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This boxing coach wants women of color to define fitness on their own terms

The wellness industry has historically catered to white, affluent women – in the businesses and CEOs it champions, in the clients it caters to, and in its prohibitive price points. For women of color, carving out space within this exclusionary framework has generally been a self-driven undertaking—one that focuses on expanding the idea of ​​what caring for your mental and physical well-being can look like. Therefore, in partnership with Clorox, we are highlighting three women who are redefining fitness to be more inclusive, accepting, and representative of everyone. As a society, we are championing diversity more than ever, and yet, women of color are still very under-represented in the fitness world, presenting the same type of woman in popular workout accounts Continues to do: Thin and white. This reality has inspired Monica Jones, co-owner and Peak Performance Coach at Bash Boxing in Arlington, Va., To challenge old and unrealistic images and use her platform to send messages to the wellness and fitness industries. “The most satisfying thing I’ve done was to look good in the eye and open my mouth to the lack of color, opportunity and representation,” she says. After spending her early years struggling with her self-image and self-confidence, Jones is now steadfast in her belief that every woman has an inner athlete who needs to be awakened, respected and empowered – and any shape. -All approaches do not fit to get there. As a child growing up in Anne Arundel County, MD, Jones played intramural soccer and indoor track; But despite being excited by the games, she did not feel “good enough” to play at the college level. She struggled with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and low self-esteem in her final years of high school. “I was basically trying to decide how I could find passion or I was hoping that passion would find me.” After finishing community college, Jones transferred to two different universities, but financial challenges eventually led him to drop out of school altogether. However, there was a pivotal moment in her final semester that changed her outlook on her future. Her anatomy and physiology course led her to go to a local YMCA and create fitness and nutrition programs for different groups of people, and it immediately clicked for her. “I was ultimately inspired by a course and the opportunity to help others solve their problems and find out what health really is with the movement,” she says. “This was the moment when I decided that I wanted to become a personal trainer.” Jones received her certification in 2012, but excited by her personal training business, she was not immune to physical and financial challenges – including fracturing her hip in a car accident and the need to take an extra stream of income. was. Nutritionist. “Being injured and falling on financial difficulties has certainly been the hardest in this career, but it has also taught me how to be a woman like I am now,” Jones reflects. She also credits her mentor, who showed her how to make training a career, despite the lack of opportunity at corporate gyms for black women. In 2014, Jones had an epiphany – she wanted to see more scenes of women of color getting fit and healthy. “I had an image in my mind of who I wanted to be, and that image evolved as I began to find and love myself,” she says. At the time, she was discovering a new love of boxing, and launched a blog to chronicle her journey in that space. She was also coaching at a popular fitness studio, where she was approached to become a partner in a new boxing brand and studio, which would eventually become BASH. She immediately jumped at the chance, creating programming for the studio. By 2015, Jones’ social media following was growing steadily, and she began posting post-workout selfies among herself and her friends for inspiration and mutual encouragement. Eventually, her material evolved to videos and posts documenting her fitness goals, as well as personal anecdotes about her injuries and struggles with self-love. Now, Bash has two locations in the Arlington area, and Jones has nearly 20K on Instagram, where she continues to encourage self-love and inspire her community to embrace their inner athlete. “It has been beautiful to connect with more and more women because I have shared my growth in wellness, activism and now, even in business.” One of her biggest achievements so far has been fulfilling her desire to be a brand ambassador and sponsored athlete; Three years ago, she signed with a leading sports apparel brand, and today, she works with multiple brands, running campaigns that promote self-love and an inclusive approach to fitness. “I need more women who look like me and feel related to me that they can speak for themselves and step into the room and know if they have a seat at the table or they make their own table can,” she says. “[These brands] Empower women from all walks of life and align them to show that they can do their best, that they are worthy of happiness and well-being, and that there is room for them. Jones says she wants “women of color, especially black women, to know that they deserve to take time for themselves.” This means not only committing to taking care of their bodies physically, but also nurturing their emotional health. “You have to show up every day and consistently express gratitude for your body and all the other areas of your life. Start by saying, ‘I’m so grateful for this’ physical ability and then start expanding on that by asking, ‘I What can I do to behave myself better? ‘ ‘What can I do to perform better?’ “She also wants women to feel free to leave the” superwoman “trope (the idea of” having it all “and doing it all on their own) and ask Do not be afraid to help. “Ask for help is a challenge for many of us because we feel like we don’t deserve it or feel like it’s a sign of weakness. But it’s absolutely necessary. If you want to be successful, you have to ask for help . ” One reason that’s so close to Jones’ heart is to promote better brain health. She recently lost her grandfather to brain illness and hopes to host an event that will raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. In addition, he is constantly committed to finding new ways to make fitness accessible to all. “I realize that everyday when I get a chance to talk to a large community, someone ‘ordinary’ or ‘minor’ like me can be a powerful leader and a representative of love and purpose,” says Jones. “I prove that women like me can add value to this industry, bring culture, and deserve more than respect, equality, celebration and support.” like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

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