With the dawn of a new year and a big election behind us, it’s time for our popular annual list of the 10 Fittest Heads of State in the world! Being the leader of an entire country is a dynamic role in itself, and yet a select 11 from all around the world have set themselves apart with their own fitness aptitude and their promotion of a healthy lifestyle for all.
This year, the list was particularly important because as the world has grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 12 months, health has been at the forefront of the news.
Now, more than ever, we are realizing that we have to emphasize our personal wellbeing through exercise and healthy nutrition. These simple yet profound lifestyle changes can help build our immune systems to better handle whatever viruses and bacteria the future has in store.
These leaders continue to demonstrate to their country that no matter how frenzied life can get, fitness and health should always be a priority. Since our inaugural list in 2014, we’ve published an updated “Top 10” annually including 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. The 11 heads of state that make our 2021 list are not only pioneers as global ambassadors, but they are also leaders outside of the office when they are competing in sports, simply biking with their family or being pioneers in being able to curb the pandemic in their countries.
“The ‘Fittest Heads of State’ list was started to promote global fitness,” says Health Fitness Revolution founder Samir Becic, who has 20 years of expertise in the fitness industry and was named No. 1 fitness trainer in the world for BTF and appointed “Fitness Czar” for the City of Houston. “This year’s COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more apparent that we need to build our immune systems through healthy lifestyle changes in order to make it robust for any future and unpredictable pandemics. We know now that next to social distancing, wearing a mask, washing our hands, and vaccinations, building our immune systems through healthy living is necessary- maybe even critical for our survival as a species.”
In no particular order, the following world leaders have become healthy role models for their citizens. From accomplished athletes to recreational weekend warriors, nutrition enthusiasts to nutrition policymakers, these heads of state are doing their part to lead by example in the quest for a stronger, healthier global community. It is important to note that although we found leaders who we knew were fit but because we were unable to find any accessible data on their routines, they were ineligible for this list. Samir adds to all world leaders “please share your healthy lifestyle habits!”
Criteria for the Fittest Heads of State:
- For each country, the first and second in charge are eligible for the list. For example: Canada and New Zealand have their Prime Ministers on this list even though their respective monarch Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state. The same goes for the United States, both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris qualify for this list.
- Have to be healthy and fit personally.
- Should promote a healthy lifestyle globally.
- Physical fitness relative to age has been taken into substantial consideration.
New to the list:
President Joe Biden- United States of America
- Made our Top Fittest Heads of States, Top 100 Fittest U.S. Politicians, and Fitness Report Card for the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls lists.
- Joe Biden, at 78, is the picture of health and fitness and a phenomenal example to fellow Americans.
- While in office, he made sure to stay fit by using the Senate gym daily.
- Bikes outdoors.
- He owns and uses an at-home Peloton spin bike daily for his cardio.
- Lifts weights 4-5 times a week with an extra focus on core exercises.
- Excelled in various sports in his youth.
- Was a high school football star.
- Played baseball as a child.
- During debates, Vice President Joe Biden announced he would put $50 billion towards obesity and diabetes.
- At his celebratory speech, he jogged up to the stage, a picture of health!
- Samir Becic: “Mr. President, as an athlete, I hope I’m as fit as you at your age!”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern- New Zealand
- Has successfully eradicated COVID-19 in New Zealand, people can live their normal lives, workout, see family etc.
- Ardern has said she used to be a keen runner while living in London.
- Loved walking briskly to relieve stress while on the campaign trail- and did it a lot.
- Since becoming a mom, has said she misses running and walking as much but dances with her daughter to get moving. “When you’ve got a little one, that time out for those exercises gets that much harder – so instead, now, Neve loves to dance. So in the morning, and often before she goes to bed she’ll say ‘I want to dance’, and so we’ll put on some really bad children’s music – we’ll ruin Clark’s Spotify algorithms – and we’ll play something to dance to.”
- In September 2020, Jacinda Ardern backed World United, the campaign will promote the importance of exercise to physical and mental health and is aimed at helping the global fitness industry reactivate paused members and attract new ones. Ardern said “We are facing a major health challenge, but as we come out of this, exercise will have a vital part to play in uniting us, and keeping us both mentally and physically well.”
- Wrote a meditation for SpiritofLife in May 2020.
- Aims to bring kindness back to politics.
- Supports a wellness budget for the country.
