There are so many influential and fit women we have to thank for glorious curves and serious motivational Monday mantras. It was a challenge picking only 10. These women have passion, they portray perseverance and work their asses off. To be a women in the Fitness industry means to stand out amongst the rest. Here are the top 10 picks:
Where You’ve Seen Her: Biggest Loser, YouTube, her website, or really anything that has to do with fitness.
Why You Should Know Her: Michaels is that trainer who gets in your face. On public television, she’ll tell you to stop being pathetic and then hold you close to her as you’re crying in the midst of a mental breakdown. With the help of Jillian, so many people have had the opportunity to restart their lives, and learn the correct, healthy way to lose weight. Whether it be through her challenges, television show, her app, daily podcast, Xbox game, or in gyms all over the world, she has helped many.
How She Got Her Start: During her early years, she weighed 175 pounds in 8th grade, dealing with divorcing parents, being bullied, and having night terrors so horrible, she was placed in therapy. As a victim of bullying, her mother switched her to a different school which ultimately lead to getting involved in Martial Arts.
Neghar FoononiWhere You’ve Seen Her: Shape magazine, Men’s Health, blogging for Schwazenager.com, or most likely Muscle Beach or anywhere she can find a kettlebell to swing.
Why You Should Know Her: She’s a strong mama, a United States Veteran, a lifestyle and Fitness coach, a wine lover, and total babe. Her 12-week-long Lean & Lovely program is just one of the many that has helped clients lose weight and gain confidence. The best part about her is she’s 100% REAL and is not afraid to tell anyone when she has overindulged on her beloved red wine.
Where She Got Her Start: An Air Force Veteran from the West Coast, Fonooni decided to pursue training after graduating high school and taking a front desk job at her local YMCA. From there, her passion for fitness and the human body grew. She learned the ins and outs of strength and conditioning, educated herself, and is now an entrepreneur who loves her career, her body, and her mind.
Venus and Serena WilliamsWhere You’ve Seen Them: In pretty much every tennis match and sports publication known to mankind.
Why You Should Know Them: This female duo is probably the best we’ll ever see on the Tennis court and in the fitness realm. With just about every tournament title under each of their belts, the Williams sisters have been a force since stepping foot on a court in 1995. They’ve competed against each other at Wimbleton five times and won 16 doubles titles together. Serena, the younger sis, has a total of 21 Grand Slams while Venus trails with seven. Both of the gals have been Olympic contenders on multiple occasions.
How They Got Their Start: At a very young age, they began training with their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price in Compton, California. Venus made her pro debut in 1994 with Serena following a year later in 1995.
Julie FoucherWhere You’ve Seen Her: At the CrossFit games, four times.
Why You Should Know Her: Foucher is the true definition of beauty and brains. In addition to placing second as The Fittest Woman on Earth during the 2012 CrossFit games, she has a degree in Biodmedical Engineering and is set to graduate medical school in 2017. She’s one of CrossFit’s original gangstas and is super humble about it. This was her last year to compete because med school is her main focus right now. Unfortunately, her CF career didn’t end as well as she’d like, sustaining a horrible achilles tendon rupture during her regionals competition. However, this didn’t keep CrossFit out of her life. She became part of the demo crew, boot and all, helped coach other athletes from the sidelines, and continued to stay positive about her CF journey.
How She Got Her Start: Growing up, Foucher was a gymnast. However, she didn’t just start throwing up 200 pounds without a ton of practice. She recorded every workout, stayed consistent with her training, and found a coach who continued to push her to elite.
Gabrielle BernsteinWhere You’ve Seen Her: The Spirit Junkie has been featured on Oprah, Dr. Oz, and New York Times Best Sellers. She travels all over the world to motivate others and is one of the most well-known health coaches in the country.
Why You Should Know Her: Life is all about turning lemons into lemonade and creating a positive outlook during a negative situation, right? Well, that’s easier said than done. Gabby practices achieving happiness, spirituality, meditation, positivity, and beauty. She’s basically a new age Dali Lama.
How She Got Her Start: Bernstein has been an entrepreneur since the get-go. As soon as she graduated from Syracuse University in 2001, she was her own boss and opened her own PR firm.
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Abby WambachWhere You’ve Seen Her: Scoring goals with diving headers and helping the U.S.A women’s soccer team grab the gold since 2001.
