Health is wealth as they say, so it’s a worthwhile investment. How do you center self-care? Do you like taking high- intensity interval training (HIIT) or boot camp classes where you can work up a sweat with others? Do you prefer workouts that are more dance- based like Zumba or pole dance? How about something with a more chill vibe like yoga or pilates?
In the US, there are countless gyms and fitness classes, especially in major cities. For some Black people and other folks of color, joining just any fitness space isn’t ideal. Elevating self-care alongside others who look like us is important. This preference isn’t strictly race related. For example, some women are only comfortable at women’s gyms or only want a personal trainer who is a woman. It’s crucial to do what works for you and avoid what doesn’t.
Here are five Black-owned companies offering fitness solutions with “The Culture” in mind.
1. Harlem Cycle – New York
Founded by Tammeca Rochester, Harlem Cycle is where culture, fitness and soul intersect.
There are two locations, one on West 125th Street and the other on Adam Clayton Powell.
Harlem Cycle offers a bespoke spin experience unlike the larger chains. Classes are affordable, which is a treat in such an expensive city.
Aside from pure spin classes, try your hand at Bikes and Bands and Striver’s Row, which incorporate resistance bands and hand weights.
The music is mostly geared towards The Culture, from hip-hop to Caribbean beats. Sometimes, the studio hosts retreats and community events, too.
2. The Secret Garden Pole Fitness Boutique – Georgia
This West Atlanta studio offers pole and sensual dancing classes which help you tap into your inner vixen. It was founded by dancers Hennessy and Cherokee.
You don’t have to have pole experience- everybody has to start somewhere! Over time, you’ll build the strength and stamina necessary to climb the pole and do tricks.
The studio also offers private sessions if you want that one-on-one treatment and pole parties.
3. Alvin Ailey Extension – New York
Founded by and named for celebrated choreographer Alvin Ailey, this dance school offers classes for kids and adults.
Whether you’re looking into professional training with the goal of being a teacher, or just want to try something fun, the Ailey Extension offers plenty.
The only “problem” you’ll have is choosing which class to take. Mambo? Hip-Hop? West African?
If you want to watch the pros in action, check out the performance schedule for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
4. Pilates Barre and Jams – California
This studio in Oakland, founded by Teresa Ellis, is both Black and queer-owned.
There is a two-part objective. First, to flip the bird at conventional standards of fitness and beauty. Second, to de-colonize pilates by increasing accessibility.
Ellis was inspired to start her business because she knows what it’s like to be the only Black person or the only person with a certain body type in a given space.
Private lessons and virtual classes are available.
5. Vibe Ride – Georgia and Michigan
This high-energy spin studio was co-founded by Courtney Anderson. There are two locations in Georgia and one in Michigan.
If you’ve ever imagined riding a stationary bike in the club, Vibe Ride is the closest thing to that.
There are early morning and after work classes, as well as weekend sessions. Some instructors play the uncensored versions of hip hop, trap and R n B songs, which makes the experience even better.
For some extra spice, try the bootcamp classes as well.