By December 16, 2020Profiles

So my little brother is getting his PhD in exercise science at the University of Connecticut (I know, right? Excusseeee me), so the major upside for me is that he’s constantly giving me access to all the scientifically backed evidence that supports how important it is for humans to exercise to achieve active longevity. Humans need to move. Exercise and movement elevates mood, it’s good for our bones, our mental health – it kind of works miracles.

When I found out that I would be interviewing Mike Peele, I was excited. Mike has done something incredibly revolutionary and amazingly effective; he’s made exercising be something that people actually look forward to doing. As an actor and director he’s worked for over 15 years in the entertainment industry, but he’s most recognized as a fitness expert. He was named a two-time Fitness Universe and Fitness America Champion and launched his very successful fitness program, Hip Hop Fit, on YouTube where he has garnered thousands of followers from across the world.

Hip Hop Fit is a cardio dance workout that boasts fantastically catchy music, constant inspiration from Mike (as the trainer), and simply a fun escape you can immerse yourself in if you need a short respite from a hectic day. All body types, fitness levels, and backgrounds join in the fun, which makes the workout not only an immersive fitness class, but an inclusive community for people who want to better their lives through exercise.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has taken a toll on the world in a number of ways – but especially physically. With gyms being closed, it can be difficult to stick to a routine and maintain a healthy physique. But since Hip Hop Fit can be done anywhere, it has exploded in popularity during the pandemic. In fact, Mike told me that he has had clients over the past eight months that have lost 20+ pounds, just from joining in his program, committing themselves to it, and putting in the work.

One of Mike’s most beautiful qualities is the gratitude he feels for each of his followers – of which he nearly has 200,000 on YouTube. 

“Sometimes it’ll take me a week to respond to all my YouTube comments, but I always make time to do it,” he told me. “If people can take thirty minutes out of their day to join in my program or leave a positive comment on how much my coaching inspired them, the least I can do is say thank you.”

And the power of Hip Hop Fit is not merely national. Mike’s program is enjoyed by people around the world, from Australia to England. In fact, two women from the U.K. and Australia, respectively, met each other in Mike’s online community, and now hold other accountable as work out partners – trans-continentally!

And for those of you who, like me, could be intimidated by the program because you think you don’t have rhythm, fear not! Mike himself says rhythm doesn’t matter.

“It’s all about confidence,” he confessed. “If you’re having a good time and you feel good about yourself, screw everybody else. You have to let go and be free. If we can let go to what other people think, you might fall in love with yourself a lot more.”

And that’s the goal, isn’t it? Not just during the pandemic, but always; to be endlessly, hopelessly in love with ourselves, each and every day. If we stay healthy, if we exercise and push our ourselves, we’re scientifically proven to live a lot longer, and a lifelong relationship of self-love is definitely one worth fighting for.