It’s no secret that the fitness industry is a male dominated industry. If you were unaware, I have now fixed that for you. Despite the dearth of women receiving notoriety within our already tiny community, there are some standouts that I am privileged to call colleagues and some of whom I am proud to call friends as well. And while these women do acknowledge the general lack of research done on women in a lab setting, the information in these resources is for everyone.
Now that that’s over, I am going to list five different women who continue to gift us with both their training and nutrition acumen. Women’s fitness is fitness for everyone, after all.
1. Dr. Susan Kleiner
In may of 2017 I had the good fortune of watching Dr. Kleiner speak at a conference in Kansas City, MO. There, she talked at length about the lack of research regarding women. At the time, despite my overt feminist leanings, it wasn’t something I had given much thought to. Needless to say, I learned a lot that day. Her research regarding energy availability dates back 20 plus years ago, in case you thought refeeding was a new concept. In addition to that, she went over how it applies to athletes in a concise presentation.
Not only does she have a PhD, she is also a registered dietitian and has done nutrition consulting for the Miami Heat, The Seattle Supersonics, and the Cleveland Browns, to name a few teams. She also wrote Power Eating, of which the first edition was released in 1998. Not only that, as new research emerges, the book gets an update.
Finally, she was not only kind enough to sign my copy, but also was generous enough to seek me out at the after party of the conference and let me know to disregard the part in the book about the glycemic index. So click that link up there and add Power Eating to your bookshelf.
2. Kourtney Thomas
At the same conference I also got to meet Kourtney, as she was also a presenter. At first glance, her arms popped out of her sleeveless shirt because they were so incredibly jacked and vascular. One of the things that stood out was her presentation on the marketing within the industry.
The message is always dual. For men it’s to get bigger. For women, it’s to get smaller. Kourtney isn’t a fan of that. So much so that she created a hypertrophy program for women, and it encourages taking up your surrounding space and building yourself up in the literal, physical sense of the word.
Being the excellent coach that she is, Kourtney gifted us with The Bigness Project. Take a look at that, eat more, and get jacked.
3. Sohee Lee
Another boon to our industry, Sohee is as smart as they come. For one, she graduated from Stanford with a degree in Human Biology. For the blissfully unaware, Stanford is a top tier school in America. More important than that, her approach to nutrition is not only based on existing research, it’s practical. With all the nonsense marketed towards women about what they eat, Sohee’s voice is much needed to counteract the endless barrage of nonsense flooding the field.
Her approach is one of flexibility and sustainability, so much so that she won her IFPA bikini pro card while eating a Snicker’s bar everyday during her prep. If you have ever found yourself wanting to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting for good, you would do well to read her Reverse Dieting e-book.
4. Joy Victoria
Joy’s blog was one that kept me informed and entertained many boring nights during my tenure at the Coca-Cola call center. In those days, I was slacking off, doing the bare minimum, and reading fitness stuff when I had no phone calls to answer.
That said, one thing that affects a lot of women, and some men, is hypermobility. If you’ve ever seen someone that claims to be “double jointed” then you have seen someone with hypermobility. Basically, the joints move beyond the normal limit by about 10-15 percent. Unfortunately, not many people write about this. Fortunately for you, Joy has written tons on the subject and it’s all scientifically sound, and practical as well. On of her best on the subject happens to be this one, in blue, underlined that you should read.
In addition to her training acumen, Joy is also a gifted poet with valuable life lessons for us all.
5. Leigh Peele
I’m fairly certain that Leigh doesn’t know just how smart she actually is. When I say “smart,” I mean genius level intellect. Moreover, she’s a full on autodidact who will learn anything to achieve excellence in her profession. In addition to her stellar acumen, she was one of the forerunners of online fitness, having started back in 2005, before most of us had ever heard of such a thing.
In addition to those accomplishments, she’s written hundreds upon thousands of words over the course of her career. Of these words, there were many books, some of which you can’t get anymore, others which are continually updated and available to no charge for anyone who purchased older editions. Of these, the pinnacle is a dense but highly accessible treatise on the entirety of the human metabolism called “Starve Mode.” Seriously, if you only ever buy one “diet” book, this should be it. In fact, it’s so good, if you enter STARVE20 at checkout, you’ll get a 20% discount.
More important than all that, Leigh cares. She’s one of the kindest people I have ever met in my life, and it shines in her writing, her brilliance, and her way of being.
So this is my take on women’s fitness. A bevy of women who have contributed so much to our world, and the list is still incomplete. I mentioned it before, but if you consider yourself a feminist, then the most feminist thing you can do is support women whenever possible. So hopefully, this is a good starting point for you.