05/09/1994 at 01:00 AM EDT
In 1993, Henry Cisneros will tell you, he exercised "about 250 days of 365, which came to about 67 percent of the year." To the hard-charging 46-year-old Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (once called "an Aztec lord" by Texas Monthly magazine), the workouts are less for looks and more for muscle. Tackling urban problems, he says, "is like preparing for combat. I meet with kids in housing projects, and they're all firm and tough, and the last thing they want is some pudgy old guy telling them how the world is."
To stay lean and meaningful, the 6'2" former mayor of San Antonio, whom USA Today saluted as "Clinton's get-it-done guy" for his indefatigable efforts in housing those left homeless by the L.A. earthquake, jogs three miles some five days a week, pops seven vitamins a day, and shuns red meat, coffee and alcohol—save for "a beer every third month." The regimen gives him a satisfying "toughness in the stomach," but he claims the best beauty booster is peace of mind. His 24-year marriage to Mary Alice, 44, a homemaker, is back on track after he admitted in 1988 to an affair with a campaign aide, and his son John Paul, 6, the youngest of their three children, is doing well after an operation last July to correct a congenital heart defect. "Anytime you are lightened emotionally," says Cisneros, "you walk a little lighter and smile a little more, and that makes all the difference."