We’ve come a long way since “fitspo” thrived in 2015. While the posts were definitely motivational, the messaging and images were often toxic, making viewers feel like their body was nothing but a “before” photo. Roughly five years later, the trainers worth following on le ‘gram are less about kale smoothies and fasted cardio and more about challenging your body when you can and doing some serious self-care when you can’t (read chillin’). They see how happy these fitness models look and realize that they too would like to lose a few pounds and reduce the risks of dying early.
Some of the Instagram fitness models are more into “fitness,” while some are more “models” who enjoy showing off their toned and healthy bodies. The one common feature is that all 10 of these Instagram fitness models are incredibly popular, having at least four million followers.
1. Sommer Ray – at sommerray.
21-year-old Sommer Ray hails from Colorado in the US. She is relatively new to fitness modeling, having begun posting her pictures and videos in September 2016. She has become an Instagram superstar in a short time. She comes from a fit family – both her parents were competitive bodybuilders. This meant that the family regularly traveled to compete in fitness shows.
Eventually, the family settled in Lone Tree, Colorado. In 2012, at age 15, Sommer decided to follow the family tradition and began lifting weights. Within a year, her body showed the benefits of her regular workouts. She started to compete in regional bikini athlete championships. She began to enjoy success in 2015. In that year, Sommer won the Bikini Teen and Bikini Class D titles at the NPC Colorado State Championships. She also reached 16th place in the 2015 NPC USA Championships.
Sommer began documenting her fitness journey on Instagram in 2016, posting pictures and videos of her lifestyle and workouts. The bodybuilding community responded to her postings, by following her in large numbers. She continued this into 2017, with her numbers pushing her to become the most popular fitness model on Instagram. She also operates a YouTube channel where she shares a vlog of her fitness routines.
2. Michelle Lewin – at michelle_lewin
Michelle Lewin is one of the better-known Instagram fitness models on this list. Michelle was born in 1986 in Maracay, Venezuela. She has been a Playboy cover model. She started her modeling career on the catwalk but decided to move into bikini modeling at a friend’s suggestion.
She loved the fitness side of bikini modeling so opted to spend time working out in the gym, sculpting her body.She boosted her weight from 95 lb to 120 lb of lean muscle. At this point, she found modeling requests started to flood in from fitness magazines and supplement companies. She entered a variety of IFBB and NPC competitions over 2013 and 2014, winning the NPC Fort Lauderdale Cup in 2013, and coming second in the 2013 NPC Southern States competition.
Her workouts are cruc!l to her, as is a healthy diet. She considers the most important exercises to be sprints, lunges, and side lateral raises. She believes in high-intensity training which causes you to sweat a lot. She shares images of her workouts on Instagram, hoping to motivate other women to lose weight and improve their fitness levels. She also shares videos of her exercises on her YouTube channel.
3. Jen Selter – at jenselter
Jen Selter is a 24-year-old American, best known for her fitness modeling and overall social media presence. She was born on Long Island, New York in 1993. She grew up believing in the importance of an active lifestyle. She began working out at age 15, and within a few years, she had a well-scu-lpted body, with toned abs and gl*tes.
Jen worked at two part-time jobs while at school. She took time out one day from working in a fitness gym to post an online picture of herself wearing a b!kini. The photo went viral, and Jen gained fame overnight. Since then she has continued to work out and has built up a strong social media following, sharing images and videos of her fitness lifestyle. She has appeared in television shows as a fitness trainer, giving lessons to the viewers.
As a result of her success, she has made numerous deals to make endorsements and perform public appearances. She has released books and fitness videos. Some of the companies she has worked with include Circus Fitness, Nike, Lululemon, and New Balance. She has signed with The Legacy Agency.
4. Ana Cheri – at anacheri
31-year-old Ana Cheri is a Southern Californian. She has Native American, Latina, and Caucasian heritage. In some ways, her career is the opposite of the majority of people on this list. While most gained fitness fame and then chose to share their journey on Instagram, Ana began as an unknown girl posting images and fitness tips.
Her posts were popular, and her support base snowballed. As a result of her Instagram success, local California brands began to offer her modeling offers. She also gained the opportunity to endorse national brands. She appeared in posters and brochures for companies like Punch Magazine and Toyo Tires, as well as promotional ads for FOX Racing and Long Beach Grand Prix D1.
She was selected to be Playboy’s Playmate of October 2015 – one of the last fully nude Playmates.Soon afterward, Chive named her the “New Queen of Instagram.”However, health and fitness are just as important to Ana as modeling is. She was the Brand Ambassador and Motivational Speaker for Shredz Supplements. She featured in several fitness magazines, such as Muscle and Fitness Magazine. More recently, Ana has started a new gym in Santa Ana, called “Be More Athletics.”
5. Anllela Sagra – at anllela_sagra
Anllela Sagra is a 24-year-old Colombian fitness model and bodybuilder. She began her working life in fashion design and modeling. She deliberately kept herself skinny at this at the time, as that was the preferred body image for models, rather than a muscular build.
