No one could’ve predicted how hard the fitness world would be hit by the global pandemic until gyms across the country were forced to shut down. With many trainers left without a space to conduct sessions with clients, they had to pivot their efforts to online class experiences.
Although many trainers saw this as an end to their livelihoods, New-York-based personal trainer Irving “Zeus” Hyppolite took this as an opportunity to change the way the fitness world operated by tapping into an overlooked source — technology.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Hyppolite was working as an independent trainer where he held one-on-one sessions with clients and his weekly Inner U Bootcamp. However, once New York gyms shut down, he looked to Instagram’s platform as an alternative place to carry on with his work.
“I think one thing a lot of trainers, and myself, realized is the importance of tech,” said Hyppolite.
Prior to COVID-19, technology is something many took for granted, but we’ve seen a massive turnaround since the beginning of quarantine that has changed the way people like Hyppolite run their business.
“I decided that there has to be a space through the pandemic to still feel hope and have a level of self-care and mental release,” Hyppolite said. “I said [to myself] I think it’s important to keep doing this class, as opposed to taking a hiatus.”
Since the start of country-wide shutdowns, Hyppolite has held his Inner U Bootcamp sessions weekly on Thursdays and Sundays as part of his ongoing initiative to keep fitness alive during the quarantine.
Hyppolite started his career in fitness as a personal trainer and went on to start his own fitness business, Quantum Leap Fitness, also known as the House of Zeus.
He’s gone on to train a multitude of clients and work with big-name celebrities like Scottie Beam, Casanova, and Wyclef Jean as well as many others connected to the music and entertainment industries.
With his own ties to music, Hyppolite has been able to set his brand apart from others by adding the unique element of music to accompany his classes.
“I created a brand that’s really, really Black and I’m comfortable with that,” said Hyppolite.
As a hip hop and music fan, Hyppolite made a conscious decision to incorporate that influence into his fitness brand and transform it to have an even bigger influence in our culture.
“I realized hip hop isn’t inherently healthy,” he said. “Because of that, I took that [challenge] on and said I want to be the catalyst to hip hop finding a healthy space.”
Hyppolite uses music as the driving force for his Inner U Bootcamp class that has been dubbed “the #1 online fitness party in the world,” with playlists curated each week by media personality Mouse Jones.
Each week, Inner U Bootcamp makes themed “tour stops” in cities like Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and many others, bringing worldly experiences into viewers’ homes.
Beyond his virtual classes, the close-knit community Hyppolite and his sessions have helped cultivate over the past few months made it possible to host an in-person rooftop class this past Sunday. After being put together in less than a week, the class sold out in just a matter of hours.
Hyppolite has also been able to use these Instagram Live sessions to continue his philanthropic efforts in his community and help those frontline workers who have been battling the pandemic from the start.
Between the charitable component and the innovation of tech to encourage folks to stay healthy in quarantine, Hyppolite has demonstrated a model example of how other trainers can utilize technology to shape the future of fitness.
Hyppolite states that while classes will continue to be held online via Instagram, he hopes to eventually move them into Zoom sessions for formal classes. He also has plans to develop programs for individuals so they can “bring personal training into their homes.”
Tune into the House of Zeus and Inner U Bootcamp every week on Instagram Live here.