When it comes to our personal health, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone’s got a routine, and we measure our success through our ability to stick to it. For brands, both a challenge and an opportunity. If you can get consumers to make your brand a part of their routine, you’ll have a customer for life. But convincing them to change their routine isn’t always easy.
30 years ago, fitness meant squeezing in a daily 8-minute aerobic workout with our favorite VHS tape. Today, the fitness landscape is very different. Through social media, we’re exposed people just like us motivating themselves to live the healthy lifestyle we’ve always wanted. In fact, many people rely on social media personalities to inspire and coach them through their fitness journey. Our personal trainers have become celebrities.
According to Business Insider, the rise of the Instagram fitness influencer has caused “the biggest shift the fitness world has seen in decades.” Driving this change are 30 influential people who impact the choices made by millions of consumers all over the world. If you’re trying to get your message out, these are the people you’ll want on your team.
#30 – Gunnar Peterson
While Gunnar isn’t exactly one of Instagram’s top celebrities, he’s still got a name you can recognize. His unique “functional training” approach is designed to improve the way your muscles work, not how they look. His personal training service is kept private, used by celebrities like The Rock, J-Lo, and Kim Kardashian. But online, he’s an open book. All of his posts get a lot of comments. If you read through them, you’ll find many long, well thought out questions that prove people are paying close attention to what this man says.
#29 – Courtney King
Courtney isn’t just an Instagram influencer, she’s also made a name for herself as one of the best fitness Youtubers. Her fans can follow her on Instagram to learn her training routine, and see what products she uses to give her that edge. Once you’ve got the gist, you can flip over to her YouTube page to see videos of her competing, and helpful tips that explain the process to new competitors. Courtney offers a ‘behind the scenes’ look at a professional female body builder, making it accessible to readers.
#28 – Jessamyn Stanley
Although everyone can take steps to improve their physical health, most people don’t have the stereotypical ‘fitness model’ body type. For many, this unrealistic standard can create a lot of negativity. This is where Jessamyn stands out. As a body positive advocate, she teaches her followers to ask themselves ‘how does this make me feel?’ rather than ‘How do I look?’ Her unique approach has helped thousands overcome emotional limitations, earning her a dedicated following of fitness enthusiasts.
#27 – Caitlin Turner
Under her pseudonym, the Gypset Goddess, Caitlyn is an icon in both fitness and lifestyle. While many approach their workout as another chore that needs to be done during the day, Caitlyn treats it as something that is to be engrained in every part of your life. From an ocean side yoga session to an organic lunch, her 330k followers rely on her for their daily inspiration. The raw, artistic approach she takes to documenting her lifestyle gives her a unique influence. Her followers don’t just try to replicate her, instead moving to embrace the way of living that she represents.
#26 – Hannah Bronfman
Hannah is a famous personal trainer that promotes health from all angles. Her personal HBFIT brand is divided into three separate categories. Between health, beauty, and fitness, her fans rely on her to provide advice, recommendations, and encouragement in their fitness journey. Hannah is particularly fond of natural beauty products, and regularly showcases her favorites to her fans. Her presence is very collaborative, with users having the opportunity to interact and contribute to her ideology. This allows her to reach a specific type of consumer that would appeal to engaging brands.
#25 – Dylan Werner
If you saw Dylan in person, you’d never guess what he does for a living. He’s rugged, built like a tank, and covered in tattoos. But his yoga practice addresses a very common misconception about the activity. Many people believe that yoga isn’t suitable for muscular people. But Dylan believes that being flexible and in tune with your body is one of the most important aspects of health, and his 400,000 followers agree. Dylan is one of those fitness experts who challenges trends, which in turn allows him to set them.
#24 – Karina Elle
Karina Is most famous for her 15 Day Fit program, which she actively promotes on Instagram. This workout is targeted at total beginners, and is a high intensity fat burning workout that can serve as an introduction to fitness, or as a quick way to tone up before an important event. Karina is respected for making things fast and easy for her readers, giving her an audience of 450,000 followers who will do whatever it takes to see quick results.
#23 – Jessie Delgado
Hailing from sunny San-Diego, Jessie’s Instagram feed is filled with images of her enjoying a relaxing coastal lifestyle. In the real world, she’s working as a personal trainer, a caregiver, and completing medical school. Jessie’s audience is mostly experienced fitness enthusiasts who rely on her quick 15 minute workouts and time savings tips. With all of the responsibilities on her plate, her dedication and commitment has made her an inspiration to many.
#22 – Natalie Jill
At the top of her feed, Natalie proclaims “No one fails in my squad!” In many ways, this single sentence sums up all the hype surrounding Natalie. She is one of the most involved fitness model’s we’ve come across. Her fitness plans are some of the most detailed and comprehensive available, and she’s known to work one on one with her followers to help them achieve their goals. Following Natalie, you feel almost as if you know her. This allows her to inspire her followers in a way that few social media influencers can.
