In group fitness classes, Heather C. White found herself hitting a wall—not because of the pace or intensity, but because of an inability to connect with the music. “I felt like I couldn’t really take my workout to the next level,” White says. “The biggest question I had for myself was, what would make me work out more? And I was like ‘Oh, if it’s like a party!’”
The desire to work out while werking it out drove White to create Trillfit, a new fitness movement that focuses on beat-driven workouts and celebrates hip-hop culture, hosting monthly pop-up fitness classes ranging from kickboxing to spin to yoga. Trillfit debuted in September with a cardio dance class led by celebrity choreographer Laurieann Gibson that featured swag for participants, giveaways and a live, carefully curated DJ set, courtesy of in-house DJ and cofounder Nick Bishop, a longtime area DJ and former rapper.
“We never recycle playlists, never play from an iPod. Everything is always live and organic,” White says of their mixes, which are posted to SoundCloud after each class. “We incorporate the pace that the instructor has. So when we were at Cyc and did our Ratchet Ride [spin class], we definitely had more bangers, like ratchet music, versus when we did a Soul Yoga session, we had a set that was all Otis Redding and soul. We definitely make each event custom and unique. And the music reflects that. We want the music to drive and inspire people.”
White plans to book nationally touring DJs and fitness celebrities for future events (yogi and Instagram influencer LadyDork will teach a class at the Trillfit Brunch & Burn on Jan. 31). And she hopes to expand to pop-ups in other cities. But for now, she’s focused on winning fans in Boston. “I hope that they come in and experience something that may not be their typical workout,” she says. “And honestly just work their hearts out and have a great time and learn some new songs.”
Or old ones, as was the case for a recent Trill Run through the South End, staged in collaboration with Unnamed Run Crew. “That mix was a lot of late-’80s, early-’90s hip-hop, a lot of A Tribe Called Quest, a lot of Nas and De La Soul. Because that was the South End, to us,” White says. “So we had speakers and had five people carrying them through the South End, and there were all these old dudes like ‘Yeah! They’re playing A Tribe Called Quest!’ It was really, really fun.”