The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness
This year in the world of fitness, health, and happiness, local food is at the forefront, TV doctors are ever-popular, everybody’s got a lifecoach, and the Governator is back. There are thousands of people working every day to revolutionize the way people think about health and wellness. When trying to determine the most powerful innovators in this space, we looked at several factors: social reach, the trends they’ve set, the products they’ve created, research they've contributed to, media coverage, and professional certifications and degrees they've attained (among a few other things). After many discussions (and way too much math), here are the 100 people we determined to be the most influential figures in fitness, health, and happiness this year. Wondering what last year's list looked like? Take a gander here.
1. Dr. Mehmet Oz, America's Doctor
Though he’s no wizard, Dr. Oz certainly is pretty magical. Since 2009, Oz has hosted his Emmy Award-winning show and amassed a huge fan following. Before that, he was the leading health expert on Oprah for more than five seasons. Though he’s conjured up some debate over his legitimacy and ties to controversial weight-loss and health products, Dr. Oz has influenced millions of viewers, readers of his magazine columns and bestselling books, and the medical community at large (Oz has published on topics ranging from cardiac surgery, to complementary medicine, to health care policy, among others). Oh, and in his free time, he performs heart surgeries. His next venture? A brand new lifestyle magazine due out early next year.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Then-and-Now Fitness Icon
He’s back! Last year, the Governator re-launched his website and released his autobiography, “Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story.” Though he’s had some glaring issues in his personal life, Schwarzenegger made a splash in the October issue of Muscle and Fitness (where he’s Executive Editor) when he showed that he's still got the burly muscles he's known for. At 66 years old, Schwarzenegger is as motivated as ever. He pumped out several films in 2013, including “The Escape Plan” with fellow fitness icon Sylvester Stallone. Somehow, between taking care of gubernatorial duties and speaking engagements, "The Oak" even managed to release his new line of nutrition supplements this fall.
3. Mark Bittman, The Vegan (and Writer) Before 6pm
As one of the most respected food and health journalists around, Bittman's work has spanned topics from super basic cooking techniques (like how to boil water... seriously) to global warming and food ethics. While the veteran New York Times writer could be considered an expert on gourmet food, his book, “How to Cook Everything,” provides readers with straightforward pantry-stocking skills, strategies for eating healthy away from home, and plenty of tips for home cooking. This past year, Bittman released his new book, “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00” which chronicled his decision to adopt healthier eating habits instead of going on medication for pre-diabetes. We can't wait to see what he cooks up next.
4. Michelle Obama, The First Lady of Kids' Health
Let’s get one thing straight: The First Lady is known for a whole lot more in the health and fitness space than just those incredible biceps (although we understand why people can’t stop talking about them). Obama is passionate about teaching children the importance of eating healthy and getting active through her Let’s Move initiative. This year, she appeared on Sesame Street to talk about the value of fruits and veggies and teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America for Drink Up, a campaign encouraging Americans to drink more water. More recently, the White House mom joined with the President to urge Americans to enroll for health care coverage in the wake of massive health care reform. This is one First Lady who's making a huge mark on the nation's health and wellness.
5. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent
As the chief medical correspondent for CNN, Gupta is a familiar face in living rooms all over the nation. A practicing neurosurgeon, he’s got enough medical chops and health know-how that President Obama even asked Gupta to be surgeon general during his first term. Though the doc declined, he’s done a lot to educate the public about the latest medical advances, global health news, and disaster relief while travelling the world to provide exclusive on-scene coverage. This year, Gupta stirred up controversy with "Weed," a new documentary in defense of medical marijuana that resulted in a Colorado pot dispensary naming a new strain after him. We're not sure whether that's flattering or not, but it does show that Gupta's influence is spreading like never before.
6. Tim Ferriss, Paragon of Efficiency
Referred to as the “4-Hour Man” Ferriss knows a thing or two about getting sh!t done — and fast. The superhuman has been offering up secrets to mastering efficiency and productivity for years with New York Times bestselling books including “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “The 4-Hour Body,” and "The 4-Hour Chef." His renowned blog is chock-full of lifehacking tips and tricks, though they may not be accessible to all readers (not everyone has the time, money, willpower, or connections Ferriss does). But to many, there’s something undeniably enticing about his way of life. That's why, in 2013, he became the star of his own TV show, "The Tim Ferriss Experiment," which follows the man as he attempts to master a new skill every week, from parkour to drumming in a rock band.
7. Jillian Michaels, The Butt-Kicking Workout Buddy
This tough-as-nails trainer is best known for her role on "The Biggest Loser," where she’s part butt-kicker, part lifestyle coach, and part weight-loss mentor. She’s a New York Times bestselling author, and you can also find her in dozens of fitness DVDs — and even video games. Though Michaels hit the headlines in 2013 for a less-than-stellar performance in the Malibu triathlon, she’s still inspiring others with her newly released workout DVD, "Yoga Inferno," and her “Maximize Your Life” speaking tour, which focuses on goal-setting, happiness-making, and harnessing potential.
8. Shaun Thompson, The Insane Trainer
While most people recognize this chiseled, as-seen-on-TV trainer as Shaun T, he does in fact have a last name. (It’s Thompson.) After dabbling in theater, television, and dance (ahem, he was a backup dancer for Mariah Carey), Thompson inched his way into fitness with the super-successful "Hip Hop Abs" program. Continuing his relationship with home fitness giant Beachbody, Thompson became a household name with his 60-day workout challenge, "Insanity" — considered one of the most challenging and effective home workout DVDs. Not one to step backwards, the likeable trainer upped the ante with two more (even harder) iterations of Insanity in 2011 and 2012. During a very busy 2013, Thompson decided to target people strapped for time with his "Focus T25," program, designed to cram in an hour’s worth of fitness results into 25 minutes. He also launched ShaunTFitness.com and the Shaun T Store, cementing his place as one of the biggest commercial fitness successes in history.
9. Michael Pollan, Mr. Food Rules
Since his groundbreaking book, "The Botany of Desire," was published in 2002, Michael Pollan has been challenging the way we think about food. His philosophy can be distilled to his 7-word mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” As an advocate for local and seasonal food (both for human and environmental health), Pollan has gained acclaim for his many books including "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto," and "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual." His latest work, “Cooked,” released in 2013, explores the role of four classical elements in cooking — fire, water, air, and earth — with lessons ranging from grilling and boiling to more complex ventures like fermentation. When it comes to agricultural policy and food writing, this guy is a big deal (and there’s no sign of him stopping any time soon).
10. Dr. Marion Nestle, Food Policy Mover-and-Shaker
With a Ph.D. in molecular biology and a Masters in Public Health, Nestle has made nutrition and food her passion. She’s published books on food politics for both humans and pets, and most recently covered all aspects of the humble calorie in her book, "Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics." She writes articles for The Atlantic in addition to almost-daily blog posts about food news, nutrition labels, and policy. This year she’s still going strong, lecturing on food politics at universities, book fairs, and libraries worldwide.
11. Dr. Drew Pinsky, The Doctor Who Puts Stuff Out There
When he’s not counseling reality television stars on "Teen Mom," this board-certified doc is busy with his self-titled podcast; nationally syndicated radio show, “Loveline;” and writing books such as the massively popular New York Times bestseller, "The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America." A few years back, Pinsky co-authored the first academic study on celebrities and narcissism, which drove a hefty amount of online coverage. After undergoing surgery for prostate cancer last year, a fully recovered Pinsky has spent much of the last year advocating for men’s health.
12. Jamie Oliver, The Healthy Change-Making Chef
This British chef first hit the scene as the energetic host of "The Naked Chef" in 1999. In the years following, Oliver capitalized on his fame by opening restaurants and publishing scores of cookbooks (including "Jamie's Food Revolution" and "Cook with Jamie"). Lately, he’s best known as an advocate for healthier cafeteria meals in schools in the U.S. and abroad. Though he’s gotten a bad rap for his in-your-face tenacity, the importance of his philanthropic missions to make people’s lives healthier and happier can't be overstated. He’s trained troubled youths to enter the restaurant business, raised awareness about ethical fishing, created the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, and received the 2010 TED prize for his many campaigns to create change on both individual and governmental levels. This year and next, Oliver’s foundation is on tour to improve health and spread food education with free training, basic home cooking classes, and recipes.
