Keeping fit is a requirement of Ray Kelly's job as commissioner of the New York City Police Department. He has worked out since he was a teenager, and stints at the Police Academy and in Vietnam with the Marine Corps reinforced his commitment to physical fitness. 'Exercise became something you had to do. I developed an unconscious need for it,' he says. Mr. Kelly is the only person in the NYPD to go from police cadet to commissioner. He was at the helm of the department during the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and is credited with building one of the most successful local counter-terrorism units in the U.S. 'This is a full-time, total immersion job,' Mr. Kelly says. 'But I still need to make time to work out, whether that's at 6:30 a.m. or in the evening.'
On average, Mr. Kelly works out four days a week for at least an hour at a time. He devotes 30 minutes to cardio exercise -- a knee operation three years ago forced him to switch from running outdoors to using a treadmill -- and the rest to weightlifting. He jogs if his knee doesn't bother him, but most often he walks on the treadmill at a speed of 4.4 miles per hour with a slight incline. 'Once in a while I use that machine the women use,' he says, referring to the Stairmaster.
Mr. Kelly learned the fundamentals of strength training during his Marine Corps service. He now follows a dedicated weight routine that his wife has described in the past as 'borderline addictive.' He uses both free weights and strength machines, and does five sets of each exercise. Repetitions vary depending on the weight and how he feels that day.
Keeping fit gets harder with age, Mr. Kelly says. The 67-year-old says he used to be a fairly heavy lifter in his younger days, bench pressing 300 pounds with a spot. 'Now I do maybe 150 pounds,' he says. These days he is more concerned with maintaining, rather than gaining, strength and focuses on functional exercises.
Mr. Kelly's workout weakness: 'I don't stretch enough,' he says. 'I know I should do it more, and I'd like to do yoga, but I just don't have time.'
Mr. Kelly usually eats a bowl of cereal, such as Wheaties or Raisin Bran, with a piece of fruit before working out in the morning. For lunch, if he isn't eating out for work, he buys a tuna fish sandwich from a nearby deli. His wife is the cook in the family and often prepares healthful dinners such as fish or chicken with a vegetable. Mr. Kelly tries to stay away from dessert and limits his intake of bread. 'It's hard, though,' he says. 'There is always food around the office.'
Cost and Gear:
Mr. Kelly works out free of charge at the police headquarters gym. He also belongs to a local gym near his home, which costs him less than $100 a month. For workout duds, he wears basic T-shirts and shorts with cross-trainers. An indulgence: He has four iPods to host various playlists. While on the treadmill, he will also read e-books and articles from newspapers and magazines on his Amazon Kindle. 'I get so much more reading done this way,' he says.
The key to maintaining fitness is sticking to a set routine, as people are creatures of habit, Mr. Kelly says. He also finds that reading or watching TV helps the time go by when he's doing cardio.
Mr. Kelly once led a police mission in Haiti where there were no gyms or workout equipment available. He got creative and built his own weight bar to do bench presses: 'I fashioned a metal bar with concrete blocks on each end to lift weights until the U.S. military supplied alternatives,' he says.
When he doesn't have time for a full workout, Mr. Kelly will do a quick round of push ups using push-up handles, which swivel to make the exercise more challenging, until he can't do any more. 'I can use them just about anywhere,' Mr. Kelly says.