Fitness spaces have been heavily dominated by men for years, which is likely why, for many women, gyms can often feel like hostile environments where their specific fitness needs are not being met. In June 2019, fitness equipment company, FitRated, found that 71% of women are harassed at the gym on a daily basis. The company also found that nearly 76% of women felt like they were being watched by men while exercising. In response to this, many women have created their own fitness brands and spaces where they and other women can feel confident while caring for their bodies.
Here is a list of powerful Black women who own and operate inclusive wellness groups in Washington, DC. From boxing to pole dancing, these Black women run fitness brands are creating community while fostering healthy living.
Sidebarre was started by ballet expert, Jillian Carter in Washington, DC in 2018, as a space where Black women bodies become their sexiest outfit. Sidebarre is a high intensity, low impact full body workout designed to sculpt and tone the body. All of the instructors at Sidebarre are trained in ballet, but extensive dance knowledge is not required to take their classes. Every Saturday, Sidebarre hosts a class and donates 100% of the proceeds to a local DC organization that works to provide resources to disadvantaged DC residents. You can connect with Sidebarre by visiting sidebarredc.com.
2. BOOMBOX Boxing Club
BOOMBOX Boxing Club offers boxing-inspired group fitness classes featuring high-intensity training and exhilarating playlists. Angela Jennings and her partner Reggie Smith founded the boutique fitness studio to celebrate their shared love of boxing, music and community. BOOMBOX Boxing Club’s mission is to make the health benefits of boxing-inspired training accessible to all fitness levels and backgrounds. You can connect with BOOMBOX Boxing Club by visiting boombox-boxing.com.
3. Pole Pressure
Pole Pressure was founded in DC, in 2009. Devon Williams, the CEO of Pole Pressure, is an award-winning pole dancer and instructor who fell in love with pole dancing after experiencing the confidence boost it gave to her and other women. Pole Pressure is a dance and fitness studio specializing in pole, aerial, flexibility and grounded movement classes. Their training program embraces gender and size diversity, and it caters to a wide variety of clients from beginners to experienced athletes. You can connect with Pole Pressure by visiting polepressure.com.
4. Embrace Yoga DC
Faith Hunter is a yogi in Washington D.C.. who teaches yoga, breath work, meditation and other wellbeing practices. Hunter is also the owner of Embrace Yoga DC, where you can go to be trained in full body yoga. Hunter’s goal as a healer and fitness instructor is to help more Black women embrace the beauty of self-care. You can connect with Faith Hunter by visiting faithhunter.com.
5. Her Flex Fitness
Samaiyah Williams is a personal trainer and the owner of Her Flex Fitness. Founded during the Covid-19 pandemic, Her Flex Fitness is a Black-owned fitness space geared toward women. They offer group, private and semi-private virtual training sessions.
6. GirlTrek DC
GirlTrek DC is a nonprofit organization that inspires Black women and girls to live healthier lifestyles by introducing walking as a practical first step. GirlTrek is led by passionate Black women who organize walking groups in cities nationwide to mobilize community members in support of monthly advocacy efforts. You can connect with GirlTrek DC by visiting girltrek.org.