Heard on the Hill

Mullin Plays Fitness Instructor for No-Politics, Bipartisan Workout

Men's Health Month hourlong workout kicked off Friday on Capitol Hill

Members prepare before the Friday morning workout, lead by Rep. Markwayne Mullin, pointing at right. (Alex Gangitano/ CQ Roll Call)

Because bipartisan athletic competitions are the theme of this summer, the annual Men’s Health Month congressional workout attracted a very diverse crowd of fit members.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin played fitness instructor and led the workout on Friday morning, which was attended by more than 60 people at the park behind the Longworth House Office building.

A dozen members were in the pack and included Republicans Martha McSally, Kristi Noem, Jason Smith, Buddy Carter, Bruce Westerman, and Democrats Kyrsten Sinema, Joseph P. Kennedy III, Josh GottheimerSeth Moulton and Tom Suozzi.

Mullin has been leading the annual workout for about four years. He first introduced special guests former NFL player Clifton Crosby and Samantha Clayton, director of Global Fitness at Herbalife Nutrition, and then asked Smith to lead the group on a short run around the park.

He warned everyone that arms and chest were the focus of the hourlong morning routine and then asked his wife, Christie, to lead the stretches. Their sons, Jim and Andrew, also exercised.

“Working out is an honor system...don't quit,” Mullin said halfway through. “You guys aren't going to believe this. We still have 30 minutes. Woo!”

Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) does a push-up while leading the Congressional Men's Health Caucus Workout. (Ana Fadich, VP of Men's Health Network)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin does a push-up while leading the workout. (Ana Fadich, VP of Men's Health Network)

Rep. Donald Payne Jr., the co-chair of the Men’s Health Caucus, went to support his colleagues. The other attendees were staffers from various offices who joined in despite Friday morning’s rain.

[Press Beats Members at Congressional Women's Softball Game, to Record Crowd]

“It’s a really great turnout with the weather,” Payne said. “It just shows people understand the need to exercise and be fit, especially here on Capitol Hill. It seems like there is an effort by members and staff to stay fit.”

June is Men’s Health Month and the Men’s Health Network led health screenings ont he Hill last week, which was declared Men’s Health Week by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994.

For Mullin, congressional workouts are a big part of his D.C. career.

“It actually started when I first got here [in 2013],” Mullin said. “Kevin McCarthy and I started working out in the evening and then, I think the next person was Jason Smith came in and then Joe [Kennedy] and Tulsi [Gabbard] and Kristi Noem and everybody just started coming in.”

Joseph P. Kennedy III (D- MA) and Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) do burpees at the workout.  (Ana Fadich, VP of Men's Health Network)
Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy III and Jason Smith do burpees at the workout. (Ana Fadich, VP of Men's Health Network)

He added, “so we switched it to 6:30 in the morning and just kind of grown from there. This year, we had more freshman come in than we’ve ever had so now, in the morning, there’s between 12 and 16 members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — who meet every morning. We have a good time. We don’t talk politics, it’s just a workout. We go until 7:30 and then we go work.”

[Democrats Down Republicans, Both Down the Rhetoric]

While Mullin and his colleagues usually work out in the members’ gym, Friday’s special event was outside to accommodate the crowd.

“I'm motivating these people back here,” Smith said when Mullin called him out for not being in the front of the group.

When Mullin would demonstrate the next squat, pushup or leg workout the group had to do, a lot of groans would come from the pack. But, after the tough workout, spirits were high, a group photograph was taken, and everyone went off to work.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.