The Jump Off
Celebrity personal trainer, Mark Jenkins is one of the hottest and most in demand trainers in the business. His large clientele roster includes music superstars such as Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Missy Elliott. Jenkins is the man superstars contact when they need to look their very best.
Even though Jenkins' success, especially in the fitness field, is unparalleled, he is humble, sincere and approachable. He has not forgotten his life as an adolescent in a tough section of Brooklyn where he witnessed the worst of the human condition and saw first hand how an undisciplined life of crime and drugs can lead you down the wrong path.
As a youngster, Jenkins was not very active which lead to him gaining a large amount of weight. He gained so much weight that people in the neighborhood nicknamed him "Suck in the Gut."
But this soon changed as Jenkins decided to get his life in order and join the United States Navy. As a member of the US Armed Forces, having a well-toned physique was a prerequisite of the job and within a short amount of time, Jenkins' hard work was paying off as he developed a very impressive physique. Thanks to his discipline, hard-work, and motivation, Jenkins' co-workers were asking him questions related to exercise and fitness and he soon found himself filling the role as their personal trainer.
After serving in the Navy for four years, Jenkins decided his passion was fitness and left the Navy and found employment as a personal trainer at various New York City health clubs. While working as a trainer at a popular New York City health club, Jenkins was presented with the opportunity to train R & B recording star, D'Angelo.
D'Angelo had gained a significant amount of weight and wanted to shed it prior to the release of his new album. Following Jenkins' expert advice, D'Angelo got into the best shape of his life and received a tremendous amount of media attention on his new look.
Thanks to the success of D'Angelo's new look, Jenkins was quickly being contacted by celebrities such as Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Beyonce Knowles, Brandy, Montell Jordan, the late Johnny Cochran, Susan Taylor, Sir Mumms, Benny Medina and Andre Harrell looking for him to work his magic on them.
Wanting to share his fitness principles with people all over the world, Jenkins recently authored the book,
The Jump Off. The book is written in such a way that anyone from an aspiring hip-hop star to a CEO of a company can easily understand what to do.
I recently caught up with the busy Jenkins to ask him a few questions related to his many projects and his success. Having appeared in many magazines and regularly featured on VH1, BET and shows such as Fit TV, E Entertainment, Extra and MTV, Jenkins is relentless in his promotion of physical fitness!
The following questions and answers will give you an idea of just how special Jenkins really is.
[ Amy ] - It's hard to believe that you were fat at one time. You look fantastic now. Who and/or what changed your self-image?
Mark - I made a decision one day that I didn't want to be fat anymore. The discipline I learned from the Navy was also instrumental.
[ Amy ] - Do you still struggle with your weight today?
Mark - I have a slow
metabolism, so though I can put on huge amounts of muscle I have to always eat clean.
[ Amy ] - Did Navy training encourage you to help others get fit and is this where you trained your first client?
Mark - Yes, I had a buddy who was going to get put out of the Navy for being overweight and I got him in shape. He was my first victim.
[ Amy ] - Having experienced your own body transformation, you now inspire not only hip-hop artists, but children as well. Please tell me more about your non-profit organization called Muscle and Music for Youth.
Mark - It's a nonprofit organization that merges fitness with culture to entertain and educate the youth and their families on incorporating fitness into their lifestyle. We will be coming to a high school in a "hood" near you with seminars, workout demos, live musical performances and fitness related give-aways.
[ Amy ] - What other projects do you have in the works?
Mark - We are currently working on taking the Muscle Meets Music for Youth project to select international Markets, DVDs, and television for sure.
[ Amy ] - Was there a point in your life others may have doubted your ability as a personal trainer and businessman?
Mark - Of course, no one believed that fitness would be as huge a Market as it is now but being a fat kid I knew there had to be a whole bunch of other fat kids as me with the same issues and problems. What people don't realize is not only is obesity a health problem but it also affects your self-esteem so it can quickly turn into a psychological problem as well.
[ Amy ] - Now that you have experienced such success, was there ever a time in your life, that you were irresponsible or late getting to work?
Mark - Yes, I can remember my first five to six years as a personal trainer I was always just making it to work on time.
[ Amy ] - As a trail-blazer, how did it feel to be the first African American to have your own line of supplements and appear on the Pinnacle "Work It" box?
Mark - It was definitely an honor to break some ground by making the vitamin/supplement industry more accessible to everyone and providing an effective product to help people reach their fitness goals.
[ Amy ] - Your new book, The Jump Off, offers 60-day fitness program. Who is your target audience?
Mark - Anybody who is looking for motivation and an at home workout. I see it as something a father and son or mother and daughter can do together.
[ Amy ] - Can people who follow "The Jump Off Program" expect to see results like Mary J. Blige's forty-pound loss in just two months?
Mark - I have been getting emails from people who have done better than that. It all depends on your starting point and level of commitment.
[ Amy ] - There are quite a few stability ball exercises in The Jump Off. What are the benefits of using a stability ball?
Mark - It greatly increases your core muscle strength, balance and eliminates the need for benches so it's ideal for an at home workout.
[ Amy ] - The Jump Off includes a section called, "Celebrity Sidebar" which consists of "Arms like Busta Rhymes" and "Endurance like P.Diddy." How is training with celebrities different than training with other clients?
Mark - Celebs are less used to taking orders and need a lot more stimulation but I make sure everyone feels the pain equally.
[ Amy ] - Give us your schedule for a typical day.
- Wakeup between 5:00 to 6:00 am, meditate, dress and take my 2 year-old daughter to pre-school.
- At around 9:00 AM, the day continues with a business meeting with my wife, Natasha over breakfast, answer emails, make phone calls, phone interviews, radio or TV press to promote the book and our company, International Fitness.
- Then I workout around 12 noon and spend the rest of the business day and evening working from home, filming, and meeting with clients; some whom I may be training and others just to consult.
[ Amy ] - Where can we find The Jump Off?
Mark - You can purchase the book at
www.infitness.com/thejumpoff and also at a local Barnes & Noble or Borders Books.
[ Amy ] - Please tell me five things that most people do not know about you.
Mark - I tap danced for 6 years, I can't help but to crack jokes... all the time, I'm a push over for my daughter. I answer all my emails (what am I getting myself into), and my wife and I ride Harleys in different cities across the USA.
[ Amy ] - Finally, what advice can you give to others who look to you as a role model?
Mark - Go hard, pursue your dreams, and have a strategy.
[ Amy ] - Thanks for your time Mark.
Mark - Thank you Amy and I also want to especially thank my family and those of you that have supported and helped me along the way.
Secret To Motivation
When asked what is the secret that keeps him motivated to stay in shape, Jenkins responded...
With many more exciting projects in the works, it is a sure bet that we will be seeing a lot more of Jenkins in the future. From celebrities to housewives, when getting in shape is a priority, they turn to the unstoppable Mark Jenkins!
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Special thanks to Rob Wilkins who contributed to this article.