Posted by on Jul 21, 2014

I’ve always enjoyed reading 30 Under 30 lists of different industries. They’re flush with professionals who use their energetic youth in order to better their industries.

With record-high obesity rates, it’s arguable that no industry benefits from young minds and fresh ideas more than fitness. Sadly there was no 30 Under 30 for fitness — until now.

Here are 30 fitness professionals, all under the age of 30, who are elevating the conversation and creating a better, healthier world. They run the gamut from coaches to community-builders, entrepreneurs to journalists.


Anthony Mychal

Coach and Blogger


Age: 26
Location: Pittsburg, PA

Anthony is the king of the “Acro-Athletic X-Physique,” or that fit, movie-star aesthetic that most people strive for. As a former “skinny-fat” kid, he works to dismantle the idea that all skinny people are created equally, and tries to break down the idea that a bulking and cutting cycle is the only way to get an aesthetic body type. His coaching style preaches a well-rounded approach for well-rounded results: strong, fast, and conditioned.

Further Reading: The Diet to End All Diets: Muscle Building, Fat Loss, and Easy Living Without the Calculator or Scale

Armi Legge

Coach and Founder of Evidence Magazinearmi-legge

Age: 19
Location: Austin, TX

Evidence Magazine is a resource that seeks to automate the fitness process. The magazine will teach you exactly what you need to do to lose fat, gain muscle, and live longer– without it taking over your life entirely. With the release of a weekly podcast and article, Evidence Magazine helps streamline the learn process to find exactly what works and what doesn’t, based on the latest evidence.

Further reading: Why “Clean Eating” is a Myth

Ben Bruno

Coach. Find him on


Age: 26
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Ben Bruno is a super-strong, genuinely nice human being and one of internet coaching’s up-and-comers. In a few short years he’s managed to build a great online reputation, posting on, T-Nation, and, all while maintaining an in-person clientele. He’s also a super coach and challenger, creating fitness challenges like the 100 Repetition Bulgarian Split Squat Challenge (not for the faint of heart — or quad!). He is innovative in his training while sticking to proven principles that will help his clients build strength and balance.

Further reading: “Dips, the Upper Body Squat.”

Benjamin Tormey


Age: 26
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Benjamin is a gem. In a fitness world full of big heads and bro science, Benjamin loves working compassionately with online clients. Originally trained as a physicist and mathematician, his approach is based on proven research and experience, but he will adapt it to meet the individual client’s needs. He focuses on using time with his clients to build lasting habits that will allow them to handle every difficulty that life throws at you. Plus, he is just a genuinely nice guy.

Further reading (listening): Health and Fitness Success Podcast

Carrie McMahon

Coach and Founder of This Fit Chick


Age: 20
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Carrie McMahon is not one to hand out a strict diet plan or extreme workout regimes to her clients. A mentality like that, she insists, can lead to disordered relationships with food and exercise. Instead, Carrie’s goal is to help women learn how to get the body they want without endless hours of cardio and low calorie diets. Her nutrition counciling is based on a flexible, macros based diet, allowing clients to enjoy their lives while still achieving their fitness goals. “Embarking on a completely new lifestyle is tough,” she says, “and I get that, so I am someone they can come to when they are struggling.”

Further reading: “You Can’t Go Shopping for a Body

Chase Erwin

Coach and Physique Competitor


Age: 27

Location: Little Rock, AR

When he was a wee little child, Chase’s doctor broke the news that he would forever be a skinny beanpole. Undeterred, Chase burned those words into his soul and used that as fuel towards his quest for strength and gains. Now 40 pounds heavier, Chase talks the talk as co-host of a fitness podcast AND walks the walk as he takes home the top medals in men’s physique. He can offer you the blueprints to reconstruct your destiny. Behold! The Architect of Aesthetics!

Further Listening: Why I Work Out and Blackout Trainer on Physique Competitions

David Tao

Creative Director at RhinoCo Fitness


Age: 24
Location: New York, NY

RhinoCo has a mission to create one world encompassing the full circle of wellness: fitness, nutrition, and recovery, and David Tao is getting it done. Formerly the Editor in Chief of Greatist, Tao became a proud member of Reebok CrossFit 5th Ave in 2012. The following year, he began working with the Reebok CrossFit Games media team before joining RhinoCo full time in December 2013. Tao has both a vast understanding of what makes the fitness industry tick, and insight into the psyche of an average person on the outside. Combine those two and you get an unstoppable force of viral good.

