In the search for Women’s Health’s 2016 Next Fitness Star, we combed through thousands of submissions to find women who’ve got the total package: an empowered fitness philosophy, smart workouts, standout business skills, and a killer social media community. Get to know the five finalists who live up to the hype and vote for your fave here. (And check out Women’s Health’s Ignite routine created by 2015‘s Next Fitness Star winner, Nikki Metzger!) Prepare to be impressed, because these ladies are literally running the fitness game. How do we know?
Three years and many pounds ago, Ohio native, Erica, weighed in at 322 pounds. She realized that if she wanted to be healthy for her then 3-year-old son, she needed to make a major change. She hit the cardio machines, started an Instagram account to track her progress, and never looked back.
Elyse lives life in the fast lane and understands her clients do, too. Her workouts require minimal equipment and last no more than 15 to 20 minutes because, as a working mom, she gets that sometimes it’s a feat to find the time to get to the gym. But don’t worry, she won’t go easy on you—Elyse is all about a challenge and believes that when you push your limits, that’s where the change happens.
A dancer for 15 years (she even hit the court at halftime for the Brooklyn Nets!), Selena is all about bringing a groove to her workout classes. Whether it’s through SoulCycle or her own Socanomics dance workshop, Selena believes “it’s being in tune with your body—not a six-pack—that gives you confidence.”
At 24 years old, Alex may be young, but what she lacks in experience she makes up for in attitude. The Crossfit and CityRow instructor never strives to be the best because, as she puts it, “that means I’m done growing.” Her strongest piece of advice? “Embrace the failures as fiercely as you do the successes, and you’ll be stronger for it.”
This Pilates expert ended up ditching law school to commit to her practice full time—and it seems that decision has paid off big time. Ten years after taking up the ab-strengthening routine, Andrea has opened up her own studio, Speir Pilates, in L.A. The class uses aerobic intervals, free weights, box work, and classic reformer moves to give a full-body workout. Her fitness philosophy? “Fitness should be a hobby, not a chore.”
Head over to TheNextFitnessStar.com to cast your vote!