13. Dr. David Katz, Nutrition Trailblazer
You think your schedule’s packed? It’s probably a walk in the park compared to Katz’s daily duties. The board-certified preventative medicine expert founded and leads Yale University’s Prevention Research Center, serves as a clinical instructor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, is founder and President of the nonprofit Turn the Tide Foundation, is Editor-in-Chief of the medical journal Childhood Obesity, and regularly writes articles on nutrition and preventative health for publications as diverse as The New York Times and O the Oprah Magazine, among other accomplishments. Katz is also an inventor with several patents to his name, and is the mind behind the NuVal nutrition system (currently used in thousands of supermarkets across the country), which scores foods on a scale from 1-100 based on nutritional value to help consumers make healthier purchases.
14. Dr. Andrew Weil, Natural Health Educator
When treating health problems, many doctors slap a figurative a Band-Aid on the obvious problem and call it a day. Such is not the case at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where practitioners take a mind-body approach to wellness and where Dr. Weil is the director as well as a professor of medicine and public health. In addition to teaching, Dr. Weil runs Weil Lifestyle, a company that sells natural health products and services, and the non-profit Weil Foundation, which aims to educate the public, train healthcare professionals, and even change public policy to support preventative, holistic health care. He’s written hundreds of scientific articles and 13 books, including "True Food: Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure," which was published in late 2012.
15. Bob Harper, Trainer Extraordinaire
It was a busy year for this “The Biggest Loser” trainer. Harper published his third book, "Jumpstart to Skinny: The Simple 3-Week Plan for Supercharged Weight Loss," which elaborates on some of the themes and techniques first described in his 2012 book, "The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin." Both publications are part of Harper’s larger fitness empire, which includes workout DVDs, supplements, training programs, and motivational speaking. Since coming out as gay on "The Biggest Loser" this year, he's been an even larger source of inspiration for contestants struggling to accept and celebrate their own sexuality.
16. Bethenny Frankel, The Low-Cal Drink Girl
This former “Real Housewife of New York City” has successfully leveraged her show-biz experience into a full-blown career as a talk show host, blogger, businesswoman, and lifestyle guru. In 2013, Frankel enhanced her celebrity with her own television talk show, called “bethenny,” in which she covers everything wellness-related, from relationships, to food, to health, to beauty. This year, she also launched several new products for her SkinnyGirl line of low-calorie alcoholic beverages, including a whole line of wines, flavored vodkas, and several new cocktail mixes.
17. Dr. Deepak Chopra, The Ultimate Spiritual Guide
Got questions about your mental and physical health? Chopra may have some answers (or even more questions) for you. The author, holistic health advocate, and alternative medicine practitioner is all about challenging traditional Western ideas regarding health and medicine. Chopra’s website is a one-stop shop for those curious about alternative treatments — you can buy calming supplements, feng shui books, meditation videos, and more. He's also collaborated with the one and only Oprah to inspire and create a "global meditation community" via online meditation courses. In 2013, Chopra published several books, including "What Are You Hungry For?," "Brotherhood, God: A Story of Revelation," and "Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being."
18. Tony Horton, The P90X Guy
After developing the world-famous "P90X" workout plan and DVD, Tony Horton hardly rested on his laurels. He’s since developed dozens of exercise programs, including "P90X2," "10-Minute Trainer", and his most recent addition, "P90X3." To date, he's completed four tours with Armed Forces Entertainment, including his most recent, "Ripped and Ready," during which he traveled around the world to inspire members of the armed forces (and their families) to adopt fitness regimes geared specifically to them. He also manages ASH Fitness in Santa Monica, California, and has created a line of performance eyewear, written multiple books ("Bring It!: The Revolutionary Fitness Plan for All Levels that Burns Fat, Builds Muscle, and Shred Inches" and "Crush It!: Burn Fat, Build Muscle, and Shred Inches with the Ultra-Extreme Warrior's Workout"), and launched a line of exercise products, videos, and accessories.
19. Lisa Lillien, The Calorie-Cutting Cook
Lillien’s tagline says it all: “Hungry Girl is not a nutritionist. She’s just hungry.” From these humble beginnings, Lisa Lillien has created an empire (including a super-popular blog, a column on the Weight Watchers website, and her own show on Food Network) based on her unabashed love of food and her candid struggles with eating healthily. Lillien calls herself a “foodologist” because, although she lacks official credentials, she’s enthusiastic about eating and helping people stay healthy without ditching their favorite foods. Her website features healthy recipes, diet tips, and plenty of words of encouragement. Lillien is also the author of eight books (all of which were New York Times bestsellers); in 2013, she published "Hungry Girl 200 Under 200 Just Desserts: 200 Recipes Under 200 Calories."
20. Tony Robbins, Mr. Motivation
Self-help professional and motivational speaker Tony Robbins has made it his life goal to empower people to change their own lives. His programs, motivational speaking events, books, DVDs, and seminars aim to help people build strong relationships, be healthy for life, achieve professional success, find inner balance, and accomplish personal growth. His most popular seminars include titles like "Unleash the Power Within," "Ultimate Relationship," "Ultimate Edge," and "Business Mastery." Robbins also offers personal coaching services. In 2013, he released an e-book, "Re-Awaken the Giant Within," which is a follow-up to his 2007 self-help bestseller, "Awaken the Giant Within."
21. Rich Froning, The Fittest Man on Earth
Feeling pretty strong after that set of push-ups? Welcome to Rich Froning’s world. The CrossFit athlete has been named the “Fittest Man on Earth” after winning the CrossFit Games in 2011, 2012, and 2013. He is the first competitor ever to achieve that record at the Games. In 2012, Froning opened his own gym, CrossFit Mayhem, in Tennessee, where he works as the head coach. Froning has the credentials to back up his work: He's working toward his Masters in Exercise Science, is a certified Crossfit Level 1 instructor, and holds a certification in Crossfit Olympic Lifting. In 2013, he penned a memoir about his successes inside and outside the gym, entitled "First: What It Takes to Win."
22. Jeanette Jenkins, The Hollywood Trainer
With a roster of A-list clients including P!nk, Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Serena Williams, Kimora Lee Simmons, and even Olympic athlete Carmalita Jeter, Jenkins definitely has her hands full. In addition to training celebs, the fitness expert is the founder and President of the The Hollywood Trainer and has created a popular collection of fitness DVDs, written a book about staying fit ("The Hollywood Trainer Weight Loss Plan: 21 Days to Make Healthy Living a Lifetime Habit"), and appeared on shows such as The Today Show, the Dr. Oz Show, and Celebrity Fit Club. She’s contributed her exercise expertise to publications including USA Today, Fitness magazine (where she's served on the advisory board for 11 years), Shape, Health Magazine, Self, O Magazine, and dozens of other major print publications. This past year, Jenkins made time in her busy schedule to release a new exercise video, "Sexy Abs Cardio Sculpt," and be a featured trainer on the Nike Training Club app.
23. Mark Sisson, The Paleo King
Fancy yourself a modern-day caveman? Then head over to Sisson’s site, Mark’s Daily Apple, which has become a mecca for those interested in the Paleo lifestyle. There, Sisson espouses a down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach to health and fitness. With a super-active discussion forum, daily blog posts, workouts, and plenty of resources for “going primal,” Sisson’s site is the biggest Paleo resource on the web right now. His company, Primal Blueprint, offers coaching, nutritional supplements, nutritional counseling, and educational materials. This year, the prolific writer released his seventh book, "The Primal Connection: Follow Your Genetic Blueprint to Health and Happiness."
24. Joy Bauer, The TV Nutritionist
Eating nutritiously doesn’t have to be boring, as evidenced by Joy Bauer’s collection of vibrant, flavorful, and creative recipes. Bauer, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, shares her considerable knowledge with the world as the nutrition and health expert for "The TODAY Show;" she also hosts the program's "Joy Fit Club," among other regular series. In addition to her career on the small screen, Bauer writes daily blog posts, contributes articles to Woman’s Day and Fitness Magazine, stars in a popular YouTube series called "What the Heck Are You Eating?," and has published multiple books about diet and weight loss, including "The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan & Inspiration" and "Slim and Scrumptious." She somehow also finds time in her schedule to host RLTV's "Good Food, Good Deeds" and serve as the exclusive nutritionist for the New York City Ballet.
