Being the leader of an entire country is a dynamic role in itself, and yet a select 10 from all around the world have set themselves apart with their own fitness aptitude and their promotion of a healthy lifestyle for all. Because they serve as a symbol of unity and integrity for their sovereign state, they are the perfect role models to look up to when it comes to their relentless efforts. They continue to demonstrate to their country that no matter how frenzied life can get, fitness and health should always be a priority. Since our inaugural list in 2014, we’ve published an updated “Top 10” annually including 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The 10 heads of state that make our 2019 list are not only pioneers as global ambassadors, but they are also leaders outside of the office when they are competing in sports or simply biking with their family.
“The ‘Fittest Heads of State’ list was started to promote global fitness,” said Samir Becic, who has 20 years of expertise in the fitness industry and was named No. 1 fitness trainer in the United States. “Every year, we see an increasing number of fit and healthy heads of state, which makes it more challenging to curate the list. However, this is positive news and we are considering expanding the list to accommodate this trend.”
In no particular order, the following world leaders have become healthy role models for their citizens. From accomplished athletes to recreational weekend warriors, nutrition enthusiasts to nutrition policymakers, these heads of state are doing their part to lead by example in the quest for a stronger, healthier global community.
Criteria for the Fittest Heads of State:
- For each country, the two leading figureheads are eligible for the list. For example: Canada, Malaysia, and the Netherlands have their Prime Ministers on this list even though their respective monarchs are the heads of state.
- Have to be healthy and fit personally.
- Should promote a healthy lifestyle globally.
- Physical fitness relative to age has been taken into substantial consideration.
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, 93, is the longest-serving monarch in British history, currently holding the role for 67 years.
- She stays healthy by eating one of her favorite meals, grilled or poached fish with vegetables and salad. Her former chef says that “She’s very disciplined. She could have anything she wants, but it is her discipline that keeps her so well and healthy.”
- She has tapped into eating organic because of her son Charles, Prince of Wales, being a long-time leader in the organic farming movement.
- It is a British ritual for her to enjoy a cup of tea and barley water. Barley is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber; and it is said to help support the kidneys, especially during times of stress.
- The Queen is also known for her love of horses–she breeds horses and ponies–and reaps the benefits of horseback riding.
- She has been featured on our 2018 Fittest Heads of State in the World, and The Fittest Heads of State over 70.
Samir Becic: “I have the ultimate respect for Her Majesty’s discipline, aptitude, charisma, and never-ending energy! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!”
Emmanuel Macron, President of France
- He enjoys playing tennis and going on bike rides with his wife and kids, which he often gets snapped by the paparazzi.
- He trains with former professional tennis player Patrice Kuchna, who calls Macron an accomplished, agile athlete who enjoys training and improving.
- President Macron is also an avid football (soccer) player, previously licensed by the French Federation of Football while at University.
- Macron also enjoys running and goes skiing regularly in the Alps and Pyrenees.
- He has been featured on our Fittest Heads of State in the World 2018 List.
Samir Becic: “President Macron is in excellent physical shape and uses a variety of sports to stay active. Europe is fortunate to have such a strong and fit president who is a role model for many. Vive la France!”
King Felipe VI, King of Spain
- King Felipe VI graduated from two military schools and one Air Force academy.
- He is a sports enthusiast and was a member of the 1992 Olympic Sailing team in Barcelona.
- He participated as Spain’s flag bearer in the Parade of the Nations during the opening ceremony, where he came in sixth place and was awarded an Olympic Diploma.
- He has been featured on our 2015 Fittest Heads of State, 2016 Fittest Heads of State, 2017 Fittest Heads of State and 2018 Fittest Heads of State in the World, Top 10 Fittest Male Royalty in the World, Fittest European Royals, and Top 50 Fittest Royals in the World
Samir Becic: “His Majesty the King is one of the fittest royals in the world. ¡Viva España!
Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
- Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri is one of the world’s fittest heads of state.
- He is involved in many health and fitness organizations, among them being the International Olympic Committee and a member of the World Health Organization’s Mentor Foundation.
- To aid Henri with his genetic maladies, he makes sure to live a healthy lifestyle filled with plenty of exercise.
- Henri was featured on our Fittest Heads of State 2018, The Fittest Heads of State 2017, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State, Fittest European Royals, and Fittest European Heads of State.
Samir Becic: “His Royal Highness the Grand Duke has been on our list since its’ inception in 2014.”
George Weah, President of Liberia
- President Weah was formerly an international footballer who still plays frequently on Saturdays.
- He became an international star and Liberian hero through a distinguished football career at Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
- He is the only African to win the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year.
- In 2018, while President, dusted off his cleats and participated in a friendly match against Nigeria. He played for 79 minutes of the game!
Samir Becic: “It pleases me to see a professional athlete becoming President. From a phenomenal soccer player to a global leader, what a great role model! I hope that more professional athletes will follow suit.”
