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There was a time when local food was largely a foreign idea. When people spent longer than four hours perfecting their bodies. When happiness only came on birthdays. Michael Pollan, Timothy Ferriss, and Gretchen Rubin are just three examples of leaders who are revolutionizing the way people think about fitness, health, and happiness. In order to determine the most powerful innovators in this space, we looked at a few factors: the trends they’ve set, the products they’ve created, and how long they’ve worked in their area of expertise. We also considered their presence on social media as well as any formal recognition they’ve received. Here’s our final list of the 100 most influential figures in fitness, health, and happiness this year:
1. Jillian Michaels Fitness, Trainer
It’s hard to turn on the TV, walk into a bookstore, or pass a newsstand without seeing Jillian Michaels. Over the last decade, “American’s Toughest Trainer” has become a household name when it comes to fitness. While the fitness expert no longer trains contestants on The Biggest Loser, she continues to help people shed pounds on her own show, Losing It With Jillian. And if her schedule wasn’t packed enough, Michaels recently joined CBS’s panel-discussion show The Doctors. Between her many TV appearances, best-selling books, video games, and more, Michaels is inspiring people everywhere to lead healthier, happier lives. It’s no surprise Michaels has earned the spot of top influencer for fitness, health, and happiness.
2. Bob Harper Fitness, Trainer
Although he’s best known for his work on The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper has been in the training game for nearly 20 years. After moving to Los Angeles to follow his dream of becoming a fitness instructor, the Nashville native wasted no time landing his first celebrity clients. Harper’s next claim to fame: the Contour Kettlebell, a redesign of the kettlebell that reduces strain on the forearm. But you don’t need a six-figure salary or a spot on TV to get this mega trainer’s help. Harper recently launched MyTrainerBob.com, a website that offers free fitness and nutrition advice from the expert himself. Log on for a healthy dose of fitness and nutrition guidance.
3. Jamie Oliver Health, Chef and Advocate
He may not be from this side of the pond, but that hasn’t stopped Jamie Oliver from helping America’s children. In 2010 the young chef produced and starred in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, a show that followed Oliver’s mission to transform the eating habits of children in the U.S. The series was a major success and inspired Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign, dedicated to improving lunchrooms across the country. But Oliver hasn’t forgotten his British roots. In 2010 he launched Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills, a program that teaches nutrition and essential cooking skills to high school students across the U.K. It seems Oliver won’t stop until he’s influenced every country’s cafeteria.
4. Tim Ferriss Fitness, Author of The 4-Hour Body
Four hours. According to Tim Ferriss, that’s all it takes to achieve the ultimate body. In his book The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss lays out more than just the typical weight loss manual. Ferriss’s book offers shortcuts to life’s trickiest goals— from feeling energized on just two hours’ sleep to fitting in 30 miles of running each week. The best-selling author also penned The 4-Hour Workweek, a guide to making the most of a job, and will soon release The 4-Hour Chef. Perhaps The 4-Hour Influencer will follow soon.
5. Tony Horton Fitness, Creator of P90X
No gym. No problem. Thanks to Tony Horton, the idea is to achieve a better body in 90 days— without leaving the house. In 2003 Horton launched P90X, a workout program that’s designed transforms the body through a combination of cardio and strength training. Horton guides users through the three-month exercise program while also advising them on food and nutrition. In addition to his work with P90X, Horton has shared his fitness expertise through personal training, television shows and magazines. With his first book Bring It! in the works, and a new P90X routine tailored to soldiers, airmen, and sailors, we salute Horton as a top-notch influencer.
6. Dr. Wayne Dyer Happiness, Self-Development Speaker
Known around the world for his motivational techniques, Dr. Wayne Dyer’s goal is to help people achieve their dreams— something he holds close to his heart. As a child, Dyer moved from foster home to foster home throughout the Detroit area. But Dyer hit the books, eventually earning a Doctorate in Educational Counseling from Wayne State University. Dyer went on to work in a private therapy practice, but eventually took his advice public. Now known to fans as the “father of motivation,” the renowned speaker uses his education and experience to help others’ dreams come true.