25. Eric Cressey, Strength Sensei
Any man with a gym named after him has got to be serious about fitness, right? Cressey Performance, an elite-level facility located outside Boston, is different from most health centers filled with treadmills, a weight rack, and little else. Cressey focuses on strength and conditioning — he has degrees and certifications in kinesiology, strength and conditioning, sports and fitness management, and exercise science. The certified coach uses his extensive knowledge to train elite athletes (especially professional baseball players) as well as contribute hundreds of articles to publications like Men’s Health, ESPN, The Boston Globe, and Triathlete Magazine. In October, Cressey released "The High Performance Handbook," a complete guide to strength and conditioning that includes programs for all levels of athletes, plus videos and nutrition plans.
26. John Romaniello, The Titan of Testosterone
The man better known as “Roman” had a very busy 2013: He got married, launched FitBox (a monthly subscription box jam-packed with fitness-related goodies), and (along with fellow Influencer Adam Bornstein) co-wrote his first book, "Engineering the Alpha," which debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List. The personal trainer's specialty is fat loss, and his cutting-edge techniques emphasize the importance of intermittent fasting and hormone manipulation. For those who have wondered if there's a shortcut to building muscle and burning fat, Roman's sneaky tricks to maximize testosterone and growth hormone might be the best place to start. These days, he's working on his next book, advising fitness startups, and training clients via his company, Roman Fitness Systems.
27. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, The Nutritarian
Joel Fuhrman is known for coining the word “nutritarian,” a person who’s more concerned with micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals) than with calories or macronutrients (like protein and carbohydrates). It’s indicative of Dr. Fuhrman’s overall approach to the science of food: If every calorie we eat is as nutrient-dense as possible, good health will follow. The family physician and former competitive figure skater has launched something of a movement in the health and fitness space, including three TV shows and several bestsellers, the most recent of which, “The End of Diabetes" The Eat to Live Plan to Prevent and Reverse Diabetes,” appeared on The New York Times Bestseller List. His most popular book, “Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss,” has sold over a million copies, and Fuhrman’s ultimate goal is to curb the obesity epidemic with diets made up almost entirely of fruits and vegetables. It certainly can't hurt!
28. Chris Kresser, Sherlock Health
Blogger, podcaster, and acupuncturist Chris Kresser is best known for his rigid skepticism of everything in the health industry: For this guy, anything is up for debate. He began his journey by taking nothing at face value, and his philosophy has resulted in a fascinating body of work that’s equal parts Eastern and Western, yoga and Paleo, herbs and integrative medicine. Kresser doesn’t advocate anything that’s not backed up with studies (what a greatist!) and his thorough, research-based methods have earned him enormous respect in the health and wellness industry. If you’ve ever wanted to hear about the benefits of acupuncture and Chinese medicine without any hippie B.S., Chris Kresser is the guy to talk to. This year, Kresser is out to help us burn fat, boost energy, and reverse disease with his new book, "Your Personal Paleo Code."
29. Tracy Anderson, Trainer to the Stars
Anderson doesn’t focus her brand on bulging biceps or twig-thin thighs — she’s all about creating the graceful strength and poise of a dancer. She has her own gyms in London, New York, and Los Angeles, and is also known for her line of workout DVDs and nutrition programs that can be customized for almost every kind of body type. But Anderson is probably most famous for training nearly every big name in Hollywood, including Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, and Gisele Bundchen. In 2013, she created Kim Kardashian’s post-pregnancy workout and teamed up with Gwyneth Paltrow to launch a webseries entitled “The Restart Project,” which is about women who have overcome adversity by improving their health and fitness.
30. Richard Simmons, Archduke of Aerobics
The undisputed king of aerobics videos and sequined tank tops, Richard Simmons is one of the first fitness personalities to be known for… well, his personality. Eccentric and energetic (energentric?), Simmons injected humor and inclusiveness into an industry populated by self-serious bodybuilders, and since his spandex-clad debut in the 80s, he’s even expanded into political activism. Simmons worked tirelessly to include a physical education component in the No Child Left Behind Act, and openly expressed frustration during the recent government shutdown (who didn’t?). In 2013, Simmons worked harder than ever, participating in Swim For Relief (which benefitted Hurricane Sandy victims) and even released his own single, “Hair Do.”
31. Wayne Dyer, The Father of Motivation
Often called “the father of motivation,” Dyer has written over 30 books to help people cure their neuroses, think more positively, and become more self-reliant. Having worked as a professor, author, and speaker, Dyer has an intimate knowledge of what makes people tick, and weaves spiritual and religious themes into much of his writing. He’s been called “New Age,” but Dyer just wants people to shed their guilt and explore their “higher self.” Whatever you think of his approach, it’s worked for a lot of people, and his PBS show, “Wishes Fulfilled,” is pretty popular on YouTube.
32. Tom Venuto, Master Fat Burner
This is no muscle-bound goon! The only way to be as lean and muscular as Tom Venuto is to have a profound understanding of the complex science that underpins nutrition and physiology. With a degree in exercise science, hundreds of published articles, and certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Venuto is the thinking man’s bodybuilder. He works as a trainer, nutrition consultant, and fitness model, but he’s best known for his book, “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle,” which also spawned a supportive online community, Burn the Fat Inner Circle. For those interested in the “why” behind bodybuilders’ results, this is the man to check out.
33. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, The Weight Doctor
Yoni Freedhoff is not afraid to speak his mind. His frank (and thoroughly researched) views on private and governmental health practices have made him something of a celebrity in the blogging world. Though he works full time as the medical director of Ottawa's Bariatric Medical Institute, it’s hard to go a week without seeing a Freedhoff op-ed in one media outlet or another (including Greatist!), and his personable, engaging style has resulted in an impressive following, an award-winning blog (Weighty Matters), and a tremendous platform from which he works to change the industry for the better. His book, "The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work," will be released in March.
34. Leo Babauta, Zen Master
Flawlessly marrying Eastern philosophies with modern self-help techniques, Leo Babauta is an accomplished author and productivity maven whose canon emphasizes a minimalist approach to life. Hack away at the inessential things in your life (aka physical and mental clutter), and Babauta believes that productivity will follow and procrastination will be a thing of the past. Zen Habits, his wildly popular blog, covers diverse subjects, from simplification to stress management, and deserves a thorough readthrough from anyone interested in honing their skills — all of them — to the best of their ability.
35. Gabrielle Bernstein, The Miracle Motivator
A self-help guru with a feminist bent, she's been called “the Dalai Lama for the Gossip Girl set” by the Huffington Post. It might be a little reductive, but then it can be hard to pin down Gabrielle Bernstein. She started her own successful public relations firm at age 21, but when she realized something was missing from her life, she left her business to become an author, motivational speaker, radio host, and something of a spiritual guide. It seems like it was the right move: She’s since become a New York Times bestselling author and one of Forbes’ Top 20 Best-Branded Women. In 2013, she released “May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness,” a book that outlines a brilliant 40-day plan to help anyone bring out their best self. Her newest book, “Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose,” will be released in April.
36. Dr. Frank Lipman, The Alternative Medicine Man
Frank Lipman believes most doctors are only playing with half a deck. The wholesale refusal of most healthcare practitioners to integrate Eastern medicine and healing practices into their work has resulted, he believes, in a completely lopsided approach — the South Africa-born doctor isn’t afraid to compare the forced separation of the two philosophies to apartheid. In fact, he’s not afraid of much. “Gluten and sugar are the devil” and “Junk food is modern day cigarettes,” are some of his strongest-held beliefs, and at Eleven Eleven (his alternative medicine practice), he encourages acupuncture (he’s a licensed practitioner), Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. He’s attracted clients like Arianna Huffington, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and his books “Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality, and Long-term Health,” and “Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again,” are must-reads.
