In the workout world, as elsewhere, standards of whiteness often dictate whose bodies become the definition of fitness and health on social media. But plenty of BIPOC fitness instructors and influencers to follow on Instagram have been producing excellent workout content for years.
"Engaging in the fitness world can be exhausting as a minoritized person," says Kim Walker, a spin instructor at Cycle Bar, an indoor cycling studio franchise. "The majority of what I see is the stereotypical spinning population: white, middle-aged, skinny women. That does not make most people feel comfortable, represented, and like they belong." Finding and following BIPOC influencers and trainers on Instagram can be one way to challenge and change that dominant image, both in your own feed and in the fitness industry overall.
When you're learning more about BIPOC fitness instructors on Instagram, look for people who are a good match for your fitness goals. "Right now, it feels like the trendy thing to do, the honorable thing to do — the easy, low-hanging fruit to show that you, too, think that Black lives matter — is to make a list," says professional pole dancing instructor Roz the Diva on her Instagram. One of the dangers here is tokenizing Black influencers and other trainers of color by following them without actually knowing people's work.
So if it's your first time realizing that all the fitness influencers you follow are white, now is as good a time as any to decolonize your feed. These 24 fitness instructors and influencers are excellent at the anti-racist work they do, both in and out of the gym. Whether you're looking for expert yogis or powerful CrossFitters to learn from, you're sure to find some here.
1. Traci Copeland
One of my go-to trainers on the Nike Training App, Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland's Instagram is full of healing and relatable fitness content, reminding you that you can find your center and balance through community even during physical distancing and protests.
2. Faith Hunter
If a key component of your health right now is meditation, you're not the only one. Faith Hunter is a yoga instructor whose Instagram is full of livestreamed community meditations, peppered with occasional but joyous dances and silly TikToks.
3. Christina Kauffmann
You won't just get amazing yoga flows from Christina Kauffmann — this trauma-sensitive instructor also hosted donation-based yoga sessions for Black Lives Matter, with an emphasis on building community and offering donations to the Black Mental Health Alliance, the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective, and Teaching Tolerance.
4. Ilya Parker
Because I'm a transmasculine personal trainer, Ilya Parker's Decolonizing Fitness is often my first stop for information and insight on inclusive fitness practices. Especially if you live with chronic pain, you're a trans human, or you're interested in unsettling white supremacy in the fitness industry (or all of the above), Parker's Insta is the place for you.
5. Coach Cass Fit
Whether you're looking to get your dance on or be reminded that Black women's joy is itself revolutionary, Coach Cass Fit can offer a beautiful refuge from the world at large. Leading her group dance videos everywhere from her patio to her leafy backyard, Cassandra reminds you that anywhere you can create space to move with friends, you can make space to laugh.
6. Tanya B.
If you're a yogi at any stage of your practice, balance is probably something you're working on. Tanya B. is a certified yoga instructor whose Insta is a guidance-filled reminder that you're never done learning. She documents her journey to improve balance through her practice, and if you need modifications to yoga poses to suit your body type, this page is an excellent resource.
7. Sun Seeker Yogi
Double tap your way to Erica's Sun Seeker Yogi page for the latest information about #BlackYogaWeek, which will take place from June 14 to June 20. For $30, the proceeds from your participation in learning from a different Black yogi each day will go to The Loveland Foundation's therapy fund, which focuses on the mental health of Black women and girls.
8. Core Love Culture
Nicole Alvarez's Philadelphia-based Pilates studio Core Love Culture doesn't just focus on developing the muscles of your core. Her philosophy of exercise focuses on your core as the center of who you are as a person, so when you tune into her virtual classes, you'll be taking extra special care of both your body and your mind.
9. Exercise With Eleanor
I don't know about your soul, but mine definitely needs more videos of Black women lifters bench pressing 135 pounds with ease. That's exactly the content you'll find on Exercise With Eleanor's Instagram, peppered with delightful photos of her posing with bananas and pumpkins (with the occasional ride in a grocery shopping cart, because playful joy is necessary for fitness).
10. Brie Ogletree
For those moments when you need to learn how to perform a flawless Turkish get-up and remind yourself that it is alright to cry, Brie Ogletree's page has it all. Not sure how to work out at home during the pandemic? Learn all the creative at-home exercises you'll need by scrolling through this coach's Insta.
11. Sayeeda Chowdhury
12. Kelsey Ellis
It's all well and good to get inspired by Instagram workouts, but fitness coach Kelsey Ellis keeps it real on her page. She is still adjusting to becoming a virtual trainer in the midst of the pandemic, but in the meantime, she's loading her Instagram with important reminders to take care of your authentic self and find joy in whatever movements you have access to.
13. Cydnie Chanel
Personal trainer Cydnie Chanel makes sure that even as you're getting in your lower body workouts, you're also educating yourself and others on the systemic violence against Black people across the country. She's an online trainer and is re-opening her in-person practice in Ottawa, but even if you're not in Canada, you can learn from her innovative at-home and outdoor routines.
14. Jessamyn Stanley
Author, advocate, and yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley's Instagram has offered living room fitness house parties (hosted by BET), reflections on polyamory, and what it means to be in an interracial relationship. If you're seeking wellness inspiration beyond workouts themselves, the diversity of Stanley's offerings might be just what you're looking for.
15. Betina Gozo
16. Shawn Stinson
As a trans powerlifter myself, champion trans bodybuilder Shawn Stinson has been on my radar for a while now. His page offers everything from exercise guides to virtual personal training, and the occasional meme keeps all the heavy lifting pretty light.
17. Rodrick Covington
Personal trainer and Broadway actor Rodrick Covington founded Core Rhythm Fitness as a way to help others focus on their minds and spirits through their workouts. By infusing Black queer joy into his physical practice, his emphasis on loving Black bodies is foundational to his training practice and his Instagram page.
18. Breanna Diaz
19. Jeanette Jenkins
Health coach Jeanette Jenkins gives her followers low-impact but high-energy workout options, all while reminding people to take mental and physical health breaks whenever they need to. If you like your fitness lessons peppered with positive energy and reminders to vote, this might be your new favorite page.
20. Elisabeth Akinwale
21. Lita Lewis
Lita Lewis is a health coach that emphasizes play in her workouts. Especially during the pandemic, mixing playfulness into your exercise routine is essential, and Lewis provides exactly that with each post.
22. Latoya Shauntay Snell
Live in a big city and don't know how to get your exercise in?Athlete and chef Latoya Shauntay Snell shows you just how possible it is to work out in small indoor spaces and public parks. Need assurances that it's more than OK to feel burnt out by the pandemic and racist killings? This page also brings mental health honesty, workouts, and culinary delight.
23. Marcia Darbouze
Marcia Darbouze, a partner in the fitness platform and podcast Disabled Girls Who Lift, is a must-follow for any lifter or fitness enthusiast looking to up their game. From headstands to powerful deadlifts and relaxing in tires, Darbouze's feed never ceases to come through for all your exercise needs.