It’s no secret that the fitness industry is filled with countless incredible, inspirational women. From personal trainers to registered dieticians to competitive athletes, many of today’s fitness entrepreneurs are killing it in the online world – not least of all on Instagram.
But followers and profits aside, who are the health and wellness queens that are really grabbing the attention of their audience? We looked at the engagement rates of some of the most influential females in the fitstagram sphere to see who comes out on top.
1. Maddie Lymburner -MadFit
A former health food store employee and dancer, Lymburner’s quest to the top began in 2015 when she started posting videos on plant-based eating. By 2016, she had begun earning modest ad revenues from her YouTube vlogs and would go on to amass 50,000 subscribers, in part due to daily food posts during trips in Thailand, Bali, Australia and Hawaii.
Hailing from Waterdown, Ontario, Lymburner is now dubbed ‘Canada’s top YouTube creator’, and regularly produces workout videos for an audience of 5.5 million subscribers on her fitness channel, MadFit.
Alongside YouTube, Lymburner’s Instagram (@madfit.ig) covers a variety of training including strength, yoga and HIIT with the impeccable content being appreciated by her 1.2m followers and earning her an impressive engagement rate of 3.9% per post.
IG Handle: @madfit.ig
No. of followers: 1,273,567
Average likes (per post): 48,736
Average comments (per post): 445
Engagement rate: 3.9%
2. Adriene Mischler – Yoga with Adriene
Adriene Mishler is an actress, writer, international yoga teacher and entrepreneur from Austin, Texas. On a mission to get the tools of yoga into schools and homes, Adriene hosts the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene, an online community of over 9 million subscribers.
Throughout her nine-year online career as a yoga instructor, Adriene has carved out a name for herself as ‘the people’s yogi’, simply encouraging them to “find what feels good” as they navigate their practice. Her gentle yet encouraging tuition is what has made her channel so popular not just with beginners but also long-time yogis, who find that her unassuming, self-care approach is what keeps them coming back to the mat.
Since lockdown, Yoga with Adriene has become a saving grace for people who – for whatever reason – have wanted to incorporate movement to benefit both their physical and mental well-being, without necessarily having much experience or space to spare. In recent months, Adriene has been described as “the patron saint of quarantine” by Paper magazine and “the most influential yoga teacher on the planet” by Refinery29.
IG Handle: @adrienelouise
No. of followers: 1,171,624
Average likes (per post): 42,396
Average comments (per post): 486
Engagement rate: 3.66%
3. Verity Bowditch – Pilates with Verity
Made in Chelsea star Verity has created Pilates with Verity, which takes place online through virtual classes and training. Verity uses her Instagram feed to share her love of Pilates, wellbeing and exercise, showcasing her fitness journey and providing her followers with tips and tricks.
After shooting to fame on the 17th series of Made In Chelsea, Bowditch’s 142k followers on Instagram love to follow not only the juiciest goss in West London, but also her challenging pilates sessions with 2.13% engagement per post.
IG Handle: @veritybowditch
No. of followers: 141,366
Average likes (per post): 2981
Average comments (per post): 37
Engagement rate: 2.13%
4. Krissy Cela – Tone & Sculpt
The 26-year-old Instagram and YouTube star has amassed over 2.3 million followers and been hailed the female Joe Wicks since she started recording videos from her home in London four years ago whilst studying for a law degree. She invented the app Tone and Sculpt and has built a huge fanbase.
Thinking of herself as more of a Personal Trainer than an influencer, Cela has created a close-knit community of women of all ages who support each other throughout rigorous workouts. Cela’s Instagram highlights this as each post gathers an engagement rate of 1.81% - that’s nearly 40,000 likes and 4000 comments PER POST!
IG Handle: @krissycela
No. of followers: 2,406,635
Average likes (per post): 39,761
Average comments (per post): 3790
Engagement rate: 1.81%
5. Melissa Alcantara – Fit Gurl Mel
Kim Kardashian's most celebrated personal trainer, Melissa Alcantara (aka Instagram star Fitgurlmel) is quite clearly a force to be reckoned with. A published author and creator of Turnaround - a fitness and nutrition plan that promises serious results – Melissa has forged a path for herself as one of the most influential fitness trainers all thanks to her own dedication and fierce commitment to self-love.
In her early-thirties, with a young child, a processed-food addiction, and no expensive gym membership, Melissa Alcantara had had enough. She began working out in her own kitchen – initially to simply burn off the weight she had gained during her pregnancy. But after a short space of time, it become so much more than that.
