressed that she is managing Diabetes Type I with healthy eating and physical fitness. Considering that she has entered her position during a turbulent Brexit times, I hope that she will continue her healthy lifestyle in order fight the stress. She is a great example for anyone with Diabetes Type I across the world.”
Henri, 61 – Grand Duke of Luxembourg
- Henri takes pride in his militaristic work experience. He obtained his military officer training at the Royal Military Academy in England.
- The grand duke of Luxembourg is also involved in health and fitness organizations. He is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee, as well as The Mentor Foundation (created by the World Health Organization.
- In order to combat certain genetic maladies, Henri maintains a healthy lifestyle filled with plenty of exercise.
- Made our 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016, Fittest European Royals, and Fittest European Heads of State
- Samir Becic: “Bravo to Duke Henri for making this list 4 times in a row! I am looking forward to our fitness session together.”
Enrique Peña Nieto, 50 – President of Mexico
- The president of Mexico is a huge promoter of fitness.
- Pena Nieto pushes citizens in Mexico to exercise by encouraging everyone to workout for an hour a day, even if it means going on a light walk.
- As far as his own fitness goes, Pena Nieto participated in a 10k run in an effort to promote Mexico’s health and fitness.
- The president of Mexico is also a huge sporting advocate. He encourages all Mexican citizens to partake in their sport of preference. He also promotes everyone in his country to maintain a balanced diet.
- Made our 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State and Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015 and Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016
- Samir Becic: “I am actually glad that the current fattest country in the world has a health-conscious President. I hope that his determination in promoting healthy lifestyle in Mexico will be successful. With a powerful and fit President in office, the military and police will be more efficient in fighting crime.”
Bakir Izetbegović, 60 – Member of Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Daily walking routine, 3-5 km.
- He is an avid skier and uses Sarajevo’s 1984 Olympic slopes to train.
- Focuses on eating a balanced diet.
- One of his favorite hobbies is chess, which is important for mental health and concentration- balancing the body and mind.
- President Izetbegovic is known to be spiritual, which is a cornerstone of healthy lifestyle as well.
- Does not drink alcohol.
- Does not smoke.
- His wife, Sebija Izetbegovic is a successful MD and the general manager of the most prominent medical facility in Bosnia, KCUS-a.
- Samir Becic: “Welcome to the list of the fittest Heads of State.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, 67 – Prime Minister of Israel
- Benjamin Netanyahu promoted health within his community by encouraging his very own ministers to stop overeating and start working out.
- Netanyahu pushed for a healthier range of food to be offered during cabinet meetings.
- As far as practicing what he preaches, Netanyahu lost 11 pounds by upholding a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Instead of reaching for sugary and refined carbs, Netanyahu snacks on lettuce and carrot sticks during his meetings.
- As far as exercise goes, the Prime Minister of Israel jogs twice a week on a treadmill and goes on plenty of walks.
- Made our list of Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015 and Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016
- Samir Becic: “One thing that impresses me about Prime Minister Netanyahu is that he makes his ministers health conscious and emphasizes healthy lifestyle as a part of their duties. No wonder that Israel’s military is notoriously fit.”
Vladimir Putin, 64 – President of Russia
- Vladimir Putin earned his 8th-degree black belt in karate at 62 years old. In addition to Karate, Putin also practices Judo martial arts, which was created in Japan as a means of establishing mental and physical discipline.
- Before practicing judo, Putin embarked on his martial arts journey by partaking in Sambo at the age of 14. Sambo is a combative form of martial arts that first originated from the Soviet Union.
- Putin is incredibly skillful in various forms of martial arts. He even acquired a master of sports in Sambo.
- In addition to earning his 8th-degree black belt in karate, Putin also received a 6th dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan karate. Kyokushin, meaning “ultimate truth,” is a form of karate that requires full body contact. It is known as the toughest branch of karate, requiring the most bodily discipline and awareness.
- Putin actively competed in sports since the age of 14.
- As far as less extreme activities, Putin also partakes in horseback riding, skiing, badminton, fishing, cycling, and hockey.
- Putin is also involved in social health awareness in Russia. He promotes health amongst the general public in a myriad of ways.
- Made our 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016 and Fittest European Heads of State
- Samir Becic:“President Putin has been on these lists since we first started them. His athletic abilities are superb and hard to match. No wonder he is in his 60s and still has the dynamic approach of a fit young man.”
Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 36 – Current King of Bhutan
- Being the leader of a nation did not discourage King Wangchuck from pursuing a position as a national basketball player.
- Although he grew up playing soccer, Wangchuck concluded his goalie days after realizing players were hesitant to challenge the future king. Instead, he picked up basketball because its pace of it made the sport more about game strategy rather than players’ status.
- King Wangchuck practices meditation to maintain his emotional and mental health.
- Made our 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State and our Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015 and Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016
- Samir Becic: “King Wangchuck is making our list for the 4th year in a row and if he continues on this path of health and fitness, he will continue making future lists as well. I’m surprised that the Bhutan media has yet to publish this list.”