You are here

Top 30 Motivators for 2013

Jay Cardiello

1 of 30

All photos

He may be a trainer for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, but Jay Cardiello, SHAPE fitness editor-at-large and inventor of the JCORE Accelerated Body Transformation System, is just as interactive with those of us who don't have a few statuettes kicking around. Follow the enthusiastic celebrity trainer for motivation, answers to your questions, and daily Fit Tips that are both educational and entertaining.

Why you'll love him: "Fit Tip: Chocolate Lovers...listen up! Recently, studies have shown that cocoa and dark chocolate have shown..."

Connect with Jay:

Get-fit bonus! We're hosting a live Twitterview with Jay Cardiello on Wednesday, January 9 at 3 p.m. EST. Submit your questions and follow the chat on Twitter using the hashtag #Shape2013. Don’t forget to tag @shape_magazine and @JCOREbody in your tweets!

Rachel Cosgrove

2 of 30

All photos

With her provocative essay The Final Nail in the Cardio Coffin, Rachel Cosgrove, co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif. gave women everywhere the permission (or push) to give up mindless treadmill runs and hit the weights—hard. She has since carried on the momentum of her less-is-more message in The Female Body Breakthrough and the soon-to-be-released Drop Two Sizes. Rather than focus on celebrity bodies, Cosgrove gears her workouts toward helping real women overcome their most common obstacles. She even uses real clients as examples in her books and videos.

Why you'll love her: "Pistol squats are killer. Try this trick to work up to one:" How fierce will you feel when you can do one of these in the gym?

Connect with Rachel:

Kass Martin

3 of 30

All photos

Zumba education specialist Kass Martin is one of the most popular instructors in one of the most popular fitness classes in the world. She tours the nation teaching people how they can benefit from the fun and funky dance fitness program (She even has groupies!). Find out where you can catch up with the Queen of Booty Shaking on Facebook, or connect with her from the comfort of your own home. On Wednesday, January 16 at 3 p.m. EST, Martin is hosting our Facebook page! Tune in to find out what keeps her moving and why you need to get in on this fitness trend, stat!

Why you'll love her: [On Christmas shopping] " I always end up finding myself the perfect gift when I'm struggling to find the perfect one for others!" Haven't we all done that?

Connect with Kass:

Bethenny Frankel

4 of 30

All photos

In a franchise that's turned out more modern villains than any comic book series, Bethenny Frankel was a rare jewel on Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York. The original "Skinny Girl" made a name for herself beyond the show's drama by doing what she has always loved; showing people how to make healthy food taste good. Now the holistic chef has added author, actress, talk show host, entrepreneur, and mother to her impressive list of titles. Follow her on Twitter, where she's most active, to get healthy recipes, wry observations, witty responses to fans, and sneak peaks into the many projects she'll be juggling in 2013.

Why you'll love her: "The 10 most popular recipes from this year a great year for easy, healthy recipes!" Easy + Healthy = Perfection!

Connect with Bethenny:

Valerie Waters

5 of 30

All photos

Celebirty trainer Valerie Waters helped Jennifer Garner get her Alias body back after Baby, and countless other women have followed suit using her simple-but-super-effective ValSlides. These small discs that fit under your hands or feet make basic moves like lunges and pushups a whole new (and much harder!) workout. Follow her for tips on how to do the moves, free workouts, and much more!

Why you'll love her: "Check out my Bootylicious #Workout playlist for butt-firming moves to lift & sculpt your tush!"

Connect with Valerie:

Jillian Michaels

6 of 30

All photos

Love or hate her, you have to admit the notoriously fiery trainer on NBC's The Biggest Loser gets results. And while she's softened up her image—becoming a mom of two adorable kids will do that to a girl—she's still all about helping people find what works for them. Jillian Michaels' tips on Twitter and workouts on Pinterest are great, but her free weekly podcast where she takes calls, gives advice, and is generally all-around hilarious are a goldmine for motivation! For instance, recent shows covered how to "cancer-proof" your home and everything you need to know about cardio. Listen to it on the treadmill and it's like having America's favorite trainer right there with you—but with 97 percent less yelling.

