There are thousands of people working every day to revolutionize the way people think about health, fitness, and happiness, and every year we recognize those making the biggest impacts (for both good and not-so-good reasons). Last year the focus seemed to be on changing American's diets (and the never-ending attempt to reduce our consumption of sugar and processed foods), building a strong booty, and reducing stress so we can be happier and more productive.
When trying to determine the most powerful innovators in this space, we looked at several quantifiable factors for each candidate: social reach, research they've contributed to, professional certifications and degrees they've attained, trends they’ve set, products they’ve created, and media coverage, among a few other things. (You can check out the details on our metrics below the list.) 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. While we may not always agree with everyone's approach, we can always respect any effort to help make healthy living a little bit easier.
Curious who's making their second (or third) appearance? Click here to check out last year's list.
1. Michelle Obama
The First Lady of Healthy Eating
Mobama is one
hot healthy mama. An amazing role model to kids and adults alike, the First Lady has been encouraging healthier habits since taking office with her husband in 2009. But more attention-grabbing than the White House Kitchen Garden, her toned biceps, and Let’s Move, the childhood-obesity fighting program she started, is how she’s captured our hearts on the likes of Vine and Saturday Night Live. Her six-second “Turnip for What?” video went viral quicker than Kim K’s attempt to break the Internet, and let’s not forget her stunning cameo with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell where she reminded us all that exercise is super healthy, not “ew.” We don’t see her stepping off the stage anytime soon—and we’re pretty happy about it.
2. Mehmet Oz, M.D.
While thought of by many as one of the most trusted doctors in America, Mehmet Oz, M.D., has been under the knife this year. But we’re not talking heart surgery—something Oz actually performs on the side—but instead by the media and Congress, who accused Oz of preaching inaccurate, unsupported health advice not once but several times throughout his career. And unfortunately for him, it turns out only 46 percent (out of 479 recommendations) were accurate. OUCH. Shortcomings aside, Oz continues to be a (mostly) positive presence in the health space, with millions of fans, an Emmy-Award winning show, bestselling books, and The Good Life, his new magazine, to boot.
3. Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Chips are to salsa what Deepak Chopra, M.D., is to meditation—you can’t have one without thinking of the other! Since stepping into the health limelight, Chopra has published several books, created his own meditation app, and even launched a 21-Day Meditation Experience with Oprah, which was offered in Spanish in 2014, its second year. Though the holistic wellness advocate’s approach is questioned by many, there’s no doubt he’s on to something: Stress reduction and mindfulness does the body (and soul) good. Whether a believer or not, his website has loads of information about alternative medicine, and considering he was the chief of staff at a respected hospital in Boston, we’d say his ideas are worth exploring.
4. Jillian Michaels
The Biggest Fitness Winner
Best known for her starring role as a no-nonsense trainer on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels has been publically encouraging—albeit, somewhat aggressively—healthy habits for ages. This year, however, Michaels is stepping away from the program and showing us her nicer side. With online personal training, several workout DVDs, and a popular weekly health podcast, she’s proving to be unstoppable in the fitness space. Another reason to admire her: She spreads a healthy message about love and sexuality, notably saying, “As long as you fall in love... it’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!” Well said.
5. Vani Hari
The Food Babe
The past 12 months have been a banner year for Vani Hari, a food activist and blogger better known as The Food Babe. Hari and her Food Babe Army convinced the biggest American beer makers to list the beverage’s ingredients on every can and got Subway to remove an ingredient from its bread that was also found in yoga mats. She even has a book, The Food Babe Way, that’ll hit shelves in February. But her rise to fame isn’t without backlash from members of the scientific community who say her claims about harmful chemicals—like the one found in Subway bread—are based on bunk science. These polar opposite opinions have led Hari to be called both the most powerful food activist and the Jenny McCarthy of food in the last year. But Hari is not only open to this feedback (good and bad), she faces it head on by sharing detailed responses like this one on her website.
6. Tara Stiles
The Rule-Breaking Yogi
Vanity Fair called Tara Stiles “the coolest yoga instructor ever.” And many would tend to agree. After all, Deepak Chopra and Jane Fonda are both known to be followers of Strala Yoga, Stiles’s signature no-nonsense approach to the practice. Instead of focusing on the spiritual and philosophical aspects of yoga, Stiles is all about the physical. But don’t think she’s going to be that yoga teacher who is constantly readjusting your form. Her Make Your Own Rules Diet, which came out in November 2014, explains her approach to eating and exercise as one that needs to be tailor-fit to every individual. Instead of looking at the bendiest person in your yoga class, Stiles says we should be looking inward to determine what’s best for our bodies.
7. Mark Bittman
Flexitarian Food Advocate
The New York Times lead food columnist has proved once again that he’s an indispensable culinary resource. Last year Bittman wowed with two cookbooks: How to Cook Everything Fast, a collection of recipes for everything from wonton soup to fruit crisp—all baked from scratch in around 30 minutes—and The VB6 Cookbook, filled with vegan and flexitarian meals to help readers follow his "vegan before 6 p.m." diet. When he’s not cooking, he’s been writing columns about progressive food politics and solutions for sustainable agriculture, among other topics.
8. Gary Taubes
If you haven’t heard of the Nutrition Science Initiative yet, chances are you will in the next few years. Author and New York Times best-seller Gary Taubes—well known for his book Good Calories, Bad Calories and the controversial article “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” in the New York Times Magazine—co-founded the nonprofit to secure resources to help fund independent research into nagging nutritional questions that are still unanswered. Not all of the scientists involved agree with Taubes’ stance that sugar—not fat—is the enemy, and Taubes seems OK if his theories are disproven. We’re eager to see the results of the studies underway.
9. Sanjay Gupta, M.D.
Doctor of the High-est Honors
CNN’s chief medical correspondent, neurosurgeon, medical marijuana supporter, Emmy Award winner, and so much more, Sanjay Gupta, M.D., has long been a trusted source and familiar face in the medical space. The man many turned to during the Ebola scare even runs Health Matters, a branch of Everyday Health where he shares advice and answers questions on everything from Angie’s chickenpox to eating disorders. But perhaps his biggest moment in the spotlight was in 2009, when he was offered the position of Surgeon General of the United States, which he humbly declined. His medical prowess seems to run in the family too: Gupta’s brother Suneel is the CEO of Rise, an app that connects users to live dieticians.
10. Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss first entered the spotlight back in 2007 when he published the game-changing bestseller The 4-Hour Work Week. In the years since, he followed up with two more productivity-boosting books focused on health and fitness, The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef. And while the lifestyle guru didn’t publish any new books in 2014, he kept fans entertained with his weekly podcast, The Tim Ferris Show, where he chatted with Margaret Cho about the slow-carb diet and chef Andrew Zimmern for quick cooking tips. The show was even named one of the best of 2014 by iTunes.
11. Dave Asprey
The Bulletproof Exec
This was the year of bulletproof coffee—a concoction that mixes a cup of joe with two tablespoons of grass-fed butter and two tablespoons of coconut oil—and that’s all thanks to Dave Asprey. The veteran Silicon Valley investor says he has spent more than $300,000 hacking his own biology to find ways to boost his metabolism (and his focus) without counting calories or taking up outrageous exercise programs. The bulletproof diet, which organizes foods from toxic to (wait for it...) bulletproof, distills his years of research into simple-to-follow guidelines. And while Asprey has plenty of people singing his praises, the scientific community has been lukewarm about his coffee and diet, awaiting more evidence.
