An on-and-off fitness enthusiast, Boston-based Heather White often found her classes lacked a certain level of…oomph. Over a post workout glass of rosé with a friend, White lamented the lack of appeal and, as these things sometimes happen, found herself inadvertently speaking her business into existence, wishing for such a thing as a “trill” workout class.
When the talk turned into an action plan, White made a pact with her then boyfriend/now husband to organize at least five classes. With his support and the calling in of a favor that lead to choreographer great Laurieann Gibson (!!) leading the first-ever class, a casual conversation has bloomed into a thriving business that is in the process of opening a dedicated studio space in Boston in March.
Described as “Boston’s coolest hip hop workout party,” TRILLFIT has also plans to expand its footprint with multi-city pop-up events and will continue to work with an array of brands and companies on event-specific work outs.
Check out our recent exchange with White below and find out about upcoming events at trill.fit.
Snobette: What month/year was TRILLFIT founded? Where was the first class offered?
White: TRILLFIT was founded in September of 2015, and our first event highlighted a sculpt class and a cardio dance class by Laurieann Gibson. The event was at Urbano Project in Jamaica Plain, a super diverse community in Boston with great culture. The event sold out three days before we ever launched. I remember it was hot that day and we were sweating it out in the gallery, so we propped open the doors for more circulation. Within minutes, it felt like the whole neighborhood had come out to watch us. I knew we had something. That first year we kept popping up in Boston with pinnacle events every other month. In mid 2016, we went to monthly, then bi-monthly, and on and on until Jauary 2017 when we opened a studio in Downtown Crossing offering classes four times a week.
Snobette: What was your involvement in the world of fitness before TRILLFIT?
White: “Before TRILLFIT, I was a fan of boutique fitness but I wasn’t going consistently. I had these big fitness goals but wasn’t really coming close to achieving them. I’d sign up for an Equinox membership and never go. Or, when I’d be in class something would pull me out out of it: the music, the space, the community, it just wasn’t inspiring me. Now, I’m in classes five-to-six times a week, getting my own fitness certifications, and fitness is truly a part of my life.”
Snobette: In starting you business, what hurdle did you find to be the most challenging?
White: “TRILLFIT is a corporation so that came with a ton of requirements and legal stuff. That was challenging and then creating the business plan just took time. Honestly, the biggest hurdle was stepping outside of myself, someone who didn’t go to business school and never thought they’d be a CEO, to realize that TRILLFIT was a business and not just a side hustle and taking the steps to protect it and grow it.”
Snobette: What part of running your business comes the easiest to you?
White: “Keeping the team motivated and pulling new people into the brand. I’ve always been a creative, I went to school for poetry, and so that part, the crafting of an idea and disseminating it widely to pull others in and captivate them has always come somewhat naturally. For TRILLFIT that manifests itself in a bunch of ways: from staffing a team that truly rides for the brand and shows up way before the light at the end of the tunnel was even shining to the day one clients who’ve shown love since we were in a three-floor walk up, tiny-ass, busted studio. Something about the brand spoke to them and it didn’t matter where or how frequent the classes were, it just mattered that they were there.”
Snobette: How have fitness apparel and footwear trends changed since you started the business?
White: “Streetwear influences just like hip hop culture overall are continuing to become mainstream and that totally has manifested itself within the athleisure/fitness space. Couple that with big moves around body positivity and self acceptance/self care, and you see so many females (of all sizes!) in ’90s-era crop tops and bras, Coordinated workout sets have been huge, and above all, the studio was reinforced as another place to be fresh while getting fit.
“Especially in classes like ours, footwear reflects what’s going in the industry. Most of the women in our classes are cool girls are rocking shoes like Huaraches, the latest New Balance, we have girls wearing Yeezys. They’re definitely coming to class to stunt. I’m waiting to see someone come through in Balenciagas, that’ll be a fun moment.”
Snobette: What were the three most popular work out songs this year?
White: “So this is more than three but these songs killed it in our studios and throughout the industry in 2017:
- “Bodak Yellow” by Cardi B: To be honest, anything Cardi put out totally popped off this year. “Bartier Cardi” is another one. It just dropped and it’s getting people super hyped in class.
- “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar: We encourage people to sing and rap along in class if they know the words and with our crowd, they almost always do. “Humble” is one that people really put their hearts in. The message, the beat, the vibe, it always pulls people in.
- “Slide” by Calvin Harris: What’s better than a fly disco track to cool down your work out and transition into whatever swaggy brunch you had next?
- “Bad and Boujee” by Migos: Shout out to Migos and Coach K. This song ruled 2017 and for a studio that offers twerkouts that actually have you dripping sweat, it was an absolute must.
- “Wild Thoughts” by DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller: This was the perfect summer song and Rihanna can do no wrong. We played this constantly and paired it with waist-whining workouts and serious core work to target the obliques and get that bikini body extra cut for vacay. This song broke and a month and a half later we were in Cuba living our best lives.”
- “Rake It Up” by Yo Gotti: featuring Nicki Minaj: No commentary necessary. Squatting it out and fucking it up? Naturally.
- “Unforgettable” by French Montana featuring Swae Lee: Another banger
Snobette: What is your MVP app?
Snobette: What are some of the bigger reasons people fall off of a fitness routine and are there any tricks for staying on track?
White: “There are a million things that can cause people to fall off. Ultimately to stay on track find a workout that you love, where the music is fire, that you actually want to go to. Then, get a friend or a whole crew to go with you. When you actually like your workout and you’re surrounded by people you like, you’ll find it’s not at all hard to keep going and crush your goals.”
Snobette: What are your personal fitness and business goals in 2018?
White: “For me personally, I can’t wait to finish up all of my fitness certifications. Before TRILLFIT I never could’ve guessed I would become an instructor. Flash forward to now, I finished my Yoga Sculpt certification at the beginning of December and will be taking my ACE exam in January.
“In 2018, we’ll open our first fitness flagship studio which has been a huge goal of mine since we started. We’re also hitting up three new cities for pop-ups so look out for TRILLFIT at your favorite cultural events (think All Star Weekend, BET, Complexcon, etc) and beyond. We’re also hiring like crazy for instructors so in 2018, we’ll see the team grow along with our presence in secondary markets.”