In recent years, Instagram has become the go-to place for many women who are seeking health and fitness motivation, or #Fitspo.
Beautiful images of women performing sun-salutations against a backdrop of crystal-blue sky gets us off Netaporter and into a Spin class faster than the irritating mantra ‘Summer bodies are made in Winter’!
While group reinforcement and visual motivators are powerful tools to help you achieve your fitness goals, it’s important to focus on #Fitspo Accounts who promote realistic, healthly, attainable fitness regimes and a holistic attitude towards positive body-image.
These #Fitspo accounts should motivate you to increase your strength and stamina – The best Influencer’s focus on health, and not how you look in a bikini with a spray tan and cut-off denim shorts.
To help you avoid the Instagram accounts that are more ‘Maxim Magazine’ than ‘Motivating’, we’ve found 5 incredibly inspiring women we highly suggest checking out for a daily dose of positive reinforcement and a healthy balance of fitness tips.
Sjana Elise Earp
After being hospitalized with depression at age sixteen, 22 year old Sjana Elise first discovered the powerful physical and mental benefits of yoga.
She credits yoga as her ‘saving grace’, and used the lessons the practice taught her mind, body, and soul to fuel her recovery.
Sjana told Hindu Stan Times:
“Yoga is so much more than just a workout. It incorporates mind, body and soul collectively.”
Sjana used her Instagram page to share her knowledge, experiences and thought-provoking quotes and words of wisdom, many of which serve as captions to some amazing photos of Sjana in awe-inspiring yoga poses.
Sjana’s philosophy: “Everyone deserves to love themselves, feel comfortable, strong and confident in their own skin. I want to inspire confidence, self-acceptance and a sense of determination.”
“I truly believe that we should be working out and eating well because we love our bodies, not because we hate them.”
Jessica Sepel is a South-African born, Sydney-based clinical nutritionist, the author of two best-selling books, runs a self-titled health blog and is the founder of the JS Health Program.
On her blog, Jessica shares a variety of clean and healthy recipes, videos and interviews with like-minded women.
In her blog posts, Jessica often opens up about her own health struggles, and her tips for living a holistic and healthy life.
‘Resting is not just a self-care practice,’ she recently wrote on her blog.
‘… it’s actually an essential part of a healthy life so many of us feel guilty at the thought of resting. I want to challenge this. I think a rested body is a healthy body.’
Jess also shared how she tries to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
‘I work hard, but I also have strict boundaries – I switch off all technology by 7pm every night. I rest on weekends and take email breaks, I even delete Instagram during the day now so I’m only checking it 2-3 [times] a day in chunks.’
Jessica Sepel’s Instagram showcases many of the mouth-watering recipes from her books, Live the Healthy Life, and Living the Healthy Life, and her interactive online program, designed to help you ‘quit diets forever, reach your balanced weight and live the healthy life.’
Her posts will not only inspire you to get in the kitchen and whip up healthy versions of your favourite meals, but also motivate you to embrace a more balanced mindset towards health and wellbeing.
While many would assume Laura Henshaw and Steph Claire Smith simply won the gene pool lottery and were blessed with amazing physiques, the models and entrepreneurs work hard to maintain those rock-hard abs and lean legs, but even harder to ensure they keep a healthy, balanced mind and approach to health and fitness.
This desire led the two to launch Keep it Cleaner, a wellness website and health program that encourages and supports a positive and balanced attitude towards food and exercise.
Not only does Laura (pictured right) balance her career as a model, and her own business, but she is also currently studying law.
Laura’s Instagram is motivating, and how kind she is, not only to friends and followers, but to herself, makes her a must-follow.
She regularly uses Instagram Stories to share with her followers a day in her life, which often involves waking up at 5:00 am to squeeze in a workout ahead of a busy day comprising of study, shooting and creating content for Keep It Cleaner.
Laura shows how rewarding prioritising your own health can be, as she takes you through her gruelling workout and long days, all with a beaming smile.
Steph Claire Smith
With 1.2 million followers on Instagram, it’s likely you’ve already heard of Steph Claire Smith.
As the second half of Keep It Cleaner, and Laura Henshaw’s best friend, it is unsurprising Steph has a similar approach to health and fitness.
The 23 year old recently opened up on the Keep It Cleaner YouTube account about her health and fitness journey, and her own struggles with body image and binge eating disorder.
Her honesty is endearing and refreshing, telling her 24k plus subscribers,
“No one wakes up and thinks they’re perfect, even people you might look up to”
“I know how much of an influence I can be on you guys and I only want to influence you in a positive way”
While the Instagram photos of her enviable bikini body are definitely motivating in themselves, it is her refreshing attitude and all-encompassing approach to looking after your mind and body, that we think makes Steph an inspiration.
Bec Donlan grew up in Melbourne, where she completed Certificates III and IV in Fitness at the Australian Institute of Technology.
After her studies, Bec ran her own personal training business for several years, before setting her sights on tackling ‘new challenges and training techniques’, in New York.
Since her move to the Big Apple, Bec has added to her impressive resume, becoming a qualified Metabolic Precision Nutrition Coach, as well as completing a certificate in Kettlebell Levels 1 and 2.
Now, Bec teaches a fitness class called Babes and Bands at a new gym in Manhattan, PROJECT by Equinox.
Her Instagram, @sweatwithbec, is full of motivating content.
Give her a follow for healthy meal ideas, hilarious yet motivating quotes, and of course, some serious fitness and workout inspiration.
Bec’s philosophy is to empower women to ‘feel and look their best, [and] to be confident and happy with their own skin.’
Her content inspires her followers to become the healthiest versions of themselves, while reminding them that this confidence comes from within, and not a number on the scale.
‘Life is stressful enough without putting the stress on ourselves to achieve the unattainable.’ – Bec Donlan
We love and admire the openness and honesty of these women, who share their own health struggles in the hope of teaching and helping others to strive for a balanced approach to health and fitness.
Each of these lovely ladies seek to encourage and inspire their followers, not just to exercise or eat clean. They encourage us to be kinder and more gentle with ourselves, and to be the happiest, healthiest, and most confident version of ourselves possible.