37. Gary Taubes, The High-Fat Myth-Buster
Carbohydrates make us release insulin, and too much insulin is linked to fat storage. That’s the central theme of Gary Taubes' impressive breadth of work, which includes the sharply-written books, “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” and “Why We Get Fat.” As a freelance writer, he’s contributed to The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Slate, and the Atlantic Monthly, winning the National Association of Science Writers’ “Science-In-Society” award three times along the way. No stranger to controversy, Taubes strongly believes that fructose, rather than too many calories, is largely responsible for the obesity epidemic, and he recommends a diet that’s unusually high in healthy, appetite-curbing fats. In his quest to improve our health, he co-founded the Nutrition Science Initiative, an institution dedicated to improving the quality of science in nutrition and obesity research.
38. Ben Greenfield, The Balanced Triathlete
A man as interested in lean muscle gain as he is in holistic wellness, Ben Greenfield offers something for everyone. With multiple degrees in sports science and over nine years of experience coaching athletes in just about every sport on earth, Greenfield just wants you to be the best at what you like. That’s why he founded Human Wellness Solutions, a coaching company that uses cutting-edge techniques to optimize hormones, improve body composition, and boost performance in the fastest, safest way possible. A speaker, Ironman triathlete, and ex-bodybuilder, Greenfield is clearly a true showman. His media-rich website is an astounding reservoir of e-books, podcasts, videos, and articles. Like we said, something for everyone!
39. Dan Savage, Love and Sexpert
Dan Savage has made a career out of sharing his insights into romantic relationships — and making people feel better about whatever relationship weirdness they may be experiencing. He’s perhaps best known for his 23-year-old weekly newspaper column, “Savage Love,” in which he offers no-nonsense advice on everything from oral sex to polygamy. In 2010, Savage and his husband, Terry Miller, launched the It Gets Better Project, a series of inspirational Internet videos designed to help LGBTQ teens struggling with their sexuality and to reduce suicides among this demographic. To date, the project has inspired more than 50,000 user-submitted videos with a combined total of more than 50 million views.
40. Martin Rooney, The Fitness Warrior
This strength and conditioning all-star started out as a track and field athlete in college, and then a member of the U.S. Bobsled team from 1995 to 1997 and again in 2000. Since then, he’s joined the Training For Warriors Foundation, where he shares his expert skills in Mixed Martial Arts and trains professional fighters across the globe. He’s also worked as the strength and conditioning consultant to sports teams including the New York Giants, has trained numerous Olympic athletes, and developed one of the top NFL Combine training programs. Rooney, who has a Masters in Health Science, continues to keep his brain as jacked as his bod by publishing books on strength training and delivering lectures on fitness around the world.
41. Dr. Phil McGraw, The Original TV Ph.D.
It’s hard to grow up in an American, television-watching family without coming across Dr. Phil giving advice to someone who’s been bullied, stuck in a bad relationship, or dealing with depression. Since the doctor’s face first appeared on TV more than a decade ago, he’s taught the American public about psychology by inviting guests onto his show and walking them through how to deal with their emotional struggles. But his mental health empire extends beyond his powerhouse show. Dr. Phil’s also written a number of bestselling books on psychology, and frequently shares his insights on major news outlets including "Anderson Cooper 360" and "Good Morning America." In 2003, he founded the Dr. Phil Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged children and families.
42. Tara Parker-Pope, The Ultimate Health Journalist
The main voice behind The New York Times’ Well blog, Tara Parker-Pope has generated an active readership for her articles, which explore new and controversial issues in health and wellness. In the past few months, she’s tackled topics including cancer treatment, weight bias, and the benefits of eating organic. She also appears regularly on radio and television programs, including "Good Morning America" and CNN, and is the author of several books on subjects including the history of the cigarette industry and the science behind successful marriages.
43. Robb Wolf, Chief of the Cavemen
One of the best-known names behind the Paleo movement, Robb Wolf advocates for what some might call a “caveman diet” consisting of food that our ancestors (presumably) ate. While he started out as a research biochemist, Wolf’s since made major inroads into the world of health and fitness thanks to his top-ranked podcast, "Paleo Solution," regular seminars, and his 2010 book, "The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet." He's co-founder of the journal The Performance Menu, has served as a review editor for the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, and is co-owner of the top-ranked gym, NorCal Strength and Conditioning. Wolf is also a former California State Powerlifting Champion, and today he coaches professional athletes, from MMA fighters to rowers. His blog mostly features posts from other authors on topics ranging from dealing with multiple sclerosis to prepping for holiday meals.
44. Dr. John Berardi, Nutritionist of the Athletes
John Berardi has dedicated his life to learning more about the science of health and fitness from as many angles as possible. He currently runs Precision Nutrition, a web-based nutrition coaching company that connects clients to researchers and coaches. Berardi, who holds a Ph.D in sport nutrition, also delivers lectures around the world, developed the Lean Eating Coaching Program, and teaches courses in exercise science and nutrition, among other topics, at the University of Texas and Eastern Michigan University. Readers can follow the evolution of his research by reading his blog, where he answers questions about getting and staying in shape, or by perusing one of his published works, like the "Precision Nutrition System."
45. Adam Bornstein, Fitness Engineer
The former Editorial Director of Livestrong.com and Fitness Editor at Men's Health, Adam Bornstein is passionate about helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. His research and writing has been featured in outlets including Men’s Health, Shape, and even Greatist. In 2013, he co-authored (along with John Romaniello, number 26 on this list) "Engineering the Alpha," which covers everything from burning fat to having more satisfying sex. On his blog, Born Fitness, he features workouts and recipes (healthy pumpkin pie, anyone?) and answers reader questions about eating and exercise.
46. Brad Pilon, Expert of Not Eating
Though Brad Pilon says he spent his adolescence watching "The Incredible Hulk," his interest in fitness errs a little more on the science-y side. He spent six years climbing the ladder in the supplement industry, but these days Pilon uses his keen mind (and multiple nutrition degrees) to research and advocate for the benefits of short-term (or "intermittent") fasting; he explores these ideas in his best-known book, "Eat Stop Eat." Always happy to challenge "common knowledge," his blog uses cutting-edge scientific research to debunk long-held health and wellness myths, particularly misconceptions about fasting and the idea that we require huge amounts of protein to build muscle. His "do what works for you" approach and zen style of writing has earned him a loyal following and tremendous respect in the industry.
47. Joshua Rosenthal, Holistic Health Food Visionary
The founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, Joshua Rosenthal believes changing what people eat is the first step to helping them feel happier and healthier. The “2020 mission” embodies his goal of learning more about the way food affects our lives by the year 2020. At the Institute, Rosenthal and other instructors (including Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra) train health coaches, chefs, and anyone else interested in holistic living by teaching hundreds of different theories about health and nutrition.
48. Mike Reinold, Injury Whisperer
The former Head Athletic Trainer and physical therapist for the Boston Red Sox, Mike Reinold now runs a private practice in Boston. His specialty is helping professional athletes recover from injury and return to peak performance, with a special focus on baseball players. When he’s not on the field, Reinold can be found in the lab or the library, doing research and editing books on health and fitness. Reinold’s eager to share his knowledge, both as a Greatist Expert and as a blogger, by writing about issues from physical therapy to rehab exercises for specific body parts.
49. Mike Boyle, Innovative Strength Builder
He may be the strength and conditioning consultant for the Boston Red Sox and the founder of an elite athletic facility, but Mike Boyle’s philosophy can be summed up in a single word: “KISS.” That’s “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” At Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning in Boston, he helps people achieve a range of goals related to sports performance and weight management, and trains professional athletes using somewhat unconventional equipment like multi-use turf and plyo boards.
50. Jen Sinkler, Rugby-Player-Turned-Writer Next Door
Jen Sinkler is an all-around kind of gal. A former rugby player who never leaves the house without lip gloss, she helps readers achieve health and happiness from the inside out. On her website, Thrive with Jen Sinkler, she dishes on everything from cultural attitudes toward fitness (“Strong isn’t really the new skinny/sexy”) and what it means to eat intuitively. Her “Thrival Guide” includes deets on recipes, workouts, and even cool workout gear. We're such big fans, we even included Sinkler on our list of must-read trainers.
