Depression, overweight … to fight against their poor physical and moral condition, the agents are ordered to get back to sport.
After Barack Obama’s advisers, it’s FBI agents who are asked to put on their sneakers. For the first time in 16 years, there they are, obligated to pass a “fitness test” designed to measure their fitness. Among the requirements for men from 30 to 39 years old: successfully do 24 straight pushups, 35 situps in one minute or a run a 300-meter sprint in less than sixty seconds; and the men must do everything with only a five-minute break between each exercise.
The 13,500 agents must agree to undergo the evaluation before October. In order to help them prepare, the FBI kindly offers them training sessions. Established by the former director of the agency, J. Edgar Hoover who was obsessed with his waistline, this fitness tradition was lost at the end of the 20th century, when its effectiveness was questioned. Since the 9/11 attacks, the mission of the agents has moved more toward the fight against terrorism—that is to say, intelligence and cyber surveillance—at the cost of eliminating field work and therefore physical exercise.
Feeling increasing pressure, many agents have become overweight and suffer from depression, The New York Times reported. After having toured the FBI offices and realizing that the troops were feeling down, current director, James B. Comey, decided to take things in hand, persuaded that physical exercise enables agents to better handle stress and develop a healthier life balance.
Apples in the Oval Office
The director of the FBI is not the only one to believe in the virtues of sport to reinvigorate his troops. The entire Obama administration brags about fitness. The U.S. presidential couple itself does not trifle with calories. The Obamas had barely passed through the White House doors when they recommended, even commanded, new eating and sport habits for their staff. No more barbecue sauce and spare ribs of George H.W. Bush, McDonald’s breaks of Bill Clinton or hot dog dinners of George W. Bush.
Currently, in the Oval Office, as well as in the first lady’s offices, visitors and advisers can choose between dipping into one of the big bowls filled with apples or … nothing. While a pastry chef is available seven days a week, the Obama family only allows itself dessert on weekends. And beware advisers who arrive late for meetings … unless they come back from the gym. It’s the only excuse accepted by the president.
Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, “Let’s Move,” which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, has extended itself into the White House gardens where the first lady planted an organic garden measuring 100 square meters (approximately 1,076 square feet) in order to provide fruits and vegetables to the residents, employees and guests at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The U.S. president likes when his staff is in as good shape as he is. If we regularly see images of Barack Obama playing golf or basketball, his weekly sports sessions with Cornell McClellan, his personal trainer for more than ten years, are on the other hand more discreet. However, the presidential couple, together or separately, devote themselves to cardio training and working out two to four times a week, a healthy lifestyle that the president is keen to share with his advisers. However, the president has not imposed any minimum time for running from one meeting room to another.