12. Marion Nestle, Ph.D.,M.P.H.
The Food Politician
Not to be confused with the popular chocolate brand, Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., is actually all about healthy eating. The molecular biologist, NYU and Cornell University professor, journalist, and food politics expert (and blogger) has been both studying and teaching nutrition for years. She’s also written several popular books on pet and human nutrition, and gives frequent lectures about her studies. Follow her Twitter feed to stay in-the-know about all things food.
13. Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan knows a thing or two about food: He’s published nine books about healthy eating, food philosophy, and the evolution of the things we eat. The New York Times Magazine contributor is also quite the activist, constantly challenging people to think differently about the food we consume and how that impacts our economy and environment. When not busy writing thought-provokers like his most famous work, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan teaches at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Seems he’s well-versed in food and writing—which makes us that much more inclined to digest his awesome works (and thoughts).
14. Joy Bauer, R.D.
Joy Bauer’s recipes are proof that eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland or restrictive—something we’ve always believed too. And take it from the nutritionist for the New York City Ballet to dish on diets that do a body good. The TODAY show nutrition expert also cohosts the “Joy Fit Club,” an inspiring weekly weight-loss segment. In addition to screen time, last year Bauer launched Nourish Snacks, a subscription service that delivers healthy, portion-controlled packs of nut mixes, granola, and more. Bauer, a registered dietitian, has published several nutrition books (and contributed to Weightless, a weight-loss story published last year), contributes to many healthy publications, and seems to constantly stay motivated and positive despite her crazy-busy schedule.
15. Andrew Weil, M.D.
Many doctors encourage eating a diet primarily of whole foods, but Andrew Weil, M.D., took that notion a step further by opening True Food Kitchen in 2008, a restaurant that sticks closely to the principles of his anti-inflammatory diet. Ten restaurant openings later, we think it’s safe to say Weil’s theory that a wholesome diet and lifestyle impact one’s health more than we think is likely at least somewhat accurate. The integrated medicine man and purveyor of Weil Lifestyle has also published hundreds of scientific articles, written upwards of 13 books, and is director at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he continues to teach and endorse a holistic approach to wellness.
16. Wayne Dyer, Ph.D.
Father of Motivation
Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., can see clearly now, and he wants to help others see their lives and purpose more clearly too. The self-help author and motivational speaker has been in the health space for years, with several best-selling books (like Your Erroneous Zones), a popular 2012 PBS program, and a packed speaking schedule, to name just a few of his professional achievements. Though many are quick to criticize Dyer due to his “new age” ideas and religious assertions (he’s know for encouraging readers to emulate Jesus Christ), we love his approach to positive thinking and maximizing one’s potential.
17. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow cares so much about health that she named her daughter after one our favorite fruits: Apple. While that may not exactly be true, she is known for being one of the most dedicated health starlets around. A Tracy Anderson workout devotee and creator of Goop—the attention-grabbing (and sometimes extravagant) healthy-living blog—Paltrow is no stranger to the kitchen and detox cleanses. While we love that the Oscar winner is popularizing healthy dishes like salmon with sriracha and lime, her approach can sometimes seem unrealistic and restrictive. Can’t say we fully agree with Martha, though.
18. Bob Harper
The Biggest Trainer
With 16 seasons of The Biggest Loser under his belt, Harper has quickly become one of the most famous fitness trainers out there. But the CrossFit athlete’s career extends far beyond television. When not filming, Harper is training celebrity clients, penning best-selling books (and cookbooks, like his latest, Skinny Meals), contributing to health publications like Shape magazine, and creating customized workout videos available on YouTube and DVDs. One of Harper’s latest creations is Black Fire, a program he created with Daily Burn, which includes short, full-body workouts that get you fit—fast. Our muscles burn just looking at the some of the exercises!
19. Shaun "T" Blokker
The Insane Trainer
From Mariah Carey’s backup dancer to the face (and abs) of Beachbody’s Insanity, Shaun T has certainly learned how to work his assets—and make others work for theirs as well. His famous six-pack, cardio pumping workouts, and epic dance routines (like those seen in his Hip Hop Abs workouts) are what paved the way for Shaun T’s commercial success, and he continues to bring new, hardcore fitness to the table—the latest workout, Insanity Max:30, being just one example. Amazing workouts aside, we love that Shaun T’s latest iteration of Insanity is all about pushing yourself just a little bit further—a healthy and realistic way to look at getting fit.
20. Mark Hyman, M.D.
Functional Medicine Man
From holistic doctor to scholar to best-selling author to founder, Mark Hyman, M.D., seems to do it all. Most known for his whole-foods, low-sugar approach to eating, the physician published his latest diet book installation, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, in February 2014. The healthy eating activist also played a large part in Fed Up, a controversial documentary about childhood obesity and the food industry. The founder of the UltraWellnessCenter may seem to have a jam-packed plate, but we doubt he’ll be slowing down any time soon. His 2015 calendar is likely full of television appearances on programs like The Dr. Oz Show, continued work on HealthCorps, and plenty of surprises.
21. David Katz, M.D., M.P.H.
Editor-in-chief, inventor, doctor, advisor, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine... is there anything David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., can’t do? The only thing we can think of is rest—as we have no idea how he’d fit it into his schedule. The Yale grad (and current clinical instructor and director of the university’s Prevention Research Center) also penned Disease-Proof this past year, which aims to teach readers to reduce their risk for disease by up to 80 percent—not too shabby. You can also find his work on The Huffington Post, where he writes on everything from DNA to obesity to Dunkin’ Donuts, and he’s the brains behind the NuVal, a system that demystifies nutritional labels. We can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next.
22. Lisa Lillien
It’s been a decade since Lisa Lillien first took the health world (and our inboxes) by storm with Hungry Girl. What started off as a healthy living newsletter has spawned everything from cookbooks to a TV show that prove eating healthy doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself to tiny portions. In 2014 Lillien expanded her Hungry Girl empire to include a diet book with a four-week plan of her signature super-sized, low-calorie meals. While we’re big proponents of eating in moderation, we know we’re no fun to be around when we’re hangry. Our main qualm with Lillien: She’s almost too cheery. Her pep talks can be encouraging, until they leave us saying, “Enough already!”
23. Bethenny Frankel
The Real Low-Cal Housewife
Wine, sangria, vodka, margaritas... gang’s all here! And even though Bethenny Frankel likes to enjoy all those drinks (in moderation, of course), she also rocks a constantly fit body thanks to her low-cal SkinnyGirl cocktail creations and dedication to health and fitness. Booze aside, she’s also made her mark as a (former) talk show host, businesswoman, blogger, and lifestyle guru. Turns out the ladies of the Real Housewives are capable of a whole lot more than catfights and shopping sprees—and can actually be decent role models. (Though rumor has it she’ll be returning for the seventh season of the NYC-based reality TV show.)
24. Cassey Ho
Pilates Video Star
Almost 2 million YouTube subscribers puts Cassey Ho in superstar status—really, that’s more than Justin Bieber. The founder of Blogilates and creator of Pop Pilates keeps expanding her empire, from the blog to DVDs to an app, and in August 2014, she release BodyPop Active, a line of fitness apparel that she designed and tested. Talk about going viral!
25. Drew Pinsky, M.D.
American’s On-Call Doctor
Got a problem? Dr. Drew, as his fans commonly know him, probably has an answer. The internist, addiction specialist, media personality, and creator of the No. 1 health podcast (The Dr. Drew Podcast) has long been building up a solid reputation in the health space. From the shows Dr. Drew on Call to Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew to counseling on Teen Mom, he’s been helping patients get back on their feet for years—and there’s no problem too big or small for him to tackle. (In fact, last year he tackled prostate cancer.) Let’s not forget another Pinsky classic, Loveline, the syndicated radio show that dishes sex and relationship and advice. Keep doin’ what you do, doc. We’ll be watching.
