This topic crosses my mind every year.
I have the privilege of knowing so many smart, skilled and beautiful black women in fitness. To me, they represent the wonderful diversity of Toronto fitness and in Toronto fitness. It is this heterogeneity that I wish was seen broadly in lifestyle pieces and fitness promotions. I’m confident that with greater representation of different skin tones, body types, ages and interests, more females would see themselves and the possibilities for themselves.
FACES OF FITNESS: Black History Edition is all about taking the limits off ourselves and off one another.
These 10 women of colour, all from Toronto and surrounding areas, represent everything I love about fitness. They are women of great integrity and even more heart. As you check out their profiles below, don’t be shy. Reach out to them on social media with questions or comments. If you’re in the neighbourhood, check out their classes and training. And I would absolutely love for you to share this post with anyone you think could benefit from some new inspiration. Enjoy!
Owner/ Studio Director, Moksha Yoga Pickering
Ethnic Background: Jamaican // Discipline: Yoga
Q: What are three words that best describe how yoga makes you feel?
A: Free, strong, joy.
Photo: A Million Minds
Owner of Body By You, Mother of 2
Age: 40 // Ethnic Background: Trinidadian & German
Disciplines: Personal Training, Choreography, Zumba
Q: What are three words that describe how Zumba makes you feel?
A: Alive and unencumbered
Photo: Rick Oliver
Personal Trainer, R. Kin, Totum Life Science
Age: 38 // Ethnic Background: Ghanaian & Hong Kong Chinese
Disciplines: Personal Training, Recreational Snowboarding
Q: What are three words that describe how snowboarding makes you feel?
A: Free, invigorated, revitalized
Simply Shakera Artistic Director, Movement Coach and Performer
Age: 29 // Ethnic Background: Jamaican Canadian
Disciplines: Dance & Movement
Q: Why dance?
A: “Dance gives plenty of room for self-expression and is powerful in helping the body and mind thrive”.
Photo: Sid Naidu
Contemporary Dancer, Performer and Instructor
Age: 46 // Ethnic Background: North African & Polish
Disciplines: Dance & Pilates
Q: What are three words that describe how dance and movement makes you feel A: Enriched, enlightened, empowered.
Photo: Jeremy Mimnagh
Spin Instructor, Mom of 1
Age: 43 // Ethnic Background: Canadian Jamaican
Disciplines: Spinning // 9-5: Executive Search Director
Q: Why spinning?
A: “I was told once how hard spin was and I’d have to “work my way up to it” so I thought okay well now I HAVE to try it. I’m not going to lie the first few times were absolutely draining but fun…but then I took a class with Rory Pederzolli, one of the founders of Rocket Cycle and it was next level, completely changed my life. I LOVE to dance, and have a huge love for house music. My twenties were literally spent on the dance floor, but once I found I could get my groove on a spin bike I was sold! My love for spin and dance all in one sweet package. I love how you can get absolutely lost in a spin class. For me, best feeling ever”.
Photo: Kailee Mandel
Age: 41 // Ethnic Background: Guyanese
Disciplines: Kettlebells // 9-5: Ride for Sight Event Coordinator
Q: Why kettlebells?
A: “I started doing kettlebells in 2007. I was bored with what I was doing at the gym and not the kind of person to join a class. But, I really liked kettlebells. A couple years later I met Tony Wallace. He is like the Toronto Kettlebelll King. I learned so much from him and noticed such a difference in myself because of his classes. He is the one who encouraged me to become a kettlebell instructor. I love working with kettlebells and I am happy to see that more and more, they have become part of so many people’s gym routine. With kettlebells you can start small and still get a great workout then push yourself with heavier weights and more complex movements. You can be really dynamic with them or really simple.”
IFBB PRO, Co-Founder Empowered in My Skin
Age: 44 // Ethnic Background: Nigerian
Disciplines: Bodybuilding (physique category) // 9-5: AVP Technology, TD Bank
Q: Why bodybuilding?
A: “Simple really… to be really good, it requires high-level of hard-work, determination and discipline. In addition it keeps me healthy and strong. All of which transferable skills that I can use in other areas of my life to drive success.”
Photo: Rob Holden
Co-Owner of Wholistic Bodybuilding & Wellness, Mom of 4
Age: 39 // Ethnic Background: Canadian Trinidadian
Disciplines: Fitness Modelling
Q: Why fitness modelling?
A: “I wanted to showcase all of my hard work that I put into my physique after having my three kids. I always heard of moms saying they had no time for working out, or stating they ‘could never have a body like that’ because they had kids. When I looked into competing I wanted a category that allowed me to be sporty and also feminine. Fitness modelling gave me a platform to showcase my physique but also show who I really am through the use of costumes and props. I also wanted a category that allowed me to showcase myself in an appropriate way my kids could be proud of.”
Photo: Chris V Linton
DEBBIE KING (ME)
Creator & Author, SUPAFITMAMA TORONTO , Mom of 1
Age: 41 // Ethnic Background: Canadian Jamaican
Discipline: Masters Track & Field // 9-5: Member Services Director, Totum Life Science
Q: What are three words that describe how lifting and sprinting make me feel?
A: Powerful, confident and authentic.
Photo: Chris Pieneman