Detoxing from Mainstream Fitness Culture with Ilya Parker
CW: Discussion of dieting behaviors and violence against Black and trans folx.
The fitness status quo is toxic for all who encounter it, and it has especially poisonous effects on the most marginalized. Fitness as we know it is inextricably linked to white, Eurocentric standards of beauty, a diet and wellness culture that is inaccessible to many, and other systems of oppression.
Ilya Parker, the founder of Decolonizing Fitness, calls out the problematic nature of mainstream fitness and lays out the ways in which we can replace it with a new paradigm that is social justice-oriented. If you want to divest yourself from a fitness culture that is harmful, this episode will help you get started.
Discussed in this episode:
- How Ilya identifies and what led to the creation of his company, Decolonizing Fitness.
- How Ilya defines what it means to “decolonize” fitness.
- The tentacles of the toxic fitness industry octopus and how they permeate all fitness spaces.
- How privilege shields us from the toxicity and discrimination present in different environments.
- Ways in which fitness consumers can detox from our harmful mainstream fitness culture.
- Alternatives to paying for a trainer who makes you feel like crap or like something is wrong with you.
- The need for trainers to provide anti-oppressive, accessible, and trauma-sensitive services.
- Trainers who give problematic advice outside of their scope of practice.
- How clients are the experts on their own bodies.
- The aspects of education that trainers receive that feed into a narrow view of fitness.
- Why politics and social justice do belong in conversations about health and wellness.
- How elitism in fitness can impede social justice.
- Understanding your ancestry and generational wealth, especially if you’re white.
- How Ilya defines health and wellness for himself at this moment in his life.
Mentioned in this Episode:
- What Decolonizing Fitness means in Ilya’s own words
- Fearing the Black Body by Sabrina Strings
- Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
- Superfit Hero’s Body Positive Fitness Finder
- LGBTQ+ “Panic” Defense
- Ahmaud Arbery
- Making Therapy More Inclusive with Melody Li | #38
This Episode is Part of the Health and Wellness Changemakers Series
Sponsored by Superfit Hero
If you enjoyed the Superfit Hero Wellness Tip of the Week with Jenna Jozefowski (aka It's Jenna J) in Chicago, Illinois, check out the dozens of amazing coaches and trainers on Superfit Hero’s Body Positive Fitness Finder.
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Ilya Parker is a black transmasculine personal trainer with a background in Physical Therapy and Medical Exercise. Ilya is also a grassroots organizer, writer, educator, and the owner of Decolonizing Fitness. You can find Ilya on his Instagram, website, and Patreon.
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