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Home / Fitness and Health / Trainers and fitness professionals can not help people with color while they are silent about racism

Trainers and fitness professionals can not help people with color while they are silent about racism



Every day, a Google image search for the word "yoga" provides an endless, rolling gallery of mostly thin, blond women using their om online. It is ridiculously predictable. Try it!

But seriously. The fitness industry has long been a predominantly white audience addressed. As a result, access, diversity, inclusiveness, and intersectionality are generally unknown, as are many of their coaches and trainers, both in terms of staff in a particular gym and in terms of prominent influencers. In general, it does not seem like fitness professionals are interested in the larger discussion on racism in America. I noticed this painfully in August 201

7. After the events in Charlottesville which clearly showed that racism is still a real problem in the United States today, this occurred to me in my own social environment. The media claim that many of the industry's most influential figures decided to stay quiet and talk about their lives and their typical posting habits. At a time when my feeds were otherwise full of people talking about Charlottesville and processing their emotions, so many white fitness professionals decided to keep silent about these topics. As a health and fitness professional who has been working as a trainer for four years, I can tell you that it's critical that our industry sees the interface between race (and racism) and fitness.

Fitness and wellness go well beyond exercise and fitness nutrition.

After all, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are equally important to the well-being of a person. All these aspects of wellness have a direct impact on physical health. We can not adequately address a holistic approach to wellness without addressing racism and its effects on well-being and preventing some people from feeling safe in their bodies.

For many people, especially whites, this may be a completely new consideration. If you are not personally affected by racism, it is easy to lose awareness of the effects. This is a result of privileges. Privilege does not mean that you did not have problems or work hard. Having privileges just means there are certain things you did not have to fight with. If you do not live in a black or brown body, you did not have to deal with the mental and emotional traumas caused by racism, whether through daily micro-attacks, the ongoing threat of physical violence, or systematic resource barriers. It may be easier to keep these considerations out of our practice. The creation of inclusive fitness rooms that really care about the wellness needs of our clients requires that we talk about racism as well as a host of other aspects inevitably negatively impact our clients.

"Love and Light" is not right.

If you spend a lot of time on fitness social media, you'll find that influencers and coaches do it with phrases like "love and light." Emphasize the desire (and imperative) to focus on positivity. Yes, fitness training can (should!) Be a positive experience that adds value and allows us to lead a vibrant, fulfilling and energetic life. However, the fact that exercise can enrich our lives does not allow trainers and trainers to ignore the less hyperpositive aspects of people's lives, especially the harmful reality of racism, to promote lighter, happier topics. After something like the events in Charlottesville or the death of another black person by the police or another hate crime, love and light will not feel that my reality is being considered. Focusing on "love and light" without taking into account racism and its effects on the mental and emotional health of colored people minimizes and eliminates the trauma. How can someone in a room feel welcome and seen when the person in charge of the room feels invisible or unimportant? The people of color need a certain solidarity and energy to participate with all this "love and the light". If you commit yourself to a wellness culture that emphasizes the positive attitude to exclusion of any other reality, the fact that some of us are almost all faced with difficult things is dismissed and we can not always choose to favor them in favor of "love and Light "to ignore.

As a trainer, I often meet clients from different areas and need to be able to have uncomfortable conversations to see things from a different perspective – the perspective of my clients. I can not experience everything that they experience, but I can do my best to understand, empathize, and have space. Above all, I can be open to learning more and accepting feedback without focusing on the conversation. When I see my client as a full-fledged person, I can better understand and understand what he needs from me, the fitness professional who helps him track health and wellness.

There are easy ways to make your gym more inclusive and evaluate the gym. Room and openness to criticism are great approaches.

I trained at a gym where a number of non-black customers used a race arc while patting the lyrics of a song. When I expressed my discomfort to the owner, I was told, "They were just singing to the song. I think you take it too personally. "He ignored my concerns without trying to understand my perspective. While it is almost impossible to control what individual members say, there is the opportunity to experience right situations. A simple solution to this particular situation is to use the edited versions of songs.

On another occasion, I visited a gym with a sign on the wall saying, "We do not see any color" intent was probably well meant, in fact the sign was insulting. By pretending not to recognize colors, it erases the identity of people and the things they experience from their experience. The key is to acknowledge people's differences while treating everyone with dignity and respect. We can create inviting spaces without annihilation. I took the opportunity to discuss it with the gym manager, and we had a wonderful dialogue. He followed me two weeks later to tell me that not only had the sign been removed, but he also held a meeting with all staff to educate them as well.

When fitness professionals are seriously interested in serving all customers, helping them with their wellness, it's imperative that we adopt an industry-wide approach and talk about racism and its impact on our clients. And we must also recognize gender, sexual orientation, status of capabilities and functional diversity and much more, and have a working understanding of how these identities, especially when they overlap, affect the lives of people within and outside of the people affect gym. This takes time to acknowledge and test our own internalized prejudices and beliefs and is likely to cause discomfort – but discomfort is not a bad thing. If you lean on uncomfortable feelings, growth and development will give way.

If you feel unwell, if you feel unwell, imagine how uncomfortable someone is who experiences racism in everyday life.

This is your call to action.

If this is a completely new perspective for you, it can feel a bit overwhelming. I would like to encourage you to first expand your understanding of racism and learn more about intersectionality. If this makes sense to you or seems like you are doing it, but you are wondering where to start. One of my favorite resources for people who have difficulty talking about racism is the book White Fragility . Some organizations that do excellent work to pursue an intersectional approach to fitness are Women's Strength Coalition Fear Her Fight Athletics and Decolonizing Fitness , Expand your social networks and really try to build relationships with people with color and other fitness professionals who are already having these conversations. If your location presents this challenge, social media offers a variety of opportunities to connect with people from different backgrounds around the world. Start somewhere, but start.

Chrissy King is an ISSA-certified personal trainer, strength and nutrition trainer, powerlifter, self-styled fortune-teller, and writer with a passion for intersectional feminism. It empowers women to stop shrinking, take the place, and use their energy to create their specific magic in the world. If she does not serve her clients by empowering them to create stress-free and sustainable lifestyles and feel safe and strengthened in their skin, she spends her time lifting all the weights, reading, traveling, with friends and the To hang family. Follow her on Twitter here on Facebook here and on Instagram here .


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