26. Anthony "Tony" Robbins
Tony Robbins is larger than life—both literally (his feet are size 16) and when it comes to his coaching career. From finding inner calm and personal growth to career advice and managing finances, Robbins is all about maximizing one’s potential. And with clients like Bill Clinton, the late Mother Teresa, and the late Nelson Mandela, it’s safe to say the self-help author and motivational speaker knows a thing or two about how to do just that. Despite his desire for constant action in his life, Robbins sat down last year to finish his latest book Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. While we’d love to attend his Mastery University, getting close to Robbins comes with a hefty price tag. We say stick to one of the many best sellers he’s penned.
27. Chris Powell
Talk about extreme: Chris Powell once helped a man lose more than 400 pounds. Now the personal trainer works his magic on Extreme Weight Loss, a television show that helps obese people drop some serious weight, and is a New York Times best-selling author. He’s also known for encouraging carb cycling, an eating plan where low- and high-carb days vary, and is a familiar household face due to his frequent appearances on The Dr. Oz Show and Good Morning America.
28. Jen Selter
Instagram’s Most Famous Backside
If there’s one person who epitomizes the year of the booty, it’s not Kim Kardashian but Jen Selter and her infamous Instagram. Selter’s 4.9 million followers like, comment, and share her belfies (yes, those are butt selfies), and they use the hashtag #Seltering to share photos of their attempts at Selter’s signature pose, which looks a little like a one-legged downward facing dog. To top things off, The New York Post gave her an exercise column called Kicking Butt. Selter doesn’t have any exercise certifications yet often is found dishing outdated fitness advice, so go ahead and look, but don’t follow along.
29. Tony Horton
More than a decade after bursting onto the fitness scene with the groundbreaking Power 90 and P90X workouts, Tony Horton shows no signs of stopping. And nowadays he’s not just talking about fitness. His book The Big Picture (February 2014) explains how physical health is connected to all parts of our lives, from mental health to financial well-being to overall happiness. His biggest news came at the end of 2014 when he unveiled P90X3, a new set of 30-minute workouts that focus on short stints of all-out exertion instead of the hour-and-a-half workouts favored in P90X. While studies have shown that 30-minute workouts have similar impacts to those that last an hour or more Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response to different doses of aerobic exercise--a randomized controlled trial in overweight sedentary males. Rosenkilde M1, Auerbach P, Reichkendler MH, et al. American Journal of Physiology. 2012 Sep 15;303(6):R571-9. , we’re cautious around high-intensity workouts that leave us feeling crushed.
30. Joe Cross
Joe Cross entered our radar screens with his award-winning documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, about his weight-loss journey (and life transformation) all thanks to the power of juice. In the years since, thousands of people have given juicing a whirl after seeing the movie—and also due in part to Cross’s company, Reboot With Joe, which acts as a de facto juicing community. While Cross’s transformation is impressive (and we’re the first to sing the praises of a diet with tons of fruit and vegetables), juicing is far from a cure all. In fact, there’s little scientific evidence that juice cleanses are any healthier than a well-balanced diet.
31. Rich Roll
Plant-Fueled Fitness Podcaster
Vegan. Ultra-endurance athlete. Former entertainment attorney. Husband. Father of four. If you aren’t convinced whatever Rich Roll is doing works (for him), we’re not sure what else will convince you. Roll took the health and fitness industry by storm with the 2012 publication of his best-selling Finding Ultra, and since then his podcast featuring interviews with everyone from fellow runners to spoken word poets has exploded in popularity. Roll has come a long way, turning his life away from drugs and alcohol in the late 80s and shedding 50 pounds following a wake-up-call of a 40th birthday.
32. Gabrielle Bernstein
Gabrielle Bernstein has been credited with causing a sea of change among young urban women. The stereotype à la Sex and the City was someone wading through her third brunch mimosa after window-shopping at Louis Vuitton. Today's image is more often a yogi and spiritual seeker, and Bernstein’s teachings are often cited as a key factor. As a best-selling author, radio host, meditation teacher, and vlogger (video blogger), Bernstein has launched a movement of internal introspection. It’s a path she herself took: At 21 she created her own successful public relations firm, but realizing there was something missing at the core of her life, she left the business to follow her calling as a motivational speaker and spiritual guide. Now she writes about everything from emotional overeating to FOMO. And with her fifth and most recent book, Miracles Now, the movement keeps rolling forward.
33. John Berardi, Ph.D.
The Precise Nutrition Coach
Since co-founding Precision Nutrition more than 15 years ago, John Berardi, Ph.D., has been separating himself from the pack of exercise and weight-loss coaches. Instead of promising that anyone can get six-pack abs and tight butts in a few weeks, he talks about the real sacrifices that need to be made in order to achieve such feats—and whether they’re worth it for you. (Side note: Berardi is the perfect coach if you do want to do your own #absperiment.) His science-backed approach to coaching has gained Precision Nutrition 200,000 clients in the last decade and a half, and that popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
34. Kelly Starrett
Taskmaster of Mobility
Last year was a banner year for Kelly Starrett. On the heels of his wildly successful book Becoming a Supple Leopard, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller, he released his follow up title, Ready to Run. This time, Starrett tackled the fraught subject of running and its high rate of injury—and it’s been embraced by runners and non-runners alike. Starrett’s fame and success wasn’t overnight, it was a year in the making. In 2010, Starrett, a physical therapist with a practice in the flagship San Francisco CrossFit gym, began posting a daily video on his blog MobilityWOD with the goal of posting every day for 365 days. The well-researched, scientifically driven videos and blog were a huge hit with a growing audience hungry for information on how to predict and prevent fitness-related injuries. It’s an approach that’s drawn an incredibly diverse group of professional clients, including Tour de France cyclists, CrossFit Games medalists, Olympians, military personnel, and ballet dancers. Starrett also wrote about his approach in publications like Details, CrossFit Journal, and Inside Triathlon. In 2015, he plans on releasing his third book, Deskbound, tackling another timely subject: How to combat the damage done by a lifetime of sitting.
35. Dan Savage
Back in 2010, Dan Savage got everyone's attention with the It Gets Better Project, a series of YouTube videos published in the wake of a number of very public LGBT teen suicides to show gay youth that their lives will improve. But diehard Dan Savage fans know him as the man behind the Savage Love advice column and podcast. For more than two decades, Savage has been the go-to outlet for straight talk (and a lot of gay talk) about sex. And even as the general public has warmed to Savage, his public appearances continue to stir the pot, earning him both fans and enemies. In the last year, his talk about the price of admission in relationships was an instant viral hit, while a comment he made at a University of Chicago talk was read by some to be transphobic.
36. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
At a time when more than one-third of American adults are obese, we need more people like Joel Fuhrman, M.D. As a family physician, Fuhrman has turned his focus to the disease-causing effects of the highly processed American diet. His solution? A “nutritarian” diet with foods that give you big nutritional bang for every caloric buck. Good examples are foods like greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds. Fuhrman continues to spread the healthy eating gospel in his 2014 book The End of Dieting, which emphasizes a focus on food, rather than medicines as our source for cure-alls.
