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This Bangor fitness instructor opened her own studio to defend the Black Mainers

It’s easy to get stuck in a fitness rut ​​or put off exercising indefinitely. But when there’s a charismatic, encouraging, non-judgmental coach or trainer in your corner, staying in shape isn’t so much a chore as a gift you give yourself.

That’s how Bangor-based trainer and fitness instructor Skye Washington sees it. From the airy, sunny surroundings of her second-floor fitness studio on Park Street in Bangor, she leads classes that she tries to make both fun and a great workout.

“I get so much from helping people feel better about themselves, both mentally and physically,” Washington said. “If you walk out of my class smiling and feeling capable of taking on the world, then I’ve done my job.”

Washington grew up in Bangor and graduated from Bangor High School in the late 1990s. Still active, she has worked as a fitness instructor and personal trainer for over 20 years, both in Connecticut and throughout the Connecticut area. Bangor. More recently, she offered weekly fitness and dance classes at Noh Way School, a dance studio formerly located at 170 Park St. owned by tango instructor Shiwa Noh.

Skye Washington, the owner of Skyefitness, a fitness studio on Park Street, leads an exercise class at her studio on February 16, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Classes there were suspended when the pandemic hit in March 2020. So Washington began offering training sessions and classes virtually, patiently waiting for the world to return to normal. But normalcy is a moving target — and when protests against police brutality and racism erupted around the world in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, normalcy suddenly no longer seemed like something Washington wanted. wanted to participate.

For Washington, it was a life-changing moment that inspired her to take the plunge and start her own fitness studio.

“It’s like all the anxiety I had in my life is starting to melt away. I decided I had to stop hiding and start coming forward,” Washington said. “I needed to let people know who I am and stand up for black people in Maine. We are here. And we should be proud of that. »

Shortly after, Noh decided to leave his dance studio and Washington decided to take over the lease of 170 Park St.

Skyefitness opened in January 2021, and the following year Washington attracted a number of new personal training customers as well as regular attendees to its fitness classes. She teaches barre, a workout style that borrows from ballet, pilates and yoga; high intensity interval training, or HIIT; and dance fitness, a high-energy choreographed dance workout.

A group of women wearing workout clothes go through an exercise routine in a dance studio
Skye Washington, the owner of Skyefitness, a fitness studio on Park Street, leads an exercise class at her studio on February 16, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Washington said one of its biggest supporters since day one was Maine owned by blacks, the Portland-based nonprofit that supports Black-owned businesses in Maine.

“They put me on their blog. They put my name there. I got so many clients because of it,” she said. “I made my ancestors proud.”

For a full list of classes and other Skyefitness offerings, visit skyesfitness.com.

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