“I Worked Out with Obama!”

When the Obama buzz started, Stepp Stewart put his stinky clothes back on.

Yeah, we know people have been motivated, even moved to tears by Barack Obama. But a Philadelphia man actually got a chance to work up a sweat with the President-elect.

When Obama - in town for a national governors' conference - showed up unexpectedly at a Philadelphia gym on Tuesday morning, Musical Director and Choreographer Stepp Stewart jumped back into his “sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes” and faked a few moves to meet the man.

It paid off big-time. Stewart got in a workout with the President-elect Tuesday morning.

I can't write this better than Stewart can tell it, so here's is his account:

"There has been no moment like this morning! I can’t stop talking about it. My mouth is moving a mile a minute.

This morning, I was late! I was gonna be on the treadmill (at the Philadelphia Sports Club on Hamilton Street) by 6.  It’s more like 6:30.

I run. I’m done. I go to the shower, get all cleaned up and I’m just about to put my lotion on and I hear a rumor that someone is coming. Obama! And he’s gonna be here in 30 minutes!

Girl, I put my sweat-drenched, funky-smellin’ clothes right back on, got right back on the floor and started fakin’ a workout!

All the sudden, people are eyeballing the door. Here comes the secret service.Then here comes Barack, walking up with a baseball cap on. He stops at the front desk. All the sudden, there’s a line of people.

But here I was, sitting on a spin bike that was broken! It’s a prop. But it’s right by the door. I am faking it again, so I can have a good spot at the door!

I get off the bike. He looks me dead in the eye.

He shook my hand. I held onto it as long as I could. 


He went over to a treadmill. A girl got OFF the treadmill right next to him?! I took my ass right to that treadmill and started running! I couldn’t let him run faster than me, so every time he took a break I tried to peek over and see how fast he was running.

It was funny because there we were, right next to him in the gym and on all the TVs, there’s all this stuff about Obama and there I am, next to him, next to greatness.

He sat and read the paper for awhile -- USA Today -- then he worked out on a couple of other machines and took a picture with the staff before he left.

It was amazing. He was very gracious.

Obama worked out in black gym pants and a grey long-sleeved shirt. He did take his hat off. He was there just under an hour. He didn’t use a towel until he was finished."

OK, so I could have asked Stewart some really serious political type questions, but with a personality big enough and fun enough to suck the air out of a room, I decided to stick with the vicarious stuff instead:

What would the ladies like about him?
"He looks like his picture and he’s SO charming and soft-spoken, dazzling smile and very sure of himself."

What would the men like about him?
"He’s a regular guy. The fact that he got up in the morning and worked out, that should be motivation for everyone."

What would men envy?
"All the girls were eyeing Obama. No one makes an entrance like this man. Men like luxury, even if they don’t say it. He’s young, he’s a regular guy and he’s in charge of the free world and he’s the most popular guy in the world."

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