37. Dean Ornish, M.D.
America’s Heart Doctor
As one of the pioneering doctors to recognize that heart disease can be avoided by changing your lifestyle, Dean Ornish, M.D., has been working to get us to eat healthier and lead more fulfilling lives for more than three decades. That’s part of the reason he created the Ornish Spectrum, where individuals set goals for nutrition, fitness, stress management, and love and support. Ornish’s reach continues to grow since Undo It With Ornish, a program that promotes the spectrum as a way to reverse the effects of heart disease, is covered by Medicare and a number of other healthcare providers. And it has supporters: The Ornish diet has been named the best heart-healthy diet by U.S. News and World Report four years in a row.
38. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.
The Diet Whistleblower
In 2014, Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., published his book The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work, a takedown of traditional dieting methods. But Freedhoff has been pushing this message long before it was printed and bound. As the founder of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute and a professor at the University of Ottawa, Freedhoff has spent his career scrutinizing weight-loss research. And instead of only circulating his observations to his peers, he brought his message to the masses, offering op-ed pieces through various media outlets (like Greatist!) and on his own award-winning blog, Weighty Matters. His advice has stood out in a sea of dietary hype as a solid voice of reason.
39. Mark Sisson
Mark Sisson was Paleo before Paleo was cool. In fact, he was living like a caveman (named "Grok" incidentally) and preaching ancestral health before anyone else even knew what it was. He literally wrote the book on it, The Primal Blueprint, based on his personal experience of going from an elite-yet-sick triathlete to a super-healthy human who stays that way by doing the least amount of work required to get the best results. Yet despite being the first, he's still one of the most accessible and down-to-earth experts in the lifestyle. Last year he started Primal Blueprint podcasts where he answers fan questions and interviews other health experts, and on his blog, in addition to research-driven articles, he also offers up his love for slacklining and makes a mean chowder.
40. Adam Bornstein
The Guy Who Gets It
Adam Bornstein sees the transformation of others’ bodies and health to be his primary purpose in life. That’s why he’s designed his career around coaching, consulting fitness businesses, and parsing through the often sticky web of information about health that’s now accessible via the Internet—so we can get back to our workouts without getting lost in it. The best-selling author is out to dispel myths, stop body judgment, and let us eat our dessert—without any of the hype often used in the media and with research to back everything up.
41. Alan Aragon
Sultan of Science
Nutrition and exercise impact each other—and Alan Aragon is all about figuring out how this relationship works. He’s made a name for himself in the fitness community with his monthly, unbiased reviews and real-world application tips of the latest studies, and he’s also known as the official weight-loss coach for Men’s Health magazine. In addition to authoring his own studies; working with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Kings, and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks; and lecturing internationally, he found the time to write The Lean Muscle Diet, which promises readers that they can transform their bodies—permanently.
42. Kathryn Budig
You may have seen Kathryn Budig on the cover of Yoga Journal’s “body issue” last year or striking a pose in the virtual classes she conducts at YogaGlo.com. Budig not only writes, speaks, teaches, and puts out books (her newest, Aim True, is set for this year) and DVDs, she’s also co-founder of Poses for Paws, an organization that raises money, through yoga, for animal shelters. She’s not shy about discussing her past body issues, and when not on her yoga mat, she’s cooking eco-friendly meals and blogging about them on her website.
43. Frank Lipman, M.D.
Functional Medicine Man
Inspired by the benefits of acupuncture, meditation, biofeedback, and yoga, Frank Lipman, M.D., set out to integrate all kinds of eastern and western healthcare approaches into what would become his most well-rounded practice. In addition to his Eleven Eleven Wellness Center, he’s steeped in nonprofit work, lecturing on health across the globe. In his newest book, The New Health Rules, the anti-sugar, gluten-free doc offers 175 tips to help readers live healthier the easy way.
44. Chalene Johnson
Chalene Johnson has energy for days. It’s her go-go-go nature that makes for compelling TV, which is why she’s sold more than 10 million DVDs in direct sales. Her super-charged infomercials for workouts like "TurboFire," "TurboJam," "PiYo," "TurboKick," and “ChaLEAN Extreme” have motivated living room athletes everywhere. Watching her high-kick her way around a stage, it’s easy to see why she’s often called upon to make appearances and demonstrations on shows like The Talk and Live! with Kelly and Michael. On top of all of that, last year Johnson launched her podcast, “The Chalene Show,” where she discusses everything from breaking through a fitness plateau to adrenal fatigue.
45. Leo Babauta
Do you ever have a sinking feeling that you’re ruled by your stuff? Or that your to-do list has become a beast? Leo Babauta understands the underlying panic that follows when physical and mental clutter take root in your life. And his approach, merging eastern philosophies with western self-help techniques, has made him a beacon to everyone looking to streamline their lives. Through his massively successful blog Zen Habits and multiple books, he covers everything from quitting destructive behavior to breathing for stress relief. But Babauta wasn’t born to minimalism: His own transformation from a disconnected, unhealthy workaholic to a centered, goal-oriented minimalist is the reason his words ring so true. And it’s also why he’s regularly interviewed as an authority on other media outlets, including the No Meat Athlete podcast.
46. Kris Carr
Kris Carr revolutionized the way we look at and talk about cancer with her documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer, and books. For starters she calls herself a thriver, not a survivor. She’s also come out with a diet plan and cookbook that promote her nutrient-dense, plant-passionate food philosophy. Over on her blog, she posts about everything from how to do less and live more to the best juicer out there.
47. Robb Wolf
Chief of the Cavemen
Robb Wolf’s credentials read like the ultimate Paleo wish list: Not only does he have a background as a research biochemist, he was also a former California State Powerlifting Champion. In his career, he co-founded both the journal The Performance Menu and the first-rate gym NorCal Strength and Conditioning. He puts all that knowledge to use diving deep into diet and exercise studies in his blog, podcast, and books, tackling everything from intermittent fasting to proper squat form. His book The Paleo Solution is widely upheld as the ultimate guide to the Paleo diet, and his recent multimedia guides on eating out, budgeting, or kicking off a 30-day transformation give the CliffsNotes to his methods.
48. Kimberly Snyder, C.N.
Princess of Plant Power
Nutritionist and New York Times best-selling author Kimberly Snyder, C.N., could have spent her career catering to celebrity clients (Drew Barrymore and Channing Tatum among them). Instead she chose to take her plant-powered expertise beyond the Hollywood elite through her blog and podcast. Advocating an alkaline, plant-powered diet, Snyder is a firm believer that the food you eat is the ultimate beauty product. Her glowing green smoothie is the recipe that launched a thousand Vitamix orders and a chic L.A. juice bar, Glow Bio. But perhaps her most surprising undertaking was encouraging her readers to begin their own food blogs and document their journeys toward health and wellness—proof that her ultimate measure of success is seeing the plant-powered message catch fire among the masses.
49. James Hamblin, M.D.
Our Generation’s Doc
Don’t judge him because he looks young; James Hamblin, M.D., knows all about health—and he’s sharing that knowledge in a way that all of us non-experts can understand (imagine that!) as a senior editor for The Atlantic. In the last year on his video series, “If Our Bodies Could Talk,” he tried out juice cleanses, compared CrossFit and yoga, and discussed female orgasms. No topic is too frivolous—or serious. Jim (we’re on a first-name basis) also flexed some serious writing muscles on everything from the endless options of cold medicines to the widening gap in food accessibility in the U.S. Plus, word on the street is that Hamblin would like to try his hand at some standup in New York—just in case this whole M.D.-writer thing doesn’t work out.