Why you'll love her: “A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul!” See? Permission to fail (and learn from it)!

Connect with Jillian:

Save the date! On Wednesday, January 30 at 3 p.m. EST, Jillian Michaels is hosting our Facebook page. Tune in for some tough-love motivation and fitness advice that's proven to work.

Neghar Fonooni

7 of 30

All photos

Neghar Fonooni's motto: Train hard but stay real. The fitness coach, writer, and mom shares personal anecdotes, killer workouts, and a whole lot of entertaining chatter about everything from weight lifting to her high school nickname, "Delts of Doom." (We'd like to hear that story!). Follow her for great tips from a fitness guru who does not take herself too seriously.

Why you'll love her: "Coconut water is a pretty potent hangover cure. F'realz."

Connect with Neghar:

Gretchen Rubin

8 of 30

All photos

Sometimes we get so caught up in the weight-reps-sets-pounds-calories journey of health that we forget our ultimate destination: happiness. After all, isn't the point of all your hard work to have a long, productive, joyous life? Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, reminds us that happiness isn't something that happens to you but rather something you choose. She offers steps for achieving the happiness we're all aiming for in her books, but you can get daily tips on how to choose happiness from her thought-provoking questions on Twitter or simple craft ideas on Pinterest.

Why you'll love her: "Story time: You May Not Be the Best, But You’re Probably Not the Worst."

Connect with Gretchen:

Laila Ali

9 of 30

All photos

We may not all be born fighters like Laila Ali, but we can all learn a thing or two from the boxing champion's lifestyle. The youngest daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali has grown into a powerhouse in her own right, but unlike many celebrities, she retains an innate sense of being "every woman," making her the perfect role model for today's healthy, on-the-go woman.

Why you'll love her: "Finished my 45 min run. Now I'm going to sprint up this hill 10 times and move on to last part of my workout!"

Connect with Laila:

Dr. Oz

10 of 30

All photos

He's not exactly new to the scene, but when it comes to breaking down complex research into simple diet and exercise advice, Dr. Mehmet Oz can't be beat. Plus, he walks his own talk. You can see exactly what the good doctor eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on his Pinterest page, and then head over to Twitter for his latest workout with personal trainer Joel Harper. From parenting to powerlifting, sex to southern cooking, our favorite cardiac surgeon covers it all—with the help of some amazing experts, of course.

Why you'll love him: "The greatest gift I received was the time I spent with my amazing family; there is nothing better. What made the holidays special for you?" Say it with us now: awwww!

Connect with Dr. Oz:

Gabby Douglas

11 of 30

All photos

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas vaulted into our hearts last summer when she proved that dedication and hard work (okay, and some serious talent) can overcome any obstacle life throws your way. And now you can see what the "flying squirrel" does when she's not, er, flying. Douglas shares videos of her workouts on Facebook and is Miss Congeniality in the Twitterverse—even the smallest "hey" gets a personal reply!

Why you'll love her: "I am so honored that so many of you were inspired by my story and determination. I pray that you will never stop fighting for your dreams. Anything is possible -> Only Believe! Love you guys!"

Connect with Gabrielle:

Tony Horton

12 of 30

All photos

If fitness had a mascot, it would be Tony Horton! Sculpted, smart, and slightly goofy (anyone who's watched his videos can attest to that), the P90X creator has a unique way of kicking your butt (really really kicking your butt) and making you want to come back for more. Whether you're laughing at the names of his moves or the hilarious workout pics he posts, Horton always finds a way to remind you that working out can be both fun and effective.

Why you'll love him: "Why do you exercise and eat right? Is it to look good or live life? Maybe it's both. I like getting stronger..." We won't lie: Both for sure!

