Thanks to the internet and specifically social media nearly everyone can have a voice in this world, whether you are advocating for education, health & fitness, LGBTQIA+ Rights, etc., nearly every group, every career and passion is covered by social media. In the fitness world, I’m asked from time to time, “Who inspires you to be better? Where do you get your motivation from?” Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t have more than one answer to that question. In preparing the blog post for this week I thought, “Why don’t I tell everybody who I’m inspired by?” I’ve told clients and friends in general form time to time, nobody ever considers to ask a trainer who inspires THEM because for most of us in the industry, that’s one of our main jobs for our clients….to inspire. However, that inspiration we pass along had to come from somewhere, right? That being said, here’s my top favorite fitness influencers and trainers that I think you should be following on social media:
1.) Chris & Heidi Powell – Probably two of the main reasons that I conduct myself the way that I do, Chris and Heidi Powell came in the spotlight as hosts of, “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition”, but they’ve been on the scene before that writing books covering a multitude of fitness and dieting topics. Like most trainers, Chris started out as a scrawny 14 year old kid as he describes himself on his website, www.chrispowell.com and has come to make a career out of one of his biggest vulnerabilities growing up. The main goal for these two top-notch trainers and humans: eradicate weight-related suffering from humanity. I’ve had mini-conversations with both Chris and Heidi through Instagram and they are truly down to earth, genuine people. Both of their Instagram profile handles are listed below:
2.) Joey Swoll – Have you ever seen those TikTok clips of people in the gym not practicing good gym etiquette and then a muscular dude comes on the screen and basically scolds them and corrects the behavior? That’s Joey Swoll. Joey Swoll is a bodybuilder and entrepreneur who was a partner and part of the creation of Shredz, a supplement company that exploded onto the scene. In just one year, it went from nothing into massive company paying out six figure salaries – all through social media marketing. After years of hard work in the gym, his body started to transform into an impressive physique. It was at this point that Joey decided to become a full-time bodybuilder and fitness model. Ever since the beginning of his journey, he’s become one of the leaders in the fitness industry and an inspiration to people around the world. You can find Joey online at:
Instagram – @joeyswoll; Twitter – @thejoeyswoll; TikTok – @thejoeyswoll
3.) Andrew Rose of Vanguard Barbell – This one hits close to home for me and I’m happy to share this man along with you, Andy Rose. Andy was one of my trainers back in the early 2010s with an impressive resume that keeps growing to this day. After leaving Pittsburgh for Charleston, SC, Andy started a company called Vanguard Barbell which is a gym that focuses on powerlifting and strength-based exercise. Andy provides online and in-person training with precision and guides members in a fun and innovative fashion. If you’re in the Charleston area, please look him up and tell him Trainer John sent you!
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/vanguardbarbell/;
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/vanguardbarbell/
4.) Tom Duer of The Pittsburgh Fitness Project – Yet another guy that hits close to home as another one of my former trainers, Tom Duer has been a staple in the Pittsburgh fitness scene for over a decade. Tom is the current co-owner of a facility called The Pittsburgh Fitness Project. PFP is a one-stop shop for your fitness needs! Based in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh, PFP offers customized wellness, 1-on-1 training, group classes as well as massage therapy. Aside from PFP, Tom is an award holder USAW Nat’l Champion, IWF Masters World Champion and has also placed at the amateur bodybuilding level. He also has volunteered with the Big Brothers & Big Sisters for over a decade as well:)
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tomduer/;
5.) Mike O’Hearn – He’s probably one of the most recognizable name’s in bodybuilding today. Aside from being a 4-time Mr. Universe title holder, he’s a personal trainer, actor, entrepreneur and model. Mike has dedicated most of his life to supplementation routines to make solid gains while working out in the gym. He provides his clients with both one-on-one workouts as well as online classes and training. His own training consists of compound exercises with great intensity. He is one of the top standards for the bodybuilding and fitness communities.
Instagram – @mikeohearn/@powerbodybuilding
John J. Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Personal Trainer, Actor, Wellness Coach and Influencer. He is also the host of the ‘ManAlive!’ Podcast, available on the Apple Podcasts and Spotify. For online or in-person training inquiries or if you would like to be a guest on my podcast, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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