This week, as Recess continues to celebrate Black history month, we talked to Nadia Kashouh to uncover her experience of being a black woman in fitness. Read on to learn more about her journey of empowering others through holistic wellness and movement.
Nadia describes herself as a lover of Christ and all things fitness. Over the course of her fitness career, she’s changed her mindset from “I can’t to I can” through the intentional movement of both her body and mind. Now, she’s passionate and eager to share this avenue with as many people as possible. Currently, she serves as a teacher and trainer for women and men to regain their confidence while sharpening their curves through HIIT and minimal equipment strength training. She’s a firm believer that both the mind and body are an integral part of anyone’s fitness regimen. Nadia shares her love of coaching others to broaden their mindset and notes that “if I can do it, so can anyone else.”
How has your identity as a black woman shaped how people see you in the fitness world?
My identity as a black woman has shaped how people see me in this fitness world in a positive light. I am inspired by my community to help to be a bridge and a resource to make holistic health and wellness accessible to all, especially within black and brown communities. I am inspired to keep sharing the importance of movement and preventative measures so we are better equipped to live long, healthy, and enjoyable lives.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in regard to your race?
Many of the challenges I have faced in regard to my race are more within my culture. I am first-generation. My family is from Liberia, West Africa so the particular culture of America is new to my family. My biggest challenge was adopting a more holistic approach to wellness. Looking back on it, I am very proud of how far my family and I have come. Doing this work allows me to be a conduit of holistic health for my community and culture. That excites me and gives me hope!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in regard to your gender?
One of the challenges I’ve encountered in regard to my gender is being overlooked to perform certain tasks or jobs in the fitness industry.
What makes you feel empowered in this work?
To know there is someone who is waiting on me and my voice. To know that with my encouragement, I can help them start their own journey towards freedom using movement and health. As one of my mentors told me, “we reach up for help and reach back to help.” As fitness professionals, we are always the student and always the teacher. This relationship keeps the benefits of movement, learning, and coaching a full circle and always in motion.
Another way I feel empowered in this work is my desire to help my community reclaim their health and their confidence around it. I want others to have opportunities to gain knowledge and share that knowledge within their own circles of love. That way we, as a community, are getting stronger and better together.
What are some of your best tips for self-care and resiliency?
One of my best tips for self-care is to set boundaries. Don’t be afraid, in fact, be adamant, about exercising your right to say “no” without explanation or hesitation. Another tip is to celebrate yourself as often as possible. Choose to be your cheerleader and dance to the beat of your own drum.
What advice would you give to other black women fitness professionals?
Be unapologetically you. No one can do what you do like you. The world needs you to show up bold- imperfectly you. You are a unique miracle and have the power and voice to change this nation.
Facebook: Nadia Kashouh
Nadia leaves us with a quote to keep in mind, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better” by Maya Angelou. Follow Nadia on Recess.
Looking for more stories in honor of black history month? Follow @we_recess and #itsplaytime.