#21 – Felicia & Diana
This Australian duo focuses on much more than just fitness. These two fitness icons certainly know their way around the gym, but their unique attitude and striking sense of style has inspired over 630,000 fans. From their Instagram fame alone, they’ve managed to build an entire clothing and accessories brand, although they’ve been known to affiliate with other brands as well.
#20 – Amanda Bisk
Amanda’s career in fitness began as an award-winning pole vaulter. After earning a degree in physiology, she used her expertise to help establish herself in the fitness industry. She can draw on her experience as a professional athlete, knowledge as a physiologist, or inspiration as a health-focused individual to educate her fans. Her knowledge has made her one of the most trusted influential leaders on Instagram, fueled by her active community of fans.
#19 – Karena & Katrina
This fun, energetic duo are, without a doubt, some of the most well-known health celebs in the industry. Most trainers become famous first, then begin producing their own fitness products. But Karena & Katrina were already known for their easy to follow routines before they went active on social media. Now, they’ve expanded their brand to address topics such as skin care, nutrition labels, baking, and everything that is health & lifestyle.
#18 – Cassandra Martin
Through a carefully crafted diet, an exercise routine that most of us couldn’t even dream of, and years of hard work, Cassandra has crafted a unique physique. While she’s built an incredibly strong, muscular physique, she’s still managed to keep her feminine aesthetic. Despite her incredible progress, Cass shows no signs of stopping. Her Instagram is a window into her constantly evolving routine, inspiring many to follow along.
#17 – Stephanie Davis
Stephanie has spent her entire life in one sport or another. From horseback riding to gymnastics, her childhood gave her the foundation she needed to build her fitness career on. Although she eased herself into body building, the fast results she saw inspired her to take a more aggressive approach. Stephanie keeps her workout simple, tackling the same routine week by week. Her followers find it easy to follow along, as they can track their improvement over time. Stephanie’s goal is to inspire younger women who are new to fitness, crafting an approachable lifestyle that is perfectly suited for beginners.
#16 – Sami B
As an icon to healthy people all over the world, Sami interacts with her 800,000 followers through Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Although she was already competing when she began sharing her story, her fans have watched her achieve an incredible level of conditioning. Sami’s followers are often experienced with fitness, and looking for inspiration to target specific muscle groups and tweak their body to bring out certain traits. What stands out about Sami is that she opens a two-way dialogue with her followers. She recommends things that have worked for her, but also takes suggestions for supplements and diet. She’s viewed as a community leader, creating a lot of trust between herself and her fans.
#15 – Jen Heward
So much more than just a fitness icon, Jen is positioning herself as a one-stop-shop for all things health and fitness. Her workout routine is tweaked and updated on a weekly basis, and her fans follow along with her iPhone app. She also owns her own gym, where California residents can drop in for one of her famous classes. She represents her own brand of supplements, specifically tuned for her unique workouts. Jen’s fans appreciate that she has taken all of the guesswork out of fitness, giving her a lot of influence over her 800,000 followers.
#14 – Jillian Michaels
Jillian’s career started in 2004 when she starred in the NBC television show “The Biggest Loser.” Today, she runs one of the top fitness franchises in the world. Having one million followers on Instagram is impressive enough, but her fans have unparalleled levels of engagement on all of her posts. How can she accomplish this? She simply keeps her followers guessing. Her posts include inspirational quotes, detrox drinks, nutrition tips, product endorsements, and (of course) workout instructions. Covering the entire spectrum of health and fitness, Jillian refuses to restrict herself to a niche market.
#13 – Misty Copeland
Like many influencers, Misty guides her 1.3 million followers to lead a healthier life. But what stands out is her approach. Rather than body building, Misty promotes dance as an engaging way to get in tune with your body. She started ballet at the age of 13, becoming a star in only two short years. Surviving a turbulent childhood, Ballet became her outlet and life dedication. Today, she is a spokesperson and performer, sharing her gift with the world. Her message reaches 1.3 million followers, establishing her as the authority on physical and mental wellness through dance.
#12 – Cassey Ho
Between the Blogilates Instagram page and the Pop Pilates YouTube account, Cassey Ho reaches 4.9 million followers from all around the world. Her vision started simple, with the Pop Pilates videos providing fun, easy to follow Pilates instructions. With her Blogilates Instagram account, she’s expanded her influence to become an authority on all matters of health, lifestyle, and body image. While fitness is still the foundation of her message, her followers trust that she will actively guide them to embrace a happier, healthier life.
#11 – Anna Victoria
Born in California, Anna was always driven to experience life to the fullest. While living abroad, she improved her diet in order to address the sleep problems she was facing. At this time, her Instagram was simply a place for her to post motivational quotes. But as her dedication to a healthy lifestyle grew, her small list of followers began to notice her incredible transformation. Before too long, she was getting requests for tips or advice from her followers. Thanks to her informative, well thought out replies, she was able to grow her network to 1.3 million followers. Five years after she posted her first few tips, Anna now has guides and advice covering almost every aspect of personal fitness. But most importantly, she has a voice that everyone will listen to.
