Join the Pros: Kate Hiipakka

The expert in anything was once a beginner.

Hiiiii Guys! I’m so beyond excited to be writing my first post in the Join the Pros series! I created Join the Pros to share with you the experiences I’ve encountered as I make my journey through the fitness industry. Along the way, I also found several leading fitness industry professionals who were gracious enough to share their passion and experience too! I hope this series inspires you to take what resonates with you and apply it on your own journey.

In the professional world of fitness there are dozens of paths to choose and directions to consider. There never seems to be one direct route to success but rather a series of decisions and moments that directly alter the path, creating hazards and roadblocks or shortcuts and bypasses to success. I believe that learning doesn’t come solely through our own experiences, but through the experiences of others in combination with ours.

Venturing down my career path through the fitness industry, I’ve come across several “secrets” that I wish someone would have whispered in my ear years ago. I’ll throw in my two cents about common mis-steps I’ve made and the actions that have led to wild success : Don’t let fear freeze you.  Never leave a place of work on bad terms. Never stop learning and networking. Stick up for yourself when you’re right. Keep your positivity and charm (or fake it til you make it). 

I also want to share the experiences of those who truly inspire me and remind me of my purpose; my “why” behind what makes me keep pursuing a career in fitness. Without someone to look up to and help mentor you, you’re walking down the path blindly. Why travel alone in the dark, when you can travel with a companion and a flashlight?! Networking with those who have the qualities you desire, only leads to incredibly awesome conversations and learning opportunities to develop you and your successful career.

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce to you the gorgeous Kate Hiipakka. Author of the blog, The Four Percent and Nike ambassador (along with a few other titles). I came across Kate’s blog as I was researching what it takes to make it as an ambassador and face of the Nike brand (It’s on my 5- year goal list). This girl has got it going on. I spent several hours, pouring over her posts in awe. I was blown away by the sense of strength and empowerment she embodies. She personifies the radiance that I believe being passionate about something (fitness) can bring to one’s day to day life. I e-mailed her in the hopes that she could be my first feature in my Join the Pros series- thinking of course that someone with her achievements would have little time to read through all their e-mails, let alone respond to one requesting an interview for a small blog. Her humbleness and quick response took me off guard- such a sweetheart! I am so pleased to feature a young professional in the industry, who has brain, beauty and quite the resume!

Meet Kate Hiipakka:

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The Four Percent is a fitness enthusiasts paradise! You cover everything from weight training workouts, recipes, inspirational words & amazing swag. Where did your passion come from?

What inspired you to create The Four Percent?

Last year, my brother (a very talented triathlete) was very sick and in the hospital for several months – my family prepared for the worst as we watched him fight for his life. After a truly miraculous recovery his team of doctors agreed that he was able to turn the corner because he took such good care of his body. At that moment it hit me that working out isn’t about what you look like. It is about being strong, from the inside out. Being healthy is more than being “toned” or how much you can lift. Being healthy is about being mindful about how you treat your body holistically. We only have ONE and it is crucial to eat right and be physically fit. Instead of looking at fitness as a burden or a chore it should be looked at as an opportunity and a gift. The Four Percent was created to inspire readers to MOVE and invest in their health.

You’re living out my dream (along with a bazillion other athletes’) of being a Nike Master Trainer. What two things do you view as the most important actions you did or do that manifested this dream?

I feel so fortunate to be apart of the Nike Master Trainer network. I pinch myself every day because I still don’t believe it! Nike approaches all of their trainers to elevate their position so I attribute my status to dedication and passion. I truly love what I do and work around the clock to make sure I’m not only taking care of myself, but planning the best workouts for my clients. As a fitness professional my clients rely on me for their daily sweat – in most cases the only hour that they can dedicate to themselves and no one else. It’s a huge responsibility. I don’t have the luxury of having a “bad day.” The second that clock starts and that microphone turns on, I’m the center of attention and I have to bring it – no matter what. For that very reason I’m always thinking of ways to motivate, and challenge those around me. I am very appreciative for all the experiences that Nike has extended to me, and very thankful to be affiliated with such an iconic and inspiring brand.

In all your posts, you seem extremely humble & personable. What’s your secret?

A few years ago I ran into one of my clients and her family in a restaurant. I approached their table to say hello and when she introduced me everyone at the table had a spark of recognition and said, “YOU’RE KATE?! We never stop hearing about your classes!” I was so touched and felt so incredible. I’ll never take that feeling for granted. It is a privilege to be a part of someone’s dinner conversation or to be referred to their friends. I just love it! I remember that everyone has a choice in how they spend their money and their time. It’s very humbling and overwhelming to know that some people choose to spend it with me!

What three words best describe your training style?

No sugar coating!! I say this with a smile and a laugh, but it is really true. When you’re in the gym (and the kitchen) your results are a direct correlation of the work you put in. You can’t wish for results. You have to work. Sometimes it isn’t easy, in fact sometimes it’s really hard. But it is always, without fail, worth it. I encourage people to push past their discomfort and their mental blocks to reach that next level and achieve their goals.

The soundtracks you create are seriously sweat worthy! Where do you find such amazing jams?

Thank you! I scour the internet for HOURS searching for new music, new DJs and new remixes. The music we listen to while we workout has the ability to motivate and inspire so it is very important to keep it fresh. I am a huge believe in music karma, I share my favorites and exchange with other instructors. If you didn’t produce it, you can’t withhold it! Some of my favorite resources is Hype Machine, Sound Cloud, The Rate Your Burn BeFit Playlists and of course, YouTube.

You do such an incredible job inspiring others, what inspires you to power through a workout when you’re not feeling it?

When I’m not feeling motivated I remind myself that working out isn’t a chore. It’s an opportunity to better myself, inside and out, body and mind. It’s a gift to be able-bodied and capable of running of mile, or doing a chin-up. I remember that our body is our greatest asset because it’s the vehicle in which we live our lives. I feel very strongly about that. That’s enough for me to stay motivated! I have very few days where I think, “I don’t feel like it today.” Of course, part of being healthy is listening to your body and knowing when to take a rest day or two!

Thank you Kate, for sharing!

You can check out Kate’s website here: The Four Percent.

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