Photo courtesy Thosh Collins
From left, Thosh Collins, Chelsey Luger and Martin Sensmeier in Brooklyn, New York in July 2014.

Well For Culture: Top 10 Fit Natives on Instagram

Chelsey Luger

Instagram. Yeah, it can be a massive timewaster (like all social media), but it’s also a powerful platform for sharing fitness inspiration, motivation, and ideas. It’s hard to say just how much Instagram has changed the fitness world, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a big influencer.

I follow a bunch of Natives on IG who inspire me every day to keep going and keep doing my best. From yoga to weight training to nutrition to mindfulness, each of these folks from around Indian country offer something unique to the Native fitness community. And honestly, I like these accounts WAY more than the super-famous fitness Instagrams because Natives have a totally unique and special way of approaching wellness that (to me) is so much more inspiring than the others.

Here are my top 10 plus 10 honorable mentions. Give them a follow! Oh … and don’t forget to follow me too.

1. Raynor Whitcombe and Sunny Redbear

Raynor Whitcombe (Polynesian) and Sunny Redbear (Lakota) are the definition of an Indigenous power couple, so I had to keep them together in one post. Raynor is an official spokesmodel (dude is absurdly ripped) and Sunny is an all-around inspirational woman who shares everything from her fitness journey to her poetry to her positive outlook on life and motherhood.

2. Thosh Collins

Thosh Collins (Onk Akimel O’Odham, WahZhaZhi, Haudenosaunee). OK, a little bit of nepotism here, because Thosh is one of my best buds and also one of my partners in the #wellforculture movement. That being said, even if I didn’t know him I’d tell you that his page is a must-follow. He has taught me so much of what I know about Indigenous wellness, and I’m sure he will do the same for you. Not only is he 100% committed to ancestral diet and Indigenizing fitness, he offers a lot of inspiration, knowledge, and well-thought-out captions to go with his always beautifully-shot photos and videos. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s a professional photographer!)

3. Shannon

Shannon is a yoga expert with a beautiful and consistent display of her yoga and barre practice. Her page is a lovely and clean mix of poetry, simplicity, and challenging poses which always leave me wanting to try something new.

4. Waylon Pahona

Waylon Pahona is the founder of Healthy Active Natives - one of the first groups uniting wellness-minded NDNs from around the world. His posts are a good mix of weights, outdoor training, and motivation.

5. Tisha

Tisha is a Mohawk woman on a mission: to spread knowledge about Native-Paleo foods and the concept of Food as Medicine. There’s no doubt that ancestral foods are a HUGE part of Indigenous wellness. So if you need ideas on what or how to cook to be well, check her out.

6. Claudine Bull

Claudine Bull from Alberta  is a BEAST when it comes to weight lifting. Her bio says it all: “training in my garage.” – and most of her posts are videos to show just that. Her form is impeccable, her dedication is apparent, and she’s proof that women can absolutely own the weight room.

7.  Dion Evans

Dion Evans (Dine) is one of the most impressive and knowledgeable personal trainers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I love following Dion’s Instagram because he’s always showing a unique yet effective exercise from his gym in the Southwest. Seeing all of his hardworking clients is an inspiration in and of itself. If you ever need ideas for new exercises, check him out!

8. Nashonna Frank

Nashonna Frank (Dine) emits nothing but sunshine and positive energy. Her photos are bright and cheery, just like her outlook on life and wellness. She’s always doing different types of workouts and eating healthy foods, and her photos have a way of immediately putting you in a better mood.

9. Sarah

Sarah (Anishinaabe) is an olympic weightlifter and an expert on Indigenous paleo diet. The food she posts is so healthy and incredible - I honestly want to try EVERYTHING. Check out her page for a good mix of fitness and foods.

10. Martin Sensmeier

Martin Sensmeier (Tlingit & Athabascan). Again, a little bit of nepotism because like Thosh he’s one of my best buds and one of the co-founders of the Well For Culture movement. Martin doesn’t always post about wellness but when he DOES he offers incredibly inspiring and well-thought-out ideas to his followers. You won’t find any negativity on his page, just positive thoughts. He lives a very active lifestyle and is constantly playing ball in the gym or spending time outdoors. If you’re looking to center your mind or need examples of good, clean food, check out his page.

I couldn’t fit all of my favorite wellness accounts into the top 10, so here are some honorable mentions which are also MUST-FOLLOWS:

1. Cas Fitness

2. Vegas Davis

3. Brandon Colegrove

4. Cubby

5. James Jones

6. Jacob Pratt

7. Roselle Kiona

8. Jessica Barudin

9. Christine Means

10. Acosia Red Elk

Chelsey Luger is Anishinaabe and Lakota from North Dakota. She hopes to be a strong link in a long chain of ancestors and descendants by spreading ideas for health and wellness. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Ideas for articles? Email her: [email protected].

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