- Samir Becic: “Prime Minister, I cannot express how honored I am to include you on this list. Not only did you manage Covid-19 better than most leaders in the world, you are also a health role model, which adds to your greatness.”
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson- Iceland
- Is a half marathon runner
- In 2018, According to the Icelandic Athletic Federation, this will be the 14th year in a row that the president participates in a half marathon in Reykjavík and the 16th time he participates in the event.
- According to mbl.is, Guðni’s record time in a half marathon in the Reykjavík Marathon was in 2014, when he completed the distance in 1:39:58, but most of the time, he has run the distance in between 1:40 and two hours.
- The 2020 marathon was cancelled due to COVID, so he and his wife participated in the Reykjavic Relays held in its place
- He told reporters he tries to exercise every other or every three days, but confessed he followed no carefully planned schedule. “My exercise has been jogging, football with friends, and I’m not particularly organized; I don’t follow any program, but just find the time, lace up my running shoes, and decide to run into the blue. I enjoy this very much.”
- Guðni is pleased how many running trails there are in the capital area. He likes to listen to music while running, but also appreciates the silence. Sometimes, he practices multi-tasking and pushes one of his kids in a stroller while running.
- “I frequently get very good ideas, I think, while running, for example points for speeches, articles and such. So the first thing I often do when I come home is to rush to find a pen and paper to jot things down, so I won’t forget all the ideas I got while running.”
- Samir Becic: “Mr. President, keep motivating Icelanders with your healthy lifestyle! With your inclusion on this list, I hope you will inspire people globally.”
Vice President Kamala Harris- United States of America
- The California senator is known for her daily morning workouts, eating a balanced Mediterranean diet, exercising with her husband on Sundays, and doing SoulCycle spin classes regularly.
- Harris famous said in a 2015 interview: “In order to find balance, I feel very strongly about two things in particular in terms of routine. Work out, and eat well. I can’t say how many women I’ve mentored in college. I say, “Are you working out every morning?” No. Then I say, “You’ve got to work out.” It has nothing to do with your weight. It’s about your mind. I work out every morning. Only half an hour. I get on the treadmill. That’s it. Every morning, I don’t care what time. It gets your blood flowing. It gets your adrenaline flowing. I believe in eating well. It’s not fanatical. Eat good food. Make sure you’ve got good vegetables.”
- Plans on implementing a universal healthcare program that will provide standard, quality healthcare to every citizen regardless of their wealth.
- Wants to expand drug coverage under Medicare.
- Made our Top 10 Fittest Senators 2017 and Fittest Senators 2020 list.
- Plans to expand Medicare to everyone.
- Works out with her husband Doug on Sundays.
- “I work out every morning, regardless of how much sleep I’ve had” Harris has said.
- “I had liter water bottles that I filled, of course, with water to use them as hand weights,”
- 30 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill, or swimming
- If she has time on the weekends, she will take an hour-long Soul Survivor class at SoulCycle.
- Follows the Mediterranean Diet.
- Enjoys swimming.
- Samir Becic: “Vice President Harris, I’m honored to be able to include such an inspirational role model on this year’s list! Keep motivating Americans to get active.”
Heads of State with Previous Appearances on the list:
President Emmanuel Macron, France
- Macron enjoys playing tennis.
- According to his coach Patrice Kuchna (a former professional tennis player), Macron is an accomplished, agile athlete who enjoys training and improving.
- The paparazzi frequently snap him going on bike rides with his wife and kids.
- President Macron is also an avid football (soccer) player, previously licensed by the French Federation of Football while at University.
- Enjoys running.
- Goes skiing seasonally in the Alps and Pyrenees.
- He has been featured on our Fittest Heads of State in the World 2018 List and 2019 list.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada
- As busy as Trudeau is as prime minister, he makes time to be active.
- During his campaign, he worked out and trained every day.
- He is so passionate about boxing that he reached the top of the 853-meter Grouse Grind 36 minutes faster than the average 90-minute strive that most people achieve. He believes that “boxing is as much about receiving hits as giving them.”
- Trudeau also likes to exercise outside- he snowboards and canoes.
- He’s also been known to practice yoga – even during cabinet meetings!
- Trudeau does it all: he promoted the 2016 Invictus Games, and challenged Barack and Michelle Obama and the Kensington Palace to “bring it.”
- He also ran a morning 5k with members of the Canadian Royal Navy just this last March.