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- According to our guidelines, both Queen Elizabeth (Canada’s Head of State) and Justin Trudeau (Canada’s Prime Minister) qualify for this list.
- Just because Trudeau is a prime minister doesn’t mean he doesn’t have time to work out.
- During his campaign, he worked out and trained every day.
- He is so passionate about boxing that he reached the top of the 853-meter Grouse Grind 36 minutes faster than the average 90-minute strive that most people achieve. He believes that “boxing is as much about receiving hits as giving them.”
- But he isn’t just about boxing, he also likes to go outside and snowboard or go canoeing.
- He’s also been known to practice yoga – even during cabinet meetings!
- Trudeau does it all: he promoted the 2016 Invictus Games, and challenged Barack and Michelle Obama and the Kensington Palace to “bring it.”
- He also ran a morning 5k with members of the Canadian Royal Navy just this last March.
- Trudeau was featured on our Fittest Heads of 2016, The Fittest Heads of State 2017, Fittest Heads of State 2018, and Top 10 Fittest Canadian Celebrities.
Samir Becic: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is one of the fittest politicians and undoubtedly a role model (especially among politicians) in terms of physical fitness around the world.”
Marke Rutte, Prime Minister of Netherlands
- According to our guidelines, both His Majesty Willem-Alexander (Netherland’s Head of State) and Marke Rutte (Netherland’s Prime Minister) qualify for this list.
- He bicycles almost daily to his office. Google Images has hundreds of photos of him riding on his bicycle!
- He promotes cycling to the Dutch. The health benefits of cycling are well-known: it reduces the risk of illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and can help boost mental wellbeing. A 2015 study found more than 6,000 deaths in the Netherlands are prevented each year due to cycling, and it adds six months to the average life expectancy (This saves the country’s economy more than $20 million a year.) As Rutte says: “The whole system is nudging people to make use of this very healthy alternative.”
- He is a trained concert Pianist. Music and the arts are a component of a healthy lifestyle.
- The current prime minister goes to the gym twice a week with a number of colleagues
- He is known as a moderate drinker and he quit smoking cigars in 2007.
- Rutte has set the Netherlands on track to deliver Europe’s most ambitious reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and delivered a booming economy, positioned to capitalize on Brexit.
- He has a positive demeanor, Italia Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said of him: “He’s one of those who in the European Council does team building. He jokes, he smiles, always a nice word for everyone.”
- Fun fact: In February, Rutte outmaneuvered Macron by secretly acquiring a 14% stake in Air France-KLM and then sent a six-foot-six (2-meter) kickboxer (aka Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra) to explain the move to the French.
Samir Becic: “This is Prime Minister Rutte’s first time on our list. His fitness resume is impressive and his positive attitude is infectious. Mr. Prime Minister, WELKOM to our list!”
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
- Vladimir Putin isn’t just the President of Russia, but also one of the fittest presidents in the world.
- He works out seven days a week, which consists of going to the gym and then swimming. He claims that swimming is where he “gets much of Russia’s thinking done.”
- Putin has been practicing martial arts since he was 13 and has his judo black belt. He says that Martial Arts is a “good way of building up adrenaline and taking out aggression.”
- Putin also took up the sport of hockey when he turned 60, and says that “the other players don’t take it easy on him.”
- Putin does not engage in the use of alcohol unless it’s at a formal reception.
Samir Becic: “President Putin has been on our list since its’ inception. His fitness resume is impressive, he’s been an athlete his whole life.”
Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia
- Battulga won the wrestling world cup championship in Ulaanbaatar in 1989, which led to his award as Merited Sportsman of Mongolia in 1995.
- He was later selected as the Chairman of the Mongolian Judo Federation in 2006.
- Under Battulga’s leadership at the Judo Federation, Mongolian Judokas became Olympic champions for the first time in history.
- Because of Battulga’s success, judo has become one of the most popular sports in Mongolia.
- He was featured on our 2018 List of Top 10 Fittest Heads of State.
Samir Becic: “President Battulga is one strong man! He reminds me of another strong man from Mongolian history who changed the world.”
Tun Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia
- According to our guidelines, both Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Malaysia’s Head of State) and Tun Mahathir Bin Mohamad (Malaysia’s Prime Minister) qualify for this list.
- Prime Minister Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad turned 94 years old this year but has not let his age affect his ability to lead the nation of Malaysia to a stronger and more stable economy.
- He is a doctor by profession, so it is no wonder that he takes a special interest in his health.
- He believes that keeping the brain active is important to slow aging and mental decay and that staying active is important to maintain good health.
- His second tip to staying healthy is to avoid overeating.
- “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t overeat. I eat just enough food to keep me going.” – Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad
Samir Becic: “Prime Minister Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad is a great example of how a healthy lifestyle can keep us all fit, vibrant, and sharp! This is his first time on the list, and we clearly welcome him with open arms!”