The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (2023)

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (1)

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Celebrity fitness gurus first came to prominence in the 1980s thanks to the popularity of straight-to-video home workout programs. Notable names like Jane Fonda and Kathy Smith taught classes from studios, acting as trainers in homes everywhere. Exercise and fitness infomercials also reached peak mania during this time, which turned spokespeople into celebrities themselves.

Since then, workout DVDs and reality TV shows have continued to keep fitness at the forefront of entertainment. Do you remember these 40 names? From 1980 to present-day, they are some of the most popular celebrity trainers in the country.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (2)

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1980: Arnold Schwarzenegger

The multi-hyphenate fitness legend came out of retirement in order to compete for the Mr. Olympia title in 1980. At the time, he was also training for a movie role. Despite the hectic schedule, he ended up winning the title and what would be his final championship in the event.

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1981: Olivia Newton-John

Although not originally fitness guru by occupation, her smash single "Physical" was a global sensation. The top-charting song made everybody want to get on their feet, dance, sweat, and get.. well, physical.

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1982: Suzanne Somers

The Three's Company actress turned into a full-fledged fitness personality thanks to her workout infomercials and 'Thighmaster' endorsements. She's since gone on to author several weight loss, nutrition, and health books, many of which have become bestsellers.

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1983: Gilad Janklowicz

Bodies In Motion, the longest-running fitness show in the United States, first aired in 1983. The Israeli fitness instructor hosted the long-running show, but also created over 30 workout videos and hosted another show called Total Body Sculpt with Gilad.

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1984: Raquel Welch

1984 marked the release of the legendary actress' Total Beauty and Fitness Program, which quickly became popular. It was particularly groundbreaking due to its emphasis on yoga postures.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (7)

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(Video) The greatest celebrity fitness gurus of all time

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1985: Jake Steinfeld

Steinfeld's career first took off when stars like Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford used him as a personal trainer. He then launched the Body By Jake fitness regimen series that catapulted him into fame.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (8)

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1986: Jane Fonda

The fitness queen's Jane Fonda Workout videos have sold over 17 million copies worldwide, the most among any exercise series. She encouraged many Americans to buy their first VCRs in the '80s so they could follow her aerobics-based workout routines at home.

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8 of 40

1987: Heather Locklear

The actress and model became a fitness guru with her own line of workout videos, titled Personal Training Sessions, where she rocked bright leotards in typical '80s fashion.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (10)

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1988: Alyssa Milano

Straight off of her Who's The Boss fame, a teen Alyssa Milano moved on to the fitness world. In 1988, she debuted a series of workout videos marketed towards the spandex-loving teenagers of the '80s with Alyssa Milano Teen Steam Workouts.

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1988: Kathy Smith

The fitness personality has sold over 16 million workout videos, which reached peak popularity levels in the late '80s and early '90s.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (12)

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1989: Chuck Norris

The martial arts legend and action star received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989, cementing his legacy as a fitness icon, actor, and producer. He also has a black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu jitsu.

The 40 Biggest Fitness Gurus of All Time (13)

(Video) The greatest celebrity fitness gurus of all time

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1990: Derrick Evans

The early '90s fitness icon, better known as Mr. Motivator, was a British sensation thanks to his appearances on the breakfast TV show GMTV, where he performed live, high-energy workout sessions in bright, colorful spandex.

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1991: Cher

The legendary singer and actress entered the fitness realm with the release of her 1991 book Cher Forever Fit, which featured workout tips, nutrition advice, and her favorite skincare-products.

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1992: Denise Austin

With over 20 million exercise videos sold, "America's Fitness Sweetheart" is considered one of the top fitness celebrities of the '90s. She's also authored 10 fitness books and centers her workout regimen around yoga, pilates, and aerobic exercises.

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1993: Mark Wahlberg a.k.a. Marky Mark

It seems like Mark Wahlberg has always been into fitness—even back in his Funky Bunch days. In 1993, the rapper and Calvin Klein heartthrob released a hit workout video called The Marky Mark Workout.

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1993: Fabio

The Italian/American model, whose face was plastered across romance novel covers all over the world, delved into the fitness realm in 1993 with his self-titled Fabio Fitness workout video.

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1994: Ali MacGraw

Ali MacGraw was one of the biggest actresses in the '70s, but by the early '90s she had found a different purpose: yoga. MacGraw trained as a yoga instructor and released a series of videos called Ali MacGraw: Yoga Mind & Body.

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1994: Susan Powter

The motivational speaker, nutritionist, and personal trainer reached the height of fame in 1994 when she first hosted her own talk show, The Susan Powter Show, in which she discussed topics like nutrition and fitness with her guests. She was also known the catchphrase "stop the insanity!" which was a highlight of her weight loss infomercial.

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1995: Tony Little

With numerous '90s fitness infomercials, the self-proclaimed "America's Fitness Guru" became known for his ponytail, booming voice, and endorsement of several fitness products, most notably the Gazelle Elliptical Glider.

