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Fitness has truly stepped into the light in the past few years. It has morphed from basic magazines like Shape and Health that illustrate cardio routines and simple bodyweight exercises into Instagram and TikTok accounts that push heavy weight in the bodybuilding section of the gym. The difference is jarring and it’s more difficult to find a fitness influencer, or fitfluencer, that you truly trust with building a workout routine. 

First, let me just get something clear. Exercise should be for your enjoyment and peace, not because you want a certain body type or look like a certain fitness influencer. Exercise should make you feel happy, not awful about your body. 

The fitness accounts that you follow should make you feel good about working out, feel good about your body, and feel seen within their pages. Therefore, I recommend this general guide when following fit accounts on Instagram and TikTok: Do they make you feel like shit? If your answer is anything other than no, I don’t think you should be following them. It doesn’t matter if you think feeling badly about yourself is some sort of motivation, I’m here to tell you it isn’t.

I’ve been there. Oh boy, have I been there. Fitness doesn’t work like that. Unless you enjoy your workouts, enjoy eating well, enjoy the content that your fitness influencers are putting out, you’re going to hate it and you’re going to hate yourself. We don’t want that! We want you to enjoy all the endorphins that fitness has to offer!

With that said, here are my top five favorite fitfluencers!

Krissy Cela (@krissykela on Instagram)

Cela is a certified personal trainer and the creator of the fitness app, Tone and Sculpt! This app offers users several guides (both at home and gym) to utilize to begin or switch up their routine. The app also has a meal plan for clients to follow, which is created and managed by several nutritionists. She seems genuinely excited for all of her followers to achieve their fitness goals, and often reposts their health wins. Cela’s less information-based than other fitness influencers, so unless you wanted to get her app, I don’t think following her would be useful beyond inspiration.

Makynna Harrington (@mh_fitness._ on Instagram)

Makynna Harrington is an ACE certified personal trainer. She creates a lot of free information about bodybuilding. If you’re interested in bulking/cutting, calculating your macros, deciding how to structure your split, she’s truly the fitfluencer for you. If you’re truly a beginner, she is continuously taking on clients to train, and I’d 100% recommend trying it out (if you can afford it!). Regardless though, if you’re unable to become her client, she has so much information to offer that you can figure it out on your own.

Chloe Gottschalk-Bounds (@chloegottsfit on Instagram)

I LOVE CHLOE, though I would designate her less a fitfluencer, and instead an influencer. She and her husband host a program called Bicah by Chloe that includes weekly workouts as well as a wide variety of healthy recipes for you to try. It’s relatively cheap, and she interacts with all of her clients. Gottschalk is truly a fitness inspiration, and she makes me feel good about fitness.

Whitney Simmons (@whitneyysimmons on Instagram)

An icon, a legend, an O.G. Whitney Simmons is one of the first fitfluencers I ever followed, and she’s still maintained a hold on me! Simmons is a genuine person, akin to everyone on this list lol, and I think her workouts are accessible and beginner-friendly. Similar to Cela, she has a workout app called Alive by Whitney

Bret Contreras (@bretcontrerras1on Instagram)

Bret Contreras is truly the reigning instructor on growing the gluteal muscles. I know that’s a common muscle for women to want to grow so I wanted to plug him! Contreras is the creator of the glute thrust and offers so much free information on how to best go about building muscle in overall composition, as well as your glutes. If you want to grow your glutes, this is the first place I recommend looking. 

My name is Ashti (she/her), I am currently an undergraduate History of Asia and the Pacific major with an Education minor at UCSC.
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