Coronavirus has changed the game for so many industries across the planet, fitness being one of them. So many of us who once utilized the gym on a daily basis were forced to do things at home or brave the outdoor world at a time where COVID began ravaging our communities.
This also greatly affected the ones where the gym was their place of employment. Miami’s very own Jarod Lemon, a beloved fitness instructor who teaches sweat-inducing classes called Hip Hop Aerobics, was one of the many that had to adjust to their new normal in both a professional and personal matter.
Jarod has managed to maintain his popularity both on and off social media regardless of what COVID had to throw at him. And he appears to be thriving at this very moment in his openly gay life after years of being stuck in the closet.
Now it appears as if the sky is the limit for him. Jarod chatted with Instinct Magazine about how he got into the fitness world, his inspiring coming out story, how COVID changed him and his best fitness tips to remain in tiptop shape during these cold months.
What inspired you to get into the world of fitness?
I wasn’t always fit or in the best shape growing up. Instead, I chose to feature and embrace my huge personality and magnetic energy. This led me to the arts. I found that I could express myself and discover confidence through dance, not knowing it would lead me into a new path and passion.
Dance being that passion, I later decided to venture more seriously into the fitness world. I made working out and having a healthier lifestyle a priority. It was important that my body was a clear representation of my drive, work ethic and purpose. The combination of dance and fitness not only helped me to obtain a better body but also afforded me the ability to create and thrive in my passion freely.
This led me to teaching and lucky for me Hip Hop Aerobics started to trend. I was shocked at the number of people interested in this style and would’ve never imagined the response I received once I started to host my own classes. It was the perfect fit for me and an exciting journey to inspiring and motivating others to achieve their fitness goals and live a healthier lifestyle.
Many guys who are in your shape have either been that way since their younger years or turned things around later on in life. Which do you fit into?
I turned things around later on in life. It took a lot of hard work and effort but I was able to do it. What’s funny is a lot of people who I grew up with see me and are amazed with how I look now compared my younger years. You learn different ways of being fit and working out and it takes a lot of trial and effort to get comfortable shaping your body to how you want it to look as well as being able to be a beginner.
What has been the peak and pit for you as a personal trainer during COVID?
I would have to say the peak for me was not having the capability of teaching my classes in the gyms and fitness centers. This allowed me to use a virtual platform to get people active and fit even while in quarantine. Not only can people do my classes from their homes but anyone who lives anywhere could experience them which took it to a whole other level.
The pit would be not being able to train and maintain my body the way I wanted to because I didn’t have the weights. Also not being able to teach my classes live which I enjoy and so do others.
What is the best advice you would give to people who want to stay in shape but still fear going to the gym or even outside right now?
I understand the fears of what’s going on in the world right now. However, if you want to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle you have to put in work even during this pandemic. Make sure you take care of yourselves and wear your masks and always clean and sanitize. This will help you to go out in the world and still exercise and stay in shape. If you still don’t fell comfortable, find different virtual classes (such as mine) that you can do from the comfort of your home and commit to it.
On a more personal note… what is your coming out story if you don’t mind sharing?
My coming out story is very similar to others. I was DL for years, even in my 20’s. Still hiding because of what society would think. I was this masculine guy who kind of enjoyed the male body, and this is what I would tell myself to make my thoughts ok. I also come from a Christian and Caribbean background where being gay was frowned upon.
I struggled for years hiding who I truly am, and it delayed so many opportunities for me in the dance world. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I acted on the thoughts and realized I was attracted to men and began dating men but they had to be DL as well. Once I was in my late 20’s/early 30’s I left the DL behind and just started being me. I was more open and more outgoing about my sexuality. I had many conversations with family members which led to them accepting for who I am. It made me overjoyed and happy to be proud of my lifestyle.
Are you dating or single? If single, what do you look for in a guy?
I am definitely single, it’s complicated of course, but I am single, single, single. When it comes to a guy I am infatuated with someone who is goal oriented and driven, lives life to the fullest, has a great personality, nice smile, great hygiene, fit abs, in shape, loves to eat because I do, family oriented, and of course great to look at.
Finally what’s next for you in your thriving career?
The next step in my fitness career will be traveling to different cities to conduct my classes. I would love to have people all over have that live experience and enjoy the same energy I give to the people in Miami who attend the live classes.