Heard on the Hill

Members Bond Over ‘Miserable’ Workout

Nine members of Congress did Solidcore with HOH

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema exercise together before work. (Thomas McKinless/ CQ Roll Call)

As lawmakers traded harsh words over the omnibus, some were also trading bipartisan high-fives.

In the middle of last week’s spending clash, nine members took a break for a hard-core workout. HOH joined them for an early morning Solidcore class. 

“I’m obsessed with Solidcore,” Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema said of the workout, which combines Pilates-like positions with a boot camp feel.

Lately she’s been recruiting other members. It’s been pretty easy, she said.

“So here’s how I pitch it: ‘Solidcore’s the hardest workout you’ll ever do. It’s miserable. Come with me tomorrow,’” the congresswoman said. “They totally do it.”

Watch: Lawmakers Break a Sweat at Bipartisan Workout

After gathering Thursday in the small lobby of the Navy Yard studio, one of several Solidcore locations around D.C., the members were hustled on to equipment for a sweat-drenched session.

Fifty minutes later, they high-fived, swapped praise and encouraged one another to come back and do it again. Then they hurried out to resume the spending debate.

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The group brings together lawmakers from a range of backgrounds and political ideologies. Regulars include Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyMia Love, Jeff Denham and Tom Graves, all Republicans, and Democrats Kathleen RiceSeth Moulton, Stephanie Murphy and Scott Peters.

“It helps you start your day right, and then you feel healthy and strong and happy the whole day,” Sinema said.

During a contentious time on Capitol Hill, the Arizona Democrat considers these colleagues her friends first.

“What’s really great about it is that you get to be with your friends,” she said. “My opinion is if I’m going to do something really hard and really miserable to help me become a healthier person, I’m going to totally drag all of my friends into it.”

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There’s no guarantee they’ll go in with enough sleep. The weeks before spring recess were filled with late-night negotiations and votes. 

“Regardless of when we go to bed, we’re going to get up and go to Solidcore,” Sinema said. “It’s bipartisan, it’s fun and as soon as the class is over, we’re relieved and happy.”

Murphy said that as a freshman, working out has been a great way to meet people in Congress.

“It’s great to work out, get a little bit of stress out and spend some time together,” she said.

[Mullin Plays Fitness Instructor for No-Politics, Bipartisan Workout]

This isn’t the first workout trend to take hold in Congress. Speaker Paul D. Ryan is a high-profile proponent of P90X, while Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin leads a regular workout, as Peters pointed out. 

“I used to do the one in the gym with Paul Ryan my first term, and then I did the Markwayne Mullin one,” the congressman said. “It’s good to have these guys push me.”

Peters said he’s committed to trying Solidcore with this group once a week. He joked that he was the oldest member.

He’s right, by about five years.

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