One day she met a personal trainer at the gym who changed her outlook on life. She gained an interest in fitness, learned about the human body, and adopted new training styles. She particularly enjoyed weight-training. Her change in interests (and the muscle she had built as a result) moved her away from traditional modeling.
She entered a bikini competition, gaining third place. As a result, she made a conscious career change into the world of fitness modeling. She has built up a massive army of followers on Instagram, sharing her fitness progress with them, and giving them workouts to try themselves. It is estimated that Anllela has earned $800,000 in income in 2017 from fitness modeling, training, and sponsored Instagram posts.
6. Kayla Itsines – at kayla_Itsines
Kayla Itsines is a 26-year-old South Australian personal trainer, author, and entrepreneur. Time Magazine named Kayla as one of the 30 most influential people on the internet in their March 2016 issue. She is even more popular on Facebook than Instagram – with 16 million followers on that platform.
Kayla is probably best known for her Bikini Body Guides (#BBG) which are a series of eBooks providing short aerobic exercises and meal plans. She has also released one of the most successful fitness apps – Sweat with Kayla.Kayla was not particularly healthy or into fitness as a child, but started working out in a gym in her mid-teens. She enjoyed her training so much that she changed her career plans and studied to be a personal trainer.
In her early days of working in an Adelaide gym, she noticed that machine-based classes did not appear to help her clients. She created aerobic routines instead that became popular. She lectured students on nutrition and asked her students to provide Before and After photos. At her cousin’s suggestion, she organized the photos on Instagram.Within a few months, she had hundreds of thousands of followers, and people began asking her for fitness and nutrition advice. This led to the creation of her Bikini Body Guides, and the expansion of her online presence.Across all of her social networks, she is very much a social media superstar.
7. Julia Gilas – at juliagilas
Julia Gilas is a Ukrainian-born personal trainer and fitness model. She moved to the USA in 2009, when aged 24, to pursue her dream of being a model, and has subsequently gained American citizenship. She became a model and started to enjoy the modeling life, including extensive travel. However, she found that with extensive travel it was easy to neglect basic health and nutrition.
Julia decided that she needed to change her life choices. She made a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle.At this point, she decided to move into fitness modeling. While she still travels the world for modeling purposes, she does it with health and fitness in mind. She has built her Instagram account up and shares her fitness routines and healthy eating ideas with her followers.
8. Ulisses Jr – at ulissesworld
With bodybuilding once being thought of as a man’s sport, it is surprising that Ulisses Jr is the only male Instagram fitness model on this list. New York-born, Ulisses Jr, took a keen interest in fitness, even as a schoolboy. He competed in high school football and athletics.
However, he was one of the smallest in his age group. He decided the best way to compensate for this was to train rigorously in the gym. When he reached 19, Ulisses Jr decided that he had a future in bodybuilding. He put serious effort into training. At one point he plateaued and decided that for him to move forward, he would have to improve his nutrition.
He kept on bodybuilding, gaining a “trademark 8-pack”. He began to enter competitions, enjoying being able to show off his physique. He visited schools with The City Gym Boys as a fitness model. His first significant success came in winning the 2000 Platinum Classic NYC. This was only the beginning though, and he has a string of bodybuilding accomplishments, including winning the Musclemania World Championships Las Vegas Pro (1st, Pro Division) in 2010 and 2013. In 2013 he changed career direction and became a coach, helping others to achieve their bodybuilding dreams.
9. Eva Andressa – at eva_andressa
Eva Andressa grew up in Pine Nut Land, Curitiba, Brazil. She considered herself a skinny girl in her teens and worked out to help thicken her figure. Although she worked out for a while in the gym, she gave up due to not having a personal trainer or knowledge of fitness. She eventually met her future husband, Jardel Barros, who was athletic. This inspired Eva to return to her training.
She entered her first competition at age 21 – Brazil’s NABBA Bravo Cup and was awarded the Figure championship. The next year she entered and won, the nationals – the 2006 NABBA Parana Championships. She continued to win more prestigious shows over the next few years. After a series of successful competitions in 2009, Eva “retired” from the championships, changing career to be a fitness model. She has also become a media sensation – appearing on television and in numerous global magazines. She has continued this exposure with her successful Instagram account.
10. Izabel Goulart – at izabelgoulart
Izabel Goulart is a 33-year-old Brazilian model, interested in fitness and health. She has appeared on many top runways despite experiencing a wardrobe malfunction in her first show when her top fell open. She walked in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows.
With her emphasis on fitness, it was appropriate that Izabel should appear in the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She is known for carrying out intense workouts— from boxing to Pilates – and sharing them in her Instagram posts. She uses the hashtag #BodybyIza whenever she shares her grueling fitness routines. Vogue quotes her as saying, “ “Health is one of the biggest treasures we have in life and has always been my priority.”
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