The gym is a guy’s world, right? Not so fast! These ladies prove otherwise. Who are the six most important fitness ladies? They are all right here. You’re welcome!
Since the dawn of the gym, it has been men that have dominated the facilities, as well as the headlines. From legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger to more modern-day stars like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler, men have dominated the world of fitness and bodybuilding magazine covers. Arnold even went from being a foreign bodybuilder to becoming one of the most powerful and influential men in the country and a major motion picture star.
It does not end there. For example, mainstream networks like ESPN cover men’s bodybuilding and weightlifting competitions, while women’s competitions are nowhere to be found. Because of all of this exposure, men in the fitness world have had an easier time gaining greater stardom. However, like almost every facet of culture, women are making a push to become more famous for their fitness roles.
Inequality in sports has been around as long as the sports themselves. On average, women in sports get paid less. Their sports have lower attendances and they rarely ever get major TV coverage. The reason for this is certainly not for lack of talent, as women’s sports are progressing impressively. Leagues like the UFC have capitalized on this and created megastars like Ronda Rousey and Paige Van Zant. Bodybuilding and fitness training is not far behind.
Though fitness training and bodybuilding isn’t quite as mainstream as most TV sports, it certainly has a niche and women fitness models are there to fill it. We are going to look at the most important gym girls and fitness models ever and how they achieved this level of fame.
#1 Jennifer Nicole Lee
Jennifer Nicole Lee, or JNL for short, is undoubtedly the most famous female fitness model in the world. But, it was not an easy road. After becoming famous for losing over 70 pounds, she went on to become a champion bikini model. This came after having two children.
JNL is as beautiful as she is successful. She has turned her seemingly impossible success story into a career as a motivational speaker, author, clothing designer, and actress. Along with that success, Lee has graced the cover of countless magazine covers including Oxygen and Muscle and Fitness. If there’s one thing to take away from JNL’s career it is that if you have a goal and are willing to work for it, the only true obstacle to overcome is the one inside your own head.
If you are interested in learning more about her story or following her into her newest ventures, she can be found on Twitter (@THEJNL), Instagram (@JNLWORLDWIDE) and Facebook.
#2 Natalia Muntean
Much like Arnold before her, this fitness model came over from Europe without a complete grasp of the English language. Like Arnold, she did not let that hold her back. Born in Ukraine, Muntean came to America at the age of 21. Her hope was to build a career as a model. In effect, Muntean gambled on herself. The risk paid off. Muntean is now one of the most accomplished and recognizable fitness models around.
She gained notoriety by winning both the Ms. Bikini Universe and the Fitness Model World Championship. This catapulted her to stardom. She has since landed on the cover of 30 magazines to date. Some of these magazines include Health and Fitness, Natural Muscle Magazine and Oxygen. But this girl is much more than just beautiful.
Along with her beauty comes one of the best fitness minds in the world. As an author, Muntean has written for a dozen different publications. These publications have been translated and popularized all over the world. Arguably her most famous work is her fitness article titled, “14 Days to Skinny Jeans.” Currently Muntean has settled down in San Diego, California with her husband and four children. She can be found on Twitter (@NatalieMuntean) and Instagram (@NataliaKern), as well her official website.
#3 Kiana Tom
If Kiana Tom were a tool, she would be a Swiss army knife. Why? She can do it all. Want proof? Tom has done everything from writing and modeling to acting in movies. Tom started her career as a cheerleader for the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders. From there, she continued her success when ESPN decided to give her very own show named, Kiana’s Flex Appeal. After this show’s success, ESPN created three more shows for Tom to host.
If being the host of multiple successful shows on the biggest network in sports isn’t enough to make her the most famous fitness model, maybe her spread in one of America’s most famous magazines will do the trick. She decided to pose nude for Playboy magazine in 2002. Though it no doubt delighted many men, she has also posed fully clothed, and has been featured on the cover of both magazines, as well as books. In fact, she has been lucky enough to grace the cover of Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Fitness and even TV Guide.
Along with all of this work, Tom even found time to co-star in Universal Soldier 2: The Return with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Because of all of this prominent work, Tom is arguably the most recognizable fitness model, even at the age of 51. However, when you are in the type of shape that Tom is in, 51 can sometimes seem like 31. Luckily for all her fans, Tom can be found on Twitter (@Kiana_Tom), Instagram (@kiana_tom_flexappeal_fitmomtv) and Facebook. The world-famous Tom also has her very own website where you can find some of her more famous episodes of each of her shows, including the top ranked fitness show, Kiana’s Flex Appeal.
