Here at 24Life, we firmly believe that strong women empower other women (and men) to be their best selves and to find their strength on their own terms. We know that there is no one right or wrong way to wellness—the path to true health and fulfillment looks different for everyone. But we also know that many have paved the way for us thus far.
So in honor of International Women’s Day (March 8), we’re celebrating women all over the world by highlighting a few bada** female fitness and wellness influencers who have shared their stories on 24Life about how they are changing, shaping and shaking up the wellness industry. Of course, this list is only a handful of the amazing women we’ve profiled over the last few years. Check out more stories of female entrepreneurs, thought leaders and game changers on 24Life.com.
Chef and wellness expert Candice Kumai defines a well-lived life as a continuous process of restoring the whole—not achieving perfection. The art of kintsugi—or filling in the imperfections and cracks with gold—and wabi-sabi (“perfectly imperfect”) are two practices Kumai has applied from her Japanese heritage to her wellness process. Her approach to wellness is unorthodox in the health and fitness world. “Wellness is a matter of survival and endurance,” Kumai says. Read more here.
POP Pilates creator Cassey Ho is changing the stereotypical model for what it means to be a fitness influencer as both an Asian-American and someone who admits she doesn’t have the “typical” fit body. “I never thought I’d be a leader in the body positivity space … I put up my first YouTube video to teach,” she says. “One of the first mean comments was, ‘Why doesn’t she have flat abs?’ This is really weird because my core is obviously super strong. I’m a professional instructor, yet you’re still critiquing me on the way I look. So I guess involuntarily, it became a mission of mine, but now [it is] voluntary to show that your body is simply a vessel for you to get through life. As long as you are living up to your potential, you are strong inside and you’re doing what you’re meant to do in this world, it doesn’t even matter how you look.” Read more here.
Fitness instructor and influencer Chalene Johnson once took the phrase “health is wealth” literally, but her thinking has changed over the years. “Health, for me, is the pursuit of being my best—the pursuit of a healthier state or approach in all areas of my life,” she explains. “My definitions of health and of wealth have radically evolved since my fitness industry beginnings, in which I was go-go-go.” Johnson is challenging the notion that changing the external will change the internal. Instead, she says, the opposite is true. “If instead we focused on our relationships, improving communication, and becoming more loving and caring people, it’s likely most other areas will see improvement, too.” Read more here.
Athlete Diana Nyad is shutting down the idea that age is a limitation on your abilities. “When I was training for the Cuba swim, my age never occurred to me,” she says. “I am real about my age, and I don’t pretend to be younger than I am, but I check in with my body and my brain, and if I am entirely capable of doing something, I have no interest in the opinion of others to the contrary.” Ready more here.
DJ and fitness influencer Hannah Bronfman is redefining fitness as what feels good for your body and what brings you joy in the journey—not an unattainable or impossible standard the world sets. “Health and wellness for me is really about listening to my body and being really mindful about everything I’m doing,” Bronfman explains. “Did I say thank you to myself for moving today? Do I need to sleep an extra hour?” Read more here.
Dr. Jackie Mills is one of the powerhouse women behind the global fitness brand Les Mills. As a fitness instructor and leader, Mills is aware that how she shows up in the world matters—from the GX studio to beyond the classroom—and that creating a community you love begins and ends with you. “It is so powerful when you realize that there are things you can change and things you can’t change, and then there are things you have to move away from,” she says. “Ultimately, the only thing you can change is yourself.” Read more here.
Jill Miller pioneered the self-care fitness space after years of too much movement left her body broken and needing a hip replacement. Today, Miller is an advocate for setting aside judgment and listening to your body—instead of using movement as an escape or to cover up your feelings. “Ultimately, I really want to see people get in touch with their relationship to pain and learn ways of improving their mind’s relationship to their bodies so that they don’t feel that they have to succumb to drugs or suffer negative side effects that take away their quality of life,” she explains. Read more here.
Biomechanist Katy Bowman wants us to stop viewing exercise as something we do because we have to, like taking medicine when we’re sick. Instead, she says, movement is a nutrient—just like the foods we eat for fuel, we need movement in our lives, and we currently don’t get enough of it. “Thinking of movement as nutrition helps us realize that our need for movement is fundamental to being well, and it’s ongoing,” she says. Read more here.
Fitness and wellness expert Patricia Moreno is combining positive affirmations with physical training so that fitness becomes less about the ornamental and more about the connection between the mind, heart, body and spirit. Her intenSati program is designed to change identity through the mind-body connection rather than the physical appearance. “IntenSati activates states of courage, acceptance or gratitude on purpose by moving our body and speaking and creating a mind-body connection that awakens a certain feeling,” Moreno explains. “If you do it repeatedly, those pathways will be reinforced and that state will become a personality trait. I can change my brain to become the map of the person I want to be.” Read more here.
Health coach Robyn Youkilis is reframing the discussion around weight loss. By encouraging women to ditch the scale and align their inside and outside, Youkilis’ hope is that women learn to feel at home in their own body. “Weight is not a number on a scale,” she says. “It’s a feeling in your body. .. And then maybe if your body wants to lose some physical weight, great! It’s not likely to be a large amount of weight loss, but it’s going to be enough to get you feeling, ‘This is more like home to me.’” Read more here.
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