Gympass stands against systemic racism and inequality and vows to work harder in the effort to create a more inclusive world. As a company dedicated to making fitness and wellness accessible for all, we believe it is our duty to elevate Black voices in the fitness and wellness space.
We’re putting together a running list of Black-owned and founded gyms, studios, and fitness and wellness companies across the country so you can learn more about the Black leaders behind them and the many ways you can support them.
This list will be updated as we continue to connect with gyms, studios, and fitness and wellness companies both in and outside of our network and learn about the best ways to support them during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Harlem Cycle (New York, New York)
Photo courtesy of Harlem Cycle
Tammeca Rochester opened Harlem Cyclein 2016 with a focus on indoor cycling and strength-based workouts. The studio is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the team is offering both on-demand and live-streamed mat-based workouts. This month, you can also look out for Harlem Cycle TV, which will offer subscribers new workouts, recipes, and motivation monthly.
Harlem Cycle has also pivoted to highlight more wellness options. Tammeca has partnered with influencers, experts, and restaurants in New York’s Harlem neighborhood to offer resources and classes such as yoga sessions and cooking demos on the Harlem Cycle Instagram account.
“We are continuing to work with businesses and partners to make sure we continue to serve the needs of clients,” she told Gympass. “COVID-19 has really made us pivot our studio from just a community-based cycling studio to a full wellness center.”
Train The Brain Fit Club (San Ramon, California)
Photo courtesy of Train the Brain Fit Club
Train the Brain Fit Cluboffers group classes and personal training from fitness experts in-person and online. Parrish Norfleet, the owner and founder of Train the Brain, and the rest of the team firmly believe that “a one-size-fits-all approach” isn’t effective, which means you’ll get resources and advice tailored to your goals. By focusing on the individual, Train the Brain ensures success no matter your age, background, fitness level, or history of injury.
As its name suggests, Train the Brain puts a huge focus on not only physical fitness, but wellness and mindset as well. The company prides itself on highlighting the importance of focus and motivation as part of your workout. It operates under the phrase, “Mindset is the most important set,” which means finding success in not just the number of exercise reps or sets you complete, but in your mindset as well.
Online offerings include personal training and group classes with focuses on strength and conditioning, boxing, athletic training, and more. Learn more on the Train the Brain Fit Club site.
Fit4Dance (Brooklyn, New York)
Photo by Adam Wamsley
Laci Chisholm grew up dancing and had always dreamed of running her own dance studio. That dream came true when she opened Fit4Dancein Brooklyn. Laci’s studio does more than provide affordable, high-quality dance instruction and fitness classes. She uses her love for dance and fitness to encourage women and children to take control of their health through creative outlets like dance (men are welcome to take classes too, but Laci specializes in uplifting women through her work). Laci is especially passionate about Black women’s health initiatives and provides resources focused on fitness, wellness, and fun ways to stay active. Her studio also serves as a community gathering space and a “safe haven” where children can be active and freely express themselves.
The COVID-19 outbreak prompted Fit4Dance to offer classes online (Gympass members can book through the Live Classes tab). Even while her community spends time apart, she’s connecting them through classes like Mindful Stretch, Boxing Booty Bootcamp, Zumba, Haitian Dance, and more. Learn more about the classes on the Fit4Dance Instagram account.
Daybreak Yoga (Bedford, Ohio)
Photo by Nick Brilla
Opened in 2018, Daybreak Yoga offers a variety of yoga classes and workshops. Dawn M. Rivers, the owner, launched her business as not only a yoga studio, but a safe space for all. Outside of her usual classes, Dawn will be busy this summer running a mentorship program in which she’ll offer her advice as a business owner and use the principles of yoga to help members of the community get their ideas off the ground.
Dawn also offers yoga teacher training at her studio and blogs on the Daybreak Yoga site about her journey as a Black yogi, how yoga came into her life, and what it’s like being a full-time studio owner after being a librarian for 20 years. While Dawn hopes to reopen her studio in July, she’s currently offering an on-demand library of yoga sessions as well as live-streamed classes (Gympass members can book through the Live Classes tab). Learn more on the Daybreak Yoga site.
JamBox Fitness Lounge (Locations throughout North Texas)
Photo courtesy of JamBox Fitness Lounge
JamBox Fitness Loungeis a boutique group fitness studio with three locations throughout North Texas. Owner Dominique Jones opened JamBox about five years ago with the desire to open a fitness space for women that didn’t look or feel like a typical gym. Her background in party planning inspired her studio vision. During class, you’ll be surrounded by custom lights, video screens, chandeliers, and more as you dance, sculpt, and tone.
When asked what people can expect from a class at JamBox Fitness, Dominique said they’ll likely leave the class saying, “That was fun!”
“Not the normal expression after an intense workout,” she said. “At JamBox, we don’t work out, we jam out!”
JamBox Fitness Lounge is open at all three locations and is also offering live-streamed classes (Gympass members can book classes through our app). Learn more on the JamBox Fitness Loungesite.
JTW FIT (New York, New York)
Flyer courtesy of JTW FIT
Boutique fitness studio JTW FIT offers a variety of fitness options including barbell strength training, HIIT, boxing, Olympic weight lifting, and more. With so many options, owners Jahkeen Washington, a certified personal trainer, and Thomas Boatswain, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, ensure you’ll never get bored.
