What began as a personal fitness program for Russell Moskowitz to combat a family history of diabetes and heart problems has jumped into a flourishing business in which he offers his clients something different – a healthy, convenient, and fun workout primarily by jumping rope.
“I still remember the marks on the ceiling of my house,” he quipped, recalling when he first picked up one of his daughters’ jump rope some years ago and starting using it for his own fitness. Within a year and without any other effort, he shed 14 pounds and got into the best shape of his life.
Now, the 45-year-old father of four is the lead fitness instructor and founder of Jump Into Shape, which live streams and offers recorded classes for men, women, and girls 8 to 10 years old.
The classes vary in time, 10 minutes to 45 minutes, and fitness level, but give clients a full-body workout that is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout with weighted jump ropes and or body weight exercises. All classes are live streamed giving clients the convenience to join from anywhere. Participants choose a class through a computer, tablet, or smartphone, and see the instructor and other participants, creating a virtual class experience.
In fact, Mr. Russell said, he has had high-profile personalities from as far away as Israel join his classes through Zoom.
Mr. Russell, who lives in Bergenfield with his wife, Michele, and children, Dova, Sarelle, Matan, and Nava, started the fitness business in 2018 with in-person classes for men at his shul, Beth Abraham in Bergenfield. Covid put an end to the in-person fitness gatherings, but not to a commitment to fitness. He pivoted to online live streamed classes. This change impacted his business in an unexpected positive way. People from all over the area were now able to participate. And using camera restrictions (for religious modesty), he was able to include women into the program, as well. Participants can do a class at their convenience using over 350 recorded classes on the app.
The statistics of Jump Into Shape are impressive. A 45-minute class can mean burning up to 500 calories. Mr. Russell also ranks his clients, who see how accomplished they are in the classes, inviting a sense of self-competition and spirit. His clients have ranged in age, with the oldest client 84 years old.
His goal is to help his clients improve their health and become the best versions of themselves physically, while enjoying the journey.
Mr. Russell very much knows about personal transformation from his own life experiences.
A former financial analyst, Mr. Russell was working on the 79th floor at Fuji Bank in Tower Two of the World Trade Center on that fateful September 11 day when the first plane hit Tower One. A coworker told all employees to exit. As he made his way down the stairwells of floor number 33, the second plane above him went through floors 79 to 84. At this time, he remembered that in his Sunday school he learned that Jewish people go to their deaths with the words of Shema Yisrael on their lips, so he recited the Shema all the way down to safety. Mr. Russell has shared his 9/11 experience in talks he has given in schools.
That seminal moment began his journey toward discovering traditional Judaism and practice. He created his fitness business to help him in another goal: He wanted to deepen his knowledge of Judaic studies and he learns during the day at the Bais Medrash program Heichel Hatorah.
As for his fitness business, Mr. Moskowitz said that he is also helping a community that may not prioritize fitness become healthier.
“I’m helping to raise awareness of health. This is so important, especially as we get older,” he said.
For information on Jump Into Shape, www.jumpintoshape.fun.