canfitpro is a fitness education company that recently touched on systemic racism in the industry and how it effects the Black fitness experience.

canfitpro Supports Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Fitness

A recent canfitpro webinar covered the importance of diversity in representation, DEI being a key factor in growth, and how to promote DEI efforts throughout the year.

  • March 25, 2022

“Black In Fitness” was the topic of canfitpro’s recent webinar in support of their ongoing commitment to action for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the Canadian fitness industry. Hosted by Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, canfitpro’s 2021 Presenter of the Year, this panel presentation featured canfitpro certified members Andriana Crawford, Carl Carter, and Portia Boston.

Important topics covered in this month’s webinar include:

  • the importance of diversity in representation,

  • diversity, equity, and inclusion being a key factor in growth, and

  • promoting your DEI support efforts all year.

The key recommendations that thread through the conversation will help to support business owners who desire a way to improve the diversity of their teams by addressing the barriers in fitness, microaggressions and bias compounds, and the systemic racism that continues to exist and negatively affect the well-being of Black individuals and communities.

Diversity in Representation is Critical

The panelists identified that not having someone in a leadership position to provide mentorship and inspiration, such as an instructor who was Black, was a key barrier to progress in their fitness careers.

Carl suggested fitness leaders get out and into the community to engage with and understand the diversity of people in their communities. This is important for creating roles and opportunities that are more diverse and will appeal to broader—more diverse—audiences. In this way, fitness businesses will attract more people from all communities to apply to their company, strengthening the diversity of talent on their teams and encouraging a more welcoming environment for everyone.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is Key When it Comes to Growth

Andriana highlighted hiring practices affirming that hiring more racialized people into leadership or decision-making positions will help address unconscious biases present within organizations. Portia encouraged those who hold decision-making positions to hire or consult a DEI leader to help effectively create change within their organizations.

Canfitpro Black In Fitness Column Width Listing Image

Supporting DEI efforts is a long-term commitment and to be effective, you must seek out resources and individuals who speak to DEI and who resonate with you. Follow them, digest their content, lean into their experiences, and invest in learning.

Agreed by all panelists was the importance of finding a mentor for yourself and providing mentorship opportunities to others to learn from the marginalized experiences of others.

Promote Your Year-round DEI Initiatives Greater Impact

While representation is important, if we do not act consciously, consistently, and respectfully, it can be harmful and fall short of the difference it should foster. Andriana reminded fitness professionals to not only produce and share content during an awareness month. Instead, she said awareness months should be used to draw attention to everything you are doing year-round to support DEI.

“Social should be your last frontier for DEI. Everything should be happening internally within the organization and not for the sake of being shared. If you’re authentic and really taking DEI efforts, it will naturally be seen, felt, heard,” Portia shared.

Creating a more inclusive fitness industry is everyone’s responsibility. This work can be challenging, and we all have as much unlearning to do as we have learning.

“In order to grow, you need to be willing to get uncomfortable,” said Samantha. But in doing so, Adriana added, “[you never know how] you can be that catalyst for someone else just by showing up.”

I noted in the webinar, “As a fitness education company, we take on the responsibility to build awareness of the effects of unconscious bias and systemic racism in our industry—experienced by both fitness professionals and fitness consumers. Embracing diversity is not only a competitive advantage for any business but also a vital core value.”

canfitpro regularly hosts webinars with topics ranging from DEI, the fitness industry outlook, how to build, foster, and nurture a culture of belonging in the workplace, and more.

Mo Hagan

Mo Hagan is a contributor to