Whether you call it fitspo, fitspiration, or fitness inspiration the image of the perfect body is taking over our society and there’s no denying the collective obsession with a ‘healthy’ body image and physical fitness. Depending on where your environment and the media you’re exposed to, the emphasis on good health and a small waist is at least an ideal and at worst an obsession. There’s no doubt that our society has gotten a tad bit lazier over the course of the last century, with every modern convenience working towards allowing us to do more in less time with minimal effort. But alongside this, the world of fitness and health has begun to thrive. The less we do on a day-to-day basis – sitting at a desk, taking the elevator, ordering deliveries – the more we need to schedule fitness into our lifestyle. No longer a natural part of our lifestyle, fitness has become a commodity for which we’ll pay good money. And as long as there are masses of average people lusting after a svelte body like the A-listers, there’ll be trainers on hand to help those people achieve their dream body; for a price, of course.
With so many options to get healthy, it’s hard to choose the perfect regime to get you going. You might buy a gym membership, but those are notorious for collecting dust. Hiring a personal trainer is an option, but it’s an enormous expense. In the last 50 years, the newest trend has been home workouts – first on TV and video, and now available online or even on a handy app. Why go to a gym or pay for a class when you can get a great workout from the comfort of your own home? Home workout systems have become increasingly popular, especially for those starting out who may be intimidated by a gym full of fitness freaks. Take Turbo Jam creator and fitness expert Chalene Johnson, for example: Her home fitness regime created a fitness and self-help empire and Johnson now makes a living improving people’s health and well-being.
If you’re looking for a surrogate personal trainer these days, the options are endless: On video sharing websites, fitness forums and blogs fitness fanatics are turning their passion into a career – everyone with a six-pack is an expert. But who are the fitness gurus who most successfully turned their passion for exercise into a career making people healthier? Read on to find out which 10 fitness gurus have earned the most millions pedalling their personalised versions of health, fitness, and body improvement. If you’ve ever watched a late night fitness infomercial, or even “The Biggest Loser”, some of these names will be familiar to you…
10. Bob Harper – $2 Million
Bob Harper has been making quite a lot of headlines recently. “The Biggest Loser” trainer just published his third book and his fitness empire is bigger than ever. Consisting of supplements, workouts, television appearances, books, and public speaking, Harper’s empire covers many areas in the self-help and self-improvement realms. Just recently he came out as gay on the show, which opened him up to become an icon in the LGBT community. Before his “Biggest Loser” days, Harper was a trainer in Los Angeles for numerous celebrities including Jennifer Jason Leigh.
9. Jillian Michaels – $4 Million
One of the most well known trainers from “The Biggest Loser”, Jillian Michaels has created quite the fitness empire of her own with a website, DVD series, books, and nutrition plans. Michaels has been appropriately named one of TV’s toughest trainers and her intimidating look is enough to make anyone hesitate before taking a break from one of her intense workouts – regardless of whether she’s on your television, or right in front of you! Along with Bob Harper, Jillian Michaels has been part of one of the most successful fitness reality shows and has contributed to inspiring millions towards fitness and health.
8. Shaun Thompson – $10 Million
Also known as “Shaun T”, Thompson is the creator of the Insanity program; an intense exercise program known to make huge changes to your body in just 60 days. He’s also a choreographer and created an exercise series combining strength and dance, known as Hip Hop Abs. He started his career as a dancer for Mariah Carey and eventually went on to study health and physical fitness and moved into a career of personal training in Los Angeles. He was asked by the company Beachbody to submit a demo of his workouts and was offered a contract that created the Insanity series.
7. Tony Horton – $10 Million
Tony Horton is a fitness expert and an exercise instructor. Most of us known him as the creator of the P90X program, an at-home training program that helps people make remarkable changes to their body in less than 3 months. But his empire doesn’t stop at P90X; he’s also the spokesperson for NordicTrack and has created other exercise series that aren’t as intense as the P90X program. He is a well-known trainer in the celebrity world, too, and he is highly sought after for his opinions and input when it comes to diet and exercise.
6. Richard Simmons – $15 Million
Richard Simmons is one of the most well known, iconic figures when it comes to diet and exercise. His perm, his sing-songy voice, and shiny shorts are unforgettable and identify Richard Simmons as a unique character in the fitness guru world. Growing up as an overweight teen, Simmons was driven to improve his body image, self-confidence, and himself, and became quite the inspiration for many who were tired of being fat or unhealthy. And perhaps it’s because Simmons has “been there” that makes him a more sought after fitness guru over the traditional trainers and exercise programs out there.
5. Chuck Norris – $26 Million
Chuck Norris is so much more than some the punchline to some amazing jokes and “Walker, Texas Ranger”. Norris is also the spokesperson (along with Christie Brinkley) for the Total Gym workout. Because his physique is enviable, you can bet that many people continue to buy the Total Gym whether it’s from late night infomercials or hits on the Total Gym website. Overall, the enthusiasm and encouragement that Chuck Norris exhibits is an inspiration for many who want to become stronger and healthier.
4. Billy Blanks – $30 Million
Billy Blanks is most well known for creating the intense Tae Bo fitness program that utilizes karate and kickboxing. He was also a film actor for a brief period of time, but now he makes his primary living off of his fitness empire. Tae Bo exploded in popularity when it first came out, and to this day Blanks continues to come out with new variations of his fitness program from a “boot camp” style of program to more advance versions of the Tae Bo fitness program.
3. Tracy Anderson – $110 Million
Tracy Anderson is very well known as the woman who helped Kim Kardashian with her post-baby workout. Anderson has gyms all over the world and a series of workout DVDs based on the poise and physicality of a dancer. She’s also known as the trainer for celebrities like Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Lopez. With her workouts, Anderson promises that you’ll be on the road towards having the petite body of a dancer through a series of dance-cardio segments as well as muscular training. Recently, she has joined up with “The Restart Project” which is dedicated to helping women overcome adversity with improved health and fitness.
2. Jane Fonda – $120 Million
Almost all of us surely know someone who owned a Jane Fonda exercise video. Fonda used to be an avid ballet dancer, but after injuring her foot, she was unable to dance. To compensate for the lack of physical activity, she began to do aerobics under the direction of Leni Cazden. Well, one thing led to another, and Fonda began to film exercise videos that were a huge success. So much so that making new workout videos became a second career for Fonda, and millions around the world took notice and bought the video in hopes of getting a figure like Jane Fonda. She’s now a fixture in the celebrity world and a Hollywood actress – contributing to her huge wealth.
1. Tony Little – $200 Million
Known as “America’s Personal Trainer”, Tony Little is known for his expertise in fitness and his long, blonde ponytail. If you’ve ever stayed up late at night to watch television, chances are that you’ve caught one of Little’s infomercials. He’s known for his catchphrases that oddly stick to your psyche when trying to push out those last few reps in your workout (Can you hear, “You can do it!” chanting in your ear?). Tony Little’s infomercials have grossed just a little over $4 billion in sales, making him one of the richest fitness gurus of all time with an estimated personal net worth of $200 million.
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