Morning Workouts & Mixtapes


Morning exercise is where it’s at. At the end of last year we had a really dope conversation with Stic of dead prez and I walked away from that experience inspired to be more diligent about incorporating a workout into my daily routine. You really gotta find what works best for you. If you have kids, you understand that finding the time to work out can sometimes drain your motivational reservoir. Some people prefer the direct from the workplace, straight to the gym routine. I, myself, prefer running or jumping first thing in the morning – I’ll explain the jumping in a bit.

I was hitting the gym hard for the first half of the year to get in certain types of exercise that I can’t get at home, and rowing was my thing. If you want a good workout that’s both aerobic and anaerobic, look into rowing. I’d say that a rowing machine is the single best piece of workout equipment I’ve ever used. Unfortunately, I don’t have one at home…yet. I’ve been trying to find something that focuses on cardio and doesn’t just center around running, which I do like, but I gotta switch it up. My wife had been telling me about rebounding for the past couple of years. One day she got on Craigslist and copped a used one in really good condition.

This summer – first off, Phoenix gets HOT during the summer. Really hot. We’re used to it, (I’m not sure how you transplants from the midwest do it) but it’s a sweltering dry heat. Anyhow, I spent the first part of the summer addicted to World Cup action. I didn’t miss many games but just sitting there watching sports is terribly bad for the body. I know this. That’s when I introduced myself to the rebounder. I did a bit of research into it and it looked like something I could get down with. For one, I could rebound while watching the game with the benefit of indoor air conditioning and not having to step out into the 114 degree weather. By the time Germany was finished dominating the rest of the world’s best, I was hooked on rebounding.

rebounder (1)

Wait. Isn’t rebounding just jumping on a trampoline? Well, yes. In the same way that running is just sped up walking. There’s more to it than that. Here are some of the benefits that Dr. Morton Walker, M.D. shared in his book Jumping for Health:

1) Strengthens heart muscle and other muscles, causing them to work with greater efficiency
2) Stimulates metabolic activity
3) Promotes growth and tissue repair
4) Tones the endocrine system, especially the thyroid, to increase output
5) Enhances the body’s alkaline reserve for potential emergency output
6) Enhances digestion and elimination
7) Stimulates lymph flow for increased immunity and cold/allergy prevention
8) Creates purer sleep and relaxation
9) Increases respiratory capacity
10) Circulates greater oxygen to tissues

If I’m not running/walking my dog, the best way for me to start my day is 30 minutes on the rebounder watching the sun come up. A combination of the exercise, the first rays of daylight and the fact that I’m in my backyard really help to jump start (see what I did there) a positive, energetic day – I’ve mentioned I’m a middle school teacher, right?

So, what does one listen to while rebounding? I’m partial to 80’s and 90’s Hip Hop mixtapes. Below are a few that have been keeping me company and draining my walkman battery. And when I say mixtapes, I mean mixtapes. There’s just something about a continuous, uninterrupted mix of music that can kind of help orchestrate your cadence. I found a few really nice mixes on Soundcloud and transferred them to cassette. So, in the mornings while I’m running or jumping, I can grab my walkman and tapes…and I’m ready to go.

1. Chopped Herring Records – Fly Fishing Vol. 2 Mixed by DJ Statik aka Mr Sonny James

2. Cut Chemist (of Jurassic 5) “Hip Hop Lives (1985-1996)”

3. Dope Folks Records Sampler #2. Courtesy of Wax Poetics Magazine.

4. But my go-to for workouts is always Public Enemy…


Do yourself a favor and utilize your favorite search engine to find out more about the rowing machine and rebounding. I only mentioned a few of the benefits. You’ll probably be surprised to find out how many ways you too could benefit from these two workouts. Trust me on this – early morning workouts when the sun is coming up and you’re just starting to break your first sweat…it’s so sweet. Get on it.

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