We are incredibly thrilled to announce Ilya Parker as a Body Positive Superhero and a featured trainer for Black History Month. If you know anything about body positivity, affirming movement, or diversity in fitness, you're probably already following Ilya's work via @Decolonizing_Fitness. Ilya created Decolonizing Fitness to be a social justice platform that provides affirming fitness services, community education, and apparel in support of body diversity. Ilya is a Black nonbinary trans masculine person, Physical Therapist Assistant and ACE Certified Medical Exercise Specialist with over 13 years of rehabilitative and functional training experience. Read our full interview below.
Pronouns: he / they
Location: Hight Point, NC
Ilya on the Body Positive Fitness Finder: superfithero.com/decolonizingfitness
How long have you been a fitness teacher? What made you get into this line of work?
I've been a Physical Therapist Assistant for 8 years now and a Medical Exercise Coach for 5 years. I decided to get into to rehabilitative care after my grandfather suffered a massive stroke. Watching the PT, OT and Speech Therapist working to help him regain strength and functional mobility really astounded me.
Tell us about your relationship with your body.
As a Black trans masculine person, my relationship with my body has been a difficult one. As I lean more into body liberation and what that means for me I am beginning to appreciate who I am and the ways my body shows up in the world.
What is your favorite activity?
My favorite activity is weightlifting.
What motivates you on bad days?
I remind myself how important the work I do is. The work to help reshape fitness in ways that are affirming and supportive for our most vulnerable populations.
Who is your superhero?
My super shero is my mother. She is one of the most compassionate, authentic, nurturing folks I know. She is deserving of so much love and support and rarely gets any recognition.
What is your superpower?
My super power is the ability to name some of the most complex oppressive structures in ways that carve out space for the most marginalized folks, while educating people who are not aware.
Anything you're promoting right now or want to share with us?
I would encourage people to join my Patreon: patreon.com/DecolonizingFitness
Want to train with Ilya?
Get in touch with him on the Body Positive Fitness Finder.