I follow trends on social media. If you only go by what you see on the net you MIGHT get discouraged. When I look at health and fitness related ads, magazines and social media posts I don’t see a lot of people who look like me as a woman of color. Furthermore, when I work out, not everyone has the same goals as I do. In this world of “flat abs” and “squat booties” or even being “thin,” I don’t fit the part as a black woman.
I’m thick, curvy but chunky and healthy! WHAAAT? How can I be healthy and I don’t look the part? Partially, it’s because I am very active and it is literally in my DNA. I get a clean bill of health every time I get a physical but, more importantly, I think that because of my cultural background I don’t trip off of my lady lumps. At the end of the day outside appearances do not necessarily mean healthy or unhealthy. What is acceptable and desirable in some cultures may starkly differ from what marketing is funneling to the masses.
As a Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor I get to focus on my clients one-on-one so I have specific information about their health concerns and goals. As a Certified Group Fitness Instructor, it is a bit more difficult because anyone could drop in to one of my classes. I am overall mindful about how to motivate students of all populations yet I know nothing about their health considerations. Serious health considerations like Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity are important and need to be addressed as a fitness professional; however, in a group fitness setting it may be harder to disseminate information to your class. A way to generally impart information as a about how what you are doing in class and their continued participation in fitness related activities may address these concerns. Instructors can also relate to their students how exercise and fitness can help with activities of daily living like sitting, standing, reaching, mobility and balance. Weight loss, stress relief and a sense of community are some of the many benefits of participating in fitness-related activities.
The key is to stay motivated for YOU despite these images. Mentally and physically we have to keep moving. Find ways to move and motivate you that will get you closer to your health goals. Do searches for health and fitness pages and accounts spark a positive flame in you to look and WERK your best!