In our new monthly profile series, Fitbit seeks to expand the world of wellness and fitness by featuring the voices of POC Trail-Blazers led by these industries – industries that have long despised voices like theirs.
For our May profile, we are highlighting the incredible work of Efe Obi, a fitness brand and founder of Studio The Fit Inn, with three locations in the historic Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. We are excited to share our conversation with Eff about what he does as a brand and fitness center founder and what it means to be a POC in the fitness industry.
Ife Obi has created The Fit Inn with the goal of providing access to quality health and wellness for disadvantaged communities. It is the first brand of its kind in Bedford Stewivisant and throughout East Brooklyn, an area that has long been under the health and wellness industry. Its signature class, available in its three separate positions at Bed-Stui, aims to build a structure for a long, strong body that can handle current day-to-day tasks – from grocery carrying or lifting babies to high-intensity preparation. . Workout or lifting things.
He also created The Shop at The Fit In, which continues its mission of creating health equity in color communities by providing access to health and fitness-related products in the Food and Health Desert.
“The shop provides our diverse community with awareness and access to brands that truly believe in health for all,” said Obi. “These brands include our own supplement line, Back to You by the Fit In, focusing on the root cause of a situation that affects many women but affects women of color, especially black women, to a greater extent.”
Stay tuned to learn more about The Fit In and how Ife is paving the way for more brands and studios to make a difference in their community.
FITBIT: Fit in tries to redefine the term “fit” as it currently stands in the fitness world and to be a haven for all people, especially BIPOC women, to represent their own skin and feel comfortable. What attracted you to this job?
IFE: In my long 20-year marketing career with big brands, I’ve used fitness, pilates, and strength training specifically, for frustration. At this point there was only one image of fitness that I had seen over and over again and it did not include anyone who looked like me.
I finally got badly injured while doing a workout and I realized that I really need to learn about this thing called health and fitness. Not just for me and to learn what proper training looks like, but so I can make sure that people who look like me can be beneficial and able to prevent negative health consequences, such as what I and my family have historically had to deal with.
Many black and brown communities around my community and country have high rates of diseases like diabetes, heart disease and much more. And these communities are the ones with the least wellness options. They have the least safe options for movement and the most unhealthy options for food and groceries.
So, I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right.
FITBIT: Do you see any changes in the fitness industry right now that give you the hope to start seeing more inclusive fitness studios in disadvantaged areas?
IFE: We see more BIPOC interest in movement certification. More interested in learning how to heal their own community which ultimately leads to more BIPOCs in leadership and ownership positions.
I have been asked a lot about my formula and how I ensure diversity and inclusion and this is not something I can write about. True inclusion begins with leadership When people in your community are leaders, they know what needs to be done to ensure that spaces are not only diverse but inclusive.
FITBIT: Why, in your view, is it so important to have communities like yours that are for everyone and especially, BIPOC women?
IFE: There are cultural reasons why BIPOC women, especially black and brown women, focus less on their health and fitness than white women. Research shows that lack of access to safe places, lack of self-efficacy and lack of social and family support are the main reasons for relocation. So communities like ours are working to remove some of these barriers for more BIPOC women to focus on themselves and their health.
Fitbit: How do you hope to inspire others with The Fit In?
IFE: My hope is that it will encourage more people of color to get fit and healthy. This includes those who see fitness as a way to become an entrepreneur and to support their community. This includes those who felt they could not pay attention to their own health. Examples of people among us who find time for themselves.
Fitbit: What will be the future of Fit In? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
IFE: I can’t see the end of The Fit In. Started as a small studio in Fit In Bed-Stew. We’ve expanded to three locations in addition to outdoor and virtual fitness options, because there are more people in our community who need our services and our community needs more options so they can find a movement routine they like and be committed to. . This is something we want to expand further because there are communities like ours all over the country
And since there are many more areas of wellness that are exclusive to black women and women of color, there are many more areas that we would like to address. We have already introduced complementary space to address health issues that need to be addressed more than our white counterparts, and we will continue to expand into this world of precision health. Fit In is not just a brand that addresses the inclusion of fitness — we are tackling the healthcare industry.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as an alternative to medical diagnosis or treatment. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your health problems or conditions. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.