10 Women That’ll Inspire You to Follow Your Passion

International Women’s Day is a friendly reminder to pay respect to the women who came before us. But it’s also a time to celebrate the amazing women who push us along in the highs and lows of life.

When we create a list of the women who inspire us most, we can’t help but think of the bold, brave and strong AF women who encourage us to live healthier lifestyles. Whether it’s through the brand they’ve built, the workouts they’ve tailored or the mantras they’ve instilled in our minds, these women have impacted many — and who knows, you might just find the inspiration you need to head to class (or create a fitness empire of your own).

Daphnie Yang from HIIT IT!

Week after week, Daphnie combines her passions for strength training and dance (she received her BFA in dance from New York University!) in her very own HIIT class. She’s a staple in the NYC fitness scene — and she’s even the face of Athleta’s fitness classes.

 

Payal Kadakia from ClassPass

After realizing there wasn’t an easy way to find great dance classes online (it was 2008, people!), Payal took the matter into her own hands and dreamed up a one-stop shop for fitness classes. Yup, we’re talking about ClassPass. Payal launched the company in 2013, and now she serves as the Executive Chairman. She’s also the Artistic Director for The Sa Dance Company.

 

Sarah Robb O’Hagan from Flywheel Sports

It’s been just one year since Flywheel Sports announced Sarah Robb O’Hagan as its CEO. Since then, she’s been working on turning the fitness brand — made famous for its competitive cycling and barre classes — into a digital leader. Oh, and this isn’t Sarah’s first rodeo. Before Flywheel, she served in high-powered leadership roles at Gatorade and Equinox.

 

Carrie Rezabek Dorr from Pure Barre

Today, barre is a staple in many cities — back in 2001, it was a new phenomenon. Enter Carrie Rezabek Dorr. She opened the first Pure Barre studio in a Michigan basement nearly 17 years ago. By 2009, the business became a franchise and today it’s one of the most well-known barre chains in the country.

 

Kira Stokes from The Stoked Method

If you follow Candace Cameron Bure (AKA DJ from Full House), you probably know about her good friend and personal trainer, Kira Stokes. For starters, Kira has been working in fitness for more than 20 years — and she has 11 certifications to show for it. While her classes are based in New York City and Los Angeles, you’ll find Kira dropping into plank jacks or burpees just about anywhere (seriously, look at her Instagram!).

 

Simone De La Rue from Body by Simone

This Australian-born firecracker has taken her love for dance to new heights as the founder of Body by Simone. Celebrities like Jennifer Garner and Taylor Swift are fans of BBS — and if you check out a class, you’ll see why. After retiring from her professional dance career, De La Rue created an exercise program that is based in dance but fun for dancers and non-dancers alike. You can even spot her as a trainer on  Khloe Kardashian’s show, Revenge Body.

 

LeAnne Shear from Uplift Studios

Early in her career, LeAnne was juggling her freelance writing assignments with personal training sessions. After a profile on her work as a personal trainer was published on a notable website, LeAnne’s email inbox went through the roof — and she decided she needed to do something about it. In 2013, she opened Uplift Studios, a women-only fitness studio and “female society” in New York City. Here, she empowers women of all shapes and sizes to uplift one another — and lift some weights.

 

Alexandra Bonetti Perez from The Bari Studio

At just 25 years old, Alexandra decided to trade in her consulting job to open her own fitness studio. That’s where Bari Studio came into the picture. Now, this bicoastal studio boasts classes that fit everyone’s needs, from cardio-heavy trampoline classes to toning classes.

 

Patricia Moreno from Intensati

Patricia isn’t your average workout maven. While her classes are cardio intensive, she focuses her attention on the mind and spirit of her clients. Her struggle with weight and bullying as a child influenced her decision to create a workout — and community — that is inspiring, encouraging and most importantly, uplifting.

 

Sadie Lincoln from barre3

Sadie’s unconventional upbringing proved to be just the inspiration she needed to start her own business. Raised by a group of women (her mom along with her mom’s best friends), Sadie always loved the idea of a strong, women-focused community. Now, that’s a reality with her company, barre3. Today, there are more than 100 studios around the world and 250 workouts available online.

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#I💓B3 …duh. 😘

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So, who else is on your list?

 

Amanda Garrity is a commerce editor and content producer living in New York City. She finds every excuse to go on an adventure, whether it's in her own backyard or across the country. She enjoys hiking, pretending she's a prima ballerina and drinking an abundant amount of coffee. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.