Monday, February 28, 2011

Kass Shares President, First Lady's Trainer

Male White House staffers compete to beat Kass in workouts...
The secret is out: Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass didn't get to be such a buffster just from slinging supersized sweet potatoes and wild greens in the White House Kitchen Garden. He's been working out regularly with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama's personal trainer, Cornell McClellan, who flies to DC from Chicago each week for regular White House sweat fests.

That's the word from the New York Times, which is today running the tale of the President and First Lady's muscle meister on its front page. It's old news that McClellan, 54, is Mr. and Mrs. Obama's trainer; he's been doing it for years. The new angle is that McClellan also trains not only Kass, but many other White House staffers in an on-campus gym. And apparently Kass, a former baseball star in high school and college, is the man to beat in testosterone-fueled workouts. (Above: Kass with Mrs. Obama at the 2010 Fall Kitchen Garden Harvest)

"Tommy Vietor, a National Security Council spokesman, and the speechwriter Jon Favreau are competitive, and Mr. McClellan sometimes pits them against Sam Kass," notes the Times.

But somehow, although the story includes plenty of fun--if overly graphic White House gym gossip (Lawrence Summers' naked, dripping torso!)--and many quotes from current and former staffers, the Times forgets/neglects to mention that McClellan has been appointed as a Member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

That's an interesting oversight. President Obama's former Senior Advisor David Axelrod, who recently departed the White House, and Summers, a top economic advisor who has also left the White House, are among those quoted. And the story even delves into such "deep" detail that the Christmas gift McClellan was presented with from grateful, slimmed-down White House staffers is mentioned: An IPad.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/