RBG Once Ditched Obama To Work Out & 6 Other Fun Tidbits From Her Trainer

by Joseph D. Lyons

With SCOTUS moving the opposite direction of what was expected just two years ago after the death of Justice Scalia, the liberal justices are hanging on for the right moment to retire — or at least that's what Democrats hope. The health of the oldest member of the court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has been the focus of many an article since. But a recent Forbes interview with Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal trainer had a number of interesting stories that show you don't need to worry.

The most adorable takeaway from Erin Spencer's interview with trainer Bryant Johnson was the commitment that Ginsburg, 85, seems to have to the whole workout routine. He told one story that underlined what steps she would take to keep their twice-a-week sessions. Ginsburg was at a White House dinner with Obama, and so he figured the session was canceled. Johnson told Forbes:

Of course, I assumed that meant our 7 p.m. workout session would be canceled, but she left the White House early to make it to our session on time. I remember asking, "You left President Obama for me? Your trainer?" That was something that really let me know how much she appreciates our exercises and how much they are a part of her life.

That was just one of the great tidbits from the interview. These are the other six.

1) How Long RBG Has Been At It

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Johnson told Forbes that he doesn't remember when they started. But Ginsburg does.

"The Justice has a mind like a steel trap, and she said it was 1999 and who am I to question a Supreme Court Judge?" Johnson told the magazine.

2) SCOTUS-Level Workout Goals

When she started, she wanted four things: strength, balance, flexibility, and high bone density.

The laughter when working out with Stephen Colbert is just a bonus.

3) Workouts Are One Form Of Self-Care

Johnson explained to Forbes that even the esteemed SCOTUS justice occasionally needs to unplug. He told Forbes:

The Justice will stay at work until she can’t work anymore and then work some more. For her, coming to our sessions helps her in a way to unplug from thinking about the law. Instead of thinking about the case of the day, or what’s in store for tomorrow, she just has to focus on our workout and whatever torture I’m gonna take her through. It’s the same when she goes to the opera. When she’s there, she’s fully there.

4) Friendship With Scalia

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Johnson recalled watching PBS NewsHour with RBG in the gym once and a pundit said they couldn't believe Ginsburg and Scalia were friends. "He makes me laugh," she told the TV, according to Johnson.

5) She Brags

And Johnson is proud of her, too. "I remember the day she could do her first push up off of her knees, and it was like part of her soul lit up," Johnson told Forbes. "She was so happy we had progressed to that. It’s something she still brags about."

6) She Can Motivate You

There's no reason not to get back to the gym and workout for your own health — just look at RBG.

"Are you too old to work out?" Johnson challenges in the Forbes interview. "No, the Justice is 85. Are you too sick? No, she beat cancer twice. Are you too busy? No, she’s a Supreme Court Judge."

Johnson has been hoping to help motivate others using Ginsburg's strength. He wrote a book called The RBG Workout: How She Stays Strong . . . and You Can Too! and is now working with the organization 2Unstoppable to get cancer survivors back to exercising.

In addition to authoring a book and coaching the justice, he's a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves and a staffer in the clerk’s office of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

It seems like it's not just Ginsburg who could be the motivator but Johnson, too.