Inside Michelle Obama's Grueling Workout Routine

Celebrity Body Aug. 21, 2012 AT 3:00PM
Michelle Obama sprints in a race with students during her visit to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on February 11, 2012. Michelle Obama sprints in a race with students during her visit to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on February 11, 2012. Credit: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty

Though they manage to steal the show wherever they go, Michelle Obama's arms aren't that special, the First Lady insists.

"I just saw two weeks of Olympics athletes who have real arms, so I always wonder, well, what is it?" she tells iVillage during her first feature as that site's guest editor. "My arms do not compete with people who have 'real' arms."

The secret to her fabulous, toned figure, in general? Daily early morning workouts alongside her husband, President Barack Obama. (Michelle, 48, wakes up at 4:30 every morning to exercise.)

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"I usually get to the gym before [Barack] does. But he is usually there either in the middle of my workout or right at the end," she says of their side-by-side sweat sessions. "And we're watching Sports Center and we're catching up. That's why I know so much about sports . . . you start having an opinion about [Tim] Tebow and Mark Sanchez."

These days, Obama is often on the road, hosting campaign events and visiting schools and youth-focused programs as part of her "Let's Move" initiative. Despite her jam-packed schedule, she makes it a point to squeeze in workouts whenever, and wherever, she can.

"For me, [exercise] is a de-stresser, first and foremost," she explains. When FLOTUS is away from home, "I bring a jump rope. I can usually do some jump-roping in the hotel room," she says. "If I don't have a rope or space, I might do a 30-minute routine that includes a minute of jumping jacks, alternating with a minute of pushups and then some sit-ups. You take a 30-second break and do it again."

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Obama tries to stick to healthy fare as much as possible, though she does confess to one major food vice: french fries. Her husband sometimes struggles to curb his snacking, too.

"Barack, his [vice] is chips and salsa and guacamole. And peanuts -- nuts -- almonds, pecans," Obama shares. "And there's a way that he eats that we tease him about -- he kind of shakes them in one hand and creates, like, a little dispenser with his index finger where he can just pop them in his mouth. He's a nut guy. That's what he's munching on all the time."

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