The P90X workout system and its creator, Tony Horton, have experienced a surge of publicity since Mitt Romney picked Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.

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When it comes to free celebrity endorsements, they don’t get much better than a vice-presidential candidate who boasts of 6 to 8 percent body fat and swears by your product.

Such is the windfall for P90X, a workout DVD getting a surge of publicity since Rep. Paul Ryan was picked to be Mitt Romney’s running mate. Ryan, 42, is a hard-core fan of the workout regimen and is reputed to have gotten other members of Congress hooked.

That has generated headlines usually reserved for a late-night infomercial fixture. “The P90x VP,” declared The Washington Post. “Paul Ryan’s Extreme Workout Plan,” trumpeted The Daily Beast. “Ryan’s fitness regimen is not for the faint of heart,” warned USA Today.

“It certainly helps,” said Tony Horton, 54, a trainer from Santa Monica, Calif., who created the workout.

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Introduced in 2004, P90X (from $119.85) is an intense 90-day workout routine and nutrition plan mixing elements of body-weight training, cardio, yoga and martial arts. It uses “muscle confusion,” achieved by constantly switching among 12 workouts that include the “Ab Ripper X.”

Ryan, who was a trainer briefly after college, been organizing P90X workouts with a group of other members of Congress, including Reps. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Aaron Schock, R-Ill.

“Bart Stupak and I lead it every morning,” Ryan told Politico in 2010, referring to the now-retired Democratic representative from Michigan. “There’s about a dozen of us who do it.”

Ryan’s next convert could be Romney, who drinks Cherry Coke Zero, eats peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches and works out on an elliptical machine.

Day, after day, after day.

But as the bromance between Romney and Ryan blossoms, Romney seems open to tinkering with his most treasured rituals.

Romney said Wednesday that, after years of elliptical monotony, he may be willing to experiment with Ryan’s routine.

“I might have him show me how to do it someday,” he told “CBS This Morning,” adding: “That workout of his, he’s in pretty good shape.”

When the interview wrapped up, Romney headed to — where else? — the gym. True to tradition, he jumped on an elliptical machine and swooshed back-and-forth for 45 minutes.

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