50. Mike Roizen, M.D.
The Everything Doctor
Chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic and chair of its Anesthesiology Institute, Mike Roizen, M.D., still finds the time to practice anesthesiology and internal medicine between book deals and co-authoring columns with fellow Influencer Mehmet Oz, M.D., for Reader’s Digest and Every Woman. Best-selling author of The RealAge Diet (amongst other titles), Roizen has appeared on just about every news outlet and spearheaded a PBS spinoff of his hit publication (also co-authored with Oz), You: On a Diet. In his spare time, he developed a drug for hospice patients and he still chairs the Scientific Advisory Board at the Hearst Corp. As if that weren’t enough, he continues to lecture around the country and keep his “real age” below 50.
51. Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric
Grassroots Movement Masters
Come winter, the temptation to hit the snooze button and roll over rather than wake up for a 6:30 a.m. run usually wins out. And while Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric wouldn't blame you, they are determined to pull you out bed, snow and ice notwithstanding. The fit friends started The November Project exactly for this reason: to motivate people to stay in shape during the cold winter months. All via social media, they’ve grown from the two of them keeping each other accountable to hundreds of people gathering in cities nationwide. Starting every butt-kicking workout with a question—“Are you good?”—and response—“F#*ck yeah!”—these guys are set to keep spreading, with their eyes on global meetups. Whatever the weather, “just show up,” they say. That’s the kind of supportive accountability we all could use.
52. Chris Kresser
Chris Kresser went through his own personal dark ages: In 2002, he checked in to the hospital after struggling for six years with a mysterious illness that left him cycling through various diets and supplements without relief. But what followed was an era of enlightenment: By adopting a Paleo diet and changing his environment, he was able to cure himself—and become a guiding light for others. Through his wildly popular blog, podcast, and regular media appearances, Kresser has debated both conventional and alternative health wisdom. His insistence on always looking at things scientifically has made him a trusted and widely respected authority in the health and wellness space. And with the publication of his first book, Your Personal Paleo Code, his career as a Paleo authority grows even brighter.
53. Tosca Reno
At an age when many people are hanging up their sneakers and stepping away from the gym, Tosca Reno is flexing proudly. She dropped 70 pounds at age 40, going from exhausted and overweight to vibrant and ripped—and now as a 55-year-old fitness model, she’s continued to step up her game. Beyond the physical, Reno also transformed her relationship with food, becoming a certified nutritionist and embracing an “Eat-Clean” philosophy. Now she’s devoted to helping others find their way through her blog, consulting, and 15 books, including The Start Here Diet, which is aimed squarely at overwhelmed beginners. Reno’s 2014 campaign to “Strike Sugar” encouraged followers to ditch the powdered white stuff and embrace whole foods. All that expertise has not gone unnoticed. Reno is a regular guest on shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, and The Doctors. And her award-winning reality show Tosca: Flexing at 49 was featured on Canada’s Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
54. Martin Rooney
The Defending Champ
Fifteen years ago, Martin Rooney developed the Training for Warriors system for top combat athletes. But in our world of Tough Mudders, and UFC mania, it became clear to Rooney that weekend warriors also wanted the chance to train like pro fighters. Thus the TFW technique caught fire, and today the facilities span the globe in 25 countries. Rooney is no stranger to the demands of competition. In his own sports career he represented the U.S. on the bobsled team from 1995 to 1997 and again in 2000. In that time, he was also studying mixed martial arts and began training fighters. And in whatever spare time he had left, he picked up a masters in health science. In addition to writing the TFW blog and several books, he’s shared the Training for Warrior system with NFL athletes and Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Hasbro.
55. Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D.
Brad Schoenfeld’s ethics are as strong as his body. As a lifetime drug-free bodybuilder, Schoenfeld has won multiple titles without depending on the so-called “chemical enhancements” that plague the bodybuilding community. And he’s become an authority on how to build muscle and drop fat, a.k.a. “look great naked,” as his various books and website put it. But for someone so physically focused, Schoenfeld is just as devoted to boosting his intellect, and in that pursuit he’s collected four degrees, including a Ph.D. in exercise science. He’s also authored more than 60 peer-reviewed research articles on fitness, nutrition, and body composition. With one foot in mainstream media—appearing in publications like Shape, Self, and The New York Times—and one in the academic world—serving as assistant editor-in-chief for the NSCA’s Strength and Conditioning Journal—Schoenfeld proves fitness can be both playful and profound.
56. Travis Stork, M.D.
The Doctors' Doctor
You may recognize the board-certified emergency room physician from his Emmy award-winning talk show, The Doctors. Off screen, Travis Stork, M.D., lectures about the everyday decisions we make about health (and how to be smarter about them) while also serving as chairman of MDLive’s Medical Advisory Board. His latest book, The Doctor’s Diet Cookbook, arrived on the heels of his New York Times best-seller The Doctor’s Diet, his tome to help readers avoid meeting him in the hospital by changing their eating habits. In his down time, Stork practices the healthy lifestyle he preaches by mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and hanging out with his dog.
57. Arnold Schwarzenegger
The Top Guns of Fitness
When the Terminator famously quipped, “I’ll be back,” Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t kidding. After taking a reprieve from entertainment to play the real-life role of governor of California, Schwarzenegger is fully back on the scene, recently debuting the trailer for Terminator Genisys (the latest installation of the action flick), and also making his mark on YouTube as an undercover prankster at Gold’s Gym to raise money for After-School Allstars, a charity that provides tutoring, physical education, and exciting activities to children of low-income families. Show biz aside, the bodybuilding legend has always been notorious for his muscular physique and dedication to fitness—and we don’t see him terminating from the scene any time soon.
58. Eric Cressey
Consider the process of becoming a client at Eric Cressey’s Boston-area gym Cressey Performance: Each new member is given a full assessment of their injury history, training experience, sports background, goals, and more, then they meet with every member of the staff to establish a comfort level with each person. All that before they start training next to Olympic-level athletes, Major League Baseball players, and other pros. If that sounds like some next-level fitness, it’s just par for the course with Cressey, who uses his degrees and certifications in kinesiology, strength, and conditioning; sports and fitness management; and exercise science to boost performance in his clients. Cressey has also published hundreds of articles in publications like Men’s Health, ESPN the Magazine, and The Boston Globe, and he’s written five books on his approach. Cressey’s title Maximum Strength is considered by many to be the ultimate weight-training program. And his latest, The High Performance Handbook, takes a personalized, anti-cookie-cutter approach to training.
59. John Romaniello
Emperor of the Alphas
John Romaniello, a.k.a. “Roman,” cheekily calls the community that’s sprung up around his site The Roman Empire, but the title rings true. And it’s easy to see why people have joined the ranks. Romaniello has the irresistible combo of fitness expertise (as a certified personal trainer) and impish sarcasm (check out the origin story on his homepage). And he’s put that wit and wisdom to good use, writing the New York Times best-seller Engineering the Alpha (with fellow influencer Adam Bornstein), coaching clients online, and advising fitness and tech companies (Greatist included!). His passion for fitness comes from an authentic place: As a self-described nerd, he used a studious approach to transform himself from a chubby kid to a fitness model and trainer, and in the process he built up a thorough knowledge base to share with clients and readers for countless articles in publications like The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Men’s Health, and Fast Company.
60. Layne Norton, Ph.D.
Layne Norton breaks the “meathead” bodybuilder stereotype. He’s not just a natural professional bodybuilder, he also has a Ph.D. in nutritional science and has had his work published in a half dozen journals. Norton combines his brains and brawn to be the ultimate physique architect, helping clients achieve their fitness goals with science-backed techniques.
