Watching this year’s Olympics inspired me to put down the remote, get off the couch and get back in shape. Granted, the athletes participating had a different set of goals than the average person, but even we need to keep our eye on the prize (staying in shape) and set a fitness goal that will help us stay focused and motivated.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with celebrity personal trainer Mark Jenkins. Mark is one of the hottest and most in-demand trainers in the business. He has worked with many high-profile clients such as Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, LL Cool J, and Diddy.
Want to find out how to get the body of a megastar? Read what Mark has to say.
Let’s talk about the ladies you’ve worked with: Mary, Beyonce, Brandy and Missy. Who was the most difficult to get in shape?
Beyonce, because it was a 30-day intensive for a movie! Not much time, but a lot of pressure. We did intensive roadwork: hardcore sprinting in the park, boxing, and a lot of cardio between sets. As soon as she finished, she had to go right on the bike or jump rope.
What do you recommend for people who are, say, getting married or looking forward to events that they have to quickly drop weight for?
I would tell them to drop their carbs, raise their protein intake and do some type of aerobic activity everyday.
Do you recommend other non-exercise supplements, like Master Cleansing?
A master cleanse may work for some people, but I don’t really like to recommend things like that because of the legal repercussions. The average person holds 10-20 pounds of fecal matter in their large intestines, so a master cleanse can work well if you want to lose that last-minute bloat that you can’t get rid of. Another effective product is dandelion root, which is very mild on the body. Dandelion root is very popular, and can be found in a vitamin or herb store.
The average female does not have the time or means that a celebrity has to work on her body. What do you suggest we do to get that megastar body?
I think that every female has to buy into the fact that the fitness lifestyle will enhance everything that she is doing and that she is a megastar in the movie of her life. In other words, the mind leads and the body follows. Most women have the means but not the motivation, so mental training is key! Women, invest in yourselves! Exercise-wise, my book, The Jump Off: 60 Days to a Hip Hop Hard Body, is a complete manual with exercises and diets. It only costs 15 bucks and requires a jump rope, stability ball and some 8-10 pound dumbbells for that celeb transformation on a budget.
What exercises do you recommend for women trying to tone their abs?
For abs, women should use the stability ball for sure. They’re very inexpensive and you can do over 100 exercises! What women should avoid doing are straight leg raises and side bends, because they tend to build the waistline and spoil the hourglass.
Exercise ball or floor?
Ball, because you get full range of motion and, because it’s an unstable environment, you involve more muscle fibers.
What do you suggest we do to keep boredom from sneaking up on us?
To avoid boredom find a sport you enjoy – running, kickboxing, biking, dancing, mixed martial arts – and train for it. Then switch up your sport every 2 to 3 months.
Some say running outside is bad for you (uneven surfaces, etc). What’s better – outdoors or treadmill?
Well I’m a big proponent of training for real life situations, meaning that your training should be able to help you really have to get away from somebody, so if you worked out you that know that a mile on a treadmill is a totally different thing than a mile on a real life surface. I would say you definitely have to weight train to strengthen your muscle and your bones so its not too traumatic when you do your roadwork outside. You definitely need to incorporate both. And for those who aren’t really into running [for long periods of time],you can run a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes or do alternating jog-walk for 30 minutes to get some substantial results.
Any other cardio suggestions that are cheap and fun?
Jump rope is cheap, very effective, and portable, and you can burn 220 calories in 40 minutes.
What should you do if you want to lose weight, but don’t want a lot of definition? E.g. thinner, but not bulkier?
You start by dieting, cutting out carbohydrates and increasing your aerobic activity until you reach your desired look. Then it’s all about maintaining – stop pushing, lower the intensity and/or stabilize your diet.