Everyone has a story, but some stories inspire people on another level. That’s why we started to collect stories from our ambassadors that can change the way we look at life. Not only to inspire you, but also to give you strength to overcome any and all obstacles you might stumble upon during your (jump rope) journey. This is the inspiring story of ambassador Jumprope Pete.
Jumprope Pete, what is the backstory that gives us a vested interest in your journey?
My jump rope journey begins with overcoming my biggest challenge in life: having spine surgery in June 2013. An unhealthy lifestyle led to a herniated disc which was pressing against my nerves and causing weakness and losing feeling in my left arm. I used to live my life in chaos, working crazy hours in a factory, drinking and smoking and not doing much of any kind of sport or fitness. My left side is my dominant side, so when I started losing feeling in my left arm, I knew something had to change.
I was 26 when I had my operation. Looking back on my teenage years now, I was very sportive. I used to play basketball, volleyball or handball and had injuries regularly. This was caused by growing too quickly as a child. After my surgery, I remember one of the biggest lessons taken out of this period in my life, was to never put money or work over my health ever again. This led me to making new and improves changes in my daily life.
What happened after surgery? What was the goal you had set to accomplish?
During recovery, I had to attend gym sessions to rebuild my muscles. The lack of confidence to attend the gym was massive, but I knew it was important for me to get out of the house and work on strengthening my muscles. I was struggling with back pain for over 2 years and even tried acupuncture and took several chiropractor sessions to relieve the pain. I quickly understood that I would fall back into bad habits and that I had to work on internal problems as well. Furthermore, I knew I needed to start making radical changes: quit smoking, reduce drinking alcohol and really start working on myself. I also realized that my current job wasn’t a good fit for me anymore, and that staying in a workplace just for the sake of a regular payment wasn’t enough.
After surgery, I simply felt like I had to start over in life. I knew that I needed to make radical changes, but I didn’t feel like making them. I remember the moment I started to figure out what I’m good at and decided to start a study in math as this subject always interested me. This also helped me to make the decision of leaving the factory job, which was definitely one of the scariest decisions I ever made. I connected my back problems to the factory because the problems started while I was working there. This put my mind into believing that I could not stay in that environment. Over the last years I had a lot of ups and downs, but one thing I never let go was improving my health and myself.
What was your biggest challenge on this new journey?
Some time during my recovery, I realized that I really wasn’t a gym person and started to experiment with outdoor and home workout, mainly exercising with body weight only. During this time, I took on some of my greatest challenges and signed up for an 8-week Ultra White Collar Boxing Training in the winter of 2015. This allowed me to raise money for cancer research in the UK and challenged myself to figure out how my body and spine were doing.
During these 8 weeks of boxing training, I experienced a lot of positive change. I figured out what the weak spots in my body were, and it helped me to understand that body weight training can be enough for us to build a great fitness level. Boxing involves a lot of rope jumping, so during training I put my mind into figuring out how to jump rope works. I had no idea, which made it very difficult to start jumping rope in the right way. I’d say that was the biggest wall I stumbled upon in my jump rope journey.
What was the epiphany you experienced and the new opportunity you discovered?
The epiphany I had was that we can really achieve anything if we put our mind into something and really believe that we can do it. I was a complete beginner in boxing and jumping rope, and I was still recovering, but I set my mind into figuring out how it all works. I’m training hard, I did the research and started to get to know other Jumprope Dudes that could help me to figure things out step by step.
I realized that I didn’t have to become a weak person post-surgery and that I can do amazing things and challenge myself and my body to achieve a higher level. I remember losing my first boxing fight, but I won a much bigger and more meaningful battle: the inner fight to live. Along with achieving fitness goals and altering my mindset to do so, I also shifted my mindset in life. The best investment we can do is an investment in ourselves, so I started to focus on self development through reading, listening to motivational speakers and seeking knowledge from different sources. I believe this mindset helps me to work towards a life that I will live on my terms and with necessary freedom.
What plan did you create to achieve your desires and become Jumprope Pete?
The plan was simple: stay in good shape, quit smoking, limit drinking, eat healthier and spend time with those who matter most, more often. I also realized I wanted to see more of the world and work hard to improve myself. It wasn’t that simple, though. I realized that I felt happy from the outside, but was still miserable from the inside. I was still falling into drinking and smoking habits and overthinking led me to believe that my life was a total mess.
When I came across Gary Vee and his preaching about happiness, gratitude and the ways to figure out what your passion is. When you wake up doing something you are passionate about, you don’t feel like you’re working. Instead, work will feel like a drive and will give you energy. At this point I decided to try to build my own business: a craft, woodworking business. I figured I was good at making things and working with tools. Another dream is related to music. I will always feel a spark when I think about becoming a DJ, but my spine surgery prevents me from doing so now. With jumping rope I can combine music with exercise, and that led me to become Jumprope Pete.
What conflicts did you experience along the way?
After I felt strong enough to be able to quit smoking and reduce drinking, I figured I would be more in control. Yet working on my business along with my daily job led to less exercise, lack of good sleep and gaining weight. To create more financial space, I invested in a bike that I could ride to work instead of using public transport or a taxi. This also led to automatically exercising more on a daily basis. I remember that I learned the basics of jumping rope with the crossrope app and official Jumprope Dudes programs. At this point I started documenting my journey and realized it was hard to learn more about advanced jump rope moves.
What was the result, Jumprope Pete?
Getting into jump rope fitness really taught me about discipline, overcoming problems and to be willing to face those problems instead of running away from them. I didn’t seek validation of others or cared about what some of them may thought about me. I was simply focussing on me. Jumping rope connected my massive passion to music and creativity with exercising. During the Covid lockdowns I got a chance to learn more about beaded ropes and in 2021 I took my journey in jumping rope to another lever. I’m learning new tricks and I’m focussing on freestyle freedom with music while spreading the word about how effective jumping rope is as a sport. It is also worth to say that the community behind jumping rope is amazing.
What transformation are you most proud of, Jumprope Pete?
At some point I was able to lose 25 kg which was an amazing feeling and achievement. I felt happier, healthier and took this new motivation and turned it into discipline to integrate jumping rope in my lifestyle. It mentally encouraged me to pursue a dream to share my knowledge with others. I am now able to teach them what I had to learn as well. People may think that jumping rope is silly or crazy, but those who gave it a try and stayed consistent found that jumping rope equals happiness, freedom and creativity. With jumping rope you get a change to dance to your favorite music while creating a better body and a healthier mind: it is a lifestyle.