61. Todd Durkin
Todd Durkin’s clientele list reads like a who’s who of elite athletes: NFL and MLB players, X-Games athletes, and Olympic medalists. But you don’t have to be on ESPN to benefit from his training. Thanks to dozens of instructional DVDs and his nationally recognized gym, Fitness Quest 10, people of all fitness levels can pursue a stronger body. Durkin’s book The Impact! Body Plan (written with fellow influencer Adam Bornstein) doesn’t just outline a signature 10-week workout program, it also recounts his journey from a football player with a crushing back injury to a thriving, fully recovered athlete ready to teach the world his methods. It’s this combination of know-how and heart that also makes him an in-demand motivational speaker. With all these accomplishments, it’s no wonder Durkin is the lead training advisor for Under Armour, and he’s been named Trainer of the Year by both the American Council on Exercise and the IDEA Health and Fitness Association.
62. Elena Brower
In 1998, Elena Brower shifted her sights from a career in the textile and design industry toward a lifelong vocation teaching yoga. Along the way, she wrote a visually stunning book, The Art of Attention, and produced the documentary On Meditation, which aired on American Public Television in November 2014 and explored various individuals’ private meditation practices and how it betters them. If you’re not able to make it to New York for one of Brower’s classes, you can find her on YogaGlo.com.
63. Steve Kamb
Only a self-proclaimed nerd would use a Transformer (yes, the toy) as fitness motivation or create a Legend of Zelda workout. But that’s Steve Kamb for you. He pulled off two big wins in 2014: launching Camp Nerd Fitness to bring together members of his “rebellion” for a weekend of fun and education, and reopening the Nerd Academy with separate plans for men and women to “level up” their lives. He aims to make fitness and healthy eating fun and free of loads of rules, and he’s doing it all with loads of positivity. No wonder he has such an active community on his site.
64. Bret Contreras
The Glute Guy
It’s fair to say 2014 was the year the booty blew up. J.Lo and Nicki Minaj did their song tributes to the great gluteus maximus, and not to be outdone, Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her champagne-poppin’ backside. With all the focus on people’s bottom line, we can predict a fine booty is now a fitness goal for many in 2015. Good thing we have Bret Contreras in our corner. He’s built a reputation on being the leading expert on strength training your way to strong and shapely glutes, or as he puts it, “building a better butt.” He’s even written multiple books on the subject—but don’t dismiss his expertise as being purely booty-focused. He’s also extremely knowledgeable on overall strength training, and last year he released 2 x 4: Maximum Strength, a program that allowed him to achieve a 600-pound deadlift. Now that’s serious muscle.
65. Martha Beck, Ph.D.
The People’s Life Coach
With a total of three Harvard degrees, it’s obvious Martha Beck, Ph.D., is one smart cookie. But it’s her deeper emotional intelligence that has resonated so clearly with her massive audience. Through her monthly column in O, The Oprah Magazine and multiple self-help books, Beck has covered all kinds of thorny life issues from bullying family members to boosting your confidence to finding your calling. Beck herself took a winding path to becoming a life coach: She started her career in academia and then shifted gears. Now she helps others become life coaches through her education and certification program. Ten years ago, Beck also founded the LEAP foundation, combining African retreats with environmental and educational charities, bringing an altruistic twist to self-improvement that we find so fitting.
66. Tony Gaskins, Jr.
Real Love Relationship Advisor
Former drug dealer turned motivational speaker Tony Gaskins, Jr., has a redemption story that has resonated with the masses—he has more than one million fans on Facebook. While in college, drug dealing and romantic interests distracted him from his schoolwork and the football team, for which he was given a full scholarship. In the years after being kicked out, he learned many life lessons that he now shares on nationwide tours. In 2014, Gaskins launched The Real Love Tour, where he crisscrossed the country to talk about the issues that plague relationships and how to fix the most common relationship mistakes.
67. Ben Greenfield
“Obsessed with fitness” may be an understatement when it comes to describing triathlete and trainer Ben Greenfield. With the goal of bringing your body up to its peak performance level physically and mentally, he established Greenfield Fitness Systems. As if his offering of training plans (with coaches), gear, supplements, and home health tests weren’t enough, his latest book, Beyond Training, advises how to not only be active and look healthy but to also truly be healthy and lead a balanced lifestyle that allows time for family and friends.
68. Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project struck a chord when it first hit bookshelves five years ago. Part of Rubin’s appeal has always been her knack for writing candidly about her life and her attempts to hack happiness with simple tips and tricks, from getting to bed earlier to making more trips to the gym. Recently Rubin expanded her scope beyond happiness into the power of habits. Her forthcoming book on the topic, Better Than Before, will be available in March, and she regularly blogs on everything from her personal habit manifesto to tips on making (and keeping) healthier eating habits.
69. Mike Boyle
All-Star Strength Trainer
Trailblazing in the business of strength and conditioning for nearly three decades, Mike Boyle’s training techniques have bolstered the likes of the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins. But Boyle’s prowess doesn’t end with training elite athletes—he’s also a lecturer, teacher, writer, and blogger—one who’s not afraid to say other techniques are stupid and who frequently answers reader questions. His videos of everything from specific exercises to NFL Combine training help athletes and beginner exercisers alike.
70. Mike Reinold
The short ‘n’ sweet intro on his site speaks volumes: “Hi. I’m Mike Reinold. I help people feel better, move better, and perform better.” As the former head athletic trainer and physical therapist for the Boston Red Sox, Reinold could have opened with a list of famous professional athletes he’s treated. Instead he keeps the focus where it should be, on his passion for helping people recover from injury and return to optimum health and fitness. Today he practices his recovery methods at his private practice, Champion Physical Therapy and Performance, in the Boston area. His books and award-winning blog are just some of the ways he generously shares his knowledge. He also regularly appears as an expert physical therapist and trainer on Greatist and various other outlets, and he’s started uploading instructional videos on YouTube.
71. Tracy Anderson
Offering specialized programs for men, women, and kids, trainer Tracy Anderson covers all the fitness bases.—she's even developed her own clothing line. Just a few weeks ago, she began offering weekly live-stream videos on her site with a subscription, and reports are that even more is in the works for 2015, possibly more studios world-wide and high-end clothing. But if she never expands to your area, her workout DVDs are always a (cheap) option.
72. Brett Hoebel
The 20-Minute Man
You may have seen Brett Hoebel on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. He’s the trainer who’s helped reality stars shed hundreds of pounds. But he’s not just about kicking your butt and getting you shredded abs. Hoebel’s message is that fitness starts from the inside—with the emotions—and he’s ready to help you tap into your inner fitness freak, no matter what your body fat percentage. And Hoebel should know how—his educational background is steeped in medicine, psychology, and biology. But don’t worry: He won’t bore you with science during any of his 20-Minute Body DVDs or his latest, Ignite by SPRI Hi-Intensity, a set of four 25-minute routines.
73. Ellie Krieger, R.D.
Good Eats Guru
If you need any proof to Ellie Krieger’s influence, consider that First Lady (and fellow influencer) Michelle Obama picked the registered dietitian to head up the nutrition initiative as part of the Let’s Move campaign, and she testified before the House Committee on Agriculture about healthy eating and childhood obesity. As a registered dietitian, Krieger has been at the top of her game for years, hosting her TV show Healthy Appetite on the Food Network and publishing multiple best-selling books, including The Food You Crave, which won the prestigious James Beard Award for “Best Cookbook with a Healthy Focus.” In addition to her own show, Krieger makes regular appearances as a nutritional authority on programs like Dr. Oz and the TODAY show, and she’s appeared in countless publications, including a stint as a columnist for USA Today.