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1996: Richard Simmons

The beloved '90s fitness guru was known for his contagious energy and flamboyant personality that both helped America actually enjoy working out. His Sweatin' To The Oldies videos brought an aerobics craze to the masses thanks to his energy and the upbeat soundtracks.

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1997: Don Saladino

For over 20 years, Saladino has coached actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrity clients like Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, and Ryan Reynolds. This fitness guru is one of the most in-demand personal trainers for the famous and wealthy.

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1998: Beto Perez

Perez was teaching dance in his home country of Colombia when he forgot his cassette of pop songs before a class—so he improvised and played a mixtape of Latin songs he had on him. Years later, he'd birth Zumba. By 2012, Zumba Fitness would be valued at $500 million.

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1998: Billy Blanks

The Tae Bo workout creator (a combination of Tae Kwon Do and Boxing) reportedly sold more than 1.5 million videos of his workout classes between 1998-1999 before launching Billy's Boot Camp.

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2000: Bob Harper

The TV personality and personal trainer, known for his role in The Biggest Loser, has been open about his sexuality, dieting habits, and heart attack health scare.

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2001: Shaun T

Known for his high-intensity and energetic home workout videos like Hip-Hop Abs and Insanity, Shaun T made many TV appearances on programs like the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show and the Tyra Banks Show.

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2002: Jillian Michaels

In 2002, Michaels opened the sports medicine facility Sky Sport & Spa in Beverly Hills before making her TV debut on the hit NBC show The Biggest Loser. She became known for her tough coaching style that helped contestants get whipped into shape. Since then, she's released several workout DVDs and authored several fitness books.

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2003: Tony Horton

The fitness coach and instructor entered the crowded home workout space with P90x in 2003, through a series of informercials that promised dramatic before and after results after 90 days of completing the program.

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2004: Harley Pasternak

This bonafide celebrity trainer, author, motivational speaker, and TV personality made headlines in 2004 when Halle Berry revealed he trained her for the movie Catwoman. That admission landed him a guest appearance on Oprah and eventually a book deal.

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2005: Gunnar Peterson

One of the most sought-after personal trainers, the guy who counts the Kardashians as clients released his first book in 2005, which delves into the secrets of Hollywood personal training.

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2006: Tracy Anderson

The fitness mogul, known for monthly services and the Tracy Anderson Method, had her big break in 2006 when Gwyneth Paltrow visited her LA studio and dropped a significant amount weight. Paltrow then told Madonna about Anderson and from there, she gained even more popularity.

(Video) Top Trainers Agree, These Are the 10 Best Muscle-Building Exercises


Who is a famous fitness guru? ›

Richard Simmons
BornMilton Teagle Simmons July 12, 1948 New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Other namesMilton Teagle Simmons Milton Simmons Richard Teagle Simmons
OccupationFitness instructor actor video producer
Years active1968–2014; 2020-present
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Who was the first fitness guru? ›

Jack LaLanne, whose obsession with grueling workouts and good nutrition, complemented by a salesman's gift, brought him recognition as the founder of the modern physical fitness movement, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, Calif. He was 96.

Who is most popular fitness Youtuber? ›

  • Origym Personal Trainer Courses. 12.2K subscribers. ...
  • Love Sweat Fitness. 756K subscribers. ...
  • HASfit. 1.88M subscribers. ...
  • Joanna Soh Official. 2.88M subscribers. ...
  • OfficialBarstarzz. 747K subscribers. ...
  • BodyFit By Amy. 848K subscribers. ...
  • Nick's Strength and Power. 1.19M subscribers. ...
  • XHIT Daily. 3.25M subscribers.
1 May 2022

Is walking better than running? ›

Walking and running are both excellent forms of cardiovascular exercise. Neither is necessarily “better” than the other. The choice that's best for you depends entirely on your fitness and health goals. If you're looking to burn more calories or lose weight fast, running is a better choice.

What is the most effective workout program? ›

I suggest two days of cardio, two days of strength and one day of HIIT." For your cardio you could do the elliptical, cycling, treadmill, an outdoor run or even a rowing machine. For strength training, you can use weights, your own bodyweight or other equipment like kettlebells.

What's the best workout routine? ›

A sample weekly workout plan
  • Monday: Strength training (full body) with Pilates abs and yoga stretching.
  • Tuesday: Cardio HIIT Session (20-30 minutes) or long walk/swim.
  • Wednesday: Strength training (full body) & with Pilates abs and yoga stretching.
  • Thursday: Rest day.
1 Jul 2022

Who is the father of fitness? ›

Before there was power yoga and Tae-Bo, there was Jack LaLanne, who devoted his life to making Americans fit and healthy. LaLanne, who died Sunday at age 96, became the fitness conscience of the nation after his daily TV show on exercise and nutrition debuted in the 1950s.

Who started fitness? ›

The earliest records indicate that around 2,000 B.C (over 4,000 years ago) the Egyptians formally introduced structured acrobatics and fitness training.

Who invented exercise? ›

Exercise for the purpose of training to increase strength, speed, and endurance can be traced back to ancient Greece around 600 B.C.

