By Pat Tomlinson The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After months of planning, two CT women with third-degree black belts have finally realized their dreams in the form of HiiTKick Fitness. The fitness studio is a fusion of traditional kickboxing training, strength and cardio workouts.
For years, Suzie Clifford and Amy Liang drove all over southwestern Connecticut seeking out creative, high-intensity workouts.
The two Wilton residents carpooled to gyms in Ridgefield and Westport, Wilton and Norwalk, all the while looking for the perfect combination of martial arts training and cardio-heavy workouts.
Together, they practiced Tang Soo Do, a Korean-inspired martial arts, and kickboxing, but it seemed whenever they found the perfect gym or the right trainer, the gym would close or the trainer would uproot to some location even further away.
When their latest trainer moved his practice to Armonk, New York earlier this year, Clifford and Liang decided to take matters into their own hands and open a studio of their own.
"It got to the point where the drive to the gym was taking longer than the workout, and that's no good," Liang said.
After months of planning, the pair of third-degree black belts have finally realized their dreams in the form of HiiTKick Fitness, a studio located in Wilton near the Norwalk border.
The studio, located at 27 Danbury Road, will feature high-intensity interval training (HiiT) kickboxing.
The goal, Clifford said, is not just to create an insanely fun, ever-changing hour of power workout that torches calories, but also to be a social space that brings people together, where everyone supports and cheers on one another while improving physical and emotional health.
"We want HiiTKick Fitness to be a place where people come to feel good and have a good time, to get in shape and have fun doing it. It will be the kick-butt version of 'Cheers,'" Clifford said.
The pair's workout is a fusion of traditional kickboxing training and strength and cardio workouts. Each HiiTKick Fitness class opens with a high-intensity workout, involving a series of moves like burpees, bicycle crunches and sumo squats to get the heart rate up, set to a different playlist every time.
The individualized instruction then moves into the kickboxing portion of the class, where participants jab, uppercut and kick out their frustration.
"Practicing martial arts is enjoyable, but you're not in there just letting loose. If you let loose in martial arts, it's on another person and that's a bit unacceptable," joked Liang. "Kickboxing has the same amazing physical workout but adds great stress relief and is super fun."
The two founders said they've always been fitness enthusiasts, but neither came from the professional world of sports. Liang has a background in marketing, and Clifford in fashion and advertising. Both hope their backgrounds will serve them well as they want to not just build a studio, but build an understanding and lifestyle around kickboxing.
"In addition to the HiiT sessions, we also hope to branch out to do women's self-defense courses and nutrition workshops," Liang said.
The pair plans to offer motivational teen classes as well. With little offerings in the way of teen kickboxing classes, and the available options typically being town programs, which they described as "uninspiring" and outdoors, greatly limiting when it's offered.
"We would love to motivate kids that aren't typically fit or those who want to become fit. But we would also love to attract any teen athletes who want to train off season. We have a great space and awesome playlists where teens can have a lot of fun and cross train," Clifford said.
The duo said that while Wilton will house their first studio, they hope to eventually expand into other locations. To learn more about HiiTKick Fitness or to schedule classes, go to hiitkickfitness.com.