Photo by Brian Kaiser

Hip Fit

Mike Nicholson’s Hip-Hop Fitness is a whirling, leaping, popping way to get in shape; and beyond the fun moves you’ll learn, there’s a whole community of people who want to get down just waiting for you to take the leap.

Uber-popular for the last decade, we wanted to get the skinny from one of Mike’s dedicated dancers, Laura Wall, on why she Likes Mike.

“You make friends! You workout in a very high intense cardio class and you lose weight. You get healthier. Your doctor starts wondering….what are you DOING? Your numbers are all going down! … It’s a safe environment with people as young as kids all the way up to the retired community sharing the same love of HH fitness and making life-long friends along the way. It’s life-changing.”

Well, we certainly want to know more about this. Not to mention our gym won’t play “Move, B*tch,” by Ludacris no matter how many times we ask. 

What can people gain from Mike’s class? What can they lose? Friendships. Unconditional love from Mike, his talented instructors. Confidence. You start to move differently outside of his class. You start speaking up more at work and at home. You look different. Your clothes feel different. Your family whom you haven’t seen in months don’t recognize you—in a good way! You lose your inhibitions. You lose the doubtful side of yourself. You expect more from you and while your body changes, so does your mind, your emotions, your soul. It’s such a win all over!

What is special about Mike? Mike pays attention. He understands people. He understands all of his students. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. He asks open-ended questions; he truly takes time to get to know his students. He can tell if you’re having an “off” day and gets up there right behind you pushing you. He knows everyone and their class schedule. Mike is inclusive. He’s one of the most creative professionals I’ve ever known in my life.  It’s an honor having him as a dear friend.

Who comes to his classes? Everyone. Working class. Stay-at-home Parents. Part-time, working folks. Students. I’ve seen people show up temporarily disabled—with an arm in a sling but still kicking it with their legs. I’ve seen HH students in wheelchairs who come and still move their arms. Babies are crawling around the studio. Lots of couples. Lots of moms and daughters. Boyfriends and husbands are pulled in to sit in the back and help support their loved ones. Mike Nicholson has the best following in Central Ohio. 

How did you come to be his student? On June 2, 2011, I went to his class. After that class, the next day, I couldn’t walk … and I couldn’t walk for four days—though keep in mind I still kept going. That Friday, Saturday and Sunday … I’m going on year eight. I go five days a week—sometimes in the early a.m. sometimes at night. I’ve made lifelong friends. I’ve changed jobs a couple of times. Got remarried recently, and it was my HH family who was there with every personal milestone. One of the best decisions I ever made was joining Mike’s class.

Favorite song to warm up? Cool down? Warm up? “Let it Bump” by Missy Elliott! Current fave routines: “Got Me Good” by Ciara and definitely “Whine Up” by Kat Deluna. “Make it Work” by T-Pain and my absolute fave above all others: “Take Your Shirt Off,” also by T-Pain. I affectionately call that my Naked song! [laughs] For cool down,  I like old school tunes Mike will pull out every once in a long while—”Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees, everyone is singing out loud. That is the best feeling in the world next to laughter through tears.

What about people who can’t dance?! I don’t believe it. Everyone can dance! My thing is perhaps people are out of practice is all and they just don’t even know it. It may take some longer than others. The best part is no one is judging you. Everyone is so focused on getting their workout in if you mess up no one will notice. And when you do mess up and others notice? People will chuckle with you and not at you. We’ve all been there… •