51. Dean Ornish, Proponent for Preventive Health
Dean Ornish is a firm believer in the idea that a healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset of long-term health issues such as heart disease and cancer. In 1984, he founded the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, an organization dedicated to studying the way diet and lifestyle choices affect health and disease. Since then he’s conducted studies suggesting that a plant-based diet, moderate exercise, and stress management can help prevent serious medical problems. The author of several bestselling books on everything from cooking to romance, Ornish also writes regularly for Newsweek and Reader’s Digest and is the Huffington Post’s medical editor.
52. Gretchen Rubin, Happiness Heroine
The list of things that make Gretchen Rubin happy is by now well known. In her bestselling books, "The Happiness Project" and "Happier at Home," the author embarks on missions to improve her life via tactics such as spending more quality time with her family, reading children’s literature, and cutting out candy from her diet. Rubin currently runs the Happiness Project blog, where she shares tidbits from her own day-to-day life in New York City and posts videos answering readers’ most pressing questions. Rubin’s fans can share their love by joining one of the Happiness Project groups across the country and starting a personal plan to get happier.
53. Craig Ballantyne, The Turbulence Trainer
Craig Ballantyne is about as in favor of burning fat and building muscle as he is against spending a ton of time to get results. A certified strength and conditioning specialist, Ballantyne developed Turbulence Training to help people meet their fitness goals in just three under-one-hour workouts per week. Specifically, his program emphasizes interval workouts of bodyweight exercises. Earlier this year, Ballantyne released "The Home Workout Revolution," an at-home exercise program complete with nutrition guidance. He has been blogging since 2006, and in 2013, began writing the Men's Health blog, “Belly Off! Meet the Trainer."
54. John Sharp, Mood Mentor
If you’re someone who can track your moods by season — getting the blues in winter, getting anxious in anticipation of a new school year, or being buoyed by the start of a new sports season — Dr. John Sharp’s work might interest you. His 2011 book, "The Emotional Calendar," explores how seasonal changes and cultural events shape our lives and mental health. He's a practicing neuropsychiatrist and has been named one of the Best Doctors in America every every year since 2008. You may also know him from his popular Twitter account or recognize him from his various media appearances: He’s been featured on on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "Rehab with Dr. Drew." (Plus, he's a Greatist Expert.)
55. Bret Contreras, The Glute Guy
When it comes to better butts, Bret Contreras is your guy. Considered by many to be the world’s leading expert on how to built stronger glutes, Bret Contreras is a fitness writer, researcher, and trainer with over 15 years of experience. He has written volumes on training for strength, speed, power, and, of course, techniques to strengthen glutes. Contreras maintains a popular strength and conditioning blog, runs the membership site Get Glutes, and, in September 2013, released the Hip Thruster, self-described as "the premier tool for gluteal scuplting." And in 2013, he releasted a new book — "Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body." Though already something of an encyclopedia on all things glutes and fitness, Contreras is currently working on earning a doctorate in Sports Science.
56. Tony Gaskins Jr.,"Lead by Example" Motivato“
From pain to purpose,” reads Tony Gaskins, Jr.'s Twitter bio. It's a neat way to sum up how Gaskins became a drug dealer and petty thief and acquired $30,000 in debt in his early twenties before turning his life around. Once he met and married his wife and rededicated himself to the teachings of the Bible, Gaskins became a motivational speaker. He has since become a popular author, lecturer, and life coach who offers guidance on relationships, business, and self-improvement.
57. Jason Ferruggia, Fitness Renegade
There’s no better way to sum up Jason Ferruggia than with this quote from his own website: “Jason Ferruggia has been called, ‘The world’s greatest strength coach,’ and ‘the most handsome man in fitness.’ Both by his mom.” Ferruggia’s playful sense of humor is unmistakable, but he’s dead serious about helping people break out of boring fitness routines. After a sickness sidelined him for several months when he was in college, Ferruggia studied everything he could about strength training. He started working with clients to test and tweak the programming he developed, eventually opening his own gym in New Jersey. Renegade Strength and Conditioning, the self-proclaimed “Anti-Boot Camp Gym” is now a popular training center for all kinds of athletes and everyday exercisers. Ferruggia also maintains a popular blog about strength training and fitness and has been featured in Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, and FastCompany.
58. Shiva Rea, Vinyasa Visionary
This beloved yogini and instructor has been called the “Madonna of yoga" and is the creator of the vinyasa-based Prana Flow style of yoga. Rea provides Prana Flow classes and teacher training, leads retreats, and has several instructional DVDs under her belt. She also writes for and contributes to a number of yoga publications. With Prana Flow schools and teachers all over the world, an enthusiastic community of practitioners, and a catalog of instructional DVDs to her name, Rea has become a leading yoga teacher and visionary.
59. Todd Durkin, Muscle Maker
Between his 40 instructional DVDs, training thousands of clients at his San Diego gym, Fitness Quest 10, and the work he’s done with Olympic medalists and professional athletes, it’s no wonder Todd Durkin has been named trainer of the year by two different fitness associations. In 2013, both Men's Health and Women's Health named Fitness Quest 10 one of America's top gyms. Durkin’s 10-week fitness program, "IMPACT! Body Plan," is based on what he calls the “Muscle Matrix,” a seven-step approach that Durkin has used with elite athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone in between. His programming reflects his belief that fitness should be as creative and fun as it is challenging. As the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, Durkin helps the company develop training apparel and programs. He also provides motivational lectures, workshops, and teambuilding programs to companies across the country.
60. Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Supplements
Dr. Mercola is as controversial as he is popular when it comes to all things health and nutrition. His views on a variety of topics (that vaccinations are dangerous and HIV might not cause AIDS, for example) make him a divisive figure. A board-certified family medicine doctor trained in both traditional and natural medicine, Mercola is an outspoken critic of the mainstream medical establishment and a proponent of managing health and wellness with holistic medicine. His bestselling book "The No-Grain Diet" was a New York Times bestseller that aimed to illuminate why grains and sugar are “public enemy number one.” Dr. Mercola is also known for his vast line of products (the FDA has reprimanded Mercola for making false claims about some of these products), which includes vitamins, dietary supplements, and items for pets, homes, and fitness.
61. Dr. Mike Roizen, Accomplished Internist
Anesthesiologist and internist Mike Roizen is a longtime mover-and-shaker in the world of health and nutrition. Before joining the Dr. Oz Show as the Chief Medical Consultant, Roizen was the chair of the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, a former editor of six medical journals, and author. With Dr. Oz, Dr. Roizen co-authored the YOU series, a set of books that provide information and guidance on a variety of topics in health, fitness, and wellness. Dr. Roizen co-founded RealAge.com, a series of tests that assess health and determine risk for a variety of physical and mental health conditions. He's also the chair of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
62. Martha Beck, Life-Coaching Hero
Martha Beck knows a thing or two about making tough choices in pursuit of a more fulfilling life. While on a longtime path toward a career in academia, Beck, a Harvard-trained sociologist, shifted gears completely to become a life coach and author. Her popular self-help books and essays in O, The Oprah Magazine speak to everything from religion and spirituality to child-rearing and relationships. Beck founded her own life coach training program, providing professional education and certification to aspiring life coaches. This year, she self-published "The Martha Beck Collection: Essays on Creating Your Right Life," which collects her most popular columns from O. One of America’s most beloved life coaches, Beck practices what she preaches in terms of fearlessness in the face of difficult life choices: The lifelong member of the Church of Latter Day Saints left her church in 1993 after a series of ideological disputes, and she and her husband both came out as gay in the early 2000s.
63. Kris Carr, Wellness Muse
Wellness activist and self-described “cancer thriver,” Kris Carr is a bestselling author whose “Crazy Sexy” media empire includes books, DVDs, a documentary, and motivational programs. After being diagnosed with a rare, incurable cancer in 2003, Carr changed her life completely and battled the disease by seeking a more nourishing diet and lifestyle. Having gone from “cancer diagnosis to gorgeous, love-a-go-go living,” Carr advocates getting away from the standard american diet and lifestyle and moving towards a low-glycemic, vegan diet that features juicing and techniques to reduce stress. Having earned praise and respect from stars and well-known medical professionals, Carr has become an inspirational wellness celebrity in her own right.
