| Article Summary:
From the 60's until the 80's, James Brown was knows as "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business". Recently, Mark Jenkins has become "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business". What's funny is that he's not even in show business. Mark is a celebrity trainer. He TRAINS the people who are in show business.
The highly recruited fitness trainer and motivator has worked with an array of prominent figures including:
- Bad Boy CEO (Sean "Diddy" Combs)
- Business executives (Benny Medina, Chris Lighty & Andre Harrell)
- Former Essence director (Susan Taylor)
- Famed lawyer (Johnny Cochran)
- Director (Tyler Perry)
- Radio personality (Angie Martinez)
- And A-list entertainers (Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, L.L. Cool J, Eve, Q-Tip, Anthony Hamilton, N.O.R.E, Missy Elliott, Brandy, D'Angelo)
Lately, however, the traveling and in-demand trainer's time has been limited. Currently on the road alongside Mary J. Blige during her 2008 landmark global tour Jenkins spends his mornings waking up Blige with a strenuous workout routine.
Through the lifestyle brand InFitness, the unorthodox health guru is determined to assist people with becoming their phenomenal best. In his book, Jump Off: 60 Days to a Hip Hop Hard Body, with a forward by Blige, Jenkins narrates his career timeline, which is an inspiring success story about the benefits of discipline, following one's dreams and opening up people's minds to look at exercise as a habit as natural as breathing.
The book is chocked full of important diet information for various sizes and also contains fitness tips from a few celebrity clientele including Beyonce, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J to Susan Taylor, Andre Harrell and Angie Martinez, literally encompassing every body type.
Enjoy the interview that highlights how Mr. Jenkins got involved in the fitness industry, and how he completely transformed Missy Elliott's body.
Mark Jenkins Interview
The Amazing Transformation Of Missy Elliott.
[ Q ] How did you first get into personal training as a profession?
I started working with overweight clients in the military, and after a while, I would just go up to the most built guy in the gym and asked him how he did it. You know, the guy with 52 inch chest, 22 inch arms, 29 inch waist, and I asked him how he did it.
So I went from the skinny guy who never got any girls, to being buff. It was a very empowering experience, and it gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the door, and I just started training the most overweight people in the military. But I eventually got out, and got a job at a gym. Because I was bigger than everyone else, they gave me more trucks (of mail), and so I complained to the manager, "You can't just give me extra mail because I'm bigger than everyone else. I'm getting the same money, but doing more."
[ Q ] What was the natural progression over the course of your career that led to the opportunity for you to train celebrities such as Beyonce, Puff Daddy and Missy Elliott?
Once I found out that I could make money doing something that I love I really started trying to figure out how I could make A LOT of money doing something that I love. Using a lot of military tactics, I would train people who LOOKED like successful business men.
You know, white collar. I would look out for people who looked like "somebody', and I would ask to train them. I wouldn't train them for money, but I trained them for a free lunch. In this free lunch, I would learn how to structure a business, or how they did it, what they did.
Being in the right place at the right time definitely helped, but also being prepared because everybody gets an opportunity, but not everybody is prepared. Training is a great resource, because not only do you meet great people, but it's like going to college: One hour you train Johnny Cochran, and then next hour you're training a Pro football player.
When I started training Brandy, it was my big break. But when we started doing Moesha (TV show), she was too busy, but I still got a constant stream of people.
When I first started training her, she really just wanted to get in shape. What I did was take her weight, her measurements, her bodyfat, and structure her diet and supplements accordingly. I made a plan that encouraged her to get the weight off. I structured her diet, made it simple.
She really just needed to know that you have to burn more calories than you eat. She wasn't doing that before. She would eat, and then go on the treadmill for 2 hours. But I told her, "You can't burn it off that way." She should try and put on some muscle mass, in the long term, because that will speed up her metabolism.
