This Dominican-American Trainer Took a Non-Traditional Route to #Fitspo Stardom
Every Body celebrates inclusivity and the representation of human beings in every shape and form.
Scroll through the Instagram #fitspo tag and you’ll be bombarded with images of thigh gaps, tanned white girls, and impossibly toned hourglass figures.
Dominican-American personal trainer Massy Arias, also known as MankoFit, is bringing a lot more diversity to this scene with her thick thighs, tattoos, and body positive messages. Maybe it’s because the 28-year-old came to fitness from an unconventional route — one that social media is now making possible.
Arias began working out to help fight her chronic depression and posted online about the process as a way to keep herself accountable. Eventually, she put up a photo of her newly toned abs, which earned her lots of attention and a ton of new followers.
Motivated by this feedback, Arias got certified as a personal trainer, and with the help of Instagram, her empire rapidly grew. Her popularity spawned 30-day meal and workout plans available on her website, where a paying community clamors for her advice.
She now posts short workout videos about three times a week to her Instagram that use minimal props and relatively simple moves, with commentary in both English and Spanish. She also works with brands like Listerine and Target to promote products to her 2.2 million Instagram followers.
As much as social media is called-out for being vapid and cliched, it also gives different voices the chance to gain a platform. And while Arias might be killing it as a fitness entrepreneur thanks to Instagram, she’s also trying to expand our idea of what a fit woman looks like.
“Skinny? Gotta gain weight because no one likes bones. Chubby? Eat healthy! … We, women, are constantly shamed for everything so we, as well, might do whatever we want,” is written over an image of Arias on Instagram looking toned but also impossibly strong — no wasp waists or thigh gaps in sight.
And since becoming a mom, she’s working harder than ever to change the conversation about women’s bodies.
“First and foremost I think so many people only focus on the ‘SnapBack’ factor of the postpartum process post pregnancy, but don’t even pay mind to a woman’s internal recovery, mental recovery, and how her body is able to reconnect itself after being completely thrown out of proportion,” Arias says on Instagram.
Arias is now incorporating her young daughter into her routines by lifting the baby carrier like weights and dancing for her. One thing’s definitely the same — her infectious energy, positivity, and goofy personality. But Arias wants people to understand that there’s more to her, and to feeling fit, than the picture-perfect moments captured on her social media.
“Don’t ask me how my body is looking after going through a marathon! Ask me how I’m feeling!” says Arias in another Instagram post.
#anewkindofstrong? That’s what this movement is all about.
What Instagram fitness star are you obsessed with? Tell us @BritandCo.
Photos via Massy Arias’ Instagram.