64. Nate Miyaki, Fitness Samurai
A former stuntman and professional wrestler once who went by "The Kamikaze Kid," Nate Miyaki is now a certified personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur whose against-the-grain philosophies have become the cornerstone of his popular wellness programming. He is a proponent of intermittent fasting and working out not for fat loss, but to build muscle. With strong views on nutrition — his new book, "Feast Your Fat Away," explains how starchy white carbs and intermittent fasting are the keys to his shredded physique — Miyaki has built a loyal following.
65. Bart Yasso, Mayor of Running
The Chief Running Officer (CRO) at Runner’s World for nearly three (count ‘em) decades, Yasso knows a thing or two about hitting the trail. He invented the Yaso 800s, a marathon training schedule used by runners worldwide, and played a big role in developing the Runner’s World Race Sponsorship Program, which helps fund and support more than 7,000 local races that represent over 4 million runners each year. He’s also an inductee into the Running USA Hall of Champions and an accomplished cyclist and Ironman triathlete. Yasso is also the author of “My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon” — a chronicle of his tribulations and triumphs in more than 1,000 competitive races.
66. Layne Norton, Chief Physique Architect
A self-described “physique architect," bodybuilding coach, and Professional Powerlifter, Layne Norton works to obtain maximum physical results for his clients via natural forms of nutrition, training, and supplements. The musclebound 32-year-old boasts an impressive bodybuilding and powerlifting career, but lest you think his head is also made of meat, just check out his slew of scientific publications — he’s got a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences and writes regularly on topics pertaining to muscle damage and repair. His coaching skills are in high demand, and he’s trained some of the best and fittest bodybuilders and fitness models using natural, science-backed methods.
67. Martin Berkhan, High Priest of Intermittent Fasting
Martin Berkhan is a nutritional consultant, writer, personal trainer, and mastermind behind Leangains, the Internet’s leading resource on intermittent fasting (IF). Berkhan has been a huge driver behind the increasing popularity of IF, directly attacking outdated fitness and nutrition science like the "frequent feeding" model and the notion that fasting slows the metabolism. His popular regimen, tailored to building muscle and strength, promotes 16 hours of fasting every day followed by an eight-hour "feeding window," which, for most people, means simply skipping breakfast. His no-nonsense attitude toward fitness, nutrition, and personal growth has earned him a devoted following.
68. Alwyn Cosgrove, The Trusted Trainer
When he says “jump,” his readers (and clients) follow: Alwyn Cosgrove is one of the most trusted names in the health and fitness space. He’s an active fitness trainer and consultant and writes regularly on topics that range from body composition, to the philosophies behind physical training, to the business of fitness and performance — influencing the next generation of trainers in the process. He’s the owner of Results Fitness (twice named one of America’s top gyms by Men’s Health magazine) and co-author of three books in the “New Rules of Lifting” series. He's also well-loved for being highly engaged with his followers, answering training questions through Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis.
69. William Broad, Wellness Wordsmith
American science journalist, author, and Senior Writer for The New York Times, Broad’s research made headlines last year with the release of his latest book, “The Science of Yoga," which shed light on yoga’s rewards as well as its risks. The book caused a stir within the yoga community, inspiring a renewed focus on proper alignment and injury prevention in the process. His books and awards (including two Pulitzer Prizes) are indicative of his desire to illuminate the way scientific innovations affect society as a whole, in both positive and negative ways. Never one to fear controversy, he tweets regularly about scientific developments and their implications for human and societal health, and his regular Times columns are always must-reads.
70. Cassey Ho, Pilates Popstar
Certified fitness instructor and creator of POP Pilates, Ho is devoted to teaching people all over the world how to live their best lives. While studying Biology at Whittier College, Ho became certified as a Pilates instructor and immediately fell in love with the practice. Soon afterward, she developed the idea for POP Pilates, which has a big focus on music in its energizing instructional videos. Thanks to her YouTube channel and popular blog, Ho quickly gained internet fame, and took the opportunity founder oGorgeous, a line of fitness and yoga accessories for the fashion-conscious.
71. Tara Stiles, The Yogi of the Future
Dubbed a “Yoga Rebel” by the New York Times, Stiles has made a name for herself around the world thanks to her fun, accessible approach to yoga and wellbeing. She’s the founder and owner of Strala Yoga, a New York studio (and soon-to-be global franchise) known for its welcoming, down-to-earth attitude. Thanks to a partnership with Sports Club LA, Stiles made Strala classes the first branded yoga program available at a major gym chain. The very busy former dancer and model designed Reebok’s yoga lifestyle range, has a custom-labeled street wear collection with Wool and the Gang, and wrote the best-selling books “Yoga Cures” and “Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga.”
72. Brett Hoebel, The Well-Rounded Trainer
Certified trainer Brett Hoebel’s most notorious claim to fame is probably his work as a trainer on season 11 of “The Biggest Loser” — but he’s so much more than a TV personality. Sure, he's served as a health expert on The Food Network’s “Fat Chef," and is currently a lead judge on “Fit or Flop: The Search for America’s Next Fitness Star.” But Hoebel can't leave behind is passion for training: He still works as the founder of Hoebel Fitness, which takes a mind-body approach to healthy living, and has created at-home DVD workout programs “RevAbs” and “20 Minute Body.” His integrative philosophy stems from his background in Eastern and Western fitness disciplines, which includes martial arts training in capoeira and Muay Thai boxing.
73. Kathryn Budig, The Everywhere Yogi
Internationally known yoga teacher, author, and creator of the “Aim True Yoga” DVD, Kathryn Budig has her hands in virtually every aspect of healthy living. The yoga expert for Women’s Health magazine, Budig also writes for The Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, and Gaiam, among others, and is the author of The Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga. Her DVDs line the shelves of stores across the country, and she serves as the face of Yogaglo.com, a hub for more than 1,000 online yoga classes. For Budig, yoga is always about giving back — she cofounded “Poses for Paws,” an organization that raises money for animal shelters through yoga, to put the compassionate side of yoga into practice.
74. Diamond Dallas Page, The Unexpected Yogi
Fitness instructor, actor, and retired pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page made a name for himself during his tenures with World Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation, and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. But he’s hardly settled down since retirement. Instead, Page is the mastermind behind DDP Yoga (formerly the YRG Fitness System), a hybrid workout that mixes traditional yoga with resistance and power moves for a more challenging physical workout. Today, the program is used by professional football players, wrestlers, MMA fighters, and ordinary people seeking to improve their cardiovascular performance without over-stressing the body’s joints. Page’s programs are responsible for the transformation of disabled veteran Arthur Boorman, whose fitness evolution went viral — generating over 10 million views and inspiring viewers to change their own lives.
75. Jenny Hadfield, Running Realist
Personal trainer and running and fitness expert Jenny Hadfield is devoted to helping everyday people run better and love life more. She reaches thousands of readers via her weekly column on RunnersWorld.com, her monthly column in Women’s Running Magazine, and her website. The author of “Running for Mortals” and “Marathoning for Mortals,” Hadfield is regularly featured in publications including Women’s Health, Prevention, and Outside. After building multiple running and multi-sport training companies, Hadfield has refocused on her coaching practice and on teaching as many people as possible that they can accomplish amazing things.
76. Dr. Mark Hyman, The Functional Medicine Man
Physician and author Mark Hyman is devoted to addressing the root causes of chronic illness through an integrative approach to medicine, and he founded the Institute for Functional Medicine to help spread this mission around the world. Author of the 2012 Number-one New York Times Bestseller “The Blood Sugar Solution” (and six-time New York Times bestselling author), Hyman is also the medical editor for Huffington Post, serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Doctor Oz Show and on the Board of Directors of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, is the founder and Medical Director of The UltraWellness Center in Massachusetts, and volunteers for Partners in Health. He works with Memhet Oz on HealthCorps, which aims to tackle obesity by educating American students about nutrition and fitness. A tremendous influence in national and community health interventions (though no stranger to controversy), Hyman’s efforts to help solve health epidemics around the world are helping to popularize a comprehensive approach to health.
77. Rachel Cosgrove, Female Fitness Master
Author of "The Female Body Breakthrough," Cosgrove is recognized as an informative and inspiring fitness coach, whose work includes writing for Women’s Health Magazine, contributing to the Big Book of Exercises, and Look Better Naked. At her gym, Results Fitness (voted one of the nation’s best), Cosgrove challenges women to ditch the cardio-exclusive gym sessions and embrace the benefits of weightlifting. This year was an important one for Cosgrove — she published her second book, "Drop Two Sizes," which maintains her fitness philosophy to “meet people where they are.” However, criticism of the book’s title and cover model marred its debut. Cosgrove responded to the criticism in the best way possible—by asking critics not to judge a book by its cover.