7. Dr. Stephen Covey Happiness, Motivational Speaker
For straightforward guidance, look no further than Dr. Stephen Covey. Voted by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential Americans, Covey has made a career out of helping others. After earning an MBA from Harvard and a doctorate from Brigham Young University, business consulting seemed like a natural fit. In 1989 Covey released The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a best-selling book that guides readers toward success. Covey has since taken his advice on the road, promoting more recent projects, including The Eighth Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.
8. Bethenny Frankel Health, Natural Foods Chef
Most housewives are known for their fashion and foul mouths. But Bethenny Frankel has made a name for herself beyond reality TV. Before her television days, Frankel studied at the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. There, she learned how to create the healthy and delicious food she’s known for. In 2009, Frankel released Naturally Thin, a guide to eating what you want without gaining weight, followed by the recipe book Skinnygirl Dish. Frankel is currently expanding her line of pre-made, low-calorie cocktails, including the famous Skinnygirl Margarita. For her many health-conscious contributions, Frankel deserves a “bravo” and a spot on our influencer list.
9. Dr. Oz Health, Host of the Dr. Oz Show
Move over, Wizard of Oz. Dr. Mehmet Oz has a real knack for fixing hearts and brains. For five years Oz consulted as the health expert on Oprah, educating people on health issues like diabetes and heart conditions. During this time, Oz also appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The View, among others. Then, in 2009, the doc earned his own self-titled talk show where he continues to help guide people toward healthier lifestyles. In addition to the Oprah seal of approval, Oz’s credentials include a joint ND and MBA from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School. Smart and successful— what more could people want from an influencer?
10. Dr. Drew Pinsky Happiness, Psychiatrist
Before helping famous B-listers clean up, Dr. Drew Pinsky was helping everyday people overcome everyday challenges. After working as chief resident of Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Pinsky decide to open a private practice. During this time, Pinsky began hosting MTV’s relationship advice show, Loveline. Appearing on the show earned the doc popularity among a younger generation seeking guidance on healthy relationships and safe sex. Eventually Pinsky moved from sex to drugs, writing books and articles about chemical dependency. In 2008 he added rock-and-roll to the mix with the launch of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. A true rock star psychiatrist.
11. Jack Canfield Happiness, Motivational Speaker
From young children to high-powered CEOs, Jack Canfield has helped all comers. For more than 30 years, Canfield has acted as a consultant, trainer, and authority on peak performance. Through his organization, The Canfield Training Group, Canfield trains entrepreneurs, educators, and corporate leaders to accelerate their performance and achieve a range of professional goals. Beyond corporate America, Canfield and co-author Mark Victor Hansen are the men behind the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, books that inspire and motivate millions of people.
12. Jane Fonda Fitness, Fitness Icon
Anyone who worked out in the 80s knows the name Jane Fonda. After suffering from a foot fracture on the set of The China Syndrome, Fonda began participating in aerobic classes with Leni Cazden, a famous fitness instructor. Under Cazden’s training, Fonda soon launched a second career as an aerobics instructor (not like she’d exactly failed in her first career as an award-winning actress). In 1982 Fonda released her first fitness video and continues to create new ones to this day.
13. Jackie Warner Fitness, Trainer
For Jackie Warner, tough love is the only love when it comes to personal training. Warner began her career at 22, after assisting her friends through some serious weight loss. In less than a year she opened Lift, the first fitness facility in Southern California to accept health insurance for exercise. Years later Warner co-founded Skylab, a luxury fitness retreat. The Bravo network heard about Warner’s work and created a show around her called Work Out. Today, Warner runs multiples facilities while training contestants on Bravo’s show Thintervention with Jackie Warner.
14. Dan Savage Happiness, Humanitarian
In 2010, a rash of teenage suicides occurred as a result of harassment and bullying. While many sat on the sidelines, writer Dan Savage decided to do something. Through It Gets Better, a campaign that offers support to the bullied teens of the world, Savage advises them on how to better handle their pain. With help from celebrities and politicians, including President Barack Obama, the campaign has quickly become a national phenomenon. And now, with a book by the same name and many fundraisers, Savage has raised millions for LGBT youth charities.
