Decolonizing Fitness

Men's Health Magazine Feature: Every Body is Perfect

Posted by Ilya Parker on

I grew up reading Men's Health Magazine. I remember scouring the pages of that magazine on my lunch breaks while working at a grocery store. I was so excited when finally able purchase the magazine once my employee discount kicked in. I also recall turning page after page and seeing nothing but toned, tall, white cis male physiques. I felt both admiration for their bodies and deep hurt that I would never look like that. I would often wonder what was wrong with my body that I wanted to change it to look like them? I used to follow the workouts...

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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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Trans Awareness Month

Posted by Ilya Parker on

Decolonizing Fitness is owned and operated by a Black trans person and I am deeply committed to to not only shining light on the disparities that trans/gender expansive folks face but also finding ways to support our most vulnerable communities.   Therefore, I want to take a moment to share that November is Trans Awareness month in hopes you can connect to some important events happening now and in the near future.  Transgender Awareness Week is each year from Nov 13-19 and followed by Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov 20. During this week people and orgs get together to...

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10 Essentials of Inclusive Fitness

Posted by Ilya Parker on

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Inclusive fitness means in practice as a collection of values that we can begin circulating widely in our industries. I firmly believe it is our collective right to feel at home and safe in our bodies and for fitness and wellness institutions to support and create the conditions to uphold this right. What is Inclusive Fitness It’s important for me to name that the Inclusive fitness was birthed from Black trans, queer and radical fat organizers and seeks to carve space for those who have historically been negated in mainstream fitness and movement...

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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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