With body-shaming being all too common across social media, we can unconsciously find ourselves constantly striving for ‘perfection’ and ‘gym gains’ – but these influencers are changing the way we think about strength training.
Fitness Instagram has been a hot bed of impossible beauty standards and subversive diet culture. Things are changing, however, thanks to a crop of seriously inspirational influencers who are committed to inspiring us to move more, love our bodies and get stronger. There’s no calorie-cutting BS dressed up as ‘honest chat’. There’s no #strongnotskinny. It’s just real bodies moving to get stronger physically and mentally. So grab the talc, get your sweat band and let’s get stronger together.
If you want non-stop strength inspo, who better to follow than SAS Who Dares Wins Recruit Number 9, Kim? She’s a Nike trainer, a master trainer at 1Rebel, a trainer at FIIT and co-founder of the hugely popular Food & Lycra blog.
Follow her for body weight challenges, sofa workouts and common weight lifting mistakes videos. Get ready for some serious pain faces, pictures of bruised knees and a lot of joy - which just about sums up strength training!
When she’s not penning thought-provoking articles on male suicide, race and politics, award-winning author and journalist Poorna is busy winning powerlifting trophies. The former ‘runt from school (who) couldn’t do sports for shit’ has subsequently gone on to set up a community dedicated to inspiring and empowering people through stories of fitness across colour, culture, age, body size and ability. See My Strong is all about highlighting how different womxn come to find their own version of strong – whether that’s weightlifting, yoga, running, darts…whatever it is that makes you feel good.
Got a story you want to share? DM the page with a picture, your name and a brief description of the sport you do and your story.
Gede is head of fitness at FIIT TV. She’s an expert in HIIT, pilates, female strength, pre and post-natal fitness and fascia release. Oh, and she’s also a burpee demon. Her Instagram is full behind-the-scenes shots of bits she’s filmed with FITT, as well as technique videos with step-by-step explanations of how to do things like reverse burpees.
She’s all about embracing female strength; her motto is ‘love your body, let it empower you’. We couldn’t agree more.
Follow her: @gedefoster
Plant-based recipe guru and hiking enthusiast Roz is all about moving and eating to feel good. She runs The Hike Life - a free club that explores the stunning landscapes around Ireland. It’s all about getting out in nature, meeting new people and discovering new trails.
Hiking is the kind of full-body, low-impact activity that loads of us wish we did but inevitably find excuses not to…despite the fact that being out in nature and taking time to connect with the outdoors is one of the most mentally fortifying things you can do. If you’re in Ireland, you can check out the latest hike schedule on Roz’s blog.
Follow her: @rozannapurcell
Latoya Shauntay Snell
If marathons seem a bit tame, try Latoya on for size. She’s a chef and ultrarunner. Her feed is full of inspirational training videos showing how she trains for the road in the gym and brutally honest accounts of competing in 100-mile races (yes, you did read that number correctly!). If she’s not running, then she’s cycling, swimming, or doing pole fitness. In other words, Latoya is an absolute machine who proves that a love of food and fitness aren’t mutually exclusive.
If you ever needed inspiration to get up and get it done, she’s your woman.
Follow her: @iamlshauntay
‘Fitness goals that have nothing to do with what you weigh or how you look’ - that’s Tally’s motto. If you’re looking for health-first fitness, look no further.
Tally Rye is all about ‘intuitive movement’, which means putting health, enjoyment, social connection and self-care above diet culture. Her grid is a mixture of motivation posts, accessible and representative workout ideas. Not sure what to do with free weights? Looking for a simple circuit to do at the gym? Want a full-body at-home workout? She’s got all the videos.
Follow her: @tallyrye
Nervous about getting sweaty in the weights room? It can be difficult to feel at home at the gym if you’re at the beginning of your strength training journey - but seeing different bodies represented can make it easier.
You’ve probably seen Georgina crop up in the odd Pure Gym advert, in which she can be seen smashing battle ropes. Now, battle ropes aren’t easy by any stretch of the imagination but they’re great for a full body strength and conditioning work out.
Follow her: @fullerfigurefullerbust
Author of the best selling ‘Lift Yourself’, coach at FIIT and PT at Foundry Fit, Laura ‘Biceps’ is all about empowering women to get seriously strong. Like many of us, Laura spent her early years being a slave to the scales and fad diet culture - it was lifting that pulled her out of that mindset to become the machine you see today.
She’s all about lifting heavy and embracing your body - ignoring the dubious beauty standards aimed at forcing women into restrictive aesthetic boxes. If you want to know what’s possible once you brave the weights room, Laura’s your woman. Expect plenty of #mondaymindset inspo, weights based banter and gym session ideas. Follow her and you’ve got yourself a pocket PT (with great hair). She uploads gym cards that you can follow in the weights room as well as technique videos to keep you on track. Oh, and grab yourself a copy of Lift Yourself for even more inspiration.
Follow her: @laurabiceps
Outdoor swimming is having a real moment in the sun. It’s supposed to improve your sleep, circulation, immune system, metabolism and overall happiness - that’s if you’re brave enough to take the virgin dip. Lots of professional athletes swear by the breathing techniques and antiinflammatory effects of cold water therapy - so it really will get you physically and mentally stronger.
If you need any persuasion to go and find your local swimming ponds, Ella is it. Not only does she challenge ideas of what a swimmer should look like but her posts are also great sources of cold water swimming inspiration. Think you’ve got to wait until summer to get wet? She did a ‘dip a day’ throughout December - sharing stunning pictures of her river-based adventures, describing the wildlife she sees and hears, and the cleanliness of the water. We challenge you to follow her and not start Googling your nearest swimming pond.
Follow her: @ellachloeswims
Follow @StrongWomenUK on Instagram for the latest workouts, delicious recipes and motivation from your favourite fitness experts.
Image: Instagram, courtesy of brands
Miranda Larbi is a freelance fitness and wellness journalist, and qualified personal trainer. When she’s not finding new vegan places to eat, she can be found training for the next marathon or cycling across London on an old Dutchie.
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