My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They Are a Big Deal

If you know me or follow me on Instagram, you would know I’m hyperactive on this thing every day. I wasn’t always like this. In fact, I didn’t become addicted to this platform until I discovered the excellent fitness content and fitness people here. Instagram is only a platform; what makes it amazing is the great people using it to bring positivity to others.

I’m pretty picky about who I follow. (I know I sound like such a snob here.)

It’s not about the number of followers or how famous they are. The people I follow:

  • They work hard. The platform is more informative than entertainment to me, so I want someone who can motivate me and show me how’s it’s done.
  • Their content is relevant to me. Even though the Schwarzenegger-style bodybuilders are impressive, I don’t feel like I could learn much from them right now. Nor do I closely follow many CrossFit accounts, again, I still check them out, but I want someone whose content resonates with me better.
  • They are nice people. This is the most important part! I do feel like I know these people personally because we share the same interest and value. And sometimes you can tell if you can be friends with someone.

Here is my treasured and not exhaustive at all list of my favorite fitness influencers:

kayla_itsines

Kayla Itsines is definitely one of the big names in the fitness industry because she has been sharing fitness knowledge and spreading the positivity when many of us didn’t even know fitness influencer was a thing. Just look at the transformation pictures on her page, and you would know how many people she has helped and inspired to change their lives.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

She’s 35 weeks pregnant, and she still works out, mostly with modified movements. So here goes the myth that you shouldn’t work out once you are pregnant. Even though there might still be a long time before I’m pregnant (LOL), it’s nice to know that someone is leading the way and keeps up with the fitness life with a baby on the way!

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

stephanie_buttermore

Her personality is just…unbelievable. If you open her Instagram feed, you will see that she’s always smiling or laughing. Stephanie proves that you can be that girl with the body and brains because she’s a cancer research scientist with a Ph.D. I mean…Hello?! She references scientific research papers in her YouTube videos to deliver truly effective workout methods. As far as the fitness people that I follow, she may be the only one doing so. (And her boyfriend.) I find it cute that she tags her boyfriend Jeff who’s also a bodybuilder in every picture.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

I actually just discovered her this year, but I’ve become a fanatic fan already. I don’t watch too many YouTube videos, yet, I set an alarm for her new video release. You could see how much efforts she puts into creating every video and how she makes it informative and fun.

I follow her mostly for the donuts. (Just kidding! Or am I…) If you haven’t seen her epic cheat day YouTube series, you have been missing out so much! She’s here to shatter your myth about restricting food and to prove that food is love.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

thebodycoach

I don’t follow too many male fitness people because even though they are inspiring, their content doesn’t seem to resonate with me a lot. However, I’ve been following Joe Wicks (AKA the body coach) for a long time, and he’s still one of my favorite fitness influencers.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

He is most famous for his “leanin15” meals where he “randomly” throws a bunch of ingredients together to make a simple yet healthy meal. He taught me how to cook healthy food in a short time, which has been super helpful considering my busy schedule in graduate school. Now after almost two years I still look to him for the food ideas, and I just like to see how he inspires more people to eat healthily and get active day by day.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

whitneyysimmons

I was always under the impression that the pretty and toned girls on social media don’t really work out. Then I realized I was wrong when I started to follow her and watch her YouTube videos because man…she works hard.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Whitney is like the OG among the first fitness girls I followed on Instagram, and her workout videos showed me how useful the platform could be and got me hooked to it. I was also under the impression that she’s intimidating. I was wrong again. She has her serious face on when she works out, but she’s such a sweetheart in real life!

Besides workout videos, she also posts all kinds of fitness-related videos such as how she tried intermittent fasting, how she quits unhealthy habits and even awkward moments in the gym. Whitney would be a great resource if you are just getting started in the fitness journey and want to know everything about lifting, eating, and life.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

She’s got a cute puppy guest-starring in many of her videos, so that’s a bonus if you love dogs!

julialstern

I’d known Rumble Boxing for a while, but when I took my first class with Julia, I finally understood why they were worth the hype. Julia’s class is hard – the one that you would sweat and swear, but fun and full of energy.  She and her husband move from city to city to help open the new Rumble studios. You can’t find a cooler job, right? But because I move around a lot, I know it can also be a hard thing to do. But you never see her complain, only positivity and endless energy.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

What’s also impressive is that she’s a career changer because she has been a math teacher before joining Rumble (yeah I did my homework). If you are out there thinking about whether you have what it takes to take the leap, look at her for that courage. She’s my woman crush not just for her smile, her punches, and her abs, but also because how she brings that positivity to other people’s lives.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

shannonshape

I met Shannon at a fitness event organized by Luminhero and felt her passion and love for fitness right then. After I started following her, I learned that she’s a mom, working with many clients every day, and yet she never skips her own workout. So what’s your excuse?

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

It’s funny how every time I feel lazy and want to skip the workout, Instagram pushes me Shannon’s update and I would get motivated to hit the gym. I know you are supposed to give your body rest days, and I do take rest days very seriously, but it’s people like Shannon that pushes you out of your comfort zone and shows you that your body can do better.

