WASHINGTON—Saying the 175-year-old fitness center had long been in need of a major update, Michelle Obama unveiled the White House’s newly renovated Van Buren Workout Room to reporters Friday. “After passing by this neglected old room for years, I felt it was finally time to get rid of the fraying leather pulleys and the jolting saddle and outfit President Van Buren’s gym with a full suite of cardio and weight machines,” said the first lady, who also did away with the eighth president’s 1840s-era weighted Indian clubs and a diagram detailing the various circular swinging motions required for their proper use. “We did keep a few things for historical character, namely the spring-loaded chest expander and the Dr. Gustav Zander mechanotherapy apparatus added by William McKinley in 1899. There’s a lot of history here. You can almost picture LBJ standing in the corner there doing his morning squats.” Obama added that she had also decided to keep Martin Van Buren’s wrought-iron Gymnasticon so she could do her daily treadle presses.

Advertisement