Ever wanted to punch a politician? Youâ€™ll get your chance at Fit for Office, a new class at Washington Sports Clubs thatâ€™s playing with politics.
What It Is: Class doesnâ€™t start with a warm-up. Itâ€™s a â€śprimary.â€ť Rather than an exercise circuit, students hit the â€ścampaign trail.â€ť Partner work is â€śfind a running mate.â€ť But beyond the gimmicky names, itâ€™s fitness as usual. And thatâ€™s exactly what students want â€” along with Michelle Obamaâ€™s arms. (â€śI think I have a long way to go,â€ť North Bethesda resident Janice Mandel said at the debut class, where many women expressed their first-lady physique aspirations.)
â€śI love that itâ€™s so functional,â€ť says instructor Aimee Richardson, referring to the selection of exercises, not the current state of political discourse. And sheâ€™s seen the power of tapping into peopleâ€™s frustrations about the election. â€śThis whole campaign, we live it and breathe it,â€ť she says. â€śSo it ignites more emotion into what weâ€™re doing.â€ť
Moves: If you thought you were tired of â€śswing states,â€ť wait until you perform them for 50 seconds straight. Thatâ€™s class lingo for kettlebell swings, which are part of the exercise circuit. â€śGetting on your soap boxâ€ť is box jumps, â€śPaul Ryan Absâ€ť are crunches with alternating oblique twists, and â€śBalance the Budgetâ€ť is squatting while on a wobble board. The most popular stop on the campaign trail is â€śVoter TKOâ€ť: Slip on boxing gloves and then decide how to pummel two pads â€” one wearing a Romney mask, the other an Obama one.
Partner work includes â€śCrossing Party Lines.â€ť Both of you get into push-up position facing each other, then high-five with your right hands, push-up, high-five with your left hands and repeat. Thereâ€™s also â€śPassing the Buck,â€ť aka tossing a medicine ball.
Workout: Shaking hands and kissing babies all day never worked up this much sweat, particularly if you choose the hardest variations of exercises. And your partner wonâ€™t let you get away with any dirty tricks. Thatâ€™s why the class ends a week before Election Day, Richardson jokes: â€śWe want them to be able to recover and be able to lift their arms to vote.â€ť
Crowd: No need to be a political junkie to join in â€” most people keep their political beliefs to themselves. Even at the punching station, Richardson says, most students keep jabs evenly distributed to get a balanced workout. Watch out, though, if you get paired up with 42-year-old Alexandra Harrington, who enjoyed punching just one candidateâ€™s mask over and over at the debut class. Later on, she didnâ€™t ask her partner her political leanings. â€śBut I should have,â€ť she said. â€śMaybe I would have thrown that ball harder.â€ť
Offered free to members and the public Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m., through Oct. 31, at Washington Sports Clubs Alexandria (3654 King St., Mysportsclubs.com).