Have a body like a hip-hop star

Fitness tips from Mark Jenkins:

  • Keep the heart rate up using resistance and cardio
  • Jump Rope! 5 minutes = 2 miles
  • Exercise 3-5 times a week combining strength, flexibility, and cardio
  • Changes things up. Keep the body guessing.
  • Stretch inbetween sets.
  • Drink water and stay hydrated.

    For kids, he recommends O Water, which is a flavored water that gives kids a healthy alternative to soda and juice.
    Website: www.owater.com

    About Mark Jenkins

    His work is undeniable. When it comes to perfecting body image, Mark Jenkins sets the standard for not only looking good, but feeling good as well. The much sought after 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), film/play director (Tyler Perry), radio personality (Angie Martinez) and A-list entertainers (Mary J. Blige, Beyonce', Busta Rhymes, L.L. Cool J, Eve, Q-Tip, Anthony Hamilton, Missy Elliott, Brandy, D'Angelo and N.O.R.E). To sum it up Jenkins has been whipping some of the most well known names and multi-platinum artists into peak shape since his former days of serving in the Navy. "When I was younger, I had a 45-inch waist," exclaims the Brooklyn, NY native. "I decided to join the Navy mainly because I was overweight and knew that if I was able to get through boot camp, I would be in tip-top shape." Soon after joining he enlisted the help of a fellow officer and the duo trained hardcore for two years. When a comrade was kicked out of the service because of his weight, he turned to newly toned Jenkins for assistance. The friend's physique transformation was so remarkable that Jenkins was put in charge of all enlisted enrollees who suffered from obesity.

    After serving in the Persian Gulf War, Jenkins took a minimum wage paying job at the post office while attending college but always continued his workout regimen. As fate would have it the gym where he trained was located directly across the street from Worldwide Plaza, home to top record label executives and superstar artists including R&B sensation Brandy. Jenkins helped the singer's publicist trim down to a healthy bodyweight and in turn garnered the interest of the Moesha star who recruited him as her own personal trainer. It was at this point Jenkins realized he could make a living while fulfilling his passion. The next big break came in 2000 when he became known as the man behind the sculpted and chiseled body of Soul crooner D'Angelo during the release of the platinum album Voodoo. Mark shadowed D'Angelo's every move, intercepting food and adding martial arts to the singer's physical regimen. Although the hit song, "(Untitled) How Does It Feel" was an instant classic, it was the star's defined physique in the groundbreaking music video that gave rise to his newfound "sex symbol" status with adoring female fans across the country. Giving male entertainers popularity with the ladies comes naturally to the gifted instructor. When Vibe Magazine spotlighted Jenkins and Missy Elliot in a 4-page tug-of-war fitness spread, the hip-hop diva made reference to the assistance her trainer provided another male heartthrob, "Look at what he did with L.L. Cool J. He was already fine and now he's the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the rap game."

    In 2003 Jenkins became the force responsible for transforming music, fashion and entertainment mogul P. Diddy into a well-tuned running machine for the New York City Marathon while additionally appearing in the highly rated MTV docudrama "Diddy Runs the City." With the entrepreneur's jet-setting lifestyle, Jenkins found himself flying to global paradises, including St. Tropez and Ibiza to keep the CEO on track, but jokingly added that "Diddy wasn't used to taking orders."

    Celebrity stories remain abundant, recalling Tina Knowles phoning him daily to check on the status of her starlet daughter while Jenkins was giving Beyonce' a 30-day intensive on the set of her filming "The Fighting Temptations." Currently on the road alongside Mary J. Blige during her 2008 landmark tour, Jenkins spends his mornings waking up Blige with a strenuous workout routine to maintain her slim waist, trimmed thighs, toned abs and overall endurance on-stage.

    Recognized for his signature Japanese fire dragon and yin yang tattoos on his upper arm the cultural fitness ambassador has a distinctive way of incorporating his travels abroad into workout routines. Known to recruit West African drummers and other rhythms for motivation and energy, his unique blend of skill and creativity is what sets the trainer apart from others. Jenkins claims that anyone can change their body type if they can survive his program, often consisting of an innovative fusion of pilates, calisthenics, sports drills, weight training and high intensity cardio. He additionally keeps the custom-fit workout sessions fresh by incorporating a wide range of sweat-inducing activities, such as boxing, bungee cords, sand bags and kettle bells. "I never give the same workout session twice. Staying away from routine keeps the muscles and mind constantly stimulated." Lately however the traveling and in-demand trainer's time has been limited. When he's not at home spending time with his family he's traveling the country and if your lucky enough to score a session it won't come without a hefty price tag.

    Jenkins is a firm believer that once a client obtains physical empowerment through the discipline of working out and healthy eating, they can take that same energy and apply it to other areas of their lives. Through InFitness, the lifestyle brand he runs with Natasha Jenkins, his wife and business partner of eight years the unorthodox health guru is determined to assist people with becoming their phenomenal best. "Fitness is for everybody and I want to help as many people become healthy as possible." In his book, Jump Off: 60 Days to a Hip Hop Hard Body (Harper Collins) 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. "Having instant gratification is the best part of my job. I get to see my clients transform their lives as well as the lives of their fans because they get motivated to get in shape. I love being able to empower the masses."

    While some pro's train for client retention, Jenkins trains for total mind and body transformation. Known only to work with clients on two to three month assignments, Jenkins not only educates (he actually assigns homework) but also motivates, inspires and equips his consumers with the proper tools they need to take care of their health for life. "My mission is to make my clients non-trainer dependent. It's an unhealthy relationship for me to be responsible for someone else's body because it's their body. You have to live in your body; it's the vessel that houses your spirit and your house should always be clean to receive your blessings." Jenkins sees his global brand as the ultimate wholesome lifestyle with future plans to open gyms, hotels and merchandise boutiques that sell apparel, sneakers, supplements and downloadable music with enough space to house a DJ and tattoo parlor. "Growing up during the explosion of the Hip Hop era in the 80's, my goal is to merge that street culture with fitness. The fitness community has a responsibility to the people to make working out cool and appealing. I want everybody to think about getting their health right just as much as they do about getting the latest computer or phone."

    In addition to his personal training schedule, Jenkins also has his hands full in various facets of the fitness business. He developed his own nutritional supplement line, the Pinnacle Work It kit, sold at GNC stores nationwide in 2004 and released a 90-Day Transformation DVD which will be available overseas this Summer. He has lent his expertise to various networks including BET, VH-1 and MTV as well as shows such as ABC's Good Morning America, Fit TV, E! Entertainment, EXTRA and recently appearing alongside Mary J. Blige on The Tyra Banks Show. Having graced the pages of Vibe, Cosmogirl, Essence, People Weekly, JET, Muscle & Fitness, Self, Heart & Soul, Flex, Physical, King and countless others as well as acting as a contributing editor to Cargo Magazine and New Nation Newspaper (UK), the highly praised fitness star has come a long way since his Navy days.

    For more information on Mark Jenkins and the Body Blade: www.infitness.com

    Buy the book on Amazon: "The Jump Off: 60 Days to a Hip-Hop Hard Body "

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