Styles differ but US presidents make fitness a priority

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Whether the request was for a treadmill on Air Force One, an elliptical trainer by the White House pool, or a rower adjacent the Lincoln bedroom, when the Oval Office called, fitness trainer Ted Vickey answered.

As the former executive director of the White House Athletic Center during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W Bush, Vickey served their fitness demands.

While their styles differed, Vickey said each president made fitness a priority.

“Both Clinton and Bush were big outdoor runners but Clinton would also like to run outside the gates, talking to people,” Vickey recalled. “Bush was a more private exerciser; the elder Bush enjoyed speed golf.”

Although the presidents didn’t use the Athletic Center, which was built for staffers in 1987 under the Reagan Administration, Vickey was familiar with their fitness routines.

Bush used exercise as a way to manage his day, said Vickey, who installed a folding treadmill on Air Force One so the 43rd president could work out on a trip to Colombia.

Vickey also converted a room near the Lincoln bedroom into a fitness centre.

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