Connect with Tony:

Tara Stiles

13 of 30

All photos

If you think yoga is just for incense-loving hippies and rich ladies in head-to-toe Lululemon, then you haven't seen "Yoga Rebel" Tara Stiles in action. Her mission: Strip yoga to its core and bring the strength, beauty, and healing power of the ancient practice to everyone, everywhere. Stiles' non-traditionalist approach has already opened the minds of many former gym rats, but if you're still convinced yoga "just isn't for you," test drive one of the 200+ workouts on her Pinterest page. You just might surprise yourself.

Why you'll love her: "I have had this vision of an ideal portobello burger in my mind forever and finally got around to allowing that vision to come into creation. Let me be a vessel for portobello magic! Who says eating veggies can’t be hearty and even a little macho!"

Connect with Tara:

Jackie Warner

14 of 30

All photos

Sometimes you need someone to coddle you and ask what you were feeling when you ate half a sheet cake at 11:00 p.m. one night. And then other times you need Jackie Warner, the tough-love trainer on Bravo's Work Out and author of Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days and This is Why You're Fat. Fans of the show love her no-nonsense approach to motivating people to change their lives (They also love all the drama at her gym!), but if you're more interested in the woman behind those chiseled abs (and how she got them), add her handle to your Twitter feed today.

Why you'll love her: "Eat like you life depends on it... because it does."

Connect with Jackie:

Karen Ficarelli

15 of 30

All photos

With abs like that, who needs business cards? Shredded midsection aside, Karen Ficarelli has dozens of accolades and certifications to establish her expertise in fitness—certified personal trainer, sports nutritionist, author, fitness model, and founder of Fitness4Her to name a few. As a mom of three boys, she understands that fitness is something you fit into your life, not the other way around. And she's living proof it is possible. What's her secret? She doesn't have any! Ficarelli is happy to share everything from what she's eating for lunch today to the workouts she's loving and, of course, visual proof that hard work truly pays off (Did we mention her OMG abs?).

Why you'll love her: "My Favorite Super Snack. Yummy as Grandma's apple pie but so healthy and good for you. Promise you will love: Nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1 medium apple , cinnamon, and walnuts. The health benefits are astonishing. Such a high quality of antioxidants and superpower protein."

Connect with Karen:

Photo credit:

Bob Harper

16 of 30

All photos

While some trainers are locked into one fitness approach they know and love, Bob Harper, co-host of NBC's The Biggest Loser and author of The Skinny Rules, enthusiastically embraces new trends such as CrossFit, kettlebells, and heavy ropes and explains how to make them work for you. Follow Harper on Twitter or Facebook (his accounts are linked) and you'll get great health advice, motivational tips, and pics of his adorable dog Karl that will instantly boost your mood (They do box jumps together!).

Why you'll love him: "Go to bed slightly hungry. Denied fuel for more than five hours, your body will start burning its own fat and sugar. Make a point not to eat after dinner and you’ll be burning fat while you’re sleeping." Even when he's tough, you know it's for your own good!

Connect with Bob:

Gunnar Peterson

17 of 30

All photos

Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson is almost as famous as his A-list clients, and while he's best known for whipping starlets into butt-kicking shape for action films, he's not all Hollywood all the time. Peterson loves helping people find personalized health and fitness programs to fit their unique needs and goals. His no-nonsense style and cheeky sense of humor on Twitter will have you smiling all the way to the gym. Plus, he's not shy about sharing on-the-job anecdotes (Hello, Kardasians!).

Why you'll love him: "What is the most effective and least expensive way to measure body fat percentage? Ask a true friend if you're fat."

Connect with Gunnar:

Justin Gelband

18 of 30

All photos

Meet the man responsible for shaping up some of the most beautiful bodies on the planet, Justin Gelband, the official trainer for the Victoria's Secret Angels and creator of ModelFit, a fitness class based on the progressive workouts he created for his supermodel clients. The class is a fusion of fitness specialties, including Zumba, martial arts, functional training, capoeira, Pilates, and yoga, so your body is never bored and always challenged. ModelFit is only available in New York City for now, but that doesn't mean you can't train with Gelband and the Angel's at home (see below!).

