Creating an Anti-Racist Fitness Industry

Black Lives Matter. 

After the book is done, the webinar is over, you go through 1 course, and the pandemic fades away, will you go back to what is comfortable? Some systems will change but most of them will go unchallenged once everyone realizes it’s a long road ahead to dismantle centuries of racism.

I can’t go back to normal. There is no going back to normal. It’s time to be the change. 

As an industry we are supposed to care about people’s health. In the past we’ve cared about health without politics and changing the systems, we just care about people’s health as long as they could afford $400-1000 a month. That means we’ve only been caring about a selection of people.

Most of the health, fitness, and rehab industry are not into politics. This can often be coming from a place of privilege in that a majority of the industry’s life is not affected by not worrying about politics. There are people in our industry who ARE affected. We need to understand that we have peers and clients who don’t have that choice to ignore what goes on in society.

As an industry, do you ever wonder why you have the clients you have? Have you done a breakdown of how many white, how many black, how many people of color? What about your peers and your leaders? Where are all the Black trainers? Where are all the Black speakers? Where are all the Black people in pictures when I google “Fitness industry”? They exist, but they’re never the first name we think of, or the first course we buy, or the first seminar we travel to attend.

Why does this industry not cater to everyone? 

Can we take all this anger and shock and turn into action? There is so much momentum all over the world, our friends and peers are coming onboard in the anti-racism social media movement. Don’t you want to see all of this work and emotion we’ve been learning to experience become something that impacts change everywhere?

I do…and I’m not alone in this. Neither are you. 

We’ve created a group that is putting its foot in the door, letting the fitness industry know we’re not going back to silence. It’s a Facebook group dedicated to collaborative learning about social justice and racial equality. The organizers (Keeler and I) are not the teachers. We see our role as peer organizers, students, activists, and connectors. 

In this group we will: 

–       Elevate the voices of Black people in the industry. We’ll get to hear their stories and see what they want to see change. We will have a face, a story, and real feelings when we ask ourselves “What will happen if we choose not to act?”.

–       Get connected to other activist’s documentaries, courses, books, and supportive material. 

–       Curate meaningful content to help each of us become anti-racist 

–       Read and discuss books together, beginning with The Racial Healing Handbook

–       Discuss actionable strategies for overcoming bias and oppression in our business and our industry 

–       Support one another in a safe space where you can stumble and grow without judgment. 

This industry’s foundation isn’t putting everyone in a position to be the best that they can be. There is so much untapped potential that we are not supporting. 

We’re not going back to a fitness industry who only cares about those who can afford an expensive gym membership. We’re not going back to “stay out of politics”. We’re not going back to staying silent when one of our own needs our loud voices/actions. 

We want an industry where everyone can look at the people at the top and feel represented, heard, understood, and cared for. Where everyone feels like they matter and people like them deserve a seat at the table.

If we can mandate anti-racism, we are progressing the industry in a way that is greater than just one person. That’s why we’re here, right?

The health and fitness industry can hold a lot of power over how things are done in our world. If we can help dismantle a white supremacist society, we can hold our politicians accountable to having everyone’s health in their best interest. 

Please join us and help us hold this industry accountable to long lasting change.

It’s starts with Black Lives Matter.