When you focus on cardio, you will lose that muscle, and you don't want to because it slows down your metabolism. I told her to lift weights. So she's been able to not rely solely on
In terms of nutrition: She took the information I gave her, and cut down on her high glycemic carbs, and took in more of her carbs earlier in the day, as opposed to the evening, where it's more apt to store as fat. And I also told her to eat 5-6 small meals a day to speed up her metabolism.
[ Q ] Did she have to overcome any obstacles (emotionally or physically) over the course of her time working with you?
Missy, to her credit, was very strong. Very comfortable with her body. She sometimes said things like, "I'm not feeling good about myself," but we'd work on that.
[ Q ] Does she have cravings, or ever "fall off the wagon'? How do you, as a trainer and friend, go about dealing with these setbacks?
Oh yeah, definitely. But that's something that's going to happen with anybody. She'd fall off the wagon, but then use her "Special Cardio Program'. So you know, she might eat an apple pie, and then walk on the treadmill for 2 hours.
She'd just try and burn it off. I told her "You don't necessarily have to do that every time. Let's just play around with your diet, so you can eat some of those things as opposed to depriving yourself, and then you'll overeat." We'd schedule cheat days, so that she wouldn't overeat.
[ Q ] How much weight did she end up losing while working with you? How has her body/health changed?
It wasn't dramatic weight loss, but she sustained the weight loss she's had. I don't remember how much weight she lost in total, because it was so long ago. I think she must have dropped at least 20-30 pounds.
It was more her body composition that changed. It wasn't about the scale.
[ Q ] Does your approach to dealing with female clients vs. male clients differ in terms of how you handle their training, nutrition and supplementation regimens?
You know, women can actually be easier to train than men. Society wise, there's more pressure to look healthier as a woman. As a result, the female clients are more compliant. For the most part, they just have better focus. Women are easier to train, generally speaking. The guys, they don't want to cut out beer drinking, they still want to eat.
But with women, there will be a little more emotional eating than with men, and you have to take that into account. So other than the occasional crying meltdown while a woman is having her training session, there's really not much difference. They're just more compliant.
With women celebrities, you have to be more conscious of their symmetry. Because they have more to think about when they're on stage; how they're perceived by the audience, the angle, the shoulder to waist differential balance. They have to have their physique in mind more. Men don't have as much concern with their lower bodies.
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Celebrity Trainer Mark Jenkins.
Men Don't Have As Much Concern With Their Lower Bodies.
(Diet) varies with everybody. But women get less protein, because they have less muscle mass, so they need less protein. It's not about the gender thing, but more, the activity level thing. A man is going to need more protein than a female, but a woman is going to need something sweet on a more regular basis than a man.
As far as supplementation, the men want more of the creatine, NO-products; women want more of the fat burners and zero-carb type supplements. So while guys want to put on mass, then women are looking to get sculpted.
[ Q ] Do you have any words of wisdom or motivation to give to other aspiring, young trainers?
I started training people in 1992, and basically have been training people ever since. And when I first started training, you actually had to be in shape to train somebody. And I always say, "Your best advertisement is yourself. Keep yourself in shape and looking right, and symmetrical and healthy." With your pursuit of perfecting YOUR body and keeping YOURSELF in the best shape, the knowledge that you'll attain will be real, as opposed to reading a book, and then trying to apply that to somebody, without having done it before.
Now it's a lot different, because people can see that you can make money from personal training, so the passion isn't there. The passion isn't the same as far as getting people in shape and training them, because the love isn't there. Most trainers are aspiring to be something else other than a trainer.
American Fitness Institute
What separates one trainer from another is the ability to get the clients to execute. It's the ability to get the clients to have that much love and respect for you, that you can have an honest relationship with them, and you can take the client somewhere during the session, and get them to find something in themselves that they might not have known they had inside of them.
Teach the client to take that, and apply it to other areas of their life, so that you become valuable to them as a person, not just "I've got my arms folded, I'm holding a clipboard, and counting repetitions."
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What Separates One Trainer From Another
Is The Ability To Get The Clients To Execute.