It is not a topic that comes up a lot, but many wonder about- how the secret service agents get in shape and stay that way. Lately, political fitness is all the rage with the new candidate for vice president has the fitness community a buzz over his superhero physic. Aside from the potential VP’s p90x body, there is another political body getting attention- look to Dan Bongino, a former secret service agent turned senate candidate. You have likely seen him before, but have no idea who we are talking about. Check for him luring in the background of presidential photo opts…read below for his secret service agent workout routine.
Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland, is making waves in the world of politics for his straight talk and law enforcement background. A native New Yorker, Bongino spent the first four years of his law enforcement career working for the New York Police Department. He went on to become a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent, landing the position of Certified Physical Fitness Instructor at the Secret Service Academy in Beltsville, Maryland.
Bongino served on George W. Bush’s Presidential Protection Division and moved onto President Barack Obama’s Presidential Protection Division until he retired in 2011 to run for Senator. But he doesn’t let a busy campaign schedule get in the way of his fitness. In an Exclusive interview with Muscle & Fitness, Bongino talks about his personal workout and what it takes to be in the Secret Service.
What kept you mentally determined during your time with the Secret Service?
Dan Bongino: I started lifting weights when I was 12 or 13. It gave me a regimentation that really fortifies your mind as well as your body and the discipline to get through a lot of those rough nights in the Secret Service. My family was lower middle class and didn’t have much of a choice. It was either get off your butt or suffer the consequences.
So, this guy started very young! We have discussed weight training at a young age before, so you decide for yourself whether or not you want to start jr out on his secret service training before practicing for his driver’s license exam or not…here’s the article.
What did you instruct your students at the Secret Service Academy in Maryland?
There was investigative curriculum and I would supplement the Control Tactics Division, which is all the hand-to-hand stuff. I have a long history with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling.
Sounds like this guy knows how to keep his workouts fresh! Like we have said before, getting in shape doesn’t have to be so stuffy! There is no reason that you have to stick to free weights to get the body you want, if you invest into something like boxing, or MMA, the fitness will come naturally.
Do you still train mixed martial arts?
Absolutely. I love it. It’s the best form of conditioning out there. I grapple once a week. I won silver medals at Grapplefest in New York and the New York State Police Olympics.
Which professional fighters have you trained with?
I trained with Matt Serra for six years and I had him down at the Secret Service Training Center where he taught Control Tactics to instructors. I also trained with his brother Nick Serra. I trained with Pete Sell, who was a UFC fighter, and Joe Scarola from the Ultimate Fighter. I rolled around with Randy Couture at the training center and he was teaching all of the latest and greatest techniques. I’ve trained with a lot of these guys over the years.
What is one story about MMA training that sticks in your head?
Rolling with Couture was pretty much the highlight of my grappling career. He was incredible. We had very skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guys with purple and brown belts, world-class collegiate wrestlers, and great stand up guys and Couture just took on a class of about 25 people like in a round robin. I had been grappling at that point for over 10 years and it took him about two minutes to get me in a kneebar.
Have you ever considered a career in the fitness industry such as a personal trainer or fitness model?
It’s something when I was younger I thought about but my first love is politics and economics. Maybe when I retire I’ll help a few folks out. I’ve given quite a few seminars on nutrition science and working out. The real battle is with the knife and fork.
Have you worked out with President Obama or President Bush?
By the time I was on the President’s detail, it was near the end of George W. Bush’s Presidency and he was biking. I’m an okay biker but you had to be really skilled to be on that Bike Detail. I didn’t work out with President Obama. He pretty much sticks to the gym in the White House.
Did he just give away one of the secrets of the secret service? Our president works out exclusively in a gym? We have to give it to him, he is probably the most fit president to date, but we think he should take advantage of having access to literally anything to get active with. We would take Air Force One to the beach for our morning runs, visit the Rockies for full body workouts, and well, you get the picture.
Have you played basketball on the White House basketball court?
No, we would watch the President shoot around and watch the games. None of the agents really shoot hoops with him. We’ve been on the court with him hours at a time. He’s pretty good. He’s got some skills.
Any other cool story related to fitness and the Secret Service?
President Bush had quite a few guys bike with him who were in very good shape. One of them was a coach in the National Football League. President Bush beat this guy pretty good on the bike. We were driving in the truck and I remember at least four or five times looking out of the back of the truck and saying, “Hey, do you need help?” The President was three or four miles ahead of him.
What other projects should readers look out for from Dan Bongino?
We owned an MMA footwear company called Grapple Socks that was born out of necessity. One day, I injured one of my toes grappling and I thought to myself “Why not just invent a toe sock for grappling and put a sole on it”? So that is what we did. We sold quite a few but given the intensity of the campaign schedule I had to put the company on hold. We’ll start it back up after this is over.
Secret Service Physical Fitness Test Requirements (Excellent Score)
It is highly encouraged for Secret Service trainees to not only pass, but to achieve excellent scores on the Physical Fitness Test. The same Physical Fitness Test is administered to Special Agents quarterly. After 3 to 4 years of service, Special Agents can apply to be members of the Counterassault Team (CAT). Members of the CAT team must pass the Special Agent Physical Fitness Test and an additional 10-minute snatch test with a 53-lb. kettlebell.
Age – 20-29
1.5-mi. run – 10.16 seconds or less
Push-ups (in 1 min) – 55
Sit-ups (in 1 min.) – 53
Chin-ups (Maximum) – 9
That’s a pretty tall order! The test mentioned above is probably not reasonable for MOST people, but then again, MOST people don’t get the do something as cool as protect the president of the United States.
Here’s another look into secret service training…
Would you ever be able to pass the mentioned test?