black-owned businesses

14 Black-Owned Fitness Studios and Classes

Photo: Zoe Litaker

You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.

Historically, the boutique fitness industry has not been known for its diversity, but in recent years Black fitness pros and entrepreneurs have stepped in to fill the void. Whether you want to learn some new moves in a dance-cardio class or find inner balance during sun salutations, you’ll likely find a Black-owned fitness studio that fits your workout style. And while some studios are currently closed as a result of COVID-19, many have pivoted to offer streaming or on-demand classes so you can break a sweat at home.

Founded by two former professional athletes, Aarmy offers cycling, “bootcamp,” and strength training classes at their NYC and L.A. studios. You can also take on-demand online classes for $35 per month.

The legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s studio offers classes for professional and, uh, not-so-professional dancers in a wide range of styles including ballet, salsa, and West African. Classes are open to adults, kids, and teens. During the pandemic, they brought their instructors’ talents to Zoom, with an array of daily classes for $12 each or $50 for five.

At this Black- and women-owned studio in Dumbo, body positivity and creativity are woven into the yoga practice. Online classes ($12 each) include candle-lit flow and strength-building vinyasa.

This NYC-based studio’s boot-camp-style classes combine high-intensity cardio and serious strength training. There’s also one-on-one training for those who want some more personal attention.

Before launching her own fitness brand, Deja Riley was a backup dancer for the likes of Beyoncé, Trey Songz, and Lady Gaga. Her high-energy workouts — which combine dance with shadowboxing — are available on YouTube.

From $46
From $46

GoodWrk coach and founder Percell Dugger’s weekly workouts offer everything you need for all-around fitness: There’s strength training on Monday and Friday, cardio and core on Tuesday, recovery on Wednesday, and speed and agility on Thursday. Monthly membership costs $52 or $46 with a yearlong commitment.

Chavonne Hodges founded Grillz and Granola with the intention to make a more inclusive fitness space, especially for women of color. In addition to Hodges’s signature TrapAerobics cardio classes and strength-focused Trap Legs and Trap Abs classes, the studio also hosts group therapy sessions for coping with difficult emotions. Classes are $10 each or $60 for a month of unlimited classes.

At Harlem’s first boutique cycling studio, founder Tammeca Rochester strives to create a diverse space where all riders feel welcome. Until it’s safe to get back on the bike in person, you can take Harlem Cycle’s at-home cardio and strength classes. There’s no equipment required and classes cost $14 each or $75 for two weeks unlimited.

From $10

A one-stop shop shop for meditation, life coaching, and even corporate wellness (New York magazine’s parent company, Vox Media, is a client), HealHaus launched as a calming space and cafe in Clinton Hill, but offers online classes you can stream from home. A monthly digital membership costs $30 or you can drop in on one of their classes — like vinyasa or restorative yoga — for $10 each.

Founded by Ngo Okafor (who trains Brooke Shields), Iconoclast Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. Right now, you can book online sessions or visit their NYC studio for a sweaty session in their infrared sauna.

From $15

Experienced cycling instructor Briana Owens founded Spiked Spin to create a more diverse space in fitness. Classes are on hold as a result of COVID-19, but you’ll be able to book a bike at the Bed-Stuy studio as soon as they’re allowed to reopen.

From $50 for 5

Inspired by the energy of Caribbean carnival dancers, Socanomics founder Selena Watkins’s classes set calorie-scorching moves to the beats of Soca music. Besides boosting aerobic fitness, flexibility, and mobility, each class feels like a party. Classes are $50 for five or $75 for unlimited monthly access.

From $40

Tone House’s extreme, athletic-inspired workouts have a reputation for being among the toughest in the NYC boutique-fitness scene. Now you can try them at home ($40 monthly after a seven-day free trial) or outdoors at the East River Park.

Body-positivity advocate and yoga teacher Jessamyn Stanley’s online classes include introductions to basic postures, sequences designed to leave you feeling strong and balanced, and faster-pace flows for those hoping to break a sweat. A monthly membership costs $10.

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14 Black-Owned Fitness Studios and Classes