“It morphed from me just wanting to have abs to me saying 'yes' to myself, choosing myself, and putting love into myself every single day," she told Women’s Health.
Through years of dedication, Melissa’s hard work has not just paid off physically but in all areas of her life.
“I truly believe that I can do anything," she says. "The work and the transformation spills over into every aspect of your life, from your relationship to your job."
Clearly her enthusiasm and determination are infectious, inspiring over a million very engaged followers.
IG Handle: @fitgurlmel
No. of followers: 1,106,982
Average likes (per post): 19,667
Average comments (per post): 299
Engagement rate: 1.88%
6. Courtney Black
Hailed as UK’s ‘queen of home workouts’, Courtney Black has been a personal trainer for 5 years now. Black’s fitness journey started in 2019 after quitting her job as an Accountant in Central London to pursue her dream to become a PT.
In an interview, she admitted that at her thinnest she weighed less than 7 stone and was trolled and told she that she looked like she 'was dying'. But after realising how miserable she was, Courtney decided to embrace her curves as a fitness model, posting her journey on social media.
She now has an app and is inspiring many women to start their fitness journeys through live Instagram workouts, attracting more than 30,000 viewers every session.
IG Handle: @courtneydblack
No. of followers: 800,334
Average likes (per post): 13,918
Average comments (per post): 403
Engagement rate: 1.79%
7. Rhiannon Lambert -Rhitrition
Rhiannon Lambert is a registered nutritionist and founder of Rhitrition - a leading private nutrition clinic specialising in weight management, disordered eating, gut health, sports nutrition and pre- and post-natal nutrition.
An avid foodie and prolific recipe developer, Rhiannon has experimented with various colourful ingredients, sharing many of her own delicious healthy recipes on her Instagram account. Working with the Masterchef team, she is also responsible for developing menus at London’s most celebrated healthy eateries.
Rhiannon’s qualified approach to nutrition and total dedication to her clients’ needs has seen her work with some of the world’s most influential people, including Olympic athletes, pop stars and professional footballers. Through her bestselling book Re-Nourish: A Simple Way to Eat and her podcast Food For Thought, Rhiannon continues to share her expertise with almost 200k eager followers.
IG Handle: @rhitrition
No. of followers: 199,606
Average likes (per post): 3307
Average comments (per post): 168
Engagement rate: 1.77%
8. Lucy Mecklenburgh- Results Wellness Lifestyle
Moving on from “Lucy Meck” the reality star, to a fitness business owner, has been a perfect way to change the direction of life for Lucy for the better. Now a co-owner of Results Wellness Lifestyle (RWL), the former TOWIE star hasve established a programme that has empowered thousands of women to take control of their fitness, food and mindset in a supportive and non-judgemental community.
Lucy has also racked up 1.7m followers on her Instagram, where she regularly shares workouts, food and fashion inspiration. With a strong engagement rate of 1.62%, Lucy regularly interacts with over 27,000 likes and more than 1100 comments on each post!
IG Handle: @lucymeck1
No. of followers: 1,734,557
Average likes (per post): 27,020
Average comments (per post): 1111
Engagement rate: 1.62%
9. Jessica Ennis-Hill
Few people need less of an introduction than British athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill. The three-time track and field world champion is known for her outstanding achievements in sports – particularly the heptathlon, 100 metre hurdles and 800 metres. She has also won several accolades, including Great Britain’s Favourite Sporting Hero and Sportswoman of the Year at the British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards.
With a desire to share with the world the unique support and training she had as a professional athlete, Ennis-Hill has created a dedicated support hub and community lovingly named ‘Jennis’ (@wearejennis). The platform is a one-stop destination where Jessica can share her unrivalled exercise and wellness expertise, while on her personal account she shares glimpses of life as mum with her almost half a million followers.
IG Handle: @jessicaennishill
No. of followers: 412,874
Average likes (per post): 5200
Average comments (per post): 57
Engagement rate: 1.27%
Take Home Message
It’s clear that these wellness warriors are all experts in their fields of health, fitness and nutrition. But where they have really excelled is carrying the rest of us through lockdown and beyond.
With a strong trend over the last 12 months towards home workouts, fitness inspo and practising mindfulness, these ladies have delivered on every level, recognising the need for physical and mental well-being now more than ever. Their dedication to sharing regular content and building a strong, supportive community is clearly what keeps their followers interested, as well as attracting newcomers looking for that extra bit of motivation.