Training can be a mixture of dedication, time, and effort – sometimes even money. With this in mind, the Brooklyn-born trainer Irv “Zeus” Hyppolite took up these concepts and brought them back to the community.
“I’ve been training with athletes, strength and stamina for about ten years. I started at Bally’s Total Fitness in 2011 as a fitness director and was number 1 in the nation. That went well until they fired me two days before Christmas, “he told News 4 New York.” I didn’t know what to do, I had to think of another point of sale. A friend encouraged me to become independent, and I’ve never looked back since. “
In House of Zeus NYC, Hyppolite made a name for itself in the competitive fitness world. There he organized a free hip-hop training camp called “Inner U Bootcamp”, where people not only got fit but also helped others in the process by donating for causes ranging from small businesses to children to racist organizations and social justice range.
“Inner U Bootcamp has been running for about four years and that’s my pride and joy in touching so many lives … The goal of Inner-U was to combine fitness, black culture and music,” said he said. “It’s one thing to do burpees, but it’s another thing to find a way to make it relevant, to touch people and make sure it’s bigger than them. We made burpees for every person who came from a cop was wrongly murdered. Imagine giving people something you hate, but benefiting others. Do you hate burpees enough that you wouldn’t do it for George Floyd, Tamir Rice, or Breonna Taylor? You can’t, because they can’t! “
Hyppolite began its return after finding out in 2014 that his uncle was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Hyppolite organized an event in Brooklyn Lifestyle Athletic Club There he organized a fitness bootcamp with some trainers and donated the entire proceeds to a diabetes foundation.
“When I found out that my uncle – who I’m very close to who is more like a father figure in my life – had diabetes, it really broke me. It was really bad,” said Hyppolite. “Growing up he was the healthiest person I knew. He had weights in his basement, exercising all the time, and I couldn’t believe it. I kept saying ‘I hurt him’ and it just sparked me something to do. ”
To broaden the idea of giving back, Hyppolite regularly organized free classes asking participants to donate what they could. Since then, he has made numerous donations to a variety of companies and organizations, including the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, the Breonna Taylor Foundation, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, and Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit for student-athletes to help up to raise awareness of rare diseases. For this year’s Black History Month, donations were made to Belle Sweets and the Black Art Futures Fund.
During the pandemic, most of the donations come from Hyppolite, which runs free virtual training courses asking participants to do what they can. With the help of his friend and Air personality Mouse Jones, Hyppolite pumps up the music for the free classes every Thursday and Sunday. Its virtual training courses were so well received that during the height of the pandemic one class had over 500 participants.
In total, Hyppolite organized around 80 courses with around 6,000 participants last year.
“When I started taking the free virtual courses, I got comments from everyone. Some bad, some good. But I kept telling myself that there are people going through it just like me, and I’m not that fair where to say, “Hey, you have to pay for this.” I decided to take my chance in public. I think life means nothing if you don’t influence other people and give something back, “he said.
Going forward, the philanthropic physical trainer says he wants to continue his free virtual training classes but hopes to one day open his own gym.