Congressional Fitness Challenge Allows Nation’s Leaders to Encourage Healthy Lifestyles

Posted: Mar 27, 2017 in ACE Press Releases

Challenge winners announced, broad participation in fitness competition shows exercise benefits all

San Diego, CA—Today, the American Council on Exercises (ACE) announces the winners of its annual Congressional Fitness Challenge, a six-week competition that saw participation from more than 300 congressional staffers and 10 members of Congress. The challenge offers Congress and their staff the opportunity to serve as role models of healthy living by tracking various forms of physical activity, including the steps they take each day, as they strive to incorporate more movement into their daily lives. According to ACE, the friendly contest proved bi-partisan in nature, drawing almost equal numbers of teams from both parties.

"Our leaders are showing America the value of exercise and healthy habits, not just with words, but with actions," says ACE President and CEO Scott Goudeseune. "With this challenge, Congress and their staffers embody the idea that a more active lifestyle can be as simple as adding more steps to your daily routine."

The Challenge offers both a team and individual competition. To be eligible to enter the team competition, congressional offices needed to have at least 25 percent of their staff participate. Twenty-nine offices entered teams this year, several of them returning from last year, and more than one-third of teams included their Congress member as well. The competition was divided into two categories: participants who counted their daily steps and those who measured other activities as well, including swimming, biking and weight lifting, which were converted into units of "steps."

2017 Congressional Fitness Challenge Team Leaders:

Steps Only:

1. Team Cartwright (D-PA-17) with 424,960 average steps

2. Team Simpson (R-ID-2) with 363,704 average steps

3. Team McGovern (D-MA-2) with 311,345 average steps

Combined Steps and Alternative Activities:

1. Team Cartwright (D-PA-17) with 346,705 average steps

2. Team Simpson (R-ID-2) with 342,890 average steps

3. Team McGovern (D-MA-2) with 290,317 average steps


2017 Congressional Fitness Challenge Individual Winners:

Steps Only:


1. Jeremy Marcus (Rep. Cartwright, D-PA-17) with 837,237 steps

2. Natalie Armijo (Rep. Grisham, D-NM-1) with 811,175 steps

3. Jonathan Smith (Rep. Kilmer, D-WA-6) with 745,287 steps

4. Chris Crawford (Rep. Carter, R-GA-1) with 694,684 steps

5. Kenneth Clifford (Rep. DeSantis, R-FL-6) with 675,577 steps


1. Patrick Arlantico (Sen. Cruz, R-TX) with 720,732 steps

2. Eric Waskowicz (Sen. Shaheen, D-NH) with 683,917 steps

3. Christopher Hanson (Sen. Feinstein, D-CA) with 618,672 steps


Alternative Activities:


1. Eladia Romero (Rep. McGovern, D-MA-2) with 324,300 steps

2. Stephen Coffey (Rep. Cartwright, D-PA-17) with 175,950 steps

3. Emilee Henshaw (Rep. Simpson, R-ID-2) with 215,575 steps


1. Andrew Nguyen (Sen. Feinstein, D-CA) with 312,770 steps

2. Amy Gray (Sen. Cruz, R-TX) with 173,065 steps

3. Kate Leone (Sen. Shaheen, D-NH) with 153,700 steps

Both Republicans and Democrats got into the spirit of healthy competition, sharing progress on social media and by email. Representative Jim McGovern’s (D-MA-7) office tweeted a picture of a group of teammates participating in a burpee challenge. Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA-1) completed 500 push-ups a day, in addition to the cardio workouts he recorded for the challenge. Representative Hastings’ (D-FL-20) office held their own additional challenge that resulted in some fun inter-office competition with the winner taking 539,224 steps over the course of four weeks.

"I'm proud of our office for stepping up and winning the challenge. It provided us all extra motivation to do walking meetings and find time to get additional exercise," said Jeremy Marcus, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Matt Cartwright, whose team won first place. "We look forward to defending our titles next year."

Currently, 133 million Americans—close to 45 percent of the population—have at least one chronic disease. Physical inactivity accounts for roughly 8.7 percent of U.S. healthcare expenditures, or approximately $117 billion per year. Overwhelmingly, studies show that physical activity plays an important role in the prevention and management of obesity and chronic diseases.  The easy access and multi-functionality of walking make it a powerful tool to bring physically active, healthy lifestyles to all Americans.

As part of its effort to get Americans moving, ACE has published a guide to developing community walking programs, available for download at no charge. The guide offers a variety of resources to help communities and individuals create a culture of health that values and supports walking as a fundamental physical activity. 

For more information on how the American Council on Exercise is advocating to create a fitter, healthier nation please visit:

About ACE

With a mission to get people moving, the nonprofit organization American Council on Exercise (ACE) educates, certifies and represents more than 65,000 currently certified fitness professionals and health coaches. ACE advocates for a new intersection of fitness and healthcare, bringing the highly-qualified professionals ACE represents into the healthcare continuum so they can contribute to the national solution to physical inactivity and obesity. ACE is a leading certifier in its space and all four of its primary certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard in the United States for accreditation of certifications that assess professional competence. ACE also plays an important public-service role, conducting and providing science-based research and resources on safe and effective physical activity and sustainable behavior change. For more information, call 800-825-3636 or visit AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of the American Council on Exercise

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