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Changing Your Life

Updated: 7 days ago

Ever have a moment in your life when you are faced with the hard truth that you have to change your life or face serious consequences?

I was approaching 40 and Thank G-d was healthy. I was eating a normal diet and my annual physical came back great, but I faced the challenge of my “genes”.   Although my health was nothing per se to worry about, my father’s health, particularly his side of the family, had a history of heart disease and diabetes. I knew that genes were just one factor and my active health was another factor. Physical activity was not part of my life and I started to wonder what I should do.

The options…

Joining a gym wasn’t an option.  As a religious Jew, I don’t exercise where I can see women exercising.  How about buying a full-scale gym for our house? We had a small garage and I hadn’t lifted weights, nor did I want to, in about 20 years.  Treadmill? No.  Bowflex? Nah.  Peloton? Not for me.  Running out of options I saw a child’s jump rope in our house.  My life was forever changed.

Jump Roping

First, I was not sure if it was “jump roping” or “jumping rope” - my wife concluded years ago that either is usable.  Second, I never jumped rope in my life that I could recall.  I started using the rope (and also started putting marks on the ceiling in our house); I was having fun.  Somehow, I discovered Serge Popovic and his online jump roping tutorials.  I signed up and learned how to jump rope properly and also heard about Crossrope’s weighted jump ropes.  There is jump roping and there is weighted jump roping.


In the first year, I was using the weighted ropes 3 times a week (if I recall, probably just the ¼ lb and ½ lb ropes) for 10 minutes at a time and lost 14 lbs in 1 year.  I didn’t change my diet or do anything else different.  Just jumped rope.  I worked at a private school handling their scholarship process and parents who owed money to the school.  To say, it was tough emotionally would be an understatement of the year.  The 10 minutes I spent to go down to the gym provided a huge stress release and when I returned to my desk, my mind was more focused on handling the current crisis or a tough parent call I had to make. I was sold - efficient, effective activity and stress relief from jump roping.

Now What?

I looked around my community and realized that other men appeared to be inactive and perhaps my newfound jump roping skills and results can help others.  I spoke to our local Rabbi and he instantly agreed we should start a class in the social hall. At the first class, about 10 people came and I taught them to jump rope. Soon a small group of regulars were coming to classes at a handful of local synagogues. We gave the program a name - Jump Into Shape. Classes grew steadily… until COVID forced a transition to online classes. That’s when things took off.

Jump Into Shape v2.0

With an online fitness program and a willingness by people to join online exercise classes, we were able to reach people anywhere there was an internet connection. Also, the classes in person were men only, but now women could join with the camera off, for religious reasons. We also started to offer women-only classes.  The classes evolved to include bodyweight exercises and then dumbbells. 


Today Jump Into Shape offers close to 30 live online classes each week, including jump roping, bodyweight and weight training, pilates, stretch, yoga, core training, and kickboxing, as well as health and nutrition tips and guidance provided regularly.  The classes are recorded, and we have over 2000 videos on demand.  In late 2022, Renewal, a non-profit, kidney donation organization, took notice of Jump Into Shape’s program and subsidized a five-month membership for past donors as an incentive to stay healthy and fit for life. Yaakov who joined from the Renewal program says “I feel great. The exercise makes me feel great, much better mood, nicer to my kids.”


👉🏼 Be proactive in finding solutions, especially when it concerns your health.

👉🏼 When you experience positive results in something in life, share it with as many people as possible.

👉🏼 Always thank G-d for everything that comes your way, even the challenges, as you don’t know what the result will be.

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1 Comment

Really amazing to see realistic, thought out approaches to allow religious adults a structured and fun workout regiment promoting proper health.

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