Getting in shape doesn’t have to be a daunting feat. It can be as fun as resurrecting a childhood activity, which Atlanta-based trainers Michelle and Sean Clark are proving through Double Dutch Aerobics.
Michelle, who’s a double dutch world champion, wanted to find a way to share her passion with others so she combined street and professional style jumping with various plyometric movements. In 2013, alongside her husband Sean, Michelle started Double Dutch Aerobics in which she leads classes and certifies others to teach this unique workout.
Rhythmically navigating between the two ropes may sound challenging, but the couple assured The Huffington Post that they can teach anyone how to double dutch in a minute, so no experience is necessary to join their classes.
“If you’ve jumped before, that first 30 seconds you do whatever your heart desires and the last 30 seconds, we teach you the base of all the tricks you’re gonna learn that day,” Michelle told HuffPost. "Then if you’ve never jumped before, we spend that first 30 seconds teaching you how to jump.”
During the class, attendees learn signature moves specific to Double Dutch Aerobics, in addition to doing jumping jacks, mountain climbers and more while jumping, practicing without the ropes first.
"The rule in double dutch is whatever we can do outside the rope, we can do inside the rope,” Michelle said.
The workout is intense but Michelle said that doesn’t take away from how much people enjoy it.
"Our idea is... joyful fitness, so you’re not in a boot camp class,” she said. “With Double Dutch Aerobics, you burn 500 to 700 calories each class, but after class you still want to jump. The idea is, like when you were a kid, to not think about the exercise, but just like to get in shape by mistake like how we were when we were kids.”
The couple said one of the most rewarding parts of their job is pushing people out of their comfort zone and watching them tap into their inner child.
"You've gotta bring a lot of energy because everyone feeds off of you," Sean said. "We have to help people push past their fears."
Michelle and Sean hold after school programs where they teach kids how to double dutch. They also host pop-up sessions in cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago and, their hometown, Brooklyn. They've also taken their classes to federal and juvenile facilities to teach inmates.
"By the end of the class, they're laughing, high-fiving, screaming," Michelle said of the adults and teens at the prisons who take the class. "The positive feedback is also motivation to keep going... It's really good to bring joy to a place that's sometimes not so joyful."
This year, Michelle and Sean said they aspire to take Double Dutch Aerobics to even more cities and to certify even more instructors.
"We’ve taken a childhood activity and made it a business," Sean said.
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