Balanced Black Girl’s Founder on Creating a Space to Inspire, Ask Questions, and Share Resources for People of Color
In our new monthly profile series, Fitbit is seeking to amplify diversity in the world of wellness and fitness by featuring the voices of POC trail-blazers at the helm of these industries—industries that have discredited voices like theirs for too long.
For our first profile, we’re highlighting the incredible work of Lestraundra Alfred, or Les, of Balanced Black Girl. We’re excited to share the conversation we had about what Les does as founder of the eponymous podcast, website, and wellness hub.
Lestraundra Alfred’s first foray into the world of wellness and fitness began at the age of 20, when she was working her first corporate internship. Sitting in front of a computer all day did not lend itself well to high energy levels, and soon she began a quest for more energy. “I started exercising intentionally, and began drawing connections between what I ate and how I felt. After spending a few years heavily focused on physical wellness, I realized what was happening in my mind was just as important, which led me to personal development,” Les shares with Fitbit.
That’s where the Balanced Black Girl podcast came in. On it, Les explores topics like well-being, health and self-care, spirituality, and more. She also created the Balanced Black Girl community as a mindful collective for Black and brown women—a safe and accessible space where members can chime in with their thoughts on the latest podcast episode, in addition to sharing their knowledge and important resources.
Keep reading to find out more.
FITBIT: You created Balanced Black Girl as a haven to provide Black women with the resources, support, and opportunities that are often lacking for them in professional spaces. What drew you to this work?
LES: I love being a student of wellness, and found many of the voices that were spotlighted as leaders in the space were not Black women. I wanted to learn from fellow Black women who had expertise and experiences in various areas of wellness, and realized if I was also seeking that type of content, others likely were as well.
So I decided to share the conversations I was having, and the podcast was born.
What’s a wellness or self-care trend you’re glad to see becoming more popularized?
I think it’s amazing that so many people are having open, honest conversations about wellness, particularly mental health. Though I don’t think these important things are “popularized”, they are becoming less and less taboo to speak openly about, which is important for normalizing.
How about a trend you’re ready to put behind you?
The idea that wellness has a singular look or aesthetic. The journey to being well can look and feel so many different ways, and tying a singular aesthetic to what it means to pursue wellness is exclusionary and limiting.
Are there any changes you’re currently seeing in the industry that give you hope?
In the industry at large, Black and brown voices are still largely left out. With many of us creating our own platforms and tables to spotlight what’s happening in our communities instead of waiting for mainstream wellness to catch on, we’re able to better serve those who are looking for our content.
Why, in your view, is it so important for there to be communities like yours that are intended for BIPOC women+ and non-binary folx?
I recently read the book What Happened to You by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah, and it was such an eye-opening book. One major message that stuck out to me was that humans are truly designed to thrive and heal in community. When we have micro therapeutic moments in community with people who accept and care for us, it can go a long way in having healthy, vibrant lives.
Being in community is truly how we heal, and this becomes even more important for those who are among the most marginalized.
What resources do you feel are most important for BIPOC folx to have access to?
At minimum, access to affordable fresh food, clean water, equitable healthcare, and proximity to nature. These are basic necessities that far too many people, especially Black and brown people, don’t have access to but are so important.
Additionally, accessible mental health services and safe spaces to heal in community are essential.
Interested in connecting with Les? Check out her website here, follow her on Instagram and TikTok, and be sure to tune in to the Balanced Black Girl podcast, which has new episodes available every Tuesday.