05/09/2011 at 08:45 AM EDT
Here's something a bit shocking: a U.S. congressman stripping down for a fitness-magazine cover.
Aaron Schock lives up to his name on the June cover of Men's Health
, loosening his shirt and tie – to say the least – and showing off his toned abs, all in the name of being a fitness role model for Americans.
Schock, 29, a freshman congressman from Peoria, Ill., is teaming up with the magazine for the Fit For Life Summer Challenge
, and says you have to practice what you preach when it comes to proper diet and exercise.
"If you want to start talking about healthy lifestyles and staying in shape, then you yourself should do your best to try to be a role model, an example to people you're trying to convince to do the same," he says.
Schock, who is single and a conservative Baptist, says he was headed down the wrong path himself at one point. "In college I could feel my body changing, and I knew that if I didn't make some changes, I was going to go in the wrong direction," he says.
His own role model? The first lady. "I think Michelle Obama is on the right track with her 'Let's Move' campaign to bring down childhood obesity," he says. "She and I come from the same state, Illinois, which is number four in the nation for obese children. One out of five Illinois children are considered obese."
Schock works out before sunrise – "It's got to happen early or it's not going to happen," he says – and finds exercise doubly useful.
"It keeps me in good physical shape and it relieves stress," he says. "And when you're a representative of the public, there's never a shortage of things to do."