Yes Black Girls Workout Too

When I walk into a gym on any given day of the week I usually don’t see girls that look like me. This consistent lack of black girls in the gym has been obvious to me since I started lifting. Why don’t black guys have the same dilemma? They seem to flood the gym like a never-ending army of ants.

Sometimes I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the weight room. These are the times I just want to stop and scream…

Males are naturally pushed to accept the athletic role within our families. The majority of these men have been working out since at least high school or college. I assume initially for a sport but we can’t deny the external pressure to look good. Mockery is avoided and points gained from the satisfaction of increased physical attention. What else is new?

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So, it’s not a black thing. It’s a black girl thing. I am perplexed. CDC data between the years 2011-2014 showed that 80% of black women in the United States were overweight or obese. In addition, the leading cause of death in the United States for black people is cardiovascular related. With this kind of information available, why is our health put on the back burner?

The media creates a certain image for black girls that is widely accepted and subconsciously internalized. This message suggests those fit and strong are simply not part of the agenda. Psychologically when a message isn’t representative of you it is overlooked.

I will not become a part of this agenda. I am a black girl, and I workout.

I consistently see healthy messages for my sisters of other races and often pretend that I am the intended target. I can’t help but feel extremely thankful for the recent messages I have been exposed to during #Rio2016. Thank you Simone Biles, Simone Manual, Michelle Carter and Brianna Rollins who all took home Olympic gold medals and creating inspiration.

Yes, they are all black girls that workout too.

Every girls has their own personal reason why they can’t workout on a regular basis. Education is the only way to break the racial barriers currently present in the fitness industry. My desire to be strong, healthy and fit leaves me to focus on what I can change rather than what I cannot. It forces me to work to become the change I want to see instead of just talking about it. I desire to become an image of one of the many fit, healthy black girl in a country that fails to represent us well.

I am a black girl, and I will always continue to workout. I will take our lack of representation and make a statement.

On occasion I do see someone that looks like me in the gym. I get excited. She is never my age but much older. I imagine a conversation with her. She is my role model. She is the ultimate #bosswoman. I will have this conversation one day.

Let’s discuss! If you are a black girl, why do you/do not work out? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Copy of Pineapples + Health (7)

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2 comments

  1. Honestly, I enjoyed reading this. It was nice hearing the perspective on fitness from a fellow African American female. I’m currently a senior in high school, the previous year I ran track for a few months. It was eye opening, towards the idea of me improving my health and becoming stronger. With this school year starting, it has been kind of hard to work out a schedule to actually work out. So that’s something i’m currently working on, to stop procrastinating and figure out a personal fitness “plan” that would help me…

    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Tyreeka! You are already ahead of the game because of your athletic background so you can use this to your advantage. Running will always be a very beneficial full body workout so I urge you to stick with it if you love it. You should never feel like you have to stick to workouts you hate. I understand the challenge of sticking to a schedule when you are in school but I would suggest creating a routine that works best with your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be an everyday thing but choose specific days that you know are easiest for you in terms of homework or other obligations. If you have friends that you know have the same fitness goals, you can create a workout group and create your own bootcamps after school. That way you all are holding each other accountable to reach your goals while having fun too! If you prefer to workout alone, I suggest creating a workout playlist to block out distractions. The procrastination probably comes from feeling like you don’t have the time. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do so much! A workout does not need to take an hour long to be effective. Any amount of time that you can give to focus on your health is better than no time at all and you are doing a great job working towards your goals.

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