When it comes to breaking a sweat, Tanisha Scott and Jonny Roxx know a thing or two. After bringing the dancehall vibes to the music videos of artists like Sean Paul, Rihanna and more, the Jamaican dancer has made her mark as one of the industry’s most sought-after choreographers — See her poppin’ moves in Drake’s 2015 hit video, “Hotline Bling.”
Roxx, on the other hand, has had an interesting journey of his own. Athletics became his passion while growing up and eventually lead to him jumping feet first into the field of health and wellness. Since taking the courage to embark on his passion, the Bajan trainer has served as a top-knotch strength & conditioning coach for the likes of race car driver, Lewis Hamilton, NBA star Brendan Jennings, and, of course, his long-time friend Drake.
While making moves in their complementary fields and adding more buzz to the talent originating from “The 6,” the Toronto natives have been tapped by the worldwide clothing and accessories retailer, GAP, for its fitness apparel line, GapFit. Although the year-old collection has been providing comfortable, quick-drying and reflective attire for those working out in and out of the gym, the line called on the Scott and Roxx to collaborate on spreading the word about GapFit for Men and their newest addition GapFit Sculpt for women.
While decked out in their breathable Blackout Capris, Aeromesh raglan crew tee, GapFit Sculpt compression high rise leggings and more, Scott and Roxx lead two butt-kicking workout sessions at New York City’s Rumble Boxing — the newest group class facility known for boxing-inspired, full-body, strength training and conditioning. After warming up and punching a tear-drop shaped, water-filled punching bag like no tomorrow, Tanisha took over the class to teach some signature moves from music videos like Ciara’s “Goodies” and Rihanna’s “Work.” Shortly after, Jonny brought the burn with a bodyweight sweat session sure to leave you feeling beautifully sore the next day.
The fitness challenge came to a close after about an hour of inhales, exhales and limit-testing exercises. VIBE caught up with the instructors shortly after the cool down to talk about their partnership with GapFit, Drake’s workout regimen while on the road as well as how to get that body right for the summer, even if dance is your preferred forte of fitness.
Tell me about how this partnership came about for you two? This kind of came out of nowhere.
Tanisha Scott: Gap sought us out. I think Gap was looking to do things that are recognizable and that people care about and not the personal stars. They found us, and we’re like, ‘Yeah! We definitely want to be a part of it. Gap is so legendary and not so much about lights, camera, action, but about quality. We do quality work, so it was a perfect fit.
Jonny Roxx: And we’re both in separate fields, but we work together. We work together with different artists, which is mad cool. So the chemistry and friendship is already there. We’re just like, ‘Aww, let’s do it.’
Besides Drake, who else have you two worked together or tag-teamed with?
JR: Tag-teamed? Not so much. I’ve worked with NBA players from point guards like Brendan Jennings to big guys that are in the league. I’ve worked with NFL guys and Lewis Hamilton who was an F1 Racer. She [Tanisha] has worked with everyone under the sun. So we [often] get a chance to work with cool people.
“If you want to do something, do it loud and proud and be good with who you are.”
I see you’re rocking some new workout swag from GapFit. What do you like most about their new collection line?
TS: I love the [women’s line] GapFit Sculpt pants because it sculpts me. Literally. I’m a thick girl and I want to show my right curves. I love where the stitching is. I love the cuts and it fits right, and it feels good. And the shirts feel like cashmere, so I feel like I’m wearing an expensive shirt, and it may not actually, totally be. That’s what I love about it. I like the way it feels and that it can breathe. Like [earlier] I was sweating a lot, but it just absorbed the sweat.
JR: To go on with the breathability, I like the muscle tank, which feels like you’re not wearing anything. It still makes your body look so nice. All these clothes, they fall well on your body. They feel good when you’re moving, and again, they can transition so easily from being in a gym to just walking out on a street. You’re still cool with your backpack or whatever —
TS: And you know what I just thought of, too, Roxx? What’s dope about this GapFit? We work. Like when I dance and when he trains, you don’t want to have a jacket on or a sweater that you got to roll up or —
JR: Heavy clothes…
TS: Yeah, I don’t feel like I’m wearing anything. I think that makes a difference. It doesn’t stand in the way of like, oh this shirt’s a little too thick.
