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“I am often consumed by the heavy lifting Supreme Court judging entails, reluctant to cease work until I am sure I’ve got it right. But when time comes to meet Bryant [my personal trainer], I leave off and join him at the gym for justices. The hour-long routine he has developed suits me to a T. This book, I hope will help others to experience, as I have, renewed energy to carry on with their work and days.”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

cover rbgDespite its cartoon caricature of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg working the resistance tubes on the cover of this book, The RBG Workout is no joke – Justice Ginsburg has been working with Bryant Johnson, her personal trainer and author of this book, for almost twenty years, and she credits him for much of her bodily recovery and her dramatically increased strength after two bouts of cancer during that time. She works out with Johnson for an hour, twice a week, has increased her bone density in the process, and, according to Johnson, “she’s graduated from doing push-ups against a wall to push-ups on her knees, to full-on standard push-ups the way I learned them in basic training for the Army. In fact, she’s gotten so strong that we’ve recently added ‘planks’ to her routine.” Johnson’s success has become so widely known and the public has become so interested in his program that Justice Ginsburg not only agreed to his writing this book about his regimen for her but also wrote the Foreword for this book.

rbgBeautifully organized, the book features exercises done exactly the way Johnson does them with Justice Ginsburg, but he is fully aware of the variety of ages and strength levels of the many people who may try this program, and he explains everything fully. He recommends the usual loose, comfortable clothing and adds a charming note that the Justice sports a crew-necked T-shirt which says, “Super Diva.” He gives a list of supplies – dumbbells, resistance bands or resistance tubes, and a door anchor – along with three types of balls, which he describes, at one point mentioning some substitutes like a gallon-size bottle of water, a large can or peas, some dirt in a plastic bag, or even some luggage the size of a carry-on bag for those who are just starting out and do not have all the equipment. He also provides a list of cautions, reminding the reader that “it took Justice Ginsburg years to perfect this routine – even some ThunderCats can’t complete this workout on their first try.”

bryant johnsonUsing caricatures of a very serious Justice Ginsburg to illustrate each exercise, Johnson presents the warm-up and stretching exercises, then shows the strength exercises which form the major part of the program. Those who do their workouts in a gym will have a lot of equipment at their disposal, but for each of these, Johnson suggests some easy, cost-free, at-home alternatives, usually using an ordinary chair and readily available resistance bands or tubes. For exercises involving the chest, back, arms, and shoulders, he provides “easier” alternatives (push-ups done from the knees, not the feet) and “easiest” alternatives, such as pushing away from a wall. Gradually, all parts of the body get similarly exercised and worked, all of them while sitting or standing in place. Reviews in some popular magazines, written by people of middle age or older, have attested to the fact that this is a real workout, not a set of easy exercises designed to make participants feel as if they are too strong, too muscular, too young, or too good to need this program. Two other Supreme Court Justices also work out with Johnson, and some people who have spent a great deal of time doing other programs have indicated that the results of this program make them feel much better and more confident without all the angst of meeting difficult, if not impossible, goals.

pushupsUltimately, author Bryant Johnson has a message for all: “Whatever you do, do something. Whether you’re a Supreme Court justice, a clerk, or a janitor, exercise is the great equalizer. A push-up, a squat, or a plank doesn’t care who you support or don’t support. It doesn’t care about your race, religion, color, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. You may have a lifetime appointment to the most powerful job in the world, but your body will still have veto power over you. And you’re the only one with jurisdiction over your body, so if you don’t use it, you will lose it.”

This illustration provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company shows the cover of a workout book co-authored by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s long-time trainer Bryant Johnson entitled: “The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong...and You Can Too!” The 112-page book, scheduled for release Oct. 3, will include illustrations of the 84-year-old Justice Ginsburg doing the exercises in her judicial robes, with purple leggings and “her trusty sneakers.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company via AP

Photos:  The portrait of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appears on https://commons.wikimedia.org

The picture of Bryant Johnson is from https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/B1bEVRIwn7S._UX250_.jpg

Justice Ginsburg doing a push-up comes from the book (p. 64) and appears on http://a.abcnews.go.com

Side Plank (p. 81) :  from http://www.nycitywoman.com

THE RBG WORKOUT: How She Stays Strong and You Can, Too
REVIEW. PHOTOS. Book Club Suggestion, Exercise, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, United States
Written by: Bryant Johnson
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date Published: 10/17/2017
ISBN: 978-1-328-91912-0
Available in: Ebook Hardcover

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