Why You Should Know Her: She’s been called the soul of the Women’s soccer team and currently holds the record for most international goals, 183 and counting, by the way. She’s an Olympic athlete, was named FIFA player of the year in 2012, and won the title of Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly in 2011. She even has her own day on July 20th in her hometown of Rochester called “Wambach day.” When the U.S.A’s women team defeated Japan at the World Cup, Wambach was a substitute towards the end of the game. Her team had so much respect for the long-time player that mid-fielder, Carli Lloyd, immediately surrendered her captain’s sleeve and placed it on Wambach’s arm. The humble Wambach denied it at first, but finally accepted with humble grace as the crowd cheered.
How She Got Her Start: Wambach started giving the boys a run for their money at a very young age when she was transferred from the girl’s to the boy’s league. Why? Because she scored 27, yes, 27 goals in three games! She went on to play on NCAA teams, American teams, and nationally ranked club teams before finding a place on the World Cup’s roster in 2003.
Where You’ve Seen Her: That ballerina in Under Armour commercials, The American Ballet Theatre, and being absolutely stunning in many publications.
Why You Should Know Her: Being on your toes every single day of your life, literally and figuratively, is never an easy thing to do, but Copeland does it with beauty and grace. She’s the third African American to be accepted into the American Ballet Theatre in 2007. Starting her ballet career at 13-years-old, she has faced many doubts and disbeliefs. She’ll be featured in an indie film called A Ballerina’s Tale at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival. The film depicts her struggle and rise in the ballet world. In addition to being in the ABT for 14 years, she’s published a personal memoir, presented at The Tony Awards, and was named 100 Most Influential People by Time.
How he got her start: Moving around from state to state and watching her mother go through multiple marriages was the majority of her childhood. Ballet was introduced to her at the Boy and Girl’s Club in California. She won her first national ballet award at the age of 13 and was bringing in thousands of patrons for her solo shows. She went on to study at the San Francisco Ballet School before becoming part of the ABT but not without facing a few battles first: personal doubt triggered by her race, eating disorder, and multiple injuries. Luckily, Copeland never gave up on her dream.
Kristen Griest and Shaye HaverWhere You’ve Seen Them: The two women who recently graduated as Army Rangers in Fort Benning, Georgia along with 94 men.
Why You Should Know Them: These two are the most badass women on this list. Both West Point Graduates, they are the first women to EVER graduate from the rigorous and grueling 62-day-long Army Ranger School. Out of 364 soldiers who started the course, only 96 successfully completed all three stages, including Griest and Haver. Griest, a Military Police officer from Connectcuit and Haver, an AH-64 Apache helicopter pilot, pulled their own weight and then some during training. Both graduated towards the top of their class. In one instance, Griest was the last to carry a 17-pound machine gun for the rest of her peers.
Where they started: Both women graduated from West Point and were avid runners while growing up. Griest previously served in Afghanistan and joined military police because it was the closest she could get to being part of combat. Haver followed in her father’s footsteps and became a helicopter pilot. Either way, both women are the definition of BADASS.
Ronda RouseyWhere You’ve Seen Her: Knocking her last opponent out in 34 seconds, roasting Floyd Mayweather whenever he tries to come at her, and being UFC’s Women Bantamweight champ.
Why You Should Know Her: If Rousey, Haver, and Griest teamed up, they would be the ultimate tripod. Her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photos will make your jaw drop quicker than her fist. She’s unapologetically femininely badass and gives zero f*cks about haters. The 28-year-old is 12-0 in UFC, three of those victories being knockouts and nine being in under one minute. Yeah, UNDER ONE FREAKIN’ MINUTE, PEOPLE! Rousey rocks eight title belts and has zero intention of slowing down. Did I mention she also went to the Olympics twice for Judo? Not bad, not bad at all.
Where she started: Rousey was a figher from the beginning and not just in the ring. She grew up with a serious speech disorder for the first six years of her life. It was very difficult for her to put sentences together. Rousey rose from that and completed her G.E.D and then began her MMA career at 22.
Morghan KingWhere You’ve Seen Her: Throwing up a 182.6-pound snatches for the USA Weightlifting team and competing with her 105-pound frame.
Why You Should Know Her: Because holy sh*t! That’s a lot of weight for a little girl. The 29-year-old Seattle native can throw up double her body weight in a clean and jerk. She trains up to nine times a week for over two hours and consumes an INSANE amount of healthy proteins, veggies, complex carbs, and anything that will fuel her little body for the amount of work it does. She set a record at the 2015 Pan Am games and announced she’ll be competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Not bad for starting the sport three years ago!
Where she started: A collegiate soccer player turned CrossFitter, King started Olympic Lifting in 2012. She was taken under the wing of her coaches Dean Kruse and Zygmut Smalcrez, quickly rising to the top of her weight lifting game.