Further reading: Want To Make Your Content Go Viral? Take a Lesson from the Fitness Industry

Derek Flanzraich

Founder and CEO of Greatist


Age: 27
Location: New York, NY

Derek is the founder and CEO of Greatist, a website described by one twitter user as “like Buzzfeed, but useful.” Greatist makes mainstream fitness content that is “legit, real, and fun.” Derek has a unique understanding of what makes a mainstream fitness consumer tick, and looks to disrupt a market full of “magic pills” and spammy marketing. By making evidence-based fitness content fun and exciting content, Derek is doing something special: making mainstream fitness better.

Further Reading: In need of a quick workout? Check out the Greatist Workout of the Day posts for a crash course in what makes Greatist so… great.

Erika Hurst

Coach and Founder of Hurst Strength


Age: 26
Location: Wallingford, CT

Erika Hurst is an entrepreneur that founded and runs a private coaching facility in Wallingford, CT. Open only to those who are highly dedicated and take their health and training seriously, Hurst Strength offers online nutrition coaching for folks outside of the Wallingford area. She combines old school, tried and true training methods and nutrition facts with the most up to date research. Erika specializes in coaching women who want to lift weights (but have never tried) and training with moms-to-be to maintain strength throughout a pregnancy. She’s on the forefront of thinking in the women’s fitness industry and how to change it for the better.

Further reading: How the Fitness Industry Treats Women

Greg Nuckols

Coach and Powerlifting Competitor


Age: 24
Location: Searcy, Arkansas

Greg Nuckols is a fast-rising star in the fitness industry. More than just a strength coach and world-class drug free powerlifter Greg holds world records in powerlifting. Check out his world record squat!

As a coach, Greg specializes in breaking down movement and programming with the goal of individual optimization. Basically, this kid is tough as Nuckols.

Further reading: Picking the Squat That’s Right for You

Gregory O’Gallagher

Coach, Founder of Kinobody


Age: 27
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Since Gregory O’Gallagher started the website several years ago, Kinobody has grown into an amazing resource. With posts ranging from dieting to lifting to celebrity workouts, any individual looking to get fitter can find something valuable. Like many of the folks on this list, Greg has been entering into the world of online coaching for both nutrition and exercise, and his clients get results.

Further reading: The First Ever 12 Week Kinobody Transformation Competition – Fat Loss Results

Harold Gibbons

Coach, New York State Director of the National Strength and Conditioning Association


Age: 28
Location: New York, NY

Harold Gibbons truly believes everyone has the strength to change the world, but to do this, one must first build a better self. His goal is to build indomitable will through physical capacity, and he believes everyone is stronger than they think. And he’s not just saying that. Harold is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Health and Physical Education at Adelphi University, graduating Cum Laude. He is the New York State Director of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and an active member of the The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), and New York State Alliance for Health Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (NYSAHPERD). Plus, he’s just a great guy and gives great hugs.

Further reading: Walking: We All Need Agility

Henry Lau

Coach and Founder of Human Performance Forums


Age: 25
Location: Cranston, RI

One of the contenders for Men’s Health’s Next Top Trainer, Henry Lau is a coach par excellence. He is on the forefront of human performance, just as comfortable discussing a mindful lifestyle and training philosophy as he is talking about the differences between mobilization exercises and the neurological impacts of over-mobilizing (i.e. having to distract/crank/band mob every joint before it feels good to do a bodyweight squat). Speaking of bodyweight squats, check out his amazing pistol squats.

As one of the founders of Human Performance Forums, Henry is working to build a community for individuals in the fitness industry to grow professionally and get deep into the nitty gritty of different methods and to discuss the science behind training, strength and conditioning, or physical therapy.

Further reading: A Simple Morning Routine for Health, Focus, and Productivity

Hunter Cook



Age: 27
Location: Long Beach, CA

Hunter Cook is one of the rare trainers who combines an encyclopedic knowledge of strength training with a real sense of care for the body and for injuries. He has nine years of fitness experience, with six years of experience as a physical therapy aide. Hunter understands that both strength and flexibility are important, and that fitness should be, at its core, an act of self-love.