74. Wellness Mama Katie
Juggling the roles of wife, mother of five, food crusader, and amateur chef, Wellness Mama founder Katie also finds the time to host a podcast and satisfy her obsession with kettlebell workouts. In addition to offering up healthier recipes to boost the well-being of families across America, she has a slew of helpful tips on beauty, fitness, and motherhood.
75. Harley Pasternak
Down-to-Earth Celebrity Trainer
Fad diets come and go, but regardless of what’s in this season, celebrities still flock to Harley Pasternak—he’s worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Robert Downey, Jr. Part of Pasternak’s appeal is that he’s so focused on the science—rather than crushing ourselves during workouts two or three times a week or starving ourselves, he stresses the importance of walking more than 10,000 steps per day and eating balanced meals. (Both are part of his forthcoming 5 Pounds book.) And since Pasternak has degrees in kinesiology and exercise physiology, he’s the perfect person to explain scientific literature in laymen’s terms. He also partnered with Salton to create his own high-speed blender last year since he’s big on smoothies.
76. Lauren Fleshman
The Refreshingly Positive Runner
Running since age 13, this NCAA-title-holding USA Champ has her sights on the 2016 Olympics, where she plans to knock the socks off her competitors. When she’s not running 4:30 miles (!?), she’s keeping her fans up to date on what she’s thinking, eating (she co-founded the nutrition company Picky Bars), and wearing all over the world. Her blog is part-journal about her journey, part-advice column as she answers daily questions from followers with 100-percent honesty.
77. Jon Kabat-Zinn
As founder and executive director of the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society Center, best-selling author Jon Kabat-Zinn knows a thing or two about managing stress—down to the cellular level (he holds a doctorate in molecular biology). No wonder Anderson Cooper chose Kabat-Zinn as his interview for a 60 Minutes segment on mindfulness this past December. Shockingly, between media appearances, writing books and studies, serving on the board of the Mind and Life Institute, and schooling CEOs in mindfulness, Kabat-Zinn still finds the time to meditate himself.
78. Matt Frazier
The No Meat Athlete
Ultramarathoner Matt Frazier says a vegan diet may not be for everyone—but he encourages everyone to at least try it. On his No Meat Athlete blog and podcast, he offers recipes (how about some gnocchi or a pesto-ricotta Portobello burger?) in addition to running tips, his favorite gear, and training guides for every kind of race (and even more can be found in his book by the same name). With other admired fitness experts including Rich Roll and Steve Kamb plus outlets like Runner’s World quoting him, Frazier seems to be set for plant-fueled success.
79. Gunnar Peterson
Beverly Hills Buffer Upper
Gunnar Peterson may be to blame for the popularity of Kim Kardashian’s butt. OK, maybe her genes have something to do with it too, but Peterson trains the entire K clan, in addition to other celebrities. And with an expertise in functional training and 25-plus years of experience, it’s no wonder brands like Gatorade, Under Armour, and Dolce & Gabana are also clambering to collaborate with him. Even if your IMDB profile is empty, you too can train with Peterson thanks to his many DVDS, or sign up for his annual Challenge, a diet and fitness program that uses an online community for support and accountability.
80. Jeanette Jenkins
Jeanette Jenkins has the ultimate trainer trifecta: A-list clients like Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Serena Williams, and Kelly Rowland; a retail DVD empire including a full roster of workouts like her latest Sexy Abs Cardio Sculpt; and a major brand partnership with Nike, where she was a featured trainer on the Nike Training Club App. That’s enough to make any fitness pro happy, but Jenkins doesn’t rest there. On top of those commitments, she shares her expertise on dozens of TV shows and publications, including NBC's TODAY show, The Dr. Oz Show, Celebrity Fit Club, USA Today, Fitness (where she's served on the advisory board for 12 years), Shape, Health, Self, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Last year her Instagram account was featured by Refinery29 as one of the best accounts to follow for a daily dose of fitspiration. It’s now 255,000+ followers strong.
81. Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni is a fit veteran in every sense of the word. After a stint in the Air Force, starting a coaching business, and becoming a mom, Fonooni found herself back where she started: as a personal trainer. But this was no slide backward, rather she says she found her true calling in helping people. In addition to her blog Eat, Lift, and Be Happy and her work with Girls Gone Strong, she contributes to multiple fitness sites, aiming to empower women. (Check out our interview with her!) And her Lean and Lovely series of videos and PDFs helps women not only change their bodies but also their attitudes about their figures.
82. Tom Venuto
Tom Venuto knows what it takes to shed excess weight and get ripped. He torched 20 pounds of fat and found his inner Arnold back in college, when he began studying the methods of bodybuilders and pursuing a degree in exercise science. With more than 14 years of experience training and practicing what he preaches (sans steroids!) it’s no wonder he’s appeared (shirtless) in numerous magazines. Take a peek at his advice on his Burn the Fat blog, page through Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, or read his articles in numerous fitness outlets, and soak up his science-backed skepticism of fads and ability to explain research in a way that actually gets you excited about it.
83. James Clear
Why is it that bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to form? Author and speaker James Clear is trying to change that so anyone can live a more creative, happier life. In addition to being featured in Entreprenuer and Fast Company and writing for The Huffington Post, he blogs and has online classes to teach others everything he’s learned from both scientific research and personal experience. Improving your life by one percent each day leads to huge changes, he says—so why wait?
84. John Durant
New does not always mean better, and John Durant says that is especially true when it comes to our diet. Instead of looking to modern health gurus who come out with a new program every week, he prefers to look to the past for inspiration—one reason he has a freezer full of organ meats in his Manhattan bedroom. His other hobbies include running barefoot through city parks, fasting in a country where food is ubiquitous, and doing polar bear swims in the ocean. With a book, The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, a gig advising a cricket-protein bar company, and an appearance on The Colbert Report, he's out to prove that we’re happiest and healthiest eating like our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
85. Rob Sulaver
If you want to train like a boss, Rob Sulaver’s your man. Sporting a badass bandana to boot, this seriously qualified trainer will help you find the right workout and diet plan for your body—while making you laugh in the process. (Just check out his website. You’ll see why we’re smiling.) Not only is he certified by both the American Council on Exercise and the National Strength and Conditioning Association to whoop your muscles into shape, he’s also certified by the International Society of Sports Nutrition to guide your stomach toward the right foods. And did we mention he's hilarious?
86. Shiva Rea
Creator of the Flow
Best known for creating Prana Flow Yoga, Shiva Rea’s also the brains behind Yogadventure retreats and the Global Mala Project. Known for her in-person instruction and her online Global School of Living Yoga, you may also have seen Rea’s name in Yoga Journal, Yoga Plus, and Joyful Living, to which she regularly contributes. If you can’t make it to one of her classes, we suggest following her lead in one of her many DVDs.
87. Abel James
Confusion is the name of the game when it comes to dieting (is it best to go gluten-free, low carb, or eat anything but fast two days per week?), and Abel James was once as lost as many of the rest of us. After years of following conventional diet wisdom, he found himself "frustrated, sick, and flabby." He decided to dive into the research and treat himself as a guinea pig to test out what he read—and now he's on a mission to dispel all the old nutrition myths and make healthy eating as simple as pie. His wild diet is a simple plan anyone can follow, and his weekly Fat-Burning Man podcast features experts and fellow Influencers like Joel Fuhrman, M.D., and Mark Sisson giving tips and answering common questions to help you improve your health.
