Music Interviews
9:55 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Michelle Obama's Workout Jams: 'I Really Mix It Up'

Originally published on Thu June 7, 2012 10:49 am

The year began with New Year's resolutions to get fit and ever since, Morning Edition has been talking to athletes, musicians, a mail carrier and the head of the IRS about the music that gets them moving. The Ultimate NPR Workout Mix series concludes with a contribution from Michelle Obama.

The first lady is the mover and shaker behind "Let's Move," a campaign designed to get young people, in particular, to eat better and exercise more.

During a recent tour of the White House vegetable garden, Obama shared the key to her workout routine.

"I really mix it up," she says. "Some weights, some kickboxing, lots of cardio. You know — I try to make it fun, to do a little yoga when I can."

Obama says she likes a good mix of workout music, as well.

"A good workout jam is Beyonce's 'Move Your Body,'" she says. "That's got a good beat and, you know, it's talking about [moving] your body, right? So she's always a good one for me."

The first lady also recommends Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)."

"Now, that's an oldie," she says. "One of my mom's favorites, got a great beat."

For the kids, Obama suggests Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" — a fast-paced tune with an electronic flair.

Clearly, variety is key. But when you're the first lady, squeezing in a workout can be tricky. Background briefings on world leaders, getting your gowns fitted and hair done, representing your nation at state dinners — that can put a dent in an exercise routine.

"You know, sometimes I'm not successful, which is why I try to work out as much as possible when I do have the time, so that that week or those few days when I miss something, it's not the end of the world," Obama says. "And I would encourage people: Don't beat yourself up, because sometimes life happens and you just can't get it done. But when I'm on the road, I bring a jump rope."

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Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Since the year began with New Year's Resolutions to get fit, we've been talking to people about the music that gets them moving. We've spoken to athletes and musicians, a mail carrier and the head of the IRS. Today, our series, the Ultimate NPR Workout Mix, concludes with Michelle Obama.

The first lady is the mover and shaker behind Let's Move, a campaign designed to get young people, especially, to eat better and exercise more. And when she took us on a tour recently of the White House Vegetable Garden, Michelle Obama shared with us the key to her workout routine.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I really mix it up - some weights, some kick boxing, lots of cardio. You know, I try to make it fun - do a little yoga. I really try to mix it up so that I don't get bored.

MONTAGNE: And the first lady likes a good mix of workout music, as well.

OBAMA: A good workout jam is Beyoncé's "Move Your Body." That's got a good beat and, you know, it's talking about move your body, right? So she's always a good one for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVE YOUR BODY")

BEYONCE: (Singing) I ain't worried doing me tonight. A little sweat ain't never hurt nobody. Don't just stand there on the wall. Everybody, just move your body. Move your body. Move your body...

OBAMA: Another one, Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." Now, that's an oldie - one of my mom's favorite. It's got a great beat.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED")

STEVIE WONDER: (Singing) Like a fool I went and stayed too long. Now I'm wondering if your love is still strong. Ooh, baby, here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I'm yours...

OBAMA: For the younger set, you've got Willow Smith.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHIP MY HAIR")

WILLOW SMITH: (Singing) Whip my hair, your hair, your hair. I want to whip back and forth. I want to whip back and forth. I want to whip back and forth...

MONTAGNE: OK, so variety is key. But when you are first lady and really moving from country to country, squeezing in a workout can be tricky. Background briefings on world leaders, getting your gowns fitted and hair done, plus representing your nation at State Dinners that can really put a dent in an exercise routine.

OBAMA: You know, sometimes I'm not successful, which is why I try to work out as much as possible when I do have the time, so that that week or those few days when I miss something, it's not the end of the world. And I would encourage people: don't beat yourself up, because sometimes life happens and you just can't get it done. But when I'm on the road, I bring a jump rope. But, you know, you could do jumping jacks. You could, you know, do some sit-ups. Or just get out of your hotel room and do a walk - go down to the gym.

But for me, you know, I can't walk out of my hotel room and into the street as first lady, looking like I look when I first get up in the morning.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: So, sometimes I just like to jump in my room, all by myself.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: That's First Lady Michelle Obama who joined us in the White House Garden to tell us how she keeps moving. You can hear the entire Ultimate NPR Workout Mix at NPRMusic.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVE YOUR BODY")

BEYONCE: (Singing) Hey, I want to be...

MONTAGNE: And this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOVE YOUR BODY")

BEYONCE: (Singing) I wan to let it out tonight. Going to party. Going to dance. Going to be myself tonight. Hey, justify, can we all let's go... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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