Further reading: Check out Hunter’s Facebook page for an endless stream of good advice and uplifting content.

JC Deen

Coach and Founder of JCD Fitness


Age: 27
Location: Nashville, TN

JC is a traditional fitness coach with a non-traditional approach to his work. A fitness coach who focuses on brand, quality, and results, JC is a holistic thinker who weaves together bodybuilding, eastern philosophy, and lifestyle design into his work. He is an open-minded life-long learner who has been learning as much as he can about fitness since the age of 18. Few coaches who make the decision to go all-in and ignore the typical marketing tactics of the fitness industry, but JC has done just that.

Further reading: Simple Tricks for Muscle Activation and More Gains

Jessi Kneeland

Coach, Founder of Remodel Fitness

Jessi Kneeland

Age: 27
Location: New York, NY

Jessi Kneeland has one mission in life: she wants to help women everywhere harness the inherent power that they either don’t know is inside of them, or don’t feel they deserve to tap into. Unlike so much of the women’s fitness community, which is generally focused on making women feel less than, Jessi focuses on using fitness to encourage a strong sense of self-worth and to foster body-positivity and self-acceptance along the way.

Further reading: The Unstoppable Joy of Beast Mode

Jon Dao

Life Coach and Podcaster


Age: 27
Location: Boston, MA

Somehow, Jon did a time warp and made Frozen’s hit single, “Let It Go” his life anthem of 2006. He let himself go, indeed, gaining 30 pounds all under the delusion of love. After all, once you have someone who “loves you for you”, you don’t need to work so hard anymore, right? … After that break-up and several years abroad, he built a foundation of self-esteem and confidence through working out. No longer plagued by flab, but chants of ermagad, Jon can toss you a second opinion on life, motivation, and success.

Further Watching: Someone’s Rootin’ For You
Further Reading: The Strength of Denial

Jon Goodman

Founder of The Personal Training Development Center


Age: 28
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Jon is not just a trainer. He works to take the fitness profession to the next level by creating the largest network of fitness professionals on the internet: The Personal Training Development Center. The PTDC is a collaborative blogging community and one-stop shop for everything you need to know about being a fitness professional: from top fitness news to training difficult clients.

Further reading: Check out any of Jon’s articles over on The PTDC for invaluable resources for trainers. He covers everything from a system for getting testimonials from clients to building better beginner programs.

Jordan Syatt

Coach and founder of Syatt Fitness


Age: 23
Location: Boston, MA

Jordan Syatt is a 5x World Record Powerlifter and a Precision Nutrition and Westside Barbell Certified coach. He works at giving people the knowledge and confidence to incorporate the best training and nutrition that suits their lifestyle. Syatt Fitness’s motto is “Never Minimal, Never Maximal, Always Optimal.” What’s more, Jordan just announced that he’d be opening a gym in Boston with Steve Bergeron.

Further reading: 3 Goodmorning Variations to Boost Your Total

Krissy Mae Cagney

Coach and Founder of F/N Popups


Age: 28
Location: New York, NY

Misfit, dietician, do-gooder. K Mae has seen it all and experienced a lot of it. She is open with her history of drug and alcohol abuse as well as personal injuries and setbacks, including a car accident in which she shattered her leg and tore her liver internally. Currently, though, the future couldn’t look brighter for K Mae. She’s a registered dietician, a Westside Barbell-certified trainer, and began F/N Pop-Ups; a fitness/nutrition pop-up company that travels around the country hosting group workouts, training workshops, nutrition seminars, and cooking classes. She has plans to open a gym before the end of the year.

Further reading: Read Krissy Mae’s full bio. Trust me.

Laurin Conlin


Laurin Conlin

Age: 25
Location: Florida

Laurin Conlin is one of the fastest rising stars in the world of competitive bodybuilding. She took first place in the 2011 NPC Southern States Maria Bellando and Manuel Mair Championships and recently placed 5th in the 2014 NPC Universe & Fitness National Championships. Laurin has developed a dedicated online fan base online and is bringing the world of competetive bodybuilding to more than 7,000 followers on Instagram.

Further reading: Check out Laurin’s Instagram feed!