JR: It’s good. It’s good. We love it, [the] new branding and the small logo.
Oh, we didn’t even notice. We see it, we see it.
TS: Yeah, it’s reflective.
Dope, dope, dope. You two are a part of GapFit’s #MakeYourMove. What does that mean for you?
JR: Well, I’ll let you start off with that…
And you can’t talk about choreography either.
JR: [laughs] It’s all over.
TS: [laughs] No, for me, personally, #MakeYourMove is [the same as] time waits for nobody. If you want to do something, do it loud and proud and be good with who you are. I’ve never had the typical dancer body, but it didn’t stop me from being successful. So I’ve owned my curves. I own everything I have and just work hard. Instead of always being behind the scenes of things, if people ask me to show my face — I used to always wear a low hat — now I will. I’m like, ‘Okay.’
This is me.
TS: Yeah, totally.
What about you, Jonny?
JR: Well, for me, it’s [more so] in relation to training. I personally had my own transformation. For me, [when I’m] telling a client [that when you’re] making your move, you have one life. You have one chance to be the best version of yourself. Making your move, for me, is making the commitment, making the commitment to work out, to move, to get better and to eventually be that best version of yourself. Not compete with anybody else, but making that move to be the best you can [be].
Back in 2013, VIBE introduced you to the world after you include Caribbean dance into Sean Paul’s “Give Me the Light” music video. Do you remember that moment?
TS: Since then actually, Rob Kenner did a really good thing. It was a cute little blurb. Oh, I was shocked! I’m used to seeing myself on TV with my little hat, nobody knows who I am. But then when he put my name on blast, I was like, ‘Oh, my God! Oh, shucks! Do I hide? What!’ But it was cool. Now, I’m like, ‘Okay, you got to make your own move. Now let’s get it together.’ I think it [the article] made people pay more attention to dance. And it’s continued since and I’m really happy about that.
Besides you being a personal trainer for Drake and many others, how did you get to this point? What is your story?
JR: I played basketball my whole life, from the time I was seven playing recreational basketball to playing college basketball at Mohawk College. I stopped playing there before going to Wilfrid Laurier University, where I gained a whole lot of weight. I studied communications and then eventually changed my whole educational route. I started learning how to change my own body and [began] helping my own friends.
Drake is somebody who kind of helped push [me] into working with celebrities. He’s somebody I knew for a long time — 10+ years. I helped him change his body, which in turn, helped me to work with a bunch of different people. But I’m off the grid. I’ve never been at the forefront. My role and my position is to always assist and help somebody else. I’ve been doing this for over eight years now, and worked with people from here to England — London, Spain — [with] all kinds of different players. This [partnership with GapFit] is kind of like one of the first times I’m coming out to speak and talk more about programming and training. So that’s my story in a nutshell as far as training goes.
TS: And to go off of what he was saying, that’s how Toronto is. I think people are just starting to understand and see the talent. For instance, look at Drake. He’s been doing this for a very long time. And now, people are listening and knowing that there is so much talent. The things he [Jonny] has done are incredible. Just the fact that you can change your own body yourself and give that gift to other people…like, people just don’t do it.
Speaking of Drake, today’s class was intense! What’s a typical workout session like with you? Are there mostly body weight exercises? It looks like Drake is pumping iron.
JR: Yeah, now we’re pumping iron. We’ll go through dynamic stretches first to get his body warm and get him moving in the right places, with the right range of motion. Then we’ll move into some body weight exercises to get him warmed and then go into strength training. We’ll lift some weights. It all depends. Some days, it’s just cardio. And we’ll be doing high intensity and triple training. Some days, it’s just recovery. I’ll have a physiotherapist come in and do soft tissue massage on him and stretching.
