BIPOC In Fitness: ADENIKE CHARLES
Name: Adenike “Nike” Charles
Country of birth: Canada
Share details about your cultural background
My parents are both Nigerian. They moved here in 1972 and we moved back for 5 years in 1982 and returned in 1987.
How would you describe your childhood/how you grew up?
We grew up with lots of love but in low-income housing and making ends meet with whatever we got. My parents moved here from Nigeria with little to no money and both worked extremely hard to provide for us. They oftentimes worked 2-3 jobs at a time but made sure that we attended school daily and kept up with our schooling. My father encouraged his five girls to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree which we all did and then some.
How would you best describe your role in fitness?
I am a personal trainer/coach who enjoys bringing the best out of people. I love to see people crushing their goals and loving their best life.
How did you find your interest in fitness?
I’ve always played sports and I received a scholarship to play basketball in California where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Sports Medicine. I’m also a canfitpro Personal Training Specialist.
How does exercising make you feel (before/during/after)?
I get a thrill knowing I get to workout. During my workouts I’m so hyped and at the end I feel a sense of accomplishment.
How have you experienced racism in fitness or as a fitness professional/owner?
I’ve been lucky not to have ever really felt racism during my time as a trainer. People have always been receptive to me since I’ve been training.
Do you feel that you are treated differently than some of your co-workers, fellow owner/operators? If yes, in what way?
No, I’ve never really experienced it.
Do you think you were passed over on a promotion because of your skin colour; or was it a contributing factor?
No, I’ve personally never experienced it.
In your role/business how are you helping BIPOC individuals get hired, promoted, or recognized?
I love collaboration and often will repost BICOP on my Instagram page and reach out about opportunities.
Are you actively doing something to promote fitness to your [BIPOC/Religious] community? If so, tell us about it.
Nothing at the moment
What advice would you share to fitness businesses ready to make systemic changes in their organizations?
Be inclusive, have true diversity in your organization, listen and share content from BICOP.
There is a lack of BIPOC in leadership in the fitness industry, how do you see this changing in the next 3 to 5 years, and what needs to happen for this imminent change?
We need to hire qualified BICOP as we have an enormous amount of us in the industry with exceptional leadership skills. Representation of us truly matters. We need to have a seat at the head of the table to speak on matters that concern us and cover the gaps in the fitness industry in order to see change.