88. Sohee Lee
Beauty and Beast (in the Gym)
Sohee Lee may look like a top fitness model, but she’s much more. Holding a degree from Stanford and a strength and conditioning specialist certification, it's clear she is both beauty and brains—and this beauty can go beast-mode in the gym. But she wasn't always this put together. After suffering from an eating disorder for eight years, she finally realized she needed to make some serious changes if she wanted to live. She discovered weight lifting and fell in love with the science of fitness. Now she runs her own coaching business, writes for Bodybuilding.com, and co-hosts the Physique Science podcast. But best of all are her motivational, 100-percent honest, journal-like Instagrams.
89. Mike Roussell, Ph.D.
With a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a doctorate in nutrition, Mike Roussell, author of Your Naked Nutrition Guide, is well-equipped to offer science-based nutrition solutions for eaters of all shapes and sizes. Even better? He keeps his tips simple, digesting the research so you don’t have to. You can catch Roussell on Shape.com’s weekly “Ask the Diet Doctor” column, on Bodybuilding.com’s “Ask the Macro Manager” column, or on his own blog where he often posts videos asking common exercise-related questions.
90. Gray Cook
In the 80s, Olivia Newton-John sang about getting physical. But these days we’re singing a new tune: “Let’s get functional”—and leading the choir of voices is Gary Cook. As a physical therapist with a split focus on rehabilitation, strength, and conditioning, Cook has founded the popular FMS (Functional Movement System). Preaching a philosophy of holistic movement, Cook looks at the body not in segments but as interrelated. Witness this choice tweet: “The hips are a window to the core.” Through his books and DVDs, Cook coaches students and fellow fitness pros in kettlebell technique, club swinging, and other functional movements. And it’s catching on among the fitness elite: Cook has demonstrated FMS to Navy Seals and NFL players alike.
91. Brad Pilon
The Fasting Guy
If someone told you the key to losing weight and feeling great was to stop eating, you might roll your eyes. But that's because you haven't heard what Brad Pilon has to say about the subject of intermittent fasting, or going a set time without eating. While we all know that we have to eat less to weigh less, most of us have been ingrained with the mini-meal mentality that we have to keep snacking to stoke our metabolisms. Pilon, who lists the Incredible Hulk as his hero, says the opposite is true, and he has the research (and the body!) to prove it. His book Eat, Stop, Eat shows how fasting is not just starvation and teaches a method that makes it feel less like deprivation (scotch is allowed!—when you’re not doing the fast part) and more about self-healing.
92. Richard Simmons
Archduke of Aerobics
Richard Simmons was out of the public eye for most of 2014 as he dealt with a knee injury that prevented him from doing what he loves most: encouraging people to make sure they keep sweatin’! Even with a tamer-than-usual social calendar, he still put out monthly newsletters with fun recipes, workout tips, and life advice. And we still might have his 2013 song “Hair Do” stuck in our heads.
93. Jenny Hadfield
Running Coach for Mortals
Jenny Hadfield could run circles around pretty much anyone. But she won't—because she still remembers what it felt like to be "a young, chubby woman who hated running." Having completed races all over the world (including the revered Boston Marathon), she shares how she got her running passion and skills in her column for Runner's World magazine and in her books Running for Mortals and Marathoning for Mortals, plus she offers free running plans on her site. While a little competition can fuel fitness results, it never hurts to have a cheerleader help you learn to love running.
94. Mark Fisher
While being serious about fitness is a good thing, fitness in and of itself shouldn’t be that serious—and Mark Fisher, with his crazy antics, funny outfits, dance breaks, and rock-solid fitness knowledge, is out to prove that. Just don’t be fooled: Under that pink unicorn tank top beats the heart of a serious athlete who uses progressive, cutting-edge training. And those who aren't lucky enough to be close to his Ninja Clubhouse in New York City can still get his personal brand of hilarious wisdom, like his "7 Secrets of Highly Sexy MotherF*ckers" on his site.
95. Mark Verstegen
Much of what Mike Verstegen does—a slight posture change here, a diet tweak there, a subtle adjustment of a foot—may seem like magic. But it's all based in science, which is why all his little changes add up to big results. Through his five books, including the popular Core Performance, he's shown how good health doesn't have to take a lot of time or money as long as you're willing to do some planning. His method clearly works, as he's the director of performance for the NFL Players Association and is an athletic coach for the German national football team. Now he runs EXOS (formerly Core Performance), a corporate wellness company focused on preventing health problems before they happen rather than just treating them when they do.
96. Nia Shanks
The Not-so-Girly Girl
Telling Nia Shanks that she "lifts like a girl" is the ultimate compliment in her book, and she'll show exactly how much girls can really lift. (Hint: a lot.) Tired of being treated like a delicate flower in the gym, Shanks came up with her own powerlifting program to help women of all levels become their "strongest and most awesome" selves. She encourages readers to pay more attention to the numbers on the dumbbells than on the scale, to stop obsessing over having a "perfect" diet, and to find a way to get the best results with the least amount of effort. In addition to inspiring, insightful posts, she also has tutorials on everything from beginner weight lifting to specific exercises to how to be a beautiful badass.
97. Martin Berkhan
High Priest of Intermittent Fasting
One of the most prominent pro-intermittent fasting figures, Mark Berkhan is a nutritional consultant, magazine writer, personal trainer, and Lean Gains blogger. He’s determined to clear up the BS—mainly that fasting leads to a tanking metabolism and lost muscle—and uses science to back it all up. And his plan is fairly simple, basically saying to eat two to three meals in an eight-hour time span daily, eat whole foods, and exercise. With a loyal following, he’s clearly on to something.
98. Jen Sinkler
The Anti-Cardio Queen
Jen Sinkler is perhaps best known for a quote that many don’t know she ever said. When asked “What do you do for cardio?" she replied, “I lift weights faster.” This year she turned that quip into a program that incorporates explosive lifting and short rest periods so exercisers get their strength training and cardio in one quick session. With a history that includes working as a magazine fitness editor, getting a CrossFit certification, and trying every workout under the sun, she knows her stuff and used all of that knowledge for her gym, The Movement Minneapolis, where she trains using a philosophy of being "unapologetically strong." Her site, Thrive With Jen Sinkler, features everything from challenging weight workouts to recipes to tips on deadlifting.
99. Bart Yasso
The Worldly Runner
Thousands of runners rely on Bart Yasso’s marathon training schedule to prep for their next race. But Yasso has many more claims to fame. He counts himself amongst the tiny sliver of the human population to have raced on all seven continents, he’s a five-time Ironman Triathlon finisher, and he just so happens to have cycled across America twice. In My Life On The Run, Yasso recounts a life spent in motion, one that has him frequently interviewed for articles, podcasts, and radio shows.
100. Annie Thorisdottir
Modern-Day Viking Warrior
After sitting out the 2013 CrossFit Games due to a back injury, Annie Thorisdottir—named the Fittest Woman on Earth the two prior years—came back strong in 2014, placing second. And she certainly wasn’t a poor sport about it, breaking down in tears in a press conference after. While her ability to bang out the toughest WODs is impressive and we’d love to be able to burpee and squat like her, it’s her refusal to give up that is most admirable.
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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 2014—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 greatist.com/experts. We then created a scoring system based on eight measurable 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 2014—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 damn 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!
Anyone you think is missing from this list? Tweet your nominations @Greatist and we'll be sure to check out those names for next year's edition!
Written by Jeff Cattel, Tara Fuller, Maria Hart, and Katie Schreiber. Research and reporting by Brittany Risher.