In the 1980s, the American fitness industry saw an explosion in popularity as aerobics quickly became the trend of the decade. Fitness influencers like Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda led the way with fun & exciting workout routines. Big muscle-action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger also played a huge part in shaping the idea of what it looked like to be physically fit. Thus, the image of fitness became synonymous with muscular & thin body types, and a new culture of fitness took form.

Today however, fitness is being redefined. The idea of having a hard body has been replaced with body-positive thinking. Influencer, Fierce Fitness Ty is helping promote self-love & positivity through his hip hop infused aerobic dance classes. He is breaking from the norm, and teaching fitness his way by welcoming all fitness levels no matter your size, gender, or age.

In fact, Fitness Ty and one of his students’, Ms. Stephanie were recently featured on Access Hollywood, and talked about the importance of loving yourself and following your passion.

I spoke with Ty about what inspired him to start his fitness journey and how he’s gained success. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: What inspired you to develop your brand, “Fierce Fitness Ty”?

A: About 8 years ago I weighed almost 280 pounds, although at the time I was working as backup dancer for RuPaul’s Drag Race show. I wanted to get into better shape, so I took a Zumba class, and I nearly died after the first five minutes! (lol).

Zumba is fun but I love hip hop & R&B, so I decided to create my own routines and I taught them to myself in my garage and called it “Fierce Fitness”.

And within six months, I lost 60 pounds. That’s when I knew I had to share this with the world, so I started recording my routines and posting them on social media.

Q: How have you built such a successful customer and fan base?

A: In my studio, in my class there is no judgement. I say come in as you are, this your space to be happy and to be fierce. People love that. Also, my moves are simple, so it’s up to you to choose your intensity level whether its low, medium, or high.

Ms. Stephanie for example, who is 73 years old, modifies the moves to fit her. And that’s what I mean by there is no judgement in my class. Do what works for you. I also post my videos online after every single class, and I ask my students to do the same.

Q: What motivates you?

A: The smiles in the room. I promise you, I’m truly in love with what I do. When I come to class, and see someone having a bad day, and I’m able to put a smile on their face, that keeps me going.

“People assume that I’m motivating the room, but it’s my students that are motivating me just by showing up.”

Q: How do you generate new ideas?

A: I make up all my routines, so if it’s hot on the radio, we are going to dance to it in my class (lol). But more than anything, I prefer music from the early 2000s, so I tend to choose music from that era.

Q: What is your greatest fear? And how do you manage it?

A: My greatest fear is not being accepted for who I am. I’m working on overcoming that right now because being a big boy in fitness is not easy. Being a black man in fitness is not easy. Being a black gay male in fitness is not easy. I get a lot of criticism on TikTok for example, but I get shown a lot of love too. 

Being a black man in fitness is not easy. Being a black gay male in fitness is not easy. I get a lot of criticism.”

Q: What entrepreneurial tricks or tips have you discovered that keep you focused & productive?

A: My trick is I go hard five days a week. Monday through Friday, I wake up at 5:30am and start creating content, and I end my day at 7:30pm. And after 7:30, I stop answering and responding to all emails & comments. I’ve learned to stick to this schedule for my mental health.

Q: Is there one final piece of advice you would like to give?

A: Yes. Show up for yourself daily. When you show up for you, you become better for your customers. Also, stay positive and never give up on your dreams.

By expressing himself through his unique talent and art form, Fierce Fitness Ty is inspiring and captivating people from all walks of life to love and be their most fierce selves.