7 Black Body Trainers Capitalizing On The $17 Billion Fitness Market

November 22, 2010  |  

As the obesity rate continues to rise in this country, the market for health and fitness has evolved into an industry estimated to be worth $17.6 billion. African American adults have the highest obesity rates at 37 percent among men and nearly 50 percent among women. With alarming rates such as these, more Black fitness stars are devising innovative ways for people to get off the couch and burn calories while having fun. Here are seven of the best bodies and business models among African American fitness gurus:

Billy Blanks


While working out in his basement in 1976, martial artist Billy Blanks accidentally developed what would later become known to the world as Tae Bo, an aerobic routine that incorporates martial arts, boxing and dance. After opening the Billy Blanks World Training Center in Sherman Oaks in 1989, word traveled about the infectious workout, bringing in celebrity clients such as Paula Abdul. Blanks introduced the first Tae Bo workout video in 1998 and within a year, had sold 1.5 million video sets. Although competition has tempered the popularity of the Tae Bo DVDs now-a-days, it remains one of the top selling workout regiments. Banks now lives in Japan where in 2007, he reportedly sold more than $130 million worth of merchandise, including more than a million copies of his ‘Billy’s BootCamp’ series.

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