Before every fitness class, Monica Avila tells participants the exact same thing.
“Welcome to WERQ — this class is a pop and hip hop class. Follow along. Don’t give up..” Avila says to participants. She lets them know “we are family, there is no judgment here.”
“Don’t be afraid to pop your hips and drop it, it’s ok to be sexy,” she says.
Avila might say she is a “WERQ-alcoholic.”
The hip hop fitness class is a cardio, danced-based workout. The dances are comprised of fast, repetitive movements.
Avila was a Zumba instructor and said she loved sharing the Latin dance moves that she grew up with as a child, but after attending her first WERQ class, she became a certified WERQ instructor within a month.
Avila, who has been an instructor for six years, said teaching WERQ is more about community connection and sisterhood than making money.
Through WERQ fundraisers she has helped raise nearly $10,000 for local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Madison Blaze women’s football team and East High School Dance Teams.
She also donates her wages from her WERQ classes to charities that are close to her heart.
Last month, for instance, she held a back-to-school WERQ class where instead of paying for the class, participants donated school supplies. She’s also donated the proceeds from her class to sick family friends or coworkers in need.
The people in her class have become like family, she said, getting together before or after workouts.
She knows more than 500 WERQ dances and has classes in Fitchburg. The next large WERQ fundraiser, taking place in December, will benefit military service members.
Information on Avila’s classes is available in the WERQ Madison Facebook group.