The Irrelevant Guide to the 2012 Election: Paul Ryan

Looking for which candidate's economic beliefs are best suited to the present day? Wondering who's better suited to take office should the next president become incapacitated? Well, you've come to the wrong place.

Oct 11, 2012
Outside Magazine
Paul Ryan Presidential election 2012 politics republican vice president

Paul Ryan.    Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Paul Ryan likes to do things. In addition to running for vice president and being a Congressman from Wisconsin, he seemingly works out a lot and spends a bunch of time in and around nature. (Apparently, he had to choose between professional skiing and a career in government.) So put Randian theory, hollow economic-reform plans, lack of concern for the poor and the elderly, and whatever your feelings are toward those things aside just for a few minutes.

Take a look at this photo. Then, take a deep breath, drink some water, and CHECK OUT THOSE ARMS. No, not the way his arms are crossed (which, yes, may in fact suggest that he also listens to DMX; his iPod ends with a band called “Zeppelin” and “D” comes before “Z,” so, it’s possible, if not probable) but just at his actual arms. Those are muscles, and they’re muscles because Paul Ryan likes to work out a lot. The degree of success with which Ryan actually completes certain exercises is maybe up for debate between Ryan and the rest of Planet Earth, but the fact that he regularly exercises is just that: a fact.

He even made fun of an NPR reporter one morning in a Pittsburgh hotel workout room while getting his P90X on. Yes, Ryan was exercising in a baseball cap while indoors, which I don’t really understand, but whatever. He does stuff—and that doing of stuff, that stuff is being done, is not something that’s—politics-term warning!—up for debate.

He’s been described as a “hunting-obsessed gym rat,” but how would Ryan describe himself?
I’m just a kind of workout guy.”

And what made him a “kind of workout guy?”
(My father) died of a heart attack at 55, my grandfather died of a heart attack at 57, my great-grandfather died of heart attack at 59, so I'm into the health thing."

What workouts does he do?
P90x and Insanity.”

Why P90X?
I asked him ('him' being a 'Navy SEAL buddy' of Ryan’s) ‘How on earth do you stay in shape and hang with those younger guys?’ [He] said P90X.”

And how does P90X work?
It works because—it’s called muscle confusion. It hits your body in many different ways: pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups, lots of cardio, karate, jump training, yoga. So what it does is it pushes your body in many different ways so that it gets out of its plateau. I was actually a fitness trainer. I had three jobs when I came out of college and one of ‘em was a fitness trainer. What people get into is an exercise plateau, when you do the same thing every day. Your body gets used to it, so this gets you out of that plateau. I keep my body fat between six and eight percent.”

Any celebrities ever come work out?
Tony Horton the creator of [P90X] comes and works out with us every few months.”

So, enough about P90X and gym-rat stuff. What else does the VP candidate do to stay active?
I’m just pretty typical for a Wisconsin guy. I love hunting and fishing. Bowhunting is my passion. Studying the strategy, preparing food plots, the strategy of where a dominant buck is living or will be moving and then being in position to get a shot, that’s really exciting. Half of it is getting ready for the shot.”

Does he have any particular “hunting goals?”
I don’t know if I'll ever be able to try, but one of my goals is to get a grand slam of sheep with a bow. It would be very tough and very expensive. But I’d love to do some of those great western hunts for sheep and deer.”

Is he interested in any other animal-procuring outdoor activities?
I’m going to go out with some of my Okie friends, and I’m going to do something that I’ve been doing for a number of years, and that’s called noodling catfish.”

Noodling catfish?
They come up on your hand, and you just squeeze wherever you are in that fish and pull it out. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s really exhilarating.”

And last: does Ryan have any specific vices?
I have two cups of coffee every morning.”

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