Here at This is Fit, my tagline is “Be Your Own Kind of Fit.” Even though I mostly promote HiiT workouts in my videos, I believe that all exercise is good exercise, and that there is no one right way to exercise or get fit.
To that end, I love hearing about what people do to stay fit and active! And today, I share with you Bernadette Robinson’s story. I met Bernadette on Google+ after someone shared a video of her jumping rope. I was hooked immediately!
Now tell me…. How have my workouts exponentially increased your rope jumping abilities?
Bernadette: Well, uh…. I will say that core strength is really important in jump rope. A strong core helps with coordination, agility, and stability. And your workouts develop core strength.
Me: So you owe all your jump rope success to me, then, right?
Bernadette: I can’t go with all.
Me: Well, ok. Fine. Moving on. How did you get your start with jump rope?
Bernadette: It began during recess when I was a little girl. All the black girls were doing jump rope every day and I loved it. You know, double-dutch, games…. At the age of 11 or 12 I started working on double-unders, and I just continued jumping.
Fast forward to 1999. I joined Equinox and began taking classes like Aero Box and Aero Jump, and there I met two former boxers. I began training with them and really improved my raw skills. I took about 5 years off to have babies, but in 2013 I saw the Bartendaz™ perform and learned about their work with youth, and I got inspired.
Me: Who are the Bartendaz?
Bernadette: Bartendaz is the physical fitness division of Giant Thinking Inc, a non-profit organization whose goal is to push our youth and our communities to higher standards of physical, social and moral excellence.
Really, I just have this drive to perform. And actually, to dance. The way I jump rope… it’s very rhythmic.
Me: So no rhythm, no jump rope? Not that I don’t have rhythm. I’ve totally got rhythm.
Bernadette: I’m sure you do, but you don’t need rhythm to start at all. In fact, I tell people just starting out to play their favorite music and play around. Just feel the music and let yourself go. Just start with a basic bounce. Keep it low impact. You don’t have to jump high or pound your joints. The way I jump it’s more low-impact than running. It’s more like shuffling, like boxers do. I keep my jumps low and I cross-train to develop leg strength and flexibility too!
Me: Speaking of cross-training, what else do you do to stay fit?
Bernadette: I’m really big on functional training. A lot of what I do focuses on bodyweight and making my workouts really practical to my needs. My basic routine is cardio warm-up for about 5 minutes, followed by 3-4 minutes of jump rope, then a circuit of 3 exercises followed by 100 jumps, and then I do a 2-song Finisher – that’s when I record myself doing freestyle jump rope so I can study my moves and improve.
For example on leg day, I do things like hill walks, step ups holding weights, single-leg squats, jumping jack squats, and 100 rope jumps. I’ll do that three times through and THEN I do weights.
Me: Whoa. That sounds killer!
Bernadette: I also do treadmill dancing. Have you seen me?
Me: I’ve seen you. It’s mesmerizing!
Bernadette: Why thank you!
Me: If I worked out at your gym, I’d never get anything done. I’d be staring at you constantly.
Bernadette: I catch people “secretly” recording me all the time. When that happens, I crank it up more and show off for them.
Me: I LOVE IT. What motivates you as you jump rope?
Bernadette: Definitely music. The music drives me. The goal is to have fun while I develop my craft. I believe it’s important to get in the zone and just lose yourself in fun and dance and freestyle. Try it next time. Don’t worry about specific moves. Just jump. Let yourself go.
Me: Me? Never. I’m a picture of propriety at all times.
Bernadette: Yeah, right.
Me: Teach me your ways.
Bernadette: I’m trying. I’m trying.
Me: I’ve also seen you do jump rope on and over risers. What in the hell possessed you to try THAT for the first time? That’s crazy! In a good way crazy.
Bernadette: I was on YouTube and I found videos of people alternating their feet on risers, so I tried it. I started following Dr. Jump Rope. He trains pro basketball players and other athletes and I began to practice 180 and 360 degree turns and develop routines using the risers.
Me: So, about falling…..
Bernadette: First you practice by looking. Then you progress to doing it without looking. I make sure to space the risers so the rope circles between them just right.
Me: And about getting hit by the rope….
Bernadette: That’ll happen, but you get better. I work on set moves and tricks. But I also challenge myself to freestyle through entire songs. I use my music and my personality to cover the floor. I record myself doing this, and then I watch my recordings to see how I can put moves together in new ways. I am always looking for new, fun ways to combine the tricks I know.
Me: You take jumping rope to a whole new dimension!
Bernadette: Really, it’s just that it fits my personality. I’ve been crazy since Junior High School, and I love to dance. This lets me be myself. In fact, that’s when I found my home at 24-Hour Fitness. They embraced me and my wild freestyle ways. I love that. It’s important to find your place. To make sure that you are accepted for who you are.
Me: Food. What does your eating plan look like?
Bernadette: I eat food.
Me: Well that’s good!
Bernadette: :::laughs:::: I will admit this is not my strong area. I aim to eat six small meals a day, but it’s hard to stay on a great eating plan. I’m a single mom with two boys, a full-time job, and not much support. I tried cooking a week’s worth of meals all on Sunday, but that didn’t work because it took so long. I used to measure and schedule all my food, but that was before I had so many responsibilities. I know it’s important though. It’s on my list of things to get better at.
Me: I ate a hot fudge sundae yesterday.
Bernadette: Is that supposed to be motivating?
Me: Tell me how you take your jump rope skills into the community. I know you’re not only a jump rope evangelist, but a good mood evangelist!
Bernadette: I perform at Open Mic events and for school and community events, and I appeared on the Dr. Oz show! Mostly, I believe that energy comes from your thoughts being so powerful they become contagious through your feelings. When you wake up, regardless of what the weather is like outside, if you say it’s gonna be a great day, you have already set your day in motion in a positive way. I am a firm believer of positive affirmation not only because I’ve seen the results in my own life but because I’ve seen the difference it makes in leadership. Those around you feed off of YOUR energy.
Me: That’s fantastic. And I see how affirming you are to others on Instagram and Tumblr and everywhere else online, and it’s really awesome to see. We need more people like you! Your jump rope skills are super awesome, and then your great energy and personality top it off!
Tell us how you embody the mantra, “Be Your Own Kind of Fit.”
Bernadette: My goal is to make jump rope — and exercise as a whole — more fun and exciting for everyone looking to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
Me: Beautiful. Where can we find more of you? I totally want to stalk you like super hard.
Bernadette: I am now teaching jump rope at Punk Rope – which is a mash-up of recess and boot camp and the most popular rope-jumping based fitness class in the U.S. I have a website Get Fit with Bernie.
I’m also really active online.
You can find me on:
Me: Oh! And one more thing. Complete the following sentence…. “For contributing to this blog, Laura promised ……”
Bernadette: To make an awesome jump rope video 🙂
Me: Oh. Oh Dear. Oh My. Oh HELL. :::grabs rope::: :::practices::: :::falls down:::
People, if you haven’t seen Bernadette’s mad skills and captivating personality on YouTube yet, you are in for a treat!
Follow her, support her, share her passion with others.
Bernadette is the perfect embodiment of Be Your Own Kind of Fit.
Now be inspired to go forth and find and celebrate your niche!
How do YOU be your own kind of fit? We want to know!