Between the chilly temperatures and the pace of the push-ups, there was plenty to complain about after eight lawmakers straggled into the park behind the Longworth House Office Building for their regular 6:30 a.m. workout.
While the others in the group griped and groaned on a recent Tuesday, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, 34, her Hindu prayer beads wrapped around a wrist for her daily yoga meditation, said little.
“Tulsi, you hearing a lot of whining?” asked RepresentativeMarkwayne Mullin, a burly Oklahoma Republican and former professional mixed martial arts fighter who leads the workouts, mocking the complaints of her companions.
“I’m feeling like whining,” she replied between push-ups.
Ms. Gabbard, Democrat of Hawaii, has a reputation among her colleagues for being a composed, contemplative presence in a chamber more prone to reaction than reflection. But lately she has started to shed that persona. Since the deadly attacks in Paris, she has become a high-profile critic of President Obama’s policies in Syria by amplifying her argument that President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power to avoid elevating the Islamic State and by introducing legislation to defund American efforts to overthrow him.