- Trudeau was featured on our Fittest Heads of 2016, The Fittest Heads of State 2017, Fittest Heads of State 2018, Fittest Heads of State 2019, and Top 10 Fittest Canadian Celebrities.
King Felipe VI, Spain
- King Felipe VI is a graduate of two military schools and one Air Force academy.
- He is a sports enthusiast and was a member of the 1992 Olympic Sailing team in Barcelona.
- He participated as Spain’s flag bearer in the Parade of the Nations during the opening ceremony, where he came in sixth place and was awarded an Olympic Diploma.
- He has been featured on our 2015 Fittest Heads of State, 2016 Fittest Heads of State, 2017 Fittest Heads of State and 2018 Fittest Heads of State in the World, Top 10 Fittest Male Royalty in the World, Fittest European Royals, and Top 50 Fittest Royals in the World and Fittest Heads of State 2019.
Grand Duke Henri, Luxembourg
- Luxembourg’s Grand Duke Henri is one of the world’s fittest heads of state.
- Involved in many health and fitness organizations, among them being the International Olympic Committee and a member of the World Health Organization’s Mentor Foundation.
- To aid Henri with his genetic maladies, he makes sure to live a healthy lifestyle filled with plenty of exercise.
- Henri was featured on our Fittest Heads of State 2018, The Fittest Heads of State 2017, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2016, Top 13 Fittest Heads of State 2015, 2014 List of Fittest Heads of State, Fittest European Royals, and Fittest European Heads of State and Fittest Heads of State 2019.
President Vladimir Putin, Russia
- Putin works out every day of the week, a combination of the gym and then swimming. He claims that swimming is where he “gets much of Russia’s thinking done.”
- Putin has been practicing martial arts since he was 13 and has his judo black belt. He says that Martial Arts is a “good way of building up adrenaline and taking out aggression.”
- Putin also took up the sport of hockey when he turned 60, and says that “the other players don’t take it easy on him.”
- Putin does not engage in the use of alcohol unless it’s at a formal reception.
- Was featured on our Fittest Heads of 2016, The Fittest Heads of State 2017, Fittest Heads of State 2018, Fittest Heads of State 2019.
President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, Mongolia
- Battulga won the wrestling world cup championship in Ulaanbaatar in 1989, which led to his award as Merited Sportsman of Mongolia in 1995.
- He was later selected as the Chairman of the Mongolian Judo Federation in 2006.
- Under Battulga’s leadership at the Judo Federation, Mongolian Judokas became Olympic champions for the first time in history.
- Because of Battulga’s success, judo has become one of the most popular sports in Mongolia.
- He was featured on our 2018 List of Top 10 Fittest Heads of State and Fittest Heads of State 2019.
President George Weah, Liberia
- President Weah was a decorated international footballer who still plays frequently on Saturdays.
- He became an international star and Liberian hero through a distinguished football career at Milan, Chelsea, and Paris Saint-Germain.
- He is the only African to win the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year.
- In 2018, while President, dusted off his cleats and participated in a friendly match against Nigeria. He played for 79 minutes of the game!
- Made our Fittest Heads of State 2019 list.
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, 93, is the longest-serving monarch in British history, currently holding the role for 68 years.
- She stays healthy by eating one of her favorite meals, grilled or poached fish with vegetables and salad. Her former chef says that “She’s very disciplined. She could have anything she wants, but it is her discipline that keeps her so well and healthy.”
- She has tapped into eating organic because of her son Charles, Prince of Wales, being a long-time leader in the organic farming movement.
- It is a British ritual for her to enjoy a cup of tea and barley water. Barley is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fiber; and it is said to help support the kidneys, especially during times of stress.
- The Queen is also known for her love of horses–she breeds horses and ponies–and reaps the benefits of horseback riding.
- She has been featured on our 2018 Fittest Heads of State in the World, Fittest Heads of State 2019, and The Fittest Heads of State over 70.
- Samir Becic: “I have the ultimate respect for Her Majesty’s discipline, aptitude, charisma, and never-ending energy! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!”
Pope Francis inspires us to use our spiritual health to improve our overall health and fitness. Pope Francis has made such a positive impact in the world, especially for only a short three years as Pope. In such a small amount of time, he has inspired us to not only cut back on the pasta and sweets but walk more and get more active so we can lose 60 pounds as he did! Check out our 10 Health and Fitness Tips from Pope Francis.
Samir Becic: “I admire his vision, heart and wisdom. You Rock Papa!”