First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated her 49th birthday on Jan. 17 by tweeting a photo of herself sporting a youthful new hairstyle. Obama, who just launched her own Twitter account, looked fit and healthy in the snapshot, which was taken at the White House.
The athletic 5-foot-11 Michelle stays in shape by working out daily and eating well. Obama hits the White House gym between 4:30 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. every morning before her daughters wake up, doing a combination of cardio exercise, strength-training and plyometric moves.
"Barack and I work out every day," Michelle said. "When he isn’t traveling, that's the first thing we do. So we spend time together in the morning. I usually get to the gym before he does, but he is usually there either in the middle of my workout or right at the end."
The First Lady also follows a healthy diet that features fresh vegetables and fruits from her own garden at the White House, which was planted at her request in 2009. The garden was part of an initiative to promote healthy eating across the United States.
Obama, who has made headlines for her rippling biceps, says lifting weights is an integral part of her training. “You don't have to be a weightlifter," she says. "I know a lot of women get worried about muscle definition. But actually, I’ve been told by fitness experts that the average person will not bulk up on the weights that we can lift. That's not why people bulk up.
"You want to have some weight training in your routine, especially as women, to make sure we've got strong bone density. And it helps with that toning, those little areas that we don't like that flap a little bit, that aren't as tight. That's where lifting comes in, once you've gotten your cardio in there.”
Michelle also tries to do yoga and Pilates regularly and maintain a steady weight. "I try to keep my weight at a certain level," she says. "And I've found that as I get older I don't like to diet. I like food. I don't like to have to worry and count every calorie."
Obama doesn't let anything keep her from her daily workouts — not even a hectic travel schedule.
“I bring a jump rope and some of those rubber [exercise] bands," she says. "They're really inexpensive. And I can usually do some rope-jumping in the hotel room."
The First Lady says her husband, President Barack Obama, is a fitness role model because he works out consistently no matter how busy he gets. The president plays basketball, lifts weights and does cardio exercise on the elliptical trainer or treadmill.
"I think the President serves as a good role model because as busy as he is, he exercises every day," she said. "It's a part of what keeps him going. You do get to a point where exercise becomes something that you need, like water. And we try to promote that."
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