WASHINGTON — Couch potatoes pay good money to take part in military-style workouts at health clubs. Sen. John Ensign got one for free on Thursday morning, and it was the real deal.
"I am going to be hurting in places I have not felt in years and years," Ensign said after spending the 7 a.m. hour on the National Mall exercising with members of the Army's 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment.
The regiment invited the Nevada Republican to join in as part of a Capitol Hill outreach. Not knowing exactly what he was getting into, Ensign said he accepted. While the 51-year-old works out regularly, his fitness was tested to say the least against soldiers less than half his age.
The routine began with a series of 25 push-ups and sprint relays back and forth along a 70-yard course. Then more of the same — except participants had to sprint while carrying a partner across their back.
The third set was commando training: push-ups, broad jump, push-ups, broad jump down the field, then bear-crawl back.
"Some of these young Army studs were struggling a lot more than I was so I felt good about that," Ensign said. "There was no way I was going to stop.
"I think I will be paying for that over the next couple of days."
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment is the famous "Old Guard," based at Fort Myer outside Washington. It is the official Army honor guard and escort to the president. Its soldiers are best known for maintaining round-the-clock vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and for conducting military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.