For centuries upon sad centuries of human history, people have been searching desperately for that proverbial Fountain of Youth — a futile quest for a miracle anti-aging remedy that allegedly drove Spanish explorer Ponce de León scurrying to Florida in the 16th century.
Modern equivalents of de León’s mythological chase for sexy immortality include endless fad diets, daily applications of cosmetic goo, hey-presto pharmaceutical cures and — the daddy of them all — cumulative plastic surgery disasters that leave octogenarian celebrities looking like shrink-wrapped cadavers in a wind tunnel.
But it turns out that, after millennia of striving, the Fountain of Youth is not hidden far away in some exotic location or purchasable in newfangled pill form — so y’all can stop scouring the ends of the earth. The Fountain of Youth is within!
The unlikely discoverer of this truth is a Eugene construction worker named Troy Monroe, whom you may have seen practicing his craft of an evening along Coburg Road or at 29th and Willamette: He’s the guy jump-dancing on a small trampoline-like device called a “rebounder.”
Rebounding, Monroe says, is the world’s most perfect workout, and what’s more, he discovered that it actually reversed the aging process for him, Benjamin Button-style. In this regard, Monroe is his own best testimony: He’s 48, but he could pass for 27, easily, and the guy’s abs are totally chiseled.
“It totally blew me away,” Monroe says of seeing the results of rebounding. “It changed the whole game. With the results you see here, never did I work out past the 25-minute mark.”
Of course, simply jumping up and down doesn’t capture the whole story of Monroe’s routine. Combining a vegan diet of mostly raw foods, regular juice fasting and high-intensity interval training, he’s landed on a way of life that, according to him, harmonizes perfectly with the body’s physiognomy. Monroe’s “trainer name,” Rx8020, captures this formula — a prescription (Rx) of 80 percent nutrition to 20 percent exercise, and 80 percent raw food to 20 percent cooked.
The road to this health revelation was a long one. A native of Los Angeles, Monroe says he was always interested in fitness, getting into athletics in his teens and dabbling with veganism. He had early dreams of being a dancer, but was turned off by the scene.
Monroe “did the evangelical thing” for a while, considering a career in ministries, and was married for a bit in his early 20s. While raising two kids as a single parent and working at the UCLA Medical Center, he became more interested in health and nutrition. “That’s what my passion was,” he says. “I was always trying to find out what I could do to better my health. It was at UCLA where I discovered that I was actually starting to age backward. That’s when it hit me that I had something I could offer the world.”
Moving to Eugene in 2008, Monroe acquired a certification as a wellness coach from the Spencer Institute — an online coaching and career training service. In 2012, he incorporated a 40-day juice fast into his fitness regimen.
“It was during this time that I discovered the health benefits of rebounding,” he says. “I learned that NASA had officially declared rebounding to be the best manmade exercise in the entire world.”
According to Monroe, the healing process is speeded up with rebounding. “Rebounding is not just an exercise that burns calories,” he says. “It moves the lymphatic system. Rebounding opens pathways, flushes it out like no other exercise. It detoxes you while you exercise.”
Other benefits, he says, include better sleep; relief from anxiety and depression; promotion of human growth hormone; better functioning of the gallbladder and pituitary gland; increased testosterone; and an immediate spike in production of white blood cells. “Everything is increased and heightened and strengthened when you rebound,” Monroe says.
Not to be a stickler here, but the rebounding community is fond of citing the 1980 NASA study, which was actually specific to the effects of “trampolining” versus running regarding weightlessness, oxygen intake and G-forces on the body in motion. There is no evidence that NASA declared rebounding “the best manmade exercise in the world,” and a New York Times article from Jan. 16, 2015, debunks the more hyperbolic claims of enthusiasts, stating that “rebound exercise is, at best, aerobically mild,” and that “there also is little or no scientific evidence that rebounding benefits the lymph system, bones, blood or cellular health.”
That said, Monroe does make a compelling case for his style of urban rebounding, which after all is incorporated into a more holistic regimen that, according to him, starts with nutrition. “The first line of defense is nutrition,” he emphasizes. “The diet is the foundation.”
Diet, it would seem, is not only the foundation; for Monroe, it’s a site of global spiritual warfare for our health.
His more radical thoughts on nutrition and health can be found on his blog, “Black to Raw,” in which he refers to himself as a “Life Existentialist Expert” and writes such things as: “Make no mistake, medical genocide is part of New World Order genocide. The One World Government has only one objective: total genocide of anyone who is not willing to be controlled by the international Communists. It is a purge, a killing frenzy, cold-blooded murder. Medical genocide is part of the Communist New World Order genocide.”
And: “This is a spiritual chemical battle going on 24 hours a day, every day in your blood, cells and tissues. pH is the battlefield. If you take the spiritual blinders off, you will notice that everything in this world is perpetrating an acid environment. God is trying to alkalize you and Satan is trying to acidify you.”
Rebounding, then, is but the most visible aspect of Monroe’s program, and one that he’s always eager to promote as a wellness coach. “The reason I did rebounding in public is I have a unique style of rebounding because of my dance background,” he says. “I knew I had something that nobody was doing, and the best way for people to see what I’m doing is to get out on the street. If you do what I do, you get what I got,” he adds.
The response, he says, has been positive — I mean, really, what better promotion for rebounding than to do a little vigorous rebounding on the side of the road during rush hour?
“People stop and talk,” he says. “They’ve chased me down. The weirdest thing is somebody came along and started jumping on it when I took a rest.”
Monroe is currently holding rebounding classes 5 pm every Sunday at Xcape Dance Academy; for more information, you can check out his Facebook page or call 541-650-8007.