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Top 10 Fitness Icons of All Time

By Leslie

Everyone has their own inspiration for health, but there are a select few that inspire fitness better than anyone else. Martial arts celebrities, diet gurus, and those who bring fitness to the masses are all profiled here. Find your fitness inspiration in one or more of these fitness icons.

  1. Bruce Lee: Bruce Lee is well known as a martial arts film actor and icon of the martial arts. Lee changed the way he approached martial arts training, spending more time on physical conditioning, including endurance, strength, and flexibility. He performed amazing physical feats, including the ability to do one handed pushups with only the thumb and index finger.
  2. Jack Lalanne: Jack LaLanne is often called the "Godfather of Fitness." He focused on living well and helping people take preventative measures before they became sick. LaLanne invented exercise equipment, including the first leg extension machine. He encouraged the disabled and elderly to exercise for health, and lived to be 96 himself.
  3. Denise Austin: Denise Austin is well known in American living rooms and home gyms, with more than 20 million exercise videos sold, 10 books on fitness, and the longest running fitness show in TV history. A former cohost of the Jack LaLanne Show, she has spend more than 25 years promoting health and fitness to regular people with a positive outlook and motivating attitude.
  4. Jenny Craig: The name Jenny Craig is nearly synonymous with weight loss. Jenny, along with her husband Sid, created a weight loss company that has helped millions of women and men lose weight and stay healthy. Jenny Craig encourages healthy lifestyles with lots of activity and portion control.
  5. Richard Simmons: Richard Simmons is a beloved fitness personality that has brought fitness to the masses for more than 30 years. He’s created 50 fitness videos with a workout routine for just about everyone. This icon loves to reach out and visit with his audience, spending an average of 250 days on tour every year.
  6. Arnold Schwarzenegger: Before becoming an actor and politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger had an impressive bodybuilding career. He won several competitions, including Mr. Europe, Mr. Universe, and Mr. Olympia. Now, he holds the annual Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition, and is executive editor of magazines Muscle & Fitness and Flex.
  7. Chuck Norris: Chuck Norris is well known as a karate champion and action movie star. As a martial arts star, he won many martial arts championships. He is a six-time undefeated World Professional MiddleWeight Karate Champion. Norris was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, and was the first man ever in the Western Hemisphere to earn an 8th degree Black Belt Grand Master in Tae Kwon Do, a first in 4,500 years. Chuck Norris is often honored with Chuck Norris Facts.
  8. Jillian Michaels: Widely known for her work as a personal trainer on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels offers fitness inspiration to everyday people. She’s known for her tough love approach to health and fitness. Formerly overweight herself, Michaels has dedicated her work to helping overweight people improve their lives with fitness.
  9. Jane Fonda: Jane Fonda’s ballet career ended when she fractured her foot, but it turned into a second career for her when she began the Jane Fonda Workout. Her exercise video and workout book encouraged consumers to begin using VCRs to work out in their own homes. This first VHS sold 17 million copies, more than any other home video. She is credited with starting the fitness craze among baby boomers, and has continued to offer fitness videos, the most recent aimed at an older audience.
  10. Billy Blanks: Billy Blanks is the inventor of the Tae Bo exercise program. He’s known as a fitness guru, martial artist, and actor. With the Tae Bo workout, he combined martial arts and boxing to create an accessible and fun fitness solution that became a pop culture phenomenon.

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