I accidentally bumped into her on a Friday night Rumble class and recognized her from the front row. If you think celebrity trainers are taking their Friday nights off out drinking, you are wrong. They are training.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Also, she was on The Rock’s show The Titan Games where the participants are some of the strongest people you have ever seen. Just…watch it, and I promise you’ll never lack motivations to work out.

brian_kahn

Ok maybe I’m biased when I list Julia and Brian here just because I took their classes at Rumble, but I think this definitely says something about them and Rumble when I got smitten over one class.

I first took Brian’s class because I read in his profile that he’s a real-life ninja, then after the lit class, I started following him on Instagram and find myself amazed by his #levelup challenges. If you want to add some fun and spice to your regular workout routine (way too much fun), go to his page for inspirations.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

He has a fierce look, but he’s someone that would encourage you and motivate you from afar when you are feeling weak or having a bad day. That’s exactly what you want from Instagram – online friends and communities that make you a better person. And have I mentioned his dog Pooh Bear? Here’s a picture of them together.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Brian and Shannon sometimes do boxing work together, and I would watch the clips of the video over and over again like a crazy person. You’ll be addicted to those as well. 

beccasillsfit

She will always be my goal to motivate myself to work harder. For all the girls out there trying to become leaner and stronger, she’s the one you would go to for inspirations.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Besides sharing amazing workout videos that are practical and effective, she shares inspirational quotes every now and then. She’s always spreading positivity like a ray of sunshine. 

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

If you are someone who knows what you are doing in the gym, she’s perfect to look for workout ideas. If you are just getting started, she would still be a great inspiration to follow.

taylorzurickfit

I bet you have said things like if you let me work out for full time, I could do it too, right? Taylor is here to prove that you could still achieve your fitness goals with a busy life schedule. She goes to pharmacy school with two jobs, yet she still works hard for that body.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

She introduces many new fitness opinions to me. For example, I’ve known “no food is bad food” for a while, but seeing how she incorporates sweets into her diet makes me confident in my diet. She also proves that you don’t need to do too much cardio or restrict your diet to lean down. Moderation is key. Balance is key. Consistency is key. These words made a huge impact on my fitness mindset!

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

I’m going to end this introduction with one thing she said, “Spend your time on things that will make you better tomorrow!”

prevailboxing

This will be a long list if I write every coach’s name here, so I’ll say Prevail, to sum up. Because everyone here is just amazing. Usually, I would try a class at a studio then quickly got bored, but not Prevail. After my first trial class, I just got hooked immediately and couldn’t stop punching there, no matter it’s a 6 am morning class or a Friday night.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

They are not your typical trainers and a fitness studio. I’ve never seen a community so strong and passionate, and the energy they have is unreal. During my time away from LA, I still made it a habit to check out their page and every coach’s page to learn new punches to try. It may sound crazy, but they are one of the reasons that I moved back to LA. So give them a try, and you would be addicted to becoming a badass too!

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

natacha.oceane

I feel like you can see the pattern of my following here – I follow these people not only because they are inspiring, but also because they infuse new fitness ideas into my head. For Natacha, she teaches me how to move my body unilaterally instead of just in isolation. She’s the reason I started trying more compound movements and having more fun with kettlebells. Her “undo a bad diet” video let me know that there’s no such thing as being too active.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

I just love seeing her workout because she’s always so sweaty and makes ugly faces when lifting heavy. That’s how a workout should be done! Whenever I feel bored with my regular gym routine, I would try some of her workouts and find the fun in exercise again!

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Nattbfit

I witnessed how she became an ambassador of Gymshark every step of the way, and she deserves the glory! For college students who have questions about how to balance their school life and fitness life, she’s the perfect one to go to for inspirations.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

She also helped me get over the fear of eating more. I was thinking about doing reverse dieting but was still kind of scared about the weight gain; then I saw her transformation as the result of eating more and less cardio. That’s when I started seeing food as fuel and adding more weights into my training.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

I like her a lot mostly because she’s younger than me, so it’s inspiring seeing someone at college managing between school and workouts for the body gains and brain gains. I wish I started doing serious gym work at college sooner, but I bet she’s influencing a bunch of younger people, so that’s super good news! This is exactly how I spent the last two years of my college time and I’m grateful of this decision every day.

gainsbybrains

Sophie is the other one besides Becca that I would go to for inspirations. For girls who are looking for practical and effective workouts, she’s the one to turn to. What’s impressive about her is that her workout setting isn’t some super fancy studio, but just a small room with the necessary facilities: no fancy tricks, no CrossFit gimmicks, just simple and fundamental movements.

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

If you think you need anything more than the basics to get a good body, you don’t!

My Favorite Fitness Influencers and Why They are a big deal

Sophie mixes and repeats specific movements targeting every muscle groups into different days, so her workouts are always fun because they are always changing. They are also very effective when she incorporates both isolation and compound movements into one workout.


You’ll notice how I use the word “my favorite” instead of “you should follow,” because just like everything else on social media, everyone has their own opinion when it comes to who to follow. There are many, many other fitness people out there, but these people are the ones that I feel the need to see their content daily in an addicted way. I love how they infuse new fitness ideas to my head, as well as how they experience the good days and bad days with no excuse and positivity.

I haven’t been the most positive person, to be honest. And I know it sounds cheesy, but having the right role models has helped me change my mindset a lot. I hope you could enjoy their content as well and it would be a pretty big pity if you don’t check them out. (I’m just saying)

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