Who is the highest paid fitness trainer? ›

Ross Dickerson, personal trainer to The Rock, is both the highest earning per post and most active fitness influencer on this list. Mr. Dickerson's account is followed by 2.8 million users, and earns an unbelievable $15,000 per post.

Who is the most famous celebrity trainer? ›

Let's take a look at our list of some of the most famous personal trainers in the industry.
  1. Gunnar Peterson. ...
  2. Harley Pasternak. ...
  3. Mark Jenkins. ...
  4. Ben Bruno. ...
  5. Jillian Michaels. ...
  6. Lucas James. ...
  7. Aaron Williamson. ...
  8. Jeanette Jenkins.
3 Sept 2021

Who is best female fitness YouTuber? ›

21 YouTube Fitness Influencers to Subscribe to Right Now:
  • Yoga With Adriene.
  • Kayla Itsines.
  • Fitness Blender.
  • POPSUGAR Fitness.
  • Blogilates.
  • Nikki Blackketter.
  • The Body Coach.
  • Carly Rowena.
15 Jun 2022

Who is the best fitness influencers on YouTube? ›

Here are the 10 best Fitness Influencers on YouTube in India 2022 to subscribe to right now:
  • Abhinav Mahajan – 1.67M Subscribers.
  • Atul Kumar Verma Fitness Rockers – 535K Subscribers.
  • Shreyas Kamath Fitness – 92.2K Subscribers.
  • Raghav Pande's Xcell Fitness – 56.1K Subscribers.
  • Rohit Khatri Fitness – 4.48M Subscribers.

Who is the best online trainer? ›

The Best Online Personal Trainers - Top 10
  • Scott Laidler.
  • Adrian Collins.
  • Joe Wicks.
  • Doyouyoga.
  • Gordon Greenhorn.
  • Nick Mitchell.
  • Kayla Itsines.

Which country is best for gym trainer? ›

Your qualifications will be more than enough in many other countries to be hired as a Personal Trainer.
Are you qualified enough?
  • The Caribbean.
  • The United States.
  • South Africa.
  • United Arab Emirates.
  • Canada.
  • New Zealand.
  • Belgium.
  • The Netherlands.
10 Mar 2017

Who is the best fitness trainer in India? ›

Yasmin Karachiwala, Kamal Chhikara, Rakesh Udiyar: Best personal trainers in India.

How do you become a fitness guru? ›

Becoming a fitness instructor: 10 tips
  1. Do your research. The first step toward a career as a fitness instructor is deciding what type of instructor you'd like to be. ...
  2. Consider a degree. ...
  3. Develop your people skills. ...
  4. Get your CPR and AED certification. ...
  5. Choose a specialization. ...
  6. Get certified. ...
  7. Start part-time. ...
  8. Get social.
2 May 2022

Who is Ross Dickerson? ›

Ross, aka Dickerson Ross, has made his name on social media for his unique and fun attitute to building an incredible physique. His 12 years of experience, combined with his own mental health battles, provide a matchless perspective on training and diet for everyone, beginner through to competition ready pros.

How old is Tony Little? ›

Which is the No 1 gym in India? ›

Ozone Fitness

It was started in Delhi in 2002 and has already bagged many national awards for “best gym in India”. The gym is spacious, luxurious and has some of the most experienced trainers in the industry.

Who is India's No 1 trainer? ›

Mehul Kuwadia (India's No 1 Trainer's Trainer)

What are fitness goals? ›

A fitness goal is a specific training objective or physical challenge you set for yourself. Your goal should be realistic and achievable within a particular time frame, and specific to your exercise routine or training habits.

Is a career in fitness worth it? ›

Is being a fitness coach or personal trainer worth it? From our experience working with thousands of fitness coaches, the answer is yes, so long as Teach, Learn, Move and Create are practiced on a daily basis.

What is a Level 2 fitness qualification? ›

The aim of this Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing qualification is to train learners to a professionally competent level, enabling them to prescribe, plan and deliver safe and effective exercise programmes within a gym or health club environment as a Level 2 Fitness Instructor.

How does Ross Dickerson make money? ›

His huge following translates into big money, too, with Dickerson's income coming from two sources: advertising and selling his own fitness plans. “Every time I post, I'm trying to make as much money as possible from that post. I'm trying to get as many people from Instagram to my website.

How do I cancel Dickerson Ross? ›

To request a refund, email us at

How much does Dickerson Ross weight? ›

Athlete Statistics
Weight205 - 215lbs (88.5 - 93.0kg)
Height6'1" (185.5cm)
Year of Birth1989
ProfessionTennis Coach, Fitness Model, Entrepreneur
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Is Tony Little Rich? ›

Tony Little net worth: Tony Little is an American businessman and fitness personality who has a net worth of $200 million dollars.
Tony Little Net Worth.
Net Worth:$200 Million
Profession:Businessperson, TV Personality
Nationality:United States of America
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What did Tony Little sell? ›

Then, in 1987 he landed a deal with the Home Shopping Network. If he could sell 400 exercise videos in four days, the network executive said, Little would have other opportunities. Little sold 400 videos in four hours.

Is Tony Little married? ›

Tony Little


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