Diary of a Fit Patriot: Fitness Icons

Posted: April 25, 2016 at 9:50 am, Last Updated: May 3, 2016 at 9:14 am

By: Alison M. Hall

When you hear the words “fitness icon,” who do you think of? It probably depends on your age and interests. Here are 20 individuals who changed the face of the industry. If it weren’t for these people, the gym wouldn’t be the same. This list is by no means exhaustive, just 20 people who have made an impact in the industry. Click on each name for more information. How many of these icons have influenced you?

Joseph Pilates. His Contrology exercises have become what we call Pilates today.

Jack LaLane. In 1936, he opened one of the first modern health studios. He was a pioneer in fitness television, invented a variety of fitness equipment, and created many new exercises.

Richard Simmons. When he couldn’t find a gym in LA tailored for people who weren’t already in shape, he opened his own. He has starred in 65 fitness videos, had his own TV show, and even had a role on General Hospital as the aerobics instructor for 4 years.

Jane Fonda. She released her first video in 1982, and it still sells today. She was one of the first instructors to produce a work-at-home video and created many more throughout her career.

Denise Austin. She has been producing workout videos since the 80s. She believes in staying fit naturally and promotes an all-around healthy lifestyle.

Kathy Smith. Another veteran of home workout videos, she has been producing workouts for more than 30 years.

Arnold Schwarzenegger. From Mr. Olympia to the Terminator to the Governor, he has always promoted fitness. He continues to work with children’s fitness and Special Olympics.

Cathe Friedrich. She pioneered advanced home workout videos. She stays at the forefront of home workout video technology, with features like a workout blender to mix and match chapters from her workouts. She also offers an online subscription service to live classes at her gym.

Judi Sheppard Missett. The creator of Jazzercise, she continues to work for the company keeping the workouts fresh and up-to-date.

Billy Blanks. He brought kickboxing to the top of fitness when he created Tae Bo. He also travels the world training U.S. Armed Forces.

Tony Horton. Star of the P90X videos, Tony Horton went from celebrity trainer to household name. He also is an author and motivational speaker.

Jillian Michaels. Most people know of her from The Biggest Loser TV show, but she also has videos, books, and a new reality show.

Bob Harper. The former Biggest Loser trainer most recently hosted the show. He has videos and online training programs too.

Shaun T. He’s the star of a variety of workout videos from Hip Hop Abs to Insanity. Now he has a TV show too as he continues to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Tracy Anderson. She’s famous for her “Method” and training celebrities. She also has many home workouts available.

Alberto “Beto” Perez. He’s the founder of Zumba, which he did by accident when he forgot his normal group fitness music. He put on some Latin music he had in his backpack, and the rest is history.

Rodney Yee. This yoga master travels the world learning and teaching. He has many home videos.

Jonathan “Johnny G” Goldberg. He came up with the idea of creating outdoor riding plans indoors when the weather was bad. From there, he invented Spinning.

Gilad Janklowicz. Star of Bodies in Motion in the early days of ESPN, Gilad brought beach fitness to our TVs. He continues to produce home workout videos, still on the beaches of Hawaii.

Mindy Mylrea. She invented the little purple Gliding Discs. She’s an aerobics champion who still brings her amazing energy everywhere she goes.