You can expect the same variety from the gym’s virtual classes due to COVID-19. They have an online program featuring 21 classes per week, running Monday through Sunday (Gympass members can book through the Live Classes tab).
“The options are versatile in that you can train with kettlebells, take a bootcamp, or focus on recovery with yoga or mobility sessions,” they told Gympass.
Both in-studio and online, JTW Fit aims to be affordable, inclusive, and encouraging of all fitness levels. Learn more on their site.
WRKNYC (New York, New York)
Photo by Mo Daoud
WRKNYC specializes in small group training and personal training with a program focused on cardio, resistance training, and mobility. The gym is also dedicated to providing quality fitness resources to its community and people of all ages. Since first opening, WRKNYC has expanded its programs to include a running club, kids’ interval training, and after-school programs.
“Being a black business owner in the fitness industry in NYC, it was more important to me to make sure that we put a stamp on providing a quality service through the form of challenging workouts and kid developmental programs. Then to put a stamp on my race. So my approach was how can I best represent my race and set an example for the culture. Being in this industry, it has broken down cultural barriers, which has been a blessing and a true gift within itself,” said WRKNYC founder Will Jackson.
After WRKNYC closed due to COVID-19, the gym began offering free live-streamed “WRKouts” via Instagram Liveand Zoom as a way to give back to the community and to “provide a level of normalcy.” You can check out more of the gym’s virtual workout options for purchase as well as donate in the WRKNYC app. Learn more on their site.
NC Dance District (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Flyer courtesy of NC Dance District
NC Dance Districtin Charlotte, North Carolina, offers daily classes, private individual and group lessons, and dance training for beginners, professional dancers, and everyone in between. Ana Ogbueze is the founder and CEO with a resume that includes professional choreographer, former NBA dancer, and entrepreneur. Kellye Hall is COO and owner of the Charlotte location as well as a board-certified emergency physician, HBCU marching band legend, and dancer. Ana and Kellye work together to guarantee each class is full of energy and personality and remains a welcoming space for dancers of all levels. Every class stands out as it’s customized to each choreographer’s dance training and personalized style.
“It’s never a dull moment at NC Dance District and the entertaining environment is the reason people continuously return,” they told Gympass.
NC Dance District does more than offer dance classes and training. Its studio dancers have the opportunity to participate in a seasonal performance called Project: FULL OUT, an 8-week training program that ends with a hip-hop theater show. The studio provides professional dancers for gigs and performances across the state, and its two studio rooms can be rented for private rehearsal space and for special events.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, NC Dance District is offering free outdoor classes on Saturdays throughout the month of June to allow people to socially distance while getting some fresh air and some dance classes in. (The NC Dance District team is waiting to release the July schedule until they receive more guidance from local officials.) Learn more on their Instagram page.
Chronic Fitness (An online-based program)
Photo courtesy of Chronic Fitness LLC
Chronic Fitnessis an online-based program with a mission to help people with chronic-related health challenges such as diabetes and hypertension. Yolanda Brunson-Sarrabo, a certified personal trainer and health advocate, started the program after seeing many people push health and wellness aside during their busy work days.
“As a former fashion professional working hard within the stressed-filled industry, I saw firsthand how people worked … in a tense-filled environment with little to no room for wellness and exercise,” she told Gympass.
It was after she was diagnosed with “some very scary health concerns” of her own that she started exploring how to incorporate mindful fitness into her everyday life and how to teach others to do the same. She’s helped many clients reach their goals while they’re on medications or facing other restrictions. As a client, you can expect workout plans, nutrition guidance, fun challenges to keep you motivated, and more.
Since the program is online-based, Yolanda didn’t have to pivot her offerings too much due to the pandemic. Chronic Fitness did make its 1-on-1 fitness options available online, making sure everyone can get the attention and support they need. Learn more on the Chronic Fitness site.
Sworkit (A fitness app)
Photo courtesy of Sworkit
If you’re a fan of the ABC show “Shark Tank,” which features entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas, you might be familiar with our next fitness company. Sworkit is a fitness app that gives you the freedom to work out on your own time with workout plans based on your goals and lifestyle, easy-to-understand video demonstrations of exercises, guidance from certified trainers, and more. In 2016, “Shark Tank” viewers watched Greg Coleman (right), Sworkit CEO and co-founder, and Ben Young (center), Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder, explain what made Sworkit stand out in the world of fitness. Four years later, Greg and Ben, along with their fellow co-founder and VP of Product Ryan Hanna (left), have delivered millions of workouts to people of all fitness levels.
The Sworkit team is also passionate about keeping kids healthy and active. The Sworkit Youth Initiativeis focused on building fitness technology and programs for kids and teaming up with schools and youth organizations to offer fitness and wellness resources and education at no cost.
In response to the pandemic, Sworkit, which is a Gympass Wellness partner, introduced a Sworkit Live player that allows trainers and influencers to lead a workout remotely. Trainers can switch between showing the usual format of the workout and demonstrating the exercises themselves to help people with their form and help them avoid injuries. Learn more on the Sworkit site.
Stay tuned for more!
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