Drake's Trainer on the Workout Moves the Star Loves (and Hates)
Jonny Roxx tells Billboard how the rapper he stays in tip-top shape on the road
Any one of @champagnepapi’s 35.4 million followers know that Drake likes to work out. The rapper has used his social media over the past few years to document his physical fitness transformation, snapping photos of himself in various gyms while on tour, standing shirtless in front of many a mirror to show his results -- and, yes, lip-synching Taylor Swift’s "Bad Blood" while pumping iron for an Apple Music commercial.
The man responsible for Drake’s buffed-up transformation is Jonny Roxx, a Toronto-based trainer who is part of the OVO inner circle and travels with the rapper while he’s on the road. Roxx and choreographer Tanisha Scott (both of whom have just come off of Drake's latest tour, which ended last month) have paired up with GapFit for a series of how-to videos that highlight some of the moves that they've taught the rapper, including the move the he hates the most: the dreaded burpee. "Everyone hates them," Roxx points out. "And squats are a love-hate relationship (for him) because they really beat you up. I can't program that the day before he has a show because he'll have wobbly legs on stage."
Roxx says that while Drake is just as determined and hard-working as any of the professional athletes he trains (which include Brandon Jennings of the Washington Wizards and Amir Johnson of the Boston Celtics), he tries to factor in lifestyle differences. "When you're dealing with an entertainer, going out is a factor that you have to work into your program," he says. "You have to do stuff that will get them to perform better and feel better but (also) to make them look better." Case in point: Drake now almost exclusively wears sleeveless shirts when performing.
The trainer says setting goals has also been an effective way of helping Drake get buff. "You try to get into their mind and get them focused on pushing forth -- it’s very psychological," says Roxx. "Let's say he has a movie role or a show tour coming up, I just get him geared up."
Lately, the goal has been achieving the "muscle-up": a Crossfit-style technique similar to a pull-up (one of Drake's favorite moves), which involves bringing the entire torso up over the bar and straightening one's arms. "We worked really hard on that and we got him to do it, so he's very excited about that," says Roxx. The trainer is putting the finishing touches on a new gym that he will be opening in his native Toronto -- a location that's likely to be a new geotag for @champagnepapi.