Fitness Habits of Disgraced Generals

Like much of the country, I’m following the Petraeus scandal with a mixture of sadness and fascination.  I feel for his family.  No one should have to go through a betrayal like this, especially not one plastered on the front pages of every newspaper in the country.  That said, some of the details about Petraeus and Broadwell which have come to light in the past two days have reminded me that now two  of our famous generals who have fallen from grace are in really, really good shape.*

When asked to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, Petraeus allegedly practiced for a week.

Let’s start with General Petraeus.  Dude doesn’t play when it comes to physical fitness.  He likes to start his day off with a five mile run, done at an average of six minutes per mile, then it’s onto a set of twenty toes to bars and 100 push ups.  Not a bad morning workout — I might adopt it.  Though my miles’ll be a lot slower.

I don’t know if Petraeus does his T2Bs strict or with kipping, but knowing that he’s old school military, I’d guess strict. 

Those morning runs may have been part of what got him in trouble.  When Broadwell** was working on her biography of Petraeus, she would apparently often interview him  during his morning runs.  That means Petraeus can not only run at a six minute pace, he can do it while having a conversation.

The dude is making me feel like a slouch.

He also claims to eat one meal a day and sleep only four hours.  I hate to challenge the credibility of the general, but this, I doubt.  Over-achievers routinely underestimate (or straight up lie about) the amount of time they spend sleeping.  With this kind of exercise regime, and only one meal a day, it isn’t surprising he passed out during a senate hearing.

Apparently, after years of improvising his workouts in Afghanistan, Petraeus was looking forward to building a gym in his Virginia home.  That is until it was turned into CIA communications center.  Looks like he might get a chance to build that gym now.

There might be something about high level military officers and calorie restriction.  General McChrystal, Petraeus’s replacement in Afghanistan until he was fired for talking smack about the president, also claims to only eat one meal a day.  He’s a runner as well, apparently run-commuting twelve miles a day when he was a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.  He’s got that marathoner look too, super lean.

What’s your 10K PR, son?

What are we to make of the fitness prowess of these generals who have fallen from grace?  Probably not too much.  The military puts a big emphasis on physical fitness, and as seriously Type A dudes, it isn’t surprising that these two wanted to push themselves physically.  I am sure there are many other generals out there who are fast on the roads but aren’t cheating on their wives or pissing off the president.  Still I find it interesting, as I always do, when the busy and over committed can find time to work out.  Generals Petraeus and McChrystal will probably never be in the public spotlight again, but they can probably still beat my ass in a 5k.  That’s something, isn’t it?

*There is apparently an FBI agent involved in this whole mess who sent shirtless pictures of himself to one of the ladies involved.  His fitness regime is as yet unknown.

**Broadwell is also no slouch in the physical fitness area. She was a fitness champion at West Point, is a serious Ironman tri-athlete, and once challenged John Stewart to a push up contest and won.

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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