And we're off!
Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump in the race of their lives.
One question is top of mind, even to those Americans who have lost their minds when it comes to kindness, compassion, respect for fallen soldiers and other qualities we value as a democracy: Who is fit to be president of the United States?
However, my question is: Who is fit, period? Who is on the path to a healthier lifestyle and who is still drinking diet cokes? Who exercises regularly and who considers running for office a sport? Who snacks on bacon and who on Goldfish?
After watching both Republican and Democratic conventions — up close to the TV, and very personal — I began digging into what's been reported about Clinton's and Trump's wellness routines.
After all, president of the United States is a huge job. Strong mental focus and physical well-being are required, and both are undeniably linked to the amount of exercise you get, the quality of the food you eat, how much you sleep and how you deal with incalculable amounts of stress.
Here's a lot of what I found. Some of it I'm holding back, and may want to pass on to the Russians.
ARE THE CANDIDATES SMART EATERS? Donald Trump eats whatever he wants. Of course. He said on Bloomberg TV's "With All Due Respect" that he pays no attention whatsoever to healthy foods. "I love steak and hamburgers and pasta and French fries, all of the things we shouldn't be eating."
Trump often skips breakfast. When he's campaigning, he gets by on snack foods, and I don't think he's talking carrot sticks and hummus. He abstains from alcohol, likes fruit juices, and grabs a Coke or Pepsi when he wants a little energy boost.
(At Healthy Lifestyle U, these cola drinks are still legal, but they must be drunk from a bottle labeled "Liquid Poison.")
When Barbara Walters asked Ivanka Trump what one thing she would change about her father, she didn't hesitate. "I want him to eat healthier," she said. "I agree with that 100 percent," said his son, Donald Trump Jr.
(The Trump properties do offer healthy meals and wellness services and the offspring are very tuned into the organic, non-GMO thing.)
"Hillary Clinton does a fantastic job of keeping up a healthy lifestyle on her campaign," says health and wellness expert Samir Becic, who ranks candidates for fitness on his HealthFitnessRevolution website.
Clinton wins high marks for being a conscious eater, focusing on a balanced diet of real food: vegetables and fruits, fish and lean meats. She's been coached along the way by Bill Clinton's nutrition guru Dr. Mark Hyman, a shining light in the wellness world.
"Chocolate is my weakness," she told US magazine, "as are Goldfish." She indulges in the occasional pork-chop-on-a-stick — everything in moderation — and loves the taste and healing power of hot peppers. Clinton opts for tea over coffee, drinks lots of water and has cut out diet sodas altogether.
DO THE CANDIDATES EXERCISE? Trump was active in high school —playing football, baseball and soccer — but since then, he's built a big wall around his fitness equipment. In 2015, he told a reporter he currently exercises in two ways: golf and public speaking. (I'm not making this up.)
"I never thought it," he told People magazine, "but speaking is almost a form of exercise."
Clinton works out regularly, according to many sources, and her routine includes yoga, water aerobics or swimming, walking and weight training. It's a very good mix, though in April, she told WABC's Joan Hamburg that running for president has been getting in the way of her usual routine, and she's missing her yoga. Missing her yoga? Yes! This is what we want to hear from the leader of the free world. And it gets better.
"I haven't been doing (yoga) as regularly as I used to," she said, "but I can meditate. I can do deep breathing. ... (Meditation) has helped me a lot. Just slow yourself down, do that deep breathing that can give you a sense of relaxation and groundedness."
What has Donald Trump said about slowing down?
"I've always said 'If you need Viagra, you're probably with the wrong girl.'"
This is way too much fun.
I'll continue next week, including a look at why Hillary Clinton — in spite of her admirable eating habits — has been dubbed the Bride of Frankenfood.
ENERGY EXPRESS-O! THE MEASURE OF THE MAN
"I have an attention span that's as long as it has to be." — Donald J. Trump
Marilynn Preston — healthy lifestyle expert, well-being coach and Emmy-winning producer — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, marilynnpreston.com, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to [email protected] She also produces EnExTV, a digital reincarnation of her award-winning TV series about sports, fitness and adventure, for kids of all ages, at youtube.com/EnExTV and facebook.com/EnExTV. To find out more about Preston and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.