My name is Ilya and I’m a non binary trans masculine person of color currently living in Charlotte, NC. I’m also a writer, social justice advocate and owner of Decolonizing Fitness, LLC. I’m a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and Medical Exercise Coach with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. I firmly believe fitness can be reclaimed and utilized as a healing tool to help our most marginalized folks reconnect with their bodies in ways that feel supportive and liberating to them. Fitness can be affirming and accessible to all bodies.
Decolonizing Fitness (formly known as Forseca Fitness) was established in memory of my good friend “Big J” Forseca who passed away of lung cancer in 2015. He was transgender, chronically ill and disabled. He was also cash poor and couldn’t afford most of the medical care he needed. When he was able to access medical care he often dreaded going to the doctor because he experienced so much discrimination. Sadly this is the story of many queer and trans people living in the United States, especially those located in rural areas.
Decolonizing Fitness was birthed from the need for queer, trans, non binary, chronically ill and disabled folks to have better access to affirming and supportive health/wellness/fitness services.
Decolonizing Fitness seeks to put healing justice into practice by redefining and reimagining what fitness can be like when it is liberating, and restorative. Fitness is about more than pushing your body beyond its limits in order to achieve a certain aesthetic. No more shaming and blaming bodies for how they look, move and show up in this world.
Our goal is to help decolonize (through education and support) toxic fitness culture. We seek to carve space for bodies that don’t fit normative standards of beauty. For ALL bodies to be represented and affirmed.
As a non binary bodybuilder I am beginning to recognize the link between gender justice and fitness in my practice. This allows me to be more mindful of the ways the world seeks to disconnect me from my body. I want others to explore their physical potential, define and take control of their own bodies.
It’s time to Reconnect with our unique cultural movement practices...those that exist beyond western standards of fitness.
We all deserve to move freely in our bodies if we so choose!
Please help me continue to do this work by offering a kind donation.
No amount is too small!