For The Young Yogis, Cardio Killers And CrossFit Queens: Black Female Fitness Gurus To Follow On Instagram

July 21, 2015  |  
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I find that following fitness gurus on Instagram has greatly motivated me in ways I didn’t think possible. When I’m on the couch and planning to spend my night watching Netflix and eating junk food, I look on Instagram and see one of my faves going hard in the gym. That makes me think to myself: “I think I’ll do a workout video real quick.” Watching other people on their fitness journeys keeps me on track with my own. And while any woman killing it on the health and wellness tip is worth following, I prefer to follow women who look like me: Black and curvy. So in case you’re looking for motivation as you try to shed some pounds and get both physically and mentally fit, these are the Black female fitness gurus you need to follow.

Lana Ector: @lanagem

Lana and her mother Ellen Ector, the brains and beauties behind the “Black Girls Workout Too” DVD, have been motivating people for years. Lana is a certified trainer and nutritionist who believes that every woman should and can have killer abs and glutes. She works her clients to the bone and makes us want to get it right and keep it tight.

Anowah Adjah: @anowaadjah

This mother of twins may be over 200 pounds, but she’s 200+ pounds of pure muscle and power. She trains and motivates many people, including her nearly 120,000 followers, and reminds us all that being fit doesn’t mean you have to be a beanpole.

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#Sweet16forHalloween Health & Fitness Challenge Begin: Sunday, Oct 5 End: Friday, Oct 31 1. No ADDED sugar. -Don't eat any food with added sugar. This includes condiments. -The most obvious way to know if something has added sugar is if it's sweet. But sugar may be hiding where you wouldn't expect it, like in ketchup. Read labels, looking for any word ending is -ose (sucrose, fructose, dextrose). That's sugar. -This includes sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. -Artificial sweeteners are ok, but use them sparingly. This is an honor system. Don't put 10 packets of Splenda in your coffee. -Foods that are naturally sweet, like fruit and sweet potato, are ok. This is about avoiding ADDED sugar. ADVANCED: -No artificial sweeteners -No alcohol (c'mon, it's only four weeks!) 2. SIXTEEN INTENSE WORKOUTS -This is about intensity, not duration. The point is to push yourself and grow. 25 minutes on the elliptical on level 1, watching The Kardashians on TV doesn't count. -Again, this is an honor system. Only you can gauge intensity. But studies have shown most people OVER estimate their level of intensity while exercising. So even if you feel like you're going hard, you can probably go harder. -If you have legitimate physical limitations (recovering from surgery, heavily pregnant, etc), then scale down. The point is to push yourself, but that will vary from person to person. Whatever you decide to do, commit to it BEFORE starting. Challenges are supposed to be challenging. We should all aim to accomplish our goals, even if they're tough. That being said, this is about progress, not perfection. It's not all or nothing. If you fall, get back up. Keep going. The only way to really fail is to quit! We're here to support each other, in the good and the bad. Just make sure to use the hashtag #Sweet16forHalloween

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Mara Schiavocampo: @maracamp

The ABC News journalist may be pregnant now, but for the last few years she’s been on quite the fitness journey, losing 90 pounds after giving birth to her first child. Not only is her IG page filled with peeks at her healthy meals and her workout routines, but it’s also covered with pictures she has taken with today’s A-listers and her beautiful family. I had the chance to interview Schiavocampo late last year about her hard work, and was genuinely inspired to get my life all the way together after reading her book, Thinspired.

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Down 6lbs, now 159lbs. It's taken me 3 weeks to shed 6lbs. I'm actually a little surprised because the changes I've made have been only moderate, very manageable and I'm still eating whatever I want! (Brunchin' on that soul food! 😋) Sharing my changes: 1. Increased my daily water intake, 1gallon (sometimes 1.5) 2. Increased my morning cardio; now doing 20mins Treadmill sprint inclines // 20mins Treadmill incline power walk, incline: 15.0, pace 2.8, no hands and 20mins Stairmaster, Hill program, no hands! 3. High Protein with lots of greens (Baby Spinach and Kale) Complex carbs only, eaten before 5pm 4. Increase sleep, now averaging 7-8hrs 5. Reduced salt intake, using fresh herbs & spices to season food. 6. Changed up my training regiment; All strength training I've REDUCED weight load and INCREASED repetitions PLUS I'm doing more Plyometrics on Leg Day, following my #LegsAndGlutesBlaster program of course. Truthfully my intention wasn't to drop weight but now reading over the changes I've adopted explains my decrease in weight all while maintaining my muscle mass. Feeling good! #Thick

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Lita Lewis: @followthelita

Not only have I interviewed Lewis for the site, but I’ve been to a few of her kick ass boot camps in Brooklyn. The woman behind ThickFit is encouraging women to forgo worrying about being skinny and make it their mission to be strong, healthy and happy. Those thighs are on the wish lists of all the women (and men) who follow her page, which is filled with inspirational words, healthy meal options, and video of her workouts.

Racheal: @yogaracheal

Any aspiring yogis in the house? I just bought a mat, so I’m about to be in there like swimwear. But as I train to learn the basic poses, I’m getting inspired by the page of a popular yogi named Racheal. Interesting enough, it was the moves and contortions of another yogi, Irene Pappas, that motivated Racheal to start practicing yoga. She is now encouraging 80,000 followers with the incredible shots of her poses and her toned physique.

Jessamyn Stanley: @mynameisjessamyn

Another advanced yogi, Jessamyn Stanley, is encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to lift and stretch their bodies to new heights.  Stanely is all about yoga, but she’s also about body positivity and learning to love the skin you’re in.

Elisabeth Akinwale: @eakinwale

For the CrossFit enthusiasts out there (I’m trying to make my way into one of those gyms without paying an arm and a leg), be sure to follow Elisabeth Akinwale. The mom and health and wellness guru is definitely someone to be inspired by. Less than six months after being introduced to CrossFit, Akinwale managed to qualify for the 2011 CrossFit Games, placing 13th overall and gaining a major following. She continues to kill it, winning regional events and qualifying nationally. And in case you couldn’t tell, her body is insane!

Hannah Bronfman: @hannahbronfman

The entrepreneur has been successful in many things, and that includes giving women the tea on health, beauty and fitness. Through her website,, and her Instagram page, Bronfman wants to help women find the right routine for their bodies and educate and empower many. With more than 175,000 followers, Bronfman is clearly doing just that.

Massy Arias: @massy.arias

The Dominican-born trainer is not only looking to help people get fit, but she wants to show people that treating your body right and eating healthy can transform your entire life. And while I’ll probably never be as built as Arias, watching her workout videos keeps me amped up about my fitness goals and getting at least a two pieces of her toned six-pack.

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