The man behind Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s workout routine is divulging her exercise secrets.
Local personal trainer Bryant Johnson sat down with Politico Chief Washington Correspondent Isaac Dovere to discuss his new book, “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong… and You Can Too!” Tuesday night at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.
The book, which was released last week, gives readers an inside look into Ginsburg’s workout routine, detailing how to perform her regular workouts. Illustrations of Ginsburg executing each exercise fill the book so readers can follow along.
The event included an interview-style conversation filled with humorous anecdotes and a short Q&A session with audience members.
Here are the evening’s best moments:
1. Johnson’s big break
The author opened up the conversation explaining how he ended up as the personal trainer to one of the nation’s most influential and powerful people in the courts.
Johnson said Gladys Kessler, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, recommended him to Ginsburg when she was asking around for potential personal trainers. Ginsburg decided to look for a personal trainer after her bout with colorectal cancer to build back her strength and well-being, he said.
Johnson began working with Ginsburg in 1999. In addition to training the Supreme Court Justice, he works as a law clerk at the District Court’s Clerk Office and runs a fitness business in his spare time called Body Justice.
At first, Johnson said he thought Kessler was setting him up to train with someone else in the office who’s last name was also Ginsburg. Johnson joked about “blacking out” when he learned that it was really the Supreme Court Justice who wanted him to train her.
2. Ginsburg’s routine
Johnson said his sessions with Ginsburg are different from those with other clients he trains, as they are filled with opera music and occasional breaks to watch PBS NewsHour on the TV in the gym.
“I like opera music too, but I don’t think of it as workout music,” Dovere said in response.
The author took this opportunity to dispel the myth that Ginsberg only does push-ups and planks. He said many people believe the 84-year-old judge has a simple workout routine, but he said the complexity of her workout is what inspired him to write the book.
Johnson even got on the ground and demonstrated some of the exercises he does with Ginsburg, including side planks and a chest press with resistance bands. The crowd broke out into laughter as Dovere failed to keep up with Johnson’s demonstration.
3. Feeling the pressure
Dovere said at one point during their conversation that Ginsburg must feel pressure to keep up her health since the election of President Donald Trump. Johnson reacted by saying that he is the one who feels the pressure, because he is the one tasked with keeping her in her best possible shape.
“I don’t know if she feels the pressure,” Johnson said. “People are coming to me.”
Dovere responded joking that there are many people who are not fans of Trump, so Johnson must feel like “the fate of the Republic is in his hands.”
Johnson said he doesn’t see his job as keeping Ginsberg alive, but as a job to improve her quality of life.