As @saaareeee on Instagram, Sarita Walsh posts black and white photos of New York’s trendiest boutique fitness studios, including New York Pilates, Modo and modelFit. She also documents her Williamsburg runs and they look far more dramatic with her filters. "In their attempt to make things easy to understand, a lot of fitness resources oversimplify things to a point where it’s no longer reflective of reality,” she told the Observer. She tries to make her posts relatable to motivate people to actually get out of bed and workout in the morning. “Social media has been about exposing all of my failures as much as any successes. If I can provide a dose of reality along with a well thought out snap then that’s a good day for me."
The Penn State grad started working out with her boyfriend, which helped lessen the intimidation factor of the weight room. She hopes her videos, along with YouTube primers, will help women become more confident about picking up weights and gaining muscle, without worrying they’ll become too fit. “Just start off super light and focus on form,” she recommended. She prides herself on an Instagram account devoid of half-naked selfies and without any hints of selling protein powder.
Bec Donlan is an Australian holistic health coach who’s currently based in New York. On Instagram, she posts pictures at the super trendy Higher DOSE alongside WGSN trend forecaster Sarah Owen, alongside shots of her running in the snow outside of Bandier. On her site, there are plenty of vegan recipes, and she even sells her own booty bands to really get into her workouts at home. “My account shows that leading a healthy lifestyle is an attainable thing. Whether it's throwing weights around in a gym or doing booty bands at home it's about finding what workouts that work for you,” Donlan said.
With 3.9 million followers on Instagram, Hathaway is well on her way to Seltering. The Minnesota native now lives in Oklahoma, proving location doesn’t matter when it comes to social media stardom. After working with a trainer at her gym in 2011, she decided to join weightlifting competitions. Now, she instructs her millions of followers on meal prep and squats. “We live in a society that tells you that you don't need makeup or airbrushed apps yet we get criticized when we post flawed photos on the internet from keyboard warriors,” she recently said on Instagram.
Farrar hasn’t just found internet fame from her fitness posts. The personal trainer dated The Bachelorette’s notorious contestant, and eventual winner, Jordan Rodgers. Before the show premiered, she used the medium to call him out for cheating, gaining a like from his sister-in-law, Olivia Munn. The drama grew her Instagram following, along with easy to follow along with explosive movements, lunges and medicine ball routines. The Nashville resident is a personal trainer and teaches classes at Shed Fitness.
This elite trainer is the ultimate multi-hyphenate. The actor-model-trainer does headstands in inventive locales and posts mat exercises you can do even in the smallest New York apartment. Oh, and she’s also a mom of two. “I like to throw some unique twists and movements into my routines because your body needs to be shocked for it to change,” Rodriguez explained. “A gym is what you make it.” She’s inspired her 263,000 followers to start skipping rope or even to try their hand at handstands.
Clark dubbed herself "Queen of Workouts" on Instagram, and her 468,000 followers agree. She uses the app to post videos of her elaborate workouts in the weight room, so her followers can lift along at their own gym. "Fitness is more than just physical—it's mental, social, spiritual and emotional," Clark told the Observer. She wants to change the way people see working out, especially on Instagram, where the goals often seem unattainable. "It can be intimidating and a huge turn off," she said about typical #fitspo posts. She’s often photographed lifting weights next to her English bulldog, who needs an Instagram account of her own.
Chinae Alexander is better known as @getfitbrooklyn her 121,000 followers. The event planner and Adidas ambassador posts more than just gym photographs, offering a look at New York’s toughest boutique fitness classes. "My Instagram isn’t about getting a sweaty six-pack or living a perfectly curated life," Alexander told the Observer. "I love pizza and spontaneity too much for either of those things to happen." Don't expect trendy poké bowls (although there are plenty). Her descriptions of boxing and HIIT workouts are interspersed with dessert photos. The runner shares inspirational #TransformationTuesday photos and focuses on motivating women in life, not just at the gym. "After all, if your soul is a mess, who cares about the condition of your thighs?" she asked us, providing for an Instagram-worthy caption for your next workout.
If you want an inside look at all of the boutique fitness classes in New York, Jocelyn Steiber provides a behind-the-scenes peek as @chicandsweaty Instagram. Unlike other more intimidating accounts, she's not afraid to admit if a class is too intense. “I could only do about 30 percent of it. As someone who works out daily this was a huge frustration and realization for me,” she recently admitted about the notoriously difficult Brooklyn Bodyburn. "As an aspiring ballet dancer, I spent my formative years trying to achieve perfection, only to be disappointed, as I didn't have long enough legs or, in retrospect, anything close to a dancer's body," Steiber told us. "Being healthy doesn't have to mean juice cleanses and countless hours of cardio." Look for her to showcase the latest athleisure launches and #noabs photos, providing honest accounts of her workout routines
The nutrition and fitness coach has amassed 212,000 followers on Instagram by being unafraid to be a woman in the weight room and film herself while experimenting. “It's important to have structure to your training and a program that helps you work toward your goals. You'll always make more progress being consistent with a routine versus hopping from one workout to another with no real structure because you saw someone do a particular exercise,” Krewe warned us about following along with the latest hot Instagram workout. She films all of her own videos and tries to go to the gym at quiet times, so she has room for her explosive push-ups and goblet squats.
Following fitness accounts on Instagram is tricky. You don’t want NSFW posts popping up all the time, featuring bikini fit models (or maybe you do, in which case this list isn’t for you). And you certainly don’t want to follow someone with abs so cut you regret eating that last scoop of ice cream. The perfect combination is an account with the ability to inspire followers to actually make it to the gym, without making them feel awful if they somehow don’t.