I will admit that I never focused on my instructors' skin colors before these past few weeks. I loved my go-to fitness instructors no matter what they looked like. But I realize now that it's incredibly important to bring recognition to the Black community, especially when society perceives yoga, Pilates, barre, and other health and wellness niches to be "rich white mom" activities.
What a shocker, society is wrong once again. The fitness industry is wildly diverse as it should be, but it wasn't always this inclusive and we can always work to make it better.
As a trainer, I meet so many other unique coaches and one story stuck with me. One of my friends shared that in high school, a friend of hers took her to a beloved Pilates class, and to her surprise, the instructor looked like her. After the class, she admitted, "I didn't expect her to be Black. I thought she was going to be an older white woman."
I never thought about it before, but after hearing this story, I realize how much of a positive impact it can make.
Here are 31 badass Black fitness gurus to follow and start breaking a sweat with.
1. Andrew Sealy
If you want to learn how to handstand, Andrew is your guy.
2. Jeanette Jenkins
Haven't you heard of The Hollywood Trainer Club and POPSUGAR's "Burn 600 Calories in a 60-Minute Workout With Jeanette Jenkins?"
3. Misty Copeland
Two fun facts:
1. In 2015, Misty became the first Black female principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. Can you believe it was only five years ago?
2. I wrote my college essay on this incredibly inspirational woman and one day I hope to meet her.
7. Nwadno Emejulu
Nwando is a New York Pilates instructor that kicks ass and adds spice to every class.
10. Marcia Meade
Grab your mat for a perfect Pilates mat class.
11. Tiffany Rothe
Sweating but always smiling with Tiffany Rothe Workouts.
13. Danielle Acoff
Her flows are so beautifully done, like wow.
14. Libby Christensen
In addition to her strong workouts, she has a ton of Black Lives Matter resources on her Instagram.
15. Chanel Brown
Lifestyle blogger turned fitspiration.
16. Toni Mitchell
Toni's YouTube channel is stock full of workouts you won't regret sweating through.
17. Alicia Archer
I'm mesmerized by her backbends.
18. Ajahzi Gardner
Check out her Instagram for a bunch of workouts that burn in all the right places.
19. Brandon Carter
Brandon turned his love for fitness into a business that helps other coaches succeed.
21. Brittne Jackson
Someone say booty?
23. Tie Simpson
Founder and CEO of Sisters of Yoga, Tie knows how to recognize and bring together underrepresented communities.
24. Estelle Archer
Estelle's smile takes my stress away just like that.
27. Phyllicia Bonanno
Check out her sound baths to explore the light within yourself.
28. Jonas Diaz
30. Tori Katongo
Tori is also an instructor at SoulCycle and knows exactly how to make you sweat.