Russian president Vladimir Putin revels in his strongman image. Aside from messing around with neighboring countries’ borders, he shoots tigers, hugs polar bears, and, of course, rides horses without a shirt on.
But his “weapons of mass destruction” (TMZ’s words, not ours) don’t come from nothing. The 64-year-old Russian leader works out seven days a week, he told film director Oliver Stone in The Putin Interviews, a four-hour documentary filmed between 2015 and 2017 that aired on US television this week. “It’s normal,” he told a flabbergasted Stone, explaining that he goes to the gym each morning and then swims.
Contrary to previous reports that these swimming sessions are where Putin “gets much of Russia’s thinking done,” the Russian leader said he doesn’t actually do any important planning while in the water: “No, all kinds of rubbish comes into my head,” he said.
A judo black belt, Putin says he has never stopped practising the martial art since he was 13 or 14 but doesn’t have a coach these days. “People who want to compete in tournaments need trainers—I’m just doing it for exercise,” he said, adding that it’s a good way of building up adrenaline and taking out aggression.
He also began playing ice hockey at the age of 60. Recently he gave an interview about US president Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey in full hockey kit before sliding out onto the rink to score six goals in an exhibition match alongside former Olympians. He insisted in the documentary that the other players don’t take it easy on him. His most recent performance gives one reason to wonder: