On any given day, a Google image search for the word yoga serves up an endless, scrolling gallery of mostly thin, blond women getting their om on. It’s laughably predictable. Try it!
But seriously. The fitness industry has long been catering to a predominantly white audience. As a result, it’s usually oblivious to issues of access, diversity, inclusivity, and intersectionality, as are a great many of its trainers and instructors, both in terms of staff at a given gym and more prominent influencers. In general, it doesn’t seem like fitness professionals are interested in the greater conversation about racism in America. This is something that became painfully apparent to me in August 2017. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, which unequivocally revealed that racism is indeed still an issue in the United States today, I noticed in my own social media feeds that many of the industry’s most influential figures chose to remain silent and continue about their lives and typical posting habits, business as usual. At a moment when my feeds were otherwise full of people talking about and processing their feelings about Charlottesville, so many white fitness pros were choosing to stay silent on those topics. But as a health and fitness professional who’s been a trainer for the last four years, I can tell you that it’s crucial that our industry considers the intersection of race (and racism) and fitness.
Fitness and wellness go far beyond exercise and nutrition.