Decolonizing Fitness — Fitness Industry

Unpacking the History of Anti-Blackness in the Fitness Industry

Posted by Ilya Parker on

During the Jim Crow era, Black people weren’t allowed access to “health clubs”. Much like country clubs and golf courses during the years after desegregation, many ‘health clubs’ implemented discriminatory rules and policies to exclude Black patrons. Dr. Antonio Williams, Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair, Indiana University School of Public Health "The fitness industry and all industries are impacted by systemic racism because all industries are managed and run by people. People come to the spaces they fill with thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that represent what they have learned, been taught and experienced from the day they were born....

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Ob*sity Is A Social Construct Not A Disease

Posted by Ilya Parker on

It warms my heart to share that I’ve personally noticed (primarily through the inclusive fitness movement) an overall acknowledgment and practice of fat acceptance happening in the fitness industry. We are having more of the necessary conversations about anti-fat bias and how it causes great harm to people both on an individual and institutional level. This push to be more size affirming is directly helping to re-shape the ways we provide support to people in larger bodies and I am 100% here for it. While its awesome that folks are committed to divesting from weight stigma in fitness, movement and wellness...

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What Does Decolonizing Fitness Mean?

Posted by Ilya Parker on

I want to lift up the voices of Indigenous and Black folks before I share my thoughts. Here are some very important quotes I'd like to highlight:

"Can we lovingly (but firmly) have a conversation about decolonization? Unfortunately, variations of this important term are being treated like a buzzword in certain communities on this continent. However, something needs to be understood.

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Some Examples of Toxic Fitness Culture

Posted by Ilya Parker on

Check out the definition of Toxic Fitness Culture  if you aren't familiar.   Some Example of Toxic Fitness Culture: The promotion of fitness the sole purpose of weight loss. The belief that fit has a look. Personal trainers unwilling or unable to modify exercises that support your unique body. The belief that you’re not working hard enough if you haven’t achieved thinness. Personal trainers who aren’t registered dietitians giving diet advice. Personal trainers who don’t believe you when you need to stop and encourage you to push through pain. The belief that beating your body up makes for a good workout....

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What Is Toxic Fitness Culture?

Posted by Ilya Parker on

So a couple of years ago I coined the term: "Toxic Fitness Culture" (also known as Dominant or Mainstream Fitness Culture). It is important for me to name this, as often the work of Black and Trans folks gets co-opted, erased and whitewashed within paradigm shifting movements as the movements begin to grow. In this current moment the world of Inclusive Fitness/Wellness is beginning to gain momentum and it's very important for me to make sure I carve space and let folks know that I am one of the pioneers of this movement. I firmly believe that we need to...

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