#4 Jennifer England
Jennifer England started her career as a fashion model for one of the biggest chains in the country. After deciding that it was not a career that would allow her to fulfill her competitive needs, she made a change. This led to her competing in many fitness competitions, as well as taking a chance on pro wrestling.
Yes, this beautiful blonde bombshell attempted to make a jump to the WWE when she competed in their 2006 Diva search. This came after a brief stint as a Price Is Right model. Though she was the runner-up in the Diva search and was not given a full-time role on the show, she was allowed to compete and appeared in multiple episodes of both WWE Monday Night Raw and WWE Smackdown. The WWE’s loss was Hollywood’s gain. England has gone on to be more than simply a short-term wrestler.
To go along with her attempt at being cast on one of the most action packed and exciting shows on TV, England has ventured to the big screen with appearances in some of the biggest box-office films of this century. Included in these films is: Fast and Furious, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Smokin’ Aces, and Transformers. Jennifer also works as an analyst on a new sport that combines mixed martial arts and arm wrestling. Though XARM is still in its infancy, having England is a surefire way to gain a viewer or two. If you are interested in seeing more of Jennifer England (and who wouldn’t be) check out her Twitter (@JennEngland), Instagram (JenniferEngland11) or her Facebook.
#5 Marzia Prince
Prince is the perfect example that strong always trumps skinny. When it comes to Prince, she is much more than just a beautiful girl. She has one of the most intelligent fitness minds around. With more certifications and training than most 40-year fitness veterans, Prince has all but mastered the human body.
As a devoted vegan, Prince has found a way to maintain her award-winning bikini body. Though this fitness supermodel may not have the same level of fame as some of her peers because of her lack of Hollywood appearances, Prince is without a doubt one of the most respected trainers and fitness gurus in the world.
With that said, that does not mean Prince has no honors. She was crowned the winner of many bikini competitions including Ms. Bikini Universe and Europa Super Show Bikini Championship. This, along with her cover spots on Iron Man and Natural Muscle, help make her one of the most well-rounded fitness models ever. If you’re looking for some of the greatest fitness or dieting advice, or you are just in the mood to look at pictures of a true bikini supermodel, check out her Facebook or Pinterest pages.
#6 Jamie Eason
Last, but certainly not least, is the beautiful and inspiring Jamie Eason. After her start as a cheerleader for the Houston Texans of the NFL, Eason’s life changed forever when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This news forced Eason to quit her job and take a position working in an office.
This office job and bad news took a toll on Eason. She began to let herself physical form fade. But, that did not last long. She soon joined a gym and began working at getting herself back into shape. Getting back into shape for a woman like Eason did not simply mean losing the love handles. For her, it meant getting back to cheerleader form (or better) and becoming one of the most recognizable fitness models on the planet.
However, her looks are not the only reason she is on this list. Though she’s found herself on the cover of magazines, her best work is usually done between the covers. Eason writes for some of the most recognizable and respected fitness publications in the world. Her most famous work is that which helps women get back into shape after pregnancy.
Women’s fitness has come a long way. They started as fitness models. They have become so much more. Society is finally beginning to recognize that strong looking sculpted bodies are as good, if not better, than skinny ones. Though there is still some inequality in the world of fitness, women like the ones we have named are the building blocks to something much greater.
There is no doubting that these women are some of the most beautiful to ever step on the planet. But in the world of fitness, as strange as it sounds, looks are not everything. To be a true Gym Junkie, the mind is as important as the body. To be a great fitness trainer, it is important to consistently learn.
The women in this group are among the brightest health gurus in the world. They have learned how the body works and how to give it the correct fuel to be able to train it in the most efficient way. Not only have they learned how to do this, but they have also devoted their lives to teaching others exactly what they have learned. They have come up with some of the most famous and influential fitness plans in recent memory and they have opened their secrets up to the entire world.
Being published at any level is a great accomplishment. But to be published by some of the most well-respected publications around is a true honor. These women are a part of an elite class. They have been published in Oxygen, Women’s Fitness and Men’s Health. Being published in magazines meant for male readers further proves that their fitness skills transcends social barriers and their findings and teaching merit the highest of honors. Not that there was any doubt. Their results speak volumes.
Though there is work to be done in terms of women’s equality in the gym world, these ladies have done society proud and have taken a massive step forward for all women. These beautiful, intelligent women are among the greatest in the world of fitness and as Frank Sinatra once sang, “the best is yet to come.”
By Michael Hersey