Why you'll love him: "It's not model thin it's model fit!" is definitely a motto we can get behind!

Connect with Justin:

BONUS: We got an inside look at what it takes to maintain the fit physique of an Angel. Watch this video to see how Candice Swanepoel tightens and tones her booty to perfection, and then check out this core workout to sculpt runway-ready abs.

Harley Pasternak

19 of 30

All photos

A renowned fitness and nutrition expert and best-selling author, Harley Pasternak is responsible for getting many of Hollywood’s most recognized celebrities into the best shape of their lives. First he helped Jessica Simpson lunge her way into those famous daisy dukes, and now 10 years and hundreds of starlets later, he's preparing Eliza Dushku for her role in The Saint. What has he learned from working with all those hot bodies? That they work just like the rest of ours! That's why he created the 5-Factor plan; to teach the world about the lifestyle that gets "real people Hollywood results."

Why you'll love him: "Running farther, faster, and longer can kill you!" Sometimes simplicity is best?

Connect with Harley:

Tim Ferriss

20 of 30

All photos

He's best known as the author of The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, but Tim Ferris holds many interesting titles, including national Chinese kickboxing champion, the first American to hold the Guinness World Record in tango, and, our favorite, "the world's best guinea pig." Ferris has taken it upon himself to try any physical challenge that comes his way. He not only tells you what he learns, but he teaches you tricks to do it faster and make it more fun. You'll learn hacks for climbing the highest mountain, losing weight, increasing your vertical jump, upping your deadlift, running a faster mile, and more. Plus, he just released his latest book, The 4-Hour Chef, revealing his very best healthy cooking shortcuts.

Why you'll love him: "Common drugs with adverse side-effects associated with grapefruit—"

Connect with Tim:

Bear Grylls

21 of 30

All photos

Drinking his own urine in a moment of desert-induced dehydration may possibly be Man Vs Wild star Bear Grylls' most talked about TV moment, but the famous adventurer has learned a multitude of real-world survival tips that don't involve bodily fluids. For instance, he recently tweeted a pic of him learning to play a Christmas song on the piano for a party, which can be every bit as scary as facing down a wolf on the tundra!

Why you'll love him: "Proud of these scouts in Libya! Amazing..." Oh, and did we mention he's also the Chief Scout for the Boy Scouts?

Connect with Bear:

Ellen Degeneres

22 of 30

All photos

If laughter really is the best medicine, Ellen Degeneres is on a mission to make sure no one ever gets sick again. In addition to your daily dose of humor, the talk show host offers tips and advice on health, fitness, and nutrition. In fact, there's an entire section dedicated to her favorite vegan recipes on her website.

Why you'll love her: "Congratulations, @Kelly_Clarkson, on your engagement! May your life be filled with love, & your catchy breakup songs be about other people."

Connect with Ellen:

Jen Sinkler

23 of 30

All photos

Read anything on Twitter about fitness or weight lifting for women and it won't be long until you come across the feisty Jen Sinkler, fitness writer and editor. As a former member of the US national rugby team and the former fitness editor for Experience Life magazine, Sinkler has all the connections, knowledge, and experience to give expert advice—with a healthy dose of wit.

Why you'll love her: "Eat the goddamn yolks." Fat is good for you and it makes a much tastier omelette!

Connect with Jen:

Joe Dowdell

24 of 30

All photos

With a clientele that includes "stars of television and film, musicians, pro athletes, CEO's, and top fashion models from around the world," you'd expect personal trainer and strength coach Joe Dowdell to be good at his job. So what sets him apart? In a word, science. Dowdell has a knack for staying on top of all the latest research and putting it into words that anyone can understand and put into practice, which is one reason why in 2010 he compiled his expertise into a book, Ultimate You: A 4-Phase Total-Body Makeover.

