When you first meet Vincent Clark, “jump rope fanatic” might not be the first words that come to mind.
“People are always asking me how I train. I enjoy heavy weightlifting, but that’s what they expect of someone my size. People always seem surprised when I say I jump rope. I guess I don’t fit that typical profile.”
But that’s one of the things Vincent loves most about jumping. At 5’11, 305 pounds, Vincent’s large, muscular physique is more reminiscent of a body builder than a boxer. On a typical day, he can deadlift 600 pounds and squat 465 pounds.
“I want to change peoples’ perspective of what it is to be a jump roper. I want them to see me and think ‘if he can do it, why can’t I?”
Vincent is no stranger to jumping. He first discovered his love of jumping while in the Army’s Airborne Division. Except in this case, it was out of planes.
“I completed over 50 jumps during my career. At one point, I’m pretty sure I was in the air more than I was on the ground!”
Following his career in the Army, Vincent decided to take a position as a network engineer in Raleigh, North Carolina to spend more time with his wife and four kids. But he was concerned about the sudden shift in his activity level.
“I knew having a sedentary job would make it harder for me to stay in good shape, so I pushed myself to fit in extra workouts at the gym and tried to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Vincent took every opportunity he could to push himself and challenge his level of fitness. He competed in Spartan races, and experimented with jiu jitsu and MMA fight training.But despite his best efforts, he started to put on weight. Only one year into his new job, Vincent reached his highest weight ever: 380 pounds.
“I was confused and frustrated because my frequent trips to the gym just weren’t cutting it. The weight gain didn’t make sense!”
At the urging of his concerned wife, Vincent went for a routine physical where the doctor ran some tests to figure out why Vincent was gaining weight.After a stressful waiting period, the doctor called Vincent in to let him know that the tests showed he had thyroid cancer.
“I was in total shock. The last thing I expected to hear was that I had thyroid cancer. You never think it’s going to happen to you, and I was devastated.”
Scared for his life, Vincent quickly scheduled surgery in the hopes of eradicating the cancer. Fortunately, the surgery was a success.
“I felt I was given a second chance at life. Once I knew the cancer was gone, my focus shifted to getting back in shape and living a healthy life, for myself and my family.”
Vincent always thought jumping rope would be fun and it seemed like the perfect exercise to get his recovering body back in motion. So he started with a $3 Walmart rope and began jumping his way back to better health.
“After surgery, I couldn’t do my usual workout. My body wasn’t ready to bench press and deadlift hundreds of pounds. But I had to get back in shape.”
Vincent found creative ways to incorporate jumping rope into his other workouts and decided it would become a part of his regular fitness routine. Except, jumping rope is anything but “routine” when it comes to this stunt master.
“Honestly, it’s so much fun! It inspired me to get back in shape, and learning new tricks became a driving force for me to pick up the ropes every day.”
When he first started jumping rope, Vincent was the only one bringing his rope to the gym. An online search to find others who shared his passion for jumping led him to the Jump Rope Facebook Community.
“I was immediately drawn to the inclusiveness and support offered by the members of the Community. And I didn’t even own a Crossrope yet!”
After a year of interacting with the Community members, particularly Bernadette Henry, Vincent was ready and made his first Crossrope purchase – the Plus Set.
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“Bernadette is one of my heroes. She’s awesome! I actually have her to thank for introducing me to Crossrope. She knew I loved jumping and told me I had to try out these awesome ropes!”
Vincent has been jumping with his Crossrope set for about four months now, and has already noticed big physical gains.
“I’m not going to claim I have a six pack, but jumping with weighted ropes has definitely strengthened my core. My body has to work so hard with every rotation.”
And improved core strength isn’t the only benefit he notices.
“I’ve always had very good balance, but since using these ropes, I’m more in tune with my body. I know where my weight is, where my strength is.”
At this point, Vincent is feeling on top of his game and is eager to get back in the cage for an MMA fight to put his fine-tuned skills to the test.
“The last time I was in the cage, I remember ‘running out of gas’ during the match. Even though I was in good shape, something was missing. I am convinced that jumping with Crossrope has fixed that problem by improving my balance and building strength from my core.”
If you’re a member of the Jump Rope Facebook Community, you’re likely familiar with Vincent’s dare devil moves and silly stunts. But that’s become his MO, and it’s how he stays motivated.He’s also happy to see the jump rope trend spreading and has noticed an increasing number of fellow jumpers at the gym.
“I always let people try my ropes. My goal is to take the intimidation factor out. Be goofy, try some crazy things, and don’t be afraid to mess up or fail.”
Vincent loves to teach others and give advice when it comes to staying on track with fitness goals.
“I always try to follow up with the people I talk to. I’ve found that sometimes, they just need someone to hold them accountable, and that’s what JRFC was for me.”
Vincent jumps with Crossrope every day, sometimes twice a day. He even keeps a set of ropes in his truck so he can squeeze in a workout while his kids play at the park, or any time he has a few minutes to spare.
“I love spending time with my family and teaching my kids about life. I try to set a good example for them with my fitness habits, and so far, I’ve convinced my 14 year old to jump with me.”
That’s Vincent in a nutshell: your typical parachuting, cancer-crushing beast of a jump roper.If you spot him at the gym, he might be balancing on a medicine ball while wrestling battle ropes or whipping out double unders with a kettlebell chained to his waist. Either way, Vincent is always trying new tricks and keeping things fresh, while inspiring and entertaining everyone around him.Thanks for sharing your story Vincent! We look forward to seeing you continuously hit your fitness goals.
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