Baltimore-inspired beats help crank up fitness
Waldorf resident hosts Cranked Up Cardio classes
A Waldorf resident has created a new Balti- more dance style of ex- ercising that is trending around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Locals are breaking a sweat to the high-energy dancing, music and exer- cise combination called Cranked Up Cardio — a guaranteed way to get people moving.
Cranked Up Cardio is run by Janice “Dr. Jai” Armstrong, the CEO, founder and creator of Cranked Up Cardio. The exercise class turns the typical aerobic work- out into a dance floor ex- perience.
The Bmore style car- dio workout is primarily influenced by Bmore Club music and cul- ture, mixed with Bmore house music, hip hop, reggae and funk. Bmore club music is fast and chopped up with repet- itive lyrics over a slow, hard and heavy bass drum pattern, while Bmore house music is faster “party music,” sometimes going at 150 beats per minute.
“Our motto is ‘we are cranked, curvy and capable.’ It doesn’t matter your size or level of ability, because I have people with disabilities that can do it. I don’t call it a weight loss exercise but
it makes you healthier,” Armstrong said.
The energetic exercise class always has a live DJ from Armstrong’s Cranked Up Cardio staff: DJ Boobie, DJ Droopy, DJ Rodd Madd Flava and DJ Porkchop. The entire class rocks out to the sounds of “EA EA” by Miss Tony, “How You Want To Carr y It” by Miss Tony and “Watch Out For The Big Girl” by Jimmy Jones & DJ Booman. The music is supplied by wellknown producers such as Rod Lee, Scottie B, DJ Porkchop and KW Griff, who create Bmore club and house music.
Originally from Balti- more but now residing in Waldorf, Armstrong is a member of the Maryland State Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and has a doctorate degree in strategic leadership. She used to battle dance in Baltimore when she was younger. Then Armstrong decided to start a fitness class that would join together her love of dance and need to live a healthi- er lifestyle. She has lost 52 pounds since the inception of Cranked Up Cardio.
“I had high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia when I had my two kids. I put my energy into Cranked Up Cardio and I no longer have high blood pressure or cholesterol issues,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong has per- formed Cranked Up Car- dio on national television, live on social media and has hosted many all over: New York, Washington, D.C., South Carolina, Atlanta and Maryland, specifically at St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf. CUC has also partnered with another organization to help raise money for the REBUILD Baltimore Project after the riots of April 2015.
The CUC program has 72 dance combinations and 38 dance instructors, taught by Armstrong. Eager participants of all ages pay $5-7 to attend various classes Mondays through Saturdays.
“I know people still want to feel like they did when they were young enough to dance in the club for four to six hours,” Arm- strong said. “My favorite part of Cranked Up Car- dio is when the beat drops because you’re in the zone, you get active and more motivated to do it.”
CUC Instructor Teneshia Richards of Catonsville has been teaching the CUC class for almost two years now. She describes the class as a party for the body during the five to 10-minute warm-up, 30-40 minutes of cardio and then a cool down. Richards said the instructors are taught the same CUC dance combi- nations, but each teaches the class differently.
“The more people who know about the class, the more they can embrace the culture,” Richards said. “It’s probably one of the best things to have something positive come out of Baltimore. We incorporate reggae, go-go and Caribbean music. I think dancing is the only thing that brings every- one together.”
“I have a lot of health issues with my weight — autoimmune disorders, joint pain, swelling and I have lupus — but I love to dance,” said Jackie Lofton, a CUC instructor from Baltimore. “My doc- tor said I needed to do something that is fitting for me to do every week and this class has me doing dances that I used to do in the club. Most of our classes pass the hour mark because it’s like you’re having a party. Plus, Janice knows how to hype a crowd and she has a lot of energy.”
Armstrong said Cranked Up Cardio was made from a vision and she wants everyone to remember that wellness and fitness should not be a task, but instead something everyone can enjoy.
She is also planning to bring Cranked Up Cardio classes to Southern Maryland in 2017. For more information, go to www.crankedupcardio. com.
In February 2016, approximately 15-30 Cranked Up Cardio instructors celebrated the start of the high energy fitness program with a “crankaversary” at the Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel in Towson.
Cranked Up Cardio CEO, founder and creator Janice “Dr. Jai” Armstrong hosts a CUC fitness class at St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf last year.
Cranked Up Cardio CEO, founder and creator Janice “Dr. Jai” Armstrong motivating the crowd during a CUC fitness class at St. Charles Towne Center in Waldorf last year.