Train Like a Secret Agent: The FBI Workout, Washington DC

By: Sascha Zuger

June 5, 2013

Physical fitness can be crucial to the varying duties of an FBI Agent, so it’s no surprise that there’s a fairly stringent test to even qualify for training. The points-based test is comprised of sit-ups, sprint, push-ups, a 1.5 mile run – and as an added bonus to the four required minimum tasks, a fifth pull-up test element that helps designate special honors and placement within the qualified applicant pool.

Warning, don’t try this FBI workout at home”¦ fly to Washington DC instead for these top spots around town to get your fitness on!


Rock Creek Parcourse | Washington D.C.

Rock Creek Parcourse © RupturedDuck.Net

If you’re inclined to add a bit of variety to your sit-up workout, the ramps and workout stations near Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue at Rock Creek Park Parcourse will be all you need to find just the right angle to work those obliques. Pair it with a wander through the park, using the Dial and Discover“ free audio cell tour for insight into its historical features.


Exorcist Steps | Georgetown University, Washington D.C

The Excorcist Steps © Georgetown University

Need extra motivation to keep your pace? Get your quads burning and practice running as if being chased by demons by training on the famed steps ofThe Exorcist“ connecting Prospect Street with Canal Road in Georgetown. (Gluttons for punishment can opt to arrive via Metro, preferably from the Dupont Circle station where Nike and lululemon’d up runners can be seen, iPods in, taking advantage of the impressively long steps for cardio.) 


Civil War Defence | Washington D.C.

Civil War Defense © Library of Congress

Fort Dupont Park’s earthwork remnant site of Fort Mahan is one small part of the historic Civil War Defenses of Washington, once forming a 37-mile protective ring around D.C. The 7m Hiker-Biker path makes for a good overall warm up before a stop at the Fort Mahan Trailhead. The 1861 fort might be long-retired and one of the many reclaimed areas designated as an urban open air space, but after a spin through the newly installed al fresco fitness equipment, visitors can work those pecs and leave for their push-up challenge, well-arm’d.

1.5 Mile Run

Roosevelt Island | Washington D.C

Roosevelt Island © Daderot

There are so many great run options in D.C., but Roosevelt Island’s “no bike” policy makes it ideal. Situated in the middle of the Potomac just a few miles from D.C., this nature preserve offers a 1.5 perimeter loop with forgiving boardwalk-over-water, dirt and gravel terrain far easier on the joints than the city’s concrete options. (If you prefer a more urban setting, but feel nervous about sweating through the streets of well-heeled D.C., just imagine everyone around you in their underwear”¦or come during Valentine’s Day weekend, where participants in the 1.5m Cupid’s Undie Run drop trousers for kid’s cancer charities as they sprint through the city in their unmentionables.) 


Key Bridge Boathouse | Washington D.C.

Twilight Kayaking Adventure © Key Bridge Boathouse

We could list the places to elbow a kidlet off the monkeybars to practice, but an hour or two kayaking can cross train the same muscle groups used to perform the perfect pull-up – with a lot nicer view. The Twilight Kayaking Adventure with Key Bridge Boathouse (formerly “Jacks”) is the perfect tour for even those less experienced. Helpful guides offer instruction on a memorable 90-minute guided paddle around Teddy Roosevelt Island; passing Watergate, the Lincoln Memorial and Kennedy Center with interesting commentary to take your mind off the workout.

Header image © alexskopje2013. Used under license from

Virgin Atlantic operate six daily direct flights to Washington DC. Book your flight today.

Do you like to keep your fitness routine up when you travel abroad? Or would you rather kick back than kick box? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


Sascha Zuger

Sascha Zuger is the author of several Moon Handbook and Spotlight guidebooks. Her work has been seen in National Geographic Traveler, The Washington Post, The LA Times, Food Network Magazine, Parenting, SELF, Gourmet, WIRED, and a number of other national magazines. She also writes novels for teens under pseudonym, Aimee Ferris.

Categories: Our Places