78. Gina Kolata, The Voice of Science Journalism
Gina Kolata is the New York Time’s go-to journalist for all things health and science. (She’s also a Pulitzer prize finalist, no big deal.) A greatist before Greatist even existed, Gina’s work debunks poplar fad diets and explains how our bodies really work, especially in the books "Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Exercise and Health," and "Rethinking Thin: The Science of Weight Loss — and the Myths and Realities of Dieting." In her daily work at The New York Times, she remains a formidable source of knowledge or insight about the problems, issues, and solutions facing American health. This year, Kolata edited The New York Times Book of Mathematics, and her work covering cancer research continues to make waves within the health community.
79. Steve Kamb, The Fittest Nerd
Steve Kamb is the leader of a revolution that enables the average Joe and Jill to learn how to be healthy. Founder of NerdFitness.com, Kamb fosters an online community of 23,000 who work together and support each other through a series of open forums and challenges. Written in language familiar to any gamer (there are at least four Hobbit and Zelda references in the introductory post alone), the central pillar of the site are six-week challenges, whereby users — kindly referred to as "rebels" — set goals and gain points according to their success. In January 2014, the website will launch two fitness guides, “Men’s Fitness 101” and “Women’s Fitness 101," self-paced courses that guide users to adopt healthier habits and fitness routines.
80. Mark Fisher, The Ninja of Broadway
As a skinny New Jersey kid, Mark Fisher didn’t start working out at a gym until he was 18 years old. Today he’s reinventing what a “gym” means — and maybe even building the best one ever. Infusing indisputable fitness credibility with fun, his Mark Fisher Fitness has become one of the hottest gyms in the country. The NY Post may call him “the second coming of fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne, only cooler — and with sequins,” but what really makes Mark Fisher stand out (besides the glittery vests, hot pants, superhero capes, and Broadway clients) is remarkable innovation in building a gym culture that people just love. It’s not an accident, and it’s only the beginning of a trend in which people go to the gym (or “Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams,” if that’s their thing) not because they have to, but because they want to.
81. Elena Brower, The Grateful Yogi
Looking for inner peace and self-awareness? Look no further than Elena Brower, one of New York’s go-to yoga experts, and the author of "Art of Attention." Founder of the immensely popular Virayoga, Brower has been teaching yoga for more than 15 years, and focuses her teachings on the ability of yoga to de-clutter the mind. In addition to her worldwide workshops, Brower contributes to YogaGlo.com and works with the HandelGroup (which offers life coaching services). Recently, Brower joined up with Pangea Organics (a fair trade and organic skincare line) and is an executive producer of an upcoming documentary, "On Meditation," about the healing power of yoga.
82. Beto Perez, Chief Booty Shaker
Loved by celebrities and soccer moms alike, Beto Perez's uber-popular Zumba workouts combine choreography, cardio, and resistance moves with high energy music. A trainer and choreographer in his native Columbia, Perez moved to the United States in 2001 with the dream of creating a fitness empire. And he's made it happen: Perez expanded his original Zumba program to include 10 different courses, a clothing line, a magazine, video games, and albums for 14 million practitioners in more than 185 countries. In addition to inspiring millions to work up a sweat, Perez partnered with the Susan G. Komen foundation last year to produce "Party in Pink," a nationwide Zumba events with a goal of raising $1 million for breast cancer prevention.
83. Jonathan Fields, Good Life Champion
Jonathan Fields is a former lawyer, serial entrepreneur, popular blogger, and acclaimed author. But today, he leads a movement. This year, his Good Life Project, which features people living life on their own terms, hit the big time. Its primary offering is a weekly web-show hosted by Fields, during which he interviews people such as journalist Mitch Joel, fellow influencer Leo Babauta, and graphic design superstar Milton Glaser about living, well, the good life. But it’s only the beginning: Fields is on a mission to not only inspire people to take risks and build revolutionary companies and products, but also do those things with purpose and meaning — and he’s got one hell of a head start.
84. Neghar Fonooni, The Empress of Empowerment
Trainer, writer, fitness model, veteran, entrepreneur, girl-power advocate — Naghar Fonooni holds many titles. And she knows her stuff in terms of fitness, too. A trainer for 13 years, Fonooni recently channeled her expertise into a network of wellness blogs for women. Her blog Eat, Lift and be Happy, offers recipes, helpful workout tips, and motivational advice, while her work with Girls Gone Strong provides free guidance to women of all fitness backgrounds. Fonooni recently launched an exclusive, six-month online coaching group, where she provides health and fitness guidance to women.
85. Ian Kerner, Chief Sexpert
If you wanted to know anything about sex, Ian Kerner is your go-to man. A sex and relationship expert and author of "She Comes First," "Passionista," and "Sex Recharge," among others, Kerner also writes a column for CNN.com, appears on variety of television panels, and founded the website GoodInBed.com. His belief that sex is an important — and often ignored — aspect of health led him to develop the website, which features expert-approved articles covering an array of sex-related topics and questions. The popular sex and relationship website now publishes "Good in Bed Guides," which provide expert-backed advice and can be easily (and affordably) downloaded to any smartphone.
86. Kelly Starrett, Mr. Mobility
Creator of the popular blog MobilityWOD, Kelly Starrett knows his fitness facts — and even more about preventing and treating injuries. Designed to help athletes problem-solve their issues and get a jump-start on recovery, MobilityWOD provides well-researched, scientifically supported articles and videos. In addition to contributing to Inside Triathlon, Details magazine, and the Crossfit Journal, Starrett developed the Movement and Mobility Trainer Course, which teaches coaches and athletes how to predict and prevent movement-related injuries. Starret travels frequently to present his course to trainers and companies. In 2013, he published his first book, “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” a guide to maintaining the body's mobility and troubleshooting common errors.
87. BJ Fogg, The Professor of Persuasion
For 16 years, psychologist BJ Fogg has directed research and design for Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab — and today, he’s among the most influential voices impacting how technology is designed to change people’s behaviors. Adding to his experience is both a genuine passion for how behavior works and a unique sense of humor. Fogg’s intensive Persuasion Boot Camp, regular speaking gigs at major conferences, and his Tiny Habits program have made his behavior model more relevant than ever before. His revolutionary approach to changing people’s habits has been especially embraced by many of today’s health startups.
88. Lauren Fleshman, The Loveable Postergirl for Running
After earning state championships, an array of NCAA and national accolades, and breaking records for Team USA, Lauren Fleshman knows running. What she also understands is that the road to fitness success isn’t perfect — setbacks, injuries, and bad luck can throw a wrench in even the most well-planned goals. On her blog, Ask Lauren Fleshman, the world-class athlete preaches that it’s often attitude, and the ability to adapt, that makes all the difference. Answering questions about training, eating disorders, and coming back from injuries, Fleshman’s blog offers an honest and personal guide for runners and fitness enthusiasts alike. Fleshmen won legions of fans this year when she posted pictures of her untoned postpartum body online to demonstrate that nobody (not even World Champions who run 4.23 minute miles) is perfect.
89. Dr. Jay Parkinson, The Doctor of the Future
Dr. Jay Parkinson believes it’s time to rethink health — and that healthcare change starts with young doctors and the Internet. And he may just be the best example of practicing what he preaches. In 2007, Gawker dubbed Parkinson “Williamsburg’s hipster doctor” for his neighborhood medical practice in which he interacted with patients via text and email. In 2009, Fast Company called him “The Doctor of the Future" in part because of his second company, Myca’s Hello Health, which launched a “social networks for doctors.” Most recently, The New York Times called him “perhaps the most prominent of the [New York]’s 2.0 doctors” thanks to his latest startup, Sherpaa, a virtual doctor’s office for employers that boasts big-name clients including Tumblr, Skillshare, and (full disclosure) Greatist. On his thought-provoking and popular Tumblr, Parkinson writes about how honest, creative, and design-focused thinking can change health — and then actually does it.