15. Dr. Andrew Weil Health, Doctor
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, people don’t need pills to achieve a healthy life. All they need is solid state of mind. After receiving his medical degree from Harvard University, Weil pursued the study of psychoactive drugs. But it was only after traveling throughout the Americas and Africa that Weil discovered psychological wellness can be achieved without medication. Through his many books and lectures, Weil encourages people to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
16. Brian Tracy Happiness, Self-Help Author
There’s nothing typical about Brian Tracy’s success story. After dropping out of high school, he spent years working on a tramp steamer, and eventually became a salesman. But with little experience in the field, Tracy had troubles keeping up. He sought advice from fellow salesmen and became the top salesman by the end of his first year. A year later, he was made vice president of the company. To share his success secrets with others, Tracy developed The Phoenix Seminar in the 1980s. These self-help speeches eventually became Brian Tracy International, a place where people across the world can turn to for advice on achieving success.
17. Lisa Lillien Health, Author
Author of the Hungry Girl cookbooks, Lisa Lillien has made it her mission to create delicious, low-calorie versions of America’s favorite dishes. Having tried every fad-diet on the planet, Lillien knows what fails when it comes to weight loss, like depriving yourself of the foods you love. And though Lillien lacks the dietetics degree of many of her contemporaries, her passion for food and real-life approach to healthy eating more than make up for it.
18. Tara Stiles Fitness, Yoga Instructor
Many models may be the face of a brand, but with the right moves, Tara Stiles created her own brand of fitness. During her modeling days, Ford Agency asked Stiles to film a series of promotional yoga videos for YouTube. Stiles fell in love with the practice and decided to pursue it as a full-time career. She completed the necessary courses to become a certified instructor and eventually opened Strala Yoga, a successful New York studio that teaches everyday people and stars like Jane Fonda (our #12 pick!).
19. David Zinczenko Health, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health
As editor-in-chief of Men’s Health and editorial director of Women’s Health and Prevention, David Zinczenko has guided people of all ages and genders down the paths of health and fitness. More recently, Zinczenkco took his advice from magazine stands to bookshelves. As the author of Eat This: Not That, Zinczenko helps people make healthier food choices, be it at the supermarket or McDonalds.
20. Michael Pollan Health, Author
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That’s the simple message Michael Pollan shares through his work. Pollan first appeared on bookshelves in 2002 with The Botany of Desire, a book exploring the roles humans have in the production of produce. Since then, Pollan has written several other books exploring the relationship between people and food. Through these works, his readers have learned how eating natural, locally grown products can improve their bodies and their world.
21. Dr. Phil McGraw Happiness, Psychologist
Helping people achieve happiness runs in the family. After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Phil McGraw joined his father’s private psychology practice in Texas. Years later, Dr. Phil began appearing on Oprah as a relationship and lifestyle expert. Following the success of his Oprah appearances, he released his first book, Life Strategies. Eventually Dr. Phil upgraded from a weekly segment on Oprah to a daily show of his own where he helps people overcome everyday obstacles.
22. Tom Venuto Fitness, Trainer
Since the early 90s, Tom Venuto has been transforming physiques across the nation. A man of many talents, Venuto is best known for his book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, a nutritional guide to losing weight. But Venuto is more than just a nutritional consultant. Venuto has also found success as a personal trainer and motivational speaker, making him a triple threat in the wellness world.
23. Brett Hoebel Fitness, Trainer
For a trainer who literally kicks butt, look no further than Brett Hoebel. Trained in Afro-Brazilian capoeira and Muay Thai kickboxing, this trainer uses martial arts exercises and a positive mindset to help clients stay in shape. Hoebel’s degrees in psychology, biology, and biomedical science only add to his already impressive resume. Looks like you can have brains and brawns after all.
24. Waylon Lewis Happiness, Founder of Elephantjournal.com
Raised as a Buddhist, Waylon Lewis never forgot his roots. After earning a degree in communications from Boston University, Lewis founded Elephant magazine, which has since become Elephantjournal.com. This website is the go-to guide for the mindful life, including sustainability and spirituality. With his dedicated team, Lewis helps people live happy, meaningful lives through simple choices.
25. Daniel H. Pink Happiness, Author
Daniel Pink is trying to change the work world. And so far, he’s been a success. In 2002 Pink released his first self-help book titled Free Agent Nation, which taught people how to stop working for the man and start working for themselves. Since then, he’s written three other books focused on finding success in any career. Given that his last office was the White House, it seems Pink knows a thing or two about becoming a success.