(Update: added video, comments from organizers)
Raising funds for the workout party scheduled for Saturday at BoxiT Fitness
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The gym can be intimidating for everyone, and even more so if you’re the only person in the room who looks like you.
A study of Forbes shows that there are significant representation gaps in the fitness industry. Even if someone feels welcome, it costs thousands of dollars to become a fitness instructor through certifications and courses.
Angelica Lee is a Bend fitness instructor who noticed a lack of representation and diversity in the fitness industry.
“I felt like a minority. It was very difficult for me to share my feelings and experiences,” she told NewsChannel 21 on Friday.
Lee’s experiences inspired her to start the nonprofit Fitness Professionals of Color – PNW. He serves the BIPOC fitness community by helping those with higher barriers access training and resources to become fitness professionals.
“I wanted to not only encourage myself, but also encourage other people like me who share the same experiences and to be able to share our stories together,” Lee said.
BOXiT Fitness in Bend supports this mission. Through a 75-minute workout night called “SWEATFEST,” the studio hopes to do more than sweat. This is to raise funds for the nonprofit to provide scholarships to aspiring fitness professionals BIPOC.
“As a studio, we recognize that diversity is something that we really, really want to incorporate into our instructors, as well as our incoming customers,” said Libby Wilson, Fitness Instructor at BOXiT. “We want everyone to feel comfortable and safe, and it was a great way for us to learn from our side of things as well.”
The ‘SWEATFEST’ takes place on Saturday morning and places are already full. However, BOXiT plans to hold future events to support the cause.
“Having the community show up to make it thrive really means a lot,” Lee said.