Today’s topic is on the 2nd principle of Kwanzaa which is Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah).  But before we get into it, let’s briefly talk about Kwanzaa.


Kwanzaa is a 7 day, non-religious Black American and Pan African holiday celebrated primarily in America.

It was created by Maulana Karenga in 1966.  Karenga is a professor and chair of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach.

From what I have gathered, Kwanzaa was inspired by African harvest celebrations that promote family, community, and culture.

In my immediate family we did not know a lot about Kwanzaa growing up.  But over time I began to get educated on what Kwanzaa was about.

After learning more about Kwanzaa over the last few years, the principles of Kwanzaa line up with the principles that I live my own life by.

The 7 days of Kwanzaa are celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.  In this short series, I’m going to go over the Nguzo Saba which is also known as the 7 principles of Kwanzaa.

The second principle of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia which means Self-Determination.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

Kujichagulia means self-determination.  The specific meaning of kujichagulia is to define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

I tell you this, I wouldn’t be in my current position as a business owner without self-determination.

Self-determination is what provided the juice for me to start my business and open my own gym.

For years, I was in the commercial gym game as a personal trainer.  The experience is a necessary evil but looking back I stayed in that world for too long.

During the era in which I was a personal trainer in the commercial gym, being your own entity and having your own ideas were frowned upon.

Big gym companies want to define you as what they think will make them the most money.  You could be given the hollow titles of the “cardio guy” or “abs guy” or “bodyweight training guy.”

Meanwhile, you are none of those guys.

But kujichagulia did not exist in that space.  You were defined by what the gym thought you should be in order to try to bring in more clients and make more money.

When you speak up or out against what the company or the employees are promoting, which I did countless times, you are seen as a bad apple.

It did not matter if I was respectful and right because the company had all the power.

But starting Fitman Performance Training, LLC (and this website) allowed me to define, name, create, and speak for myself.

There will never be a place at The Center for the mediocre methods and policies that I dealt with in those commercial gyms.

And me being able to be my own man has allowed me to have a greater and more powerful impact on the people I serve.


Strive to define, name, create, and speak for yourself.

We cannot reach our potential in life if we are always being defined and named by others.

And we will not get to the mountaintop if we fail to be creators or speak up against injustice or fraud.

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer

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