Dan Bongino

Age: 37
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 210 lbs.
Residence: Severna Park, Maryland

Barack Obama

Dan Bongino, Republican candidate for the United States Senate in Maryland, is making waves in the world of politics for his straight talk and law enforcement background. A native New Yorker, Bongino spent the first four years of his law enforcement career working for the New York Police Department. He went on to become a U.S. Secret Service Special Agent, landing the position of Certified Physical Fitness Instructor at the Secret Service Academy in Beltsville, Maryland.

Bongino served on George W. Bush’s Presidential Protection Division and moved onto President Barack Obama’s Presidential Protection Division until he retired in 2011 to run for Senator. But he doesn’t let a busy campaign schedule get in the way of his fitness. In an Exclusive interview with Muscle & Fitness, Bongino talks about his personal workout and what it takes to be in the Secret Service.

What kept you mentally determined during your time with the Secret Service?
Dan Bongino:
I started lifting weights when I was 12 or 13. It gave me a regimentation that really fortifies your mind as well as your body and the discipline to get through a lot of those rough nights in the Secret Service. My family was lower middle class and didn’t have much of a choice. It was either get off your butt or suffer the consequences.

George W Bush

What did you instruct your students at the Secret Service Academy in Maryland?
There was investigative curriculum and I would supplement the Control Tactics Division, which is all the hand-to-hand stuff. I have a long history with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing and wrestling.

Do you still train mixed martial arts?
Absolutely. I love it. It’s the best form of conditioning out there. I grapple once a week. I won silver medals at Grapplefest in New York and the New York State Police Olympics.

Find out what professional MMA fighter Bongino got to grapple with >>

Secret Service

Which professional fighters have you trained with?
I trained with Matt Serra for six years and I had him down at the Secret Service Training Center where he taught Control Tactics to instructors. I also trained with his brother Nick Serra. I trained with Pete Sell, who was a UFC fighter, and Joe Scarola from the Ultimate Fighter. I rolled around with Randy Couture at the training center and he was teaching all of the latest and greatest techniques. I’ve trained with a lot of these guys over the years.

What is one story about MMA training that sticks in your head?
Rolling with Couture was pretty much the highlight of my grappling career. He was incredible. We had very skilled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guys with purple and brown belts, world-class collegiate wrestlers, and great stand up guys and Couture just took on a class of about 25 people like in a round robin. I had been grappling at that point for over 10 years and it took him about two minutes to get me in a kneebar.

Have you ever considered a career in the fitness industry such as a personal trainer or fitness model?
It’s something when I was younger I thought about but my first love is politics and economics. Maybe when I retire I’ll help a few folks out. I’ve given quite a few seminars on nutrition science and working out. The real battle is with the knife and fork.

Dan Bongino

Have you worked out with President Obama or President Bush?
By the time I was on the President’s detail, it was near the end of George W. Bush’s Presidency and he was biking. I’m an okay biker but you had to be really skilled to be on that Bike Detail. I didn’t work out with President Obama. He pretty much sticks to the gym in the White House.

Have you played basketball on the White House basketball court?
No, we would watch the President shoot around and watch the games. None of the agents really shoot hoops with him. We’ve been on the court with him hours at a time. He’s pretty good. He’s got some skills.

Any other cool story related to fitness and the Secret Service?
President Bush had quite a few guys bike with him who were in very good shape. One of them was a coach in the National Football League. President Bush beat this guy pretty good on the bike. We were driving in the truck and I remember at least four or five times looking out of the back of the truck and saying, “Hey, do you need help?” The President was three or four miles ahead of him.

What other projects should readers look out for from Dan Bongino?
We owned an MMA footwear company called Grapple Socks that was born out of necessity. One day, I injured one of my toes grappling and I thought to myself “Why not just invent a toe sock for grappling and put a sole on it”? So that is what we did. We sold quite a few but given the intensity of the campaign schedule I had to put the company on hold. We’ll start it back up after this is over. 

Check out the Secret Service Workout >>

Secret Service Agent

Dan’s Workout Split

Day 1 – Legs
Day 2 – OFF 
Day 3 – Back 
Day 4 – OFF 
Day 5 – Full Body 
Day 6 – OFF 
Day 7 – Chest

Dan’s Workout Routine







 Jacob’s Ladder*

 Barbell Zercher Squats

 Walking Dumbbell Lunge

 20 minutes



 1600 feet


 200 yards



 Thai Boxing

 Speed Ball


 Band Resisted Inverted Rows

 5 minutes

 5 minutes

 5 minutes

 30 minutes (with rest periods)


 4 rounds

 1 round

 1 round

 To failure



 “Kettles and Quarters”**

 Barbell Deadlifts



 Inverted Knee-ups

 Sprint-swing (x2), Sprint-snatch, Sprint-snatch-press (x2)



 2-4 minutes


 8 rounds






 Tabata Sprint Training***

 Barbell Bench Press



 16 rounds


**”Kettles and Quarters” is a routine Dan learned while part of the Secret Service. Dan does this outdoors on a closed road. Sprint 0.25 mi. and do 20 swings with an 88lb kettlebell. Sprint 0.25 mi. and do 20 swings with a 70lb kettlebell. Sprint 0.25 mi. and do 20 snatches with a 70lb kettlebell. Sprint 0.25 mi. and do 20 double-handed kettlebell snatches into military presses with a 53lb kettlebell then sprint the last 0.25 mi and 20 double-handed kettlebell snatches with a 44lb kettlebell. That is one round. Repeat for 8 rounds.
*** Warm-up. Sprint for 20 seconds then walk for 10 seconds. That is one round. Repeat for 8 consecutive minutes.

Secret Service Physical Fitness Test Requirements (Excellent Score)

It is highly encouraged for Secret Service trainees to not only pass, but to achieve excellent scores on the Physical Fitness Test. The same Physical Fitness Test is administered to Special Agents quarterly. After 3 to 4 years of service, Special Agents can apply to be members of the Counterassault Team (CAT). Members of the CAT team must pass the Special Agent Physical Fitness Test and an additional 10-minute snatch test with a 53-lb. kettlebell.

Age – 20-29
1.5-mi. run – 10.16 seconds or less
Push-ups (in 1 min) – 55
Sit-ups (in 1 min.) – 53
Chin-ups (Maximum) – 9