#10 – Nikki Blackketter
Nikki has always been committed. At 18, this self-proclaimed ‘party girl’ was lacking direction in life, and decided to make a change. She traded hangovers for a gym pass, and pushed herself as hard as possible. At first, she started posting her progress as a way to keep herself in-check. The encouragement of others helped her gain momentum, but as her transformation took shape the roles flipped. Today, she is the one offering advice and guidance to those who are looking to duplicate her progress. Her upbeat attitude and down-to-earth approach resonates strongly with the 1.4 million people that follow her.
#9 – Heidi Somers
As a natural Brunette, Heidi laments about the maintenance required to remain blonde. But the hours of hard work she puts in every day at the gym? For her, this is far from a nuisance – it’s a lifestyle. Fitness buffs can tune into her feed for their daily motivation. With shot after shot of Heidi giving it her all, she challenges her 1.4 million followers to keep up. Under her own brand, she promotes products that support her active lifestyle. As a trusted authority, her followers welcome her guidance into their everyday lives.
#8 – Katy Hearn
Today, she’s known as a guru of both fitness and health. But she started out like many of us, slowly learning the ropes and discovering what worked for her body. Thanks to her inspiring transformation, she’s one of the top 10 fitness trainers on Instagram. While her weight training, cardio, and plyometrics programs are highly intensive, she favors nutrition plans that keep things simple. But what stands out about her the most is that she engages her audience, taking the time to personally address questions and facilitate proper use of her products.
#7 – Emily Skye
Most famous for her “three second transformation,” Emily has established herself as one of the most honest and transparent fitness gurus on Instagram. Although taken only a few seconds apart, these photos show what a strong effect lighting and posture can have on the physical appearance of oneself. While she attempts to be neutral when possible, Emily isn’t afraid to share her opinion, and offers several beginner exercises designed to make the transition to fitness easy. A large portion of Emily’s fan base is new to fitness, creating opportunities for any company she chooses to partner with.
#6 – Jessica Arevalo
What attracts 2.3 million follows to Jessica’s account isn’t just the physical benefit of health and fitness, but the mental one. In a teary-eyed YouTube video, Jessica explains how she overcame crippling depression from her bad childhood through hard work and discipline. Jessica doesn’t just show her followers what is possible, but she gives them hope. For many, Jessica is a guiding light giving them the tools they need to overcome hardship. Jessica has the ability to resonate with her fanbase, and the tools she shares are embraced by many.
#5 – Kayla Itsines
Just one look at Kayla, and you’ll understand why so many women want to know her secret. Through her program “sweat with kayla,” she provides an easy to follow workout program that’s geared specifically for women. Unlike most workout programs on the market, this one isn’t easy. It isn’t quick either. You need to be pretty dedicated to follow along, and this has earned a cult-like following from her fans. Kayla regularly interacts with her fanbase, and these interactions have proven time and time again that they trust her opinion, and rely on her to guide them.
#4 – Anllela Sagra
Anllela’s fitness journey began as a bit of a rebellion. She pursued her degree in fashion design, giving her a quick segue into the world of modelling. She soon realized that the thin body modelling agencies looked for came at the pursuit of her health, and she gave up her career to focus on herself. With years of hard work, Anllela has a very deep understanding of what fitness routines help her, and what hinder her. Years of experience in the gym have helped her develop her own workout routines, which her 7.9 million followers embrace as their own.
#3 – Michelle Lewin
Just a hair shy of 10 million followers, Michelle embraces her position as one of Instagram’s fitness queens. While she’s smashed traditional standards for what women should strive to look like, she’s known for empowering her followers to embrace their potential. Unlike many fitness gurus, she isn’t selling the quick and easy way. Michelle knows that peak performance requires a properly balanced workout and an excellent diet. From meal prep companies to supplement brands, she’s been known to share what works for her, setting industry trends with ease.
#2 – Jen Selter
Jen’s body may have kick started her Instagram career, but it’s her unique approach to fitness that earned her over 10 million followers. Her workouts target the glutes, legs, and lower back, helping women to achieve the specific body type they’ve always wanted. But most importantly, her workouts are simple and easy to follow. While her pictures have a lot of artistic merit, they’re also highly analytical. She frames her workouts in a such a way that they’re easy to follow, and don’t take up much time during the day.
#1 – Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
In the mid-90s, Dwayne became famous under his ring-name “The Rock.” As a professional wrestler, being in peak physical shape was essential. He went on to become an actor, producer, and even a Canadian citizen! After years in the spotlight, Dwayne decided to move past the camera lens and reach out to his fans directly. Through Instagram, he regularly posts motivational videos, fitness tips, and workout routines. He’s been involved with the production and licensing of several “Rock” branded fitness products, partnering with companies like Under Armor. While he isn’t as actively involved in his community as some influencers, having a name that’s recognized in any household and 78 million followers puts him in another league.