90. Dr. Michael Mantell, The Doctor of Behavior Change
Clinical psychologist and behavioral sciences coach Michael Mantell is one impressive human being. He’s worked as the Chief Behavioral Scientist for Anytime Fitness, served as Chief Psychologist for San Diego’s Police Department, taught on the clinical faculty of University of California San Diego’s Department of Psychiatry, contributed weekly segments to Fox 5 News, and appeared regularly on TV shows from "Oprah" to "Good Morning America." Today, he’s the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, on the faculty at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, and a Greatist Expert and contributor. He maintains a super active presence on Twitter — two accounts — and has even been nominated for an Emmy. Most importantly, though, he’s one of the biggest champions of the idea that health is ultimately about happiness and that the answer to motivation isn’t external, but internal.
91. Alan Aragon, The Sultan of Science
In his 20 years of experience, Alan Aragon has likely influenced more people on this list than anyone else. He’s a continuing education provider for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a nutrition advisor to Men’s Health, and an indisputable fitness and nutrition titan. His so-called “nerdy obsession,” Alan Aragon’s Research Review (AARR), is a monthly analysis of recent scientific research on nutrition, training, and supplementation that includes practical takeaways. Its innovative $10 per month subscription pricing model serves professionals and fans alike and has been adopted by many big names in fitness. This year, Aragon also made it into PubMed's research database — twice. His take (along with Brad Schoenfeld) on nutrient timing even became the most popular article in the history of the Journal of the International Science of Sports Nutrition. He’s also been an especially vocal critic of the Paleo diet, defending his strong stance against any brands that universalize diet rules.
92. Joe Dowdell, Mr. Peak Performance
Founder of PEAK Performance NYC, Joe Dowdell has created one of the best gyms in America (#3 according to Men’s Health), and we also named it one of the most innovative gyms in America. A frequent contributor to Shape, Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, Dowdell is most known for his popular book "Ultimate You: A 4-Phase Total Body Makeover for Women Who Want Maximum Results." Dowdell’s dedication to providing excellent fitness guidance can be seen in his commitment to making customizable health and fitness programs for his clientele.
93. Sadie Nardini, The Transforming Yogi
Dubbed "Healthy Hedonism," Sadie Nardini’s lifestyle and yoga philosophy advocates for a balanced life that focuses on achieving happiness rather than stressing about fitness goals. Beginning with YouTube tutorials, Nardini expanded her influence through her adept social networking and marketing skills to gain a loyal 77,000 YouTube subscribers and 14,000 Twitter followers. Creator of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, and popular videos including "Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour" and "Core Stength Vinyasa Yoga: Total Body Transformation and Weight Loss," Nardini contributes to Yahoo! Shine and Dr. Oz’s Sharecare. Nardini’s empire expanded more in 2013 with the publication of her first book, "The 21-Day Yoga Body."
94. Dick Talens, Fit-stigator
Once a self-proclaimed “fat boy,” Dick Talens is now a bodybuilding competitor, trainer to this year’s Miss America, Mallory Hagan, and Co-Founder of Fitocracy, a growing fitness social network with over a million members. Last year, Talens sparked controversy by claiming that "obesity and fitness are revolutionized by Reddit, not doctors" and hasn’t looked back since. This year, his writings on “eat less, move more” being a lie, willpower being a myth, the fitness industry being broken, and even why the word “healthy” sucks have sparked thoughtful conversation and debate from many of the other influencers on this list and helped place him at the forefront of health empowerment through the Internet.
95. Ellie Krieger, Good Eats Guru
Author and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger has built a career championing the notion that healthy can be delicious. She believes the most effective way to inspire people to eat well is to get them excited about cooking, so Krieger does just that: She’s the host of the popular cooking show “Healthy Appetite,” a best-selling book author (including “Small Changes, Big Results” and “Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less”), and a regular expert guest on shows including Dr. Oz and Good Morning. Outside of mainstream media, she’s brought her unique blend of passion for food and dedication to good nutrition to Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, the NYC SchoolFood program, Feeding America, and more.
96. Chalene Johnson, The TurboTrainer
Want to reach a goal? Need some motivation? Look no further than Chalene Johnson, the brain (and body) behind some of the most popular Beachbody workouts (including "ChaLEAN Extreme," "TurboFire," "TurboJam," "PiYo," and "TurboKick") fitness systems. "TurboKick" was Johnson’s first product; since developing the high-energy, martial arts- and dance- inspired workout, she's sold over 6 million DVDs. She's also the CEO of Powder Blue Productions. Johnson’s work as a personal trainer and instructor make her a natural motivator. In 2013, Johnson also debuted her SMART Success Seminar.
97. Rob Sulaver, The Bandana Bandit
With an especially unique combination of comedy and knowledge, Rob Sulaver is a fitness trainer on the path to stardom. The CEO & Founder of Bandana Training and self-proclaimed “fitness ninja rockstar” (who also “loves to cuddle”) serves as a contributing writer and expert for Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Greatist. In 2013, he made an especially big splash by writing a controversial article on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s website (where he’s also on their all-star advisory board) claiming that doing only CrossFit isn’t the best way to become a CrossFit Champion. This sparked harsh criticism from CrossFit on Twitter and an outpouring of support and followers in return. From his recent appearances on CBS New York’s The Couch to being featured as “The Butt Guy” in Self Magazine, Sulaver’s the kind of guy who can say “A good heart is key, but a great ass doesn’t hurt, either” and still be loved for it.
98. Ashley Borden, The Accessible Celebrity Trainer
There’s no doubt we sometimes look up to celebrities as models of physical appearance, but it’s often celebrity trainers like Ashley Borden that deserve the credit. Borden’s trained everyone from Ryan Gosling to Christina Aguilera, but this year she went out of her way to make fitness accessible to non-celebs by de-mystifying the foam roller and starring in a series of accessible, beginner-friendly YouTube workout videos. Borden’s reputation for portraying fitness in a positive light and making it accessible for everyone lands her on our list.
99. Nia Shanks, The Girl Who Lifts
As the leader of the Lift Like a Girl Revolution, Nia Shanks is dispelling the notion that weight training is only a man’s game and that women can’t develop strong bodies in a healthy way. Instead, Shanks believes heavy lifts empower women in a way few things can. Her personal struggle with eating in the past helps drive her passion for both instructing women to train big and eat right and for sharing her story to help uplift and empower women across the globe. To that end, she writes across a variety of outlets (she shared her cure for dealing with “nutrition insanity” on Greatist earlier this year), and most prominently her personal site, NiaShanks.com (for which we named her a must-read trainer).
100. Chip Wilson, The Lulule-Man
Founder of the wildly successful Lululemon Athletica, Dennis “Chip” Wilson made news this year thanks to a few particularly controversial comments (including one suggesting some women's bodies "don't work" for his company's $98 yoga pants). Despite a seemingly heartfelt apology, Wilson’s comments sparked important debate on body image issues. In 2013, he and his wife, Shannon, started a new company, Whil, which promotes simple and accessible 60-second meditations.
A note on our metrics: We take this list seriously, and took every measure we could to ensure its accuracy. This list is meant to highlight those people who had the most actual reach in the health and wellness space in 2013 — not those we personally consider to be influencers. The order of this list was almost entirely based on numbers. We considered more than 200 names gathered from last year's nominees (and resulting comments), input from social media, and suggestions from our Expert Network. We then created a scoring system based on eight measureable categories: website page rank, social media presence, Klout score, number of studies or research published, number of products, professional degrees and certifications, and number of Google News mentions in 2013 — all with variable levels of impact on the final score. Finally, we arranged the list from highest to lowest score and used our qualitative judgment as an editorial team to fill in the gaps that the metrics couldn't. We are darn proud of this list, but we of course always welcome your comments and concerns. Apologies we can't give credit to every person playing a significant role in the health, fitness, and happiness world. But don't let our list stop your Mama, Bro, BFF, or pets from serving as your biggest influences!
Disclosure: All affiliate links on Greatist highlight products the team has either reviewed or thinks are kick-ass. Greatist's editorial team is completely removed from the business side, which handles these fancy links.
Anyone you think is missing from this list? Share your nominations in the comments below or tweet us @greatist and we'll be sure to check out those names for next year's edition!
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