Fitness trainer Ashley Joi: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports

Amanda Gerla


Sports Illustrated and Empower Onyx are putting the spotlight on the diverse journeys of Black women across sports—from the veteran athletes, to up-and-coming stars, coaches, executives and more—in the series, Elle-evate: 100 Influential Black Women in Sports.

A former Division I track and field athlete, personal trainer Ashley Joi is on a mission to make her brand of fitness accessible and all-encompassing, centering mental health and prioritizing (you guessed it) joy through movement.

Before Joi utilized social media to build her following, she relied on the strength and example of her mother, who struggles with the autoimmune disease Lupus.

“Her disease pretty much has always caused her to be sick,” Joi says. “A lot of responsibilities were on me. I had to be very independent, which went with my personality as well.” A common side effect of the disease is sensitivity to sun, which can cause rashes all over the body. But that didn’t stop Joi’s mother from supporting her athletic career, especially when it came to outdoor sports, growing up in the small town of Apple Valley, Calif., known for its vast deserts and surrounding mountains.

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