Typically, as far as touring goes, we’ll start training maybe an hour before he goes on stage and he’ll give me 30 minutes. Within that 30 minutes, we’ll do something like hit the compound movements that we want to hit like deadlifts, bench presses, and squats, or hit some body weight movement or I’ll just have the physiotherapist come and just do some recovery stuff. Those are kind of our cycles that we go through on tour. And it’s consistent. Every show day, he shows up. We’re in the gym. He has a little gym built out in every arena or venue.
Sounds intense! An hour before each show? I’d be like, ‘Let me sit down for a second.’
JR: I told you, the hardest working man!
TS: That makes sense because when he gets on, he has to be at 100.
JR: If he came out cold, oh my God! Imagine that, just walking on stage in front of 20,000 people, cold? Wow, nah. [That] could easily become an injury. There are a lot of stuff on stage that he’s avoiding.
“You have one life. You have one chance to be the best version of yourself.”
With your Caribbean backgrounds, how do you balance eating your favorite cultural meals and staying in shape?
JR: That’s when you have to start not showing up on Sunday dinners. [laughs] Nah, nah, nah. You find ways around it. There are times when you have refeeds or cheat days or times when you can still indulge in those things. But [we] have smaller portions because again, we’re so deep rooted into our culture. I can’t go too long without having some patty and coco bread. It’s about balancing it and literally trying to figure out where you can cheat and where you can’t. So [with] staying consistent with your proper meal plan, you’ll still be able to have those times when you’re like, ‘Hey, let me have something nice.’
TS: Absolutely. You have to know when to do it and when not to do it. And then when you do it, and you know you’re not supposed to, you’re like, ‘Damn, I’m going to [have to] work extra hard.
JR: It’s the excess that kills you man. Just do a little bit, then knock it out.
Any fitness tips for the guys and the gals trying to get their body right for the summer?
TS: From a dance perspective, literally, it’s [doing] planks. For that line. Not just for your stomach and your core, but it’s [about] how you stand with your shoulders because you have to stand with the present. From ballerinas to tap dancers and what not, everything is [about] stability and how you stand. That’s the first thing. And then after that, a lot, a lot of jumping jacks. That’s literally for when you’re running, jumping, going to spin…you may drop. You may do a split. All of that is important. And you know what? Everyone is really into nice bums right now. I had to ask Johnny this, but I want to tell people [to] get on your knees and you do those high kicks. I don’t even know if it works or not. I don’t know. But yeah, I’m always sitting on a wall because everybody wants a butt. Everyone does.
You’re right. You’re right.
JR: I mean, to get ready for the summer body, there’s all kind of movement you can throw at people. This is what I tell trainers I work with — you have your toolbox. You have all your tools and all the things that you can use. So whether you’re using a squat or a deadlift, or whatever kind of movement you’re using, you always have an end goal. I always tell people it’s [about] consistency. It doesn’t matter what you’re working on. Stay consistent throughout, let’s say for the three months that you’re working towards. Consistency, eating well, and a lot of water. Those are the main things. Anybody can work out. You can come to me and I’ll give you ten movements and you’ll do them. That’s fine. But it’s what you do at home that’s really going to determine how your body shapes up for the summer time. So I say a lot of water, eating right, and staying consistent.
Quick! What are your top three favorite songs off More Life? Ready, set, go!
JR: [smiles] Oh, my God!
TS: “No Long Talk,” “Passionfruit,” and “Got It?” What’s the one with Jorja? “Got It”? “Get It Together!”
JR: Oh man. Oh man, there are so many!
Come on, come on…
JR: “Can’t Have Everything,” I don’t know. “KMT”–
TS: You like “Madiba Riddim!” [laughs]
Last one: What’s next for the both of you?
JR: Everything. I mean, I just opened a gym in Toronto called Push Pounds and partnered with Studio Athletica, which is [run by] two doctors that are working with me to kind of bring sports medicine to the forefront in the middle of the city. There’s also a travel issue. It’s been there for four months, and I haven’t seen it yet. It’s tough. But that’s what I’ll be working on. Getting them gear, going into the league and NCAA, and just working with athletes and trying to get them ahead.
TS: I’m trying to follow my brother and have my own dance studio. [It will be] back home and in New York, which is my office. It would be my office instead of a rented out space. A studio inside my office.