Why you'll love him: "What's one fast food meal going to do, right? WRONG! ‪‬"

Connect with Joe:

Liz DiAlto

25 of 30

All photos

The first thing you should know about fitness and lifesyle coach Liz DiAlto? "I freaking love my body!" No, she's not a supermodel. She's a New Yorker who loves pizza and bagels, and she's on a mission to help other women make peace with their bodies. Her philosophy: "We don't do boring. We don’t deprive ourselves. And we certainly don't force ourselves to do things we hate just to lose a few pounds."

Why you'll love her: "My 2013: feelings, not goals. femininity over force. meditation over willpower. joy over perfection. bliss over achievement. How bout you?"

Connect with Liz:

Kelly Olexa

26 of 30

All photos

Have you ever been to a party with someone who not only knows everyone there, but remembers their birthday, hometown, and the name of their favorite uncle? Well, if the fitness industry is a party (and it kind of is), Kelly Olexa, CEO and founder of Fitfluential, is that someone. With more than 7,500 experts in her Rolodex, she has the means and motive to hook you up with just the right person for your needs. Love yoga and vegan cooking? She's got a girl for that. Totally into paleo and CrossFit? She knows just the guy. Follow her (if you can keep up!) for all your health, fitness, cooking, weight loss, etc. needs!

Why you'll love her: "Time to shed your shame. Embrace your exceptional. Start where you are."

Connect with Kelly:


Adam Bornstein

27 of 30

All photos

Fitness editor, writer, and best-selling author of four fitness books, Adam Bornstein is taking the world wide web by storm. If you're not familiar with the former editorial director of, it's only because you haven't been paying attention. As he says, "If you've ever searched for health, fitness, or nutrition information, there’s a good chance I've played a role in creating the content you read. I'm the guy behind the guy. The person that interviews all the experts, works with all the smartest people in the industry, and turns the thoughts of the best minds in the world into information that you can use to live a healthier life." And now he wants to be your guy. Through his personal blog, Born Fitness, he aims to deliver the latest research and the most effective workouts, culled from his years of writing about them.

Why you'll love him: "Q: I'm not sure if I've ever seen more fanny packs, gallon water jugs, and tank tops in my life. Where was I? (And no, I wasn't in 1989)." The answer: Golds Gym in Venice Beach. "To all those that guessed correctly, well done. For those that guessed Walmart, well played."

Connect with Adam:

Cara Castronuova

28 of 30

All photos

How does one follow up winning one of the most prestigious competitions in boxing—twice? By becoming a trainer on the highest-rated season of The Biggest Loser. That's what two-time Golden Gloves boxing champ Cara Castronuova did, teaching her team (and viewers) how to be a true fighter both mentally and physically.

Why you'll love her: "I wear her [Fire McLeod] earrings when I work out cuz they are so butter soft!! Even when I box and get punched on the side of the head they don't even leave a mark." There you have it: proof that you can still be as girly as you want and still get your sweat on!

Connect with Cara:

Nia Shanks

29 of 30

All photos

Christened a "beautiful badass," Nia Shanks, writer and personal trainer, is on a mission to teach other women about the amazing power of old-school weight training. By focusing on powerful compound movements such as deadlifts, squats, and chin-ups, she'll have you feeling hardcore—yet still feminine—in record time.

Why you'll love her: "Weight lifting + humor. If you need a good laugh, be sure to read this =>"

Connect with Nia:

Ali Vincent

30 of 30

All photos

When it comes to achieving insurmountable goals, Biggest Loser season five winner Ali Vincent knows what it takes. And soon you will too! Vincent has agreed to share the diet and fitness strategies that worked for in a live Twitterview on Wednesday, January 23 at 3 p.m. EST. You'll learn more about her incredible transformation and the most important lifestlye changes you can make to achieve lasting weight loss. Submit your questions and follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #Shape2013.

Why you'll love her: "Here's my low-calorie alternative to pasta! ‪ …‬ ‪#LiveBig‬"

Connect with Ali:



Add a comment