Wellness

15 Black Fitness and Health Pros in Philly to Follow on Instagram

They're using their social media platforms to inspire, challenge, and empower the Philly fitness and wellness community.


Here are 10 Black health and fitness pros in Philly to follow on Instagram, including fitness instructors Alanna Gardner and Adriana Adelé. / Photograph by Joanna Nowak Photography.

As protests and riots for the Black Lives Matter movement are filling the streets of Philadelphia, one of the simplest ways to support the Black community here is by intentionally investing in it.  To recognize and amplify Philly’s Black wellness leaders, we’ve listed 15 fitness instructors and health pros to follow on Instagram right now. (Consciously curating a social media feed is an admittedly small, but valuable, move.)

Though this isn’t a comprehensive list of every talented Black instructor in the area, the 15 below are using their social media platforms to inspire, challenge, and empower the Philly fitness and wellness community, especially when it’s most needed.

Adriana Adelé

 

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Philly yoga instructor Adriana Adelé constantly inspires followers to align intentions with actions, encouraging all to think critically about how our ‘what’ informs our ‘why’ and ‘how.’ She intentionally makes space for community healing, with offerings like virtual, donation-based “Breathe and Rest” restorative yoga and self-care workshops for Black womxn. Bonus: her dog Almond often makes an appearance on her feed.

Alanna Gardner

 

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Not only is Alanna Gardner a motivating SLT coach, she also serves as a marriage and family therapist, meaning her life is committed to improving your physical, mental, and emotional health. She also uses her platform to support other Black health pros in Philly in order to build a stronger community. For example, Gardner launched Aalign, a community for people to discuss, explore, and learn about what wellness means for them, with Adelé (see above).

Brandi Nicole

 

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Brandi Nicole, founder of Hike and Heal, is a local wellness leader who curates and leads women’s healing circles, especially for the underserved. Focused on self-care and personal growth, her approach to wellness includes recognizing your needs and goals, as well as shifting your perspective, which is why her IG posts are thought-provoking and inspiring. Plus, during the pandemic and antiracism protests, she has hosted several “Hopeful Hours” for community members to engage in tough, but important conversations.

Cohbe Berkeley

 

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Co-founder of Vibes and Vinyasa, Cohbe Berkeley is the yoga inspo you need in your life right now. Throughout quarantine, Berkeley has been posting yoga challenges, including deep forward folds and headstands, so you can play with your practice. Recently, she shared a list of black-owned wellness businesses in Philly, which she curated from her followers.

Gerald Munson

 

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If you’re looking for fitness and general life motivation, check out Unite Fitness coach Gerald Munson. Both his Instagram and his workout classes will make you feel like you can conquer the world — and inspire you to work to lift up your neighbors along the way.

Atiya Sinae

 

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Philly yoga and meditation teacher Atiya Sinae, who teaches at Teranga Yoga, has been speaking out on her IG stories, teaching classes on Zoom, and reposting others with affirming messages. Her meditation classes are a welcome respite, and her yoga-filled feed is consistently inspirational.

Joanna Da Sylva

 

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You can follow her yoga studio, Teranga Yoga, or her personal IG, and expect her speaking out to the Philly community at large about injustice, promoting her talented teachers (many of whom are Black womxn and womxn of color), and providing information to access their live-streaming classes from her studio. You can also expect happy, jam-filled World Beats and Hip Hop yoga classes to get your body moving and fill you with joy.

Brianna Williamson

 

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Solidcore coach Brianna Williamson has been working to spread positive fitness and wellness messaging to the Philly community at large. Lately she’s been posting activist messaging about the trauma going on in our city and country, helping to distribute food and supplies to Philly community members in need, as well as sharing stunning workout photos coupled with inspirational messages and thoughts.

Kiera Smalls

 

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Kiera Smalls, co-founder of City Fit Girls, started sharing her meditations publicly once the coronavirus pandemic hit. Since then, her Instagram has become full of weekly themed zen sessions, like affirmation, forgiveness, and processing trauma, particularly for Black people. Moreover, she’s been doing this work for almost a decade and has become a fixture on the Philly fitness scene — she and co-founder Takia McClendon’s weekly newsletter, sent to four thousand women, has addressed injustices and offered readers guidance and encouragement for years. Plus, her feed features some delicious-looking smoothies to ramp up your nutrition game.

Takia McClendon

 

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Takia McClendon is the co-founder, with Kiera Smalls, of the aforementioned City Fit Girls, which has been making fitness and wellness accessible regardless of race, pace, body size, and assigned gender at birth since 2012 — including through FitRetreat, Strength Club, and Run Club programming. A former store manager at Philadelphia Runner, for years McClendon has used her platform to raise awareness and funds for underserved Philly neighborhoods, to challenge the running community’s lack of support for people of color, and to positively influence and educate local leadership. (You can see some of that correspondence in her Medium article here: A Brief [and Incomplete] History of African Americans.) In addition, her lovely and inspiring workout photos around the city can’t help but make you want to get out and move.

Lauren Leavell

 

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As a personal trainer and small group fitness pro, we see Lauren Leavell approaching fitness similarly to community and life itself: with honesty, transparency, empathy, and a bit of tough love when needed. Her barre and HIIT sessions will make your muscles shake, and her IG posts will make you laugh, reflect, and want to help create a more inclusive world. She’s lately been co-hosting “Black Womxn Wellness” events and hangouts to provide safe, inclusive places for the Philly community.

Mike Watkins

 

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Mike Watkins offers personal training and group fitness sessions, particularly for people of color and LGBTQ+ people. His workouts — like his outlook on life — center on inclusivity and body positivity. He is also open about his journey navigating bigotry and injustice in the athletic training world, and reminds everyone to #StayFestive.

Shanina Dionna

 

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West Philly youth arts teacher and creator of Embryo exhibition series, Shanina Dionna centers her art on reducing the stigma of mental health. Her IG posts and stories feature beautiful paintings (of course!), but also real talk about navigating mental health as a Black woman and how to support community members who are most vulnerable.

Triyo Fitness

 

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Do we need to say more? Triyo Fitness — everyone’s favorite identical triplets — consists of brothers Malik, Ahmad, and Khalil Jones. The three UPenn grads have been leading virtual workouts on the Triyo IG, but you can also expect some pretty killer dance moves.

Gregory Coachman

 

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This boxing coach and Unite Fitness instructor has always been an inspiration workout-wise, and lately he’s been hosting sessions on “Unpacking Racism” and linking out to informational anti-racist content in his Instagram stories.

This story was updated on Thursday, June, 4, 2020 at 9:12 A.M. 

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