Black Girls’ Fitness Club (B’Fit) is a group at the University of Arizona that focuses on staying active. The group started in the spring of 2019 and since the pandemic started, they’ve stayed in touch via Zoom and social media.
According to the official B’Fit website, B'Fit "promotes health, wellness, and camaraderie amongst Black women on campus by creating a comfortable space in which Black women can share knowledge and pursue their fitness goals together.”
One of B’Fit's founders, Brena Andrews, is an educational technologies graduate student. According to Andrews, B'Fit members used to meet at the Student Recreation Center. B'Fit leaders would hand out workout cards and members would split up into smaller groups to workout together.
Since the pandemic started, however, B'Fit has changed their memberships options to ensure their members' comfort and safety. One option is fully in-person and the other is online-only.
“The online-only group has fitness tutorials and workouts that we have available for them to access and do on their own. Members link up on their own and do these live workouts together. Every other weekend, we’ll have a Zoom-only activity,” Andrews said.
Through the online workouts, B'Fit members have still been able to try different kinds of workouts. “We did a live tutorial class with a trainer who specializes in these online HIIT workouts,” Andrews said. HIIT, which stands for high-intensity interval training, features short bursts of intense exercise.
For their in-person meetings, B’Fit decided to use a CrossFit gym called Gym Two Forty Four instead of the Rec Center, due to the Rec Center's restrictions surrounding partner workouts. Both Rec Centers mandate that users stay six feet apart, but the B'Fit members felt they couldn't get the same experience working out at the Rec Center during the pandemic.
Therefore, the in-person members meet at Gym Two Forty Four, which is about a mile southeast of campus. Cassandra Myers, a pharmaceutical sciences undergraduate and B'Fit member, described Gym Two Forty Four as a spacious, typically empty workout spot where members can socially distance with masks.
B'Fit meets there three to four times a week, depending on how frequently they’d like to exercise. According to Andrews, none of the activities are mandatory and everything is based on how often members want to workout.
B'Fit offers its members chances to try new exercises and get out of their comfort zone. Club dues cover private fitness classes such as krav maga, mixed martial arts, yoga and gymnastics, according to Andrews.
Jhoedi Sellers, a psychology and religious studies undergraduate, has been a part of the club since it started. Sellers described B’Fit as a safe space for anyone that doesn’t like getting stared at while at the gym or for someone that perhaps doesn’t know what to do and would like someone to go with.
“I really wish B’Fit existed my freshman year just because I went through so much culture shock and homesickness,” Sellers said. “I was feeling very alone because I couldn’t find anyone that I could relate to on any level.”
Sellers said she found her love of weight lifting through B’Fit and has found her consistent workouts have relieved her knee pain.
Myers described immediately feeling more confident after her first meeting with B’Fit and is now more open to trying different fitness classes.
“I really didn’t understand how isolated I felt before I joined the club. I didn’t have any people of color in my life that I could relate to,” Myers said. “Since I’ve been in the club, we talk about a lot of Black issues and Black culture that I haven’t talked to anyone about in a long time.”
Kyrah Hughley, a business management and management information sciences undergraduate, said that she was motivated to join B'Fit by a desire to make friends. Now, most of her current friendships started with B'Fit.
In addition to being a great way to make friends, Hughley said B’Fit is an experience that helped her overcome her fear of working out and has encouraged her to try new things.
“My favorite part has been trying aerial silks. I would have never tried that if it wasn’t for the club,” Hughley said. “Now I’m just excited to try new things, every Saturday we do something different.”
Since joining the club, Hughley noted that she has become more adventurous and confident in herself.
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