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President Obama workout video goes viral

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Jun 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-05 12:53:28-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A candid video of President Barack Obama during his trip to Poland is attracting both criticism and praise — and has nothing to do with his foreign policy.

Someone in the Marriott hotel gym captured every grunt and stretch of Obama working out in Warsaw, then leaked the video.

While some were shocked the Secret Service didn’t keep the individual from shooting the video and others bashed Obama’s form, at least one fitness guru is giving the President strong marks on his workout, and some advice.

“In general, his form is pretty good,” P90X founder Tony Horton said Thursday on CNN’s New Day. “I’d give him a solid B-plus, maybe an A-minus.”

Horton, whose workout has been adopted by Reps. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Aaron Schock, R-Illinois, advised the President to “breathe a little bit more,” but said he was glad Obama decided to hit the gym while abroad.

“I’m just thrilled that our President shows up to Poland and ends up doing a workout for a half an hour before going to bed instead of grabbing a Scotch and a cigarette,” Horton said.

Comments online ran the gamut, as some Twitter users knocked the weight of the President’s dumbbells while others cheered him for staying active.

Gawker, meanwhile, published a list of Obama’s biggest workout mistakes: from “wearing long pants” to not lunging far enough during his exercise. The viral website even called the President out for using the elliptical machine.

Horton instead focused on the importance of the President’s commitment to fitness, which he said helps keep his mind sharp.

Horton wouldn’t pick favorites between Ryan and Obama on the fitness scale, but said the President sits — or in this case, moves — in stark contrast to his predecessors.

“The President and first lady are walking the walk,” Horton said. “I’m sure Nixon and Carter weren’t doing that.”

First lady Michelle Obama has pushed Americans to get in shape and is working to end childhood obesity by encouraging kids to get active through her “Let’s Move” campaign, which she launched in 2010.

The candid video might have caught the President off guard, but likely not unaware, former White House videographer Arun Chaudhary said. The video shows Obama calmly perusing the rack of free weights, which he used to lunge and lift and perform an intense set of curls.

“President Obama is somebody who just acts the same on and off camera and has this unique ability just to sort of not care about it,” Chaudhary said. “He is very aware that everybody in that gym has a cell phone and that they’re probably taking a video.”

Chaudhary backed up the Secret Service’s claims that Obama was safe, assuring that all hotel guests were without a doubt screened by the President’s security detail.

“I think it’s unusual for us to see the President working out in a gym, but as a security level it’s not different than him getting pancakes at a diner in Iowa,” he said.

“For me, this gym tape is almost… no different than [White House photographer] Pete Souza’s photo of the first lady and the President touching heads in the freight elevator on Inauguration Day,” Chaudhary said.

The video does show the lanky President in a different light than his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who has been photographed shirtless hunting, fishing and riding horseback.

“This is not him strangling a tiger on top of a horse while he’s shirtless,” Chaudhary said of Obama. “This is someone doing what they do in a non-glamorous way.”

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