Mallory Hagan

Miss America 2013

Mallory Hytes Hagan
Age: 25
Location: New York, NY

If you wouldn’t expect to see Miss America on the list of people changing the face of the fitness world, then you are not familiar with Mallory Hagan. In the run-up to the Miss America 2013 pageant, Mallory fully embraced heavy lifting as her preparation (full disclosure: I was her trainer during that time). With her reign as Miss America ending, Mallory started a blog called “Be Kind. Be Courageous. Be You,” in part detailing her relationship with body image and pageants. “I got involved with Miss America at 13 and at 14 I was told (and I quote) ‘If you would have lost 10 pounds, you would have won,’” she writes. “For so many girls, myself included, every day is a battle of the body. It’s exhausting.”

Further reading: Check out her latest article about pageantry and body image.

Maneesh Sethi

Hacker/blogger, Creator of Pavlock


Age: 25
Location: Boston, MA

The future is now. Wearable tracking devices promise to change the way people integrate fitness into their daily lives. But can they deliver on their promise of habit change? Maneesh Sethi has developed the most exciting device by far: the Pavlock. The device combines behavioral science-based social pressure with negative and positive encouragement (and yes, the negative encouragement does mean tiny electrical shocks). The device is currently in beta testing, but should be available to a wider market soon.

Further reading: Pavlock is a habit-forming device that will shock you

Mel Avan



Age: 25
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Mel Avan is living proof that you really can have it all. She is a true competitor, competing in powerlifting competitions and racking up accolades right and left. She’s incredibly strong, aiming for a 3-lift total of 700 lbs at a bodyweight of 148 lbs. More than that, she’s been able to leverage social media, especially instagram, to bring her message of health and fitness to the larger community. Mel also plans to compete in another arena, stepping onto the stage as a bodybuilder later this year as well. Boom.

Further reading: Powerlifting & Figure Competitions

Mike Vacanti

Coach, Founder of On The Regimen


Age: 27
Location: New York, NY

“Part head in the clouds, part nose to the grindstone,” Mike Vacanti believes taking control of your diet and training will make your dreams your reality. Mike is one of the new breed of trainers bringing a totally new model of online support to clients across the globe, and he’s one of the best in the business. He blends psychological support with proven diet plans and training methods to inspire men and women to make permanent and healthy lifestyle changes that work.

Further reading: What Training Style is the Best for Women?

Molly Galbraith

Coach and Co-founder of Girls Gone Strong


Age: 29
Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Molly’s mission is to help women discover and accept what their best body looks like, without having to kill themselves to get there. And once they discover that, she wants to help them have grace and compassion about it. As the co-founder of Girls Gone Strong, she has developed a huge community of like-minded women who support each other in getting healthy. She also works with clients online to reach their goals.

Further reading: The 28-Day Love Your Body Challenge

Nia Shanks

Coach and Founder of Lift Like a Girl


Age: 27
Location: Paducah, KY

Take one look at any mainstream fitness magazine targeted at women. More likely than not you’ll see advice on cleanses, advice on how to lose weight without getting bulky, and endless ab workouts “for a flat tummy!” The women’s fitness industry can be a particularly toxic place, but trainers like Nia are making it a better place. Nia’s philosophy revolves around sane and simple principles when it comes to nutrition and strength training. On her website, Lift Like a Girl, Nia does something somewhat revolutionary: she encourages women to lift, and take pride in their strength. As you’ll see further in the list, Nia is not alone in this philosophy, but she’s one of the best at communicating it and building a community around it.

Further reading: “When ‘Health and Fitness’ Isn’t Really Healthy, and What to Do About It

Roger Lawson

Coach and Founder of Roger Lawson Fitness


Age: 27
Location: Boston, MA

Roger Lawson has a special goal: to make 100,000 people feel good and look great without turning it into a full-time job, all while having a helluva lot of fun along the way. He makes fitness writing fun fun through entertainment, motivation, and practical advice with a heavy dose of humor.

Further reading: Roger’s site is peppered with articles like “Life and Training Lessons from Dragon Ball Z” and “6 Tips from The Hulk to Help You Smash Diet Anxiety for Good.” Read them. Laugh. Post them to Facebook.

Sohee Lee

Coach and Founder of Sohee Lee Fitness


Age: 24
Location: New York, NY

Just like many of the coaches featured here, Sohee’s approach to coaching is pragmatic, efficient, and results-oriented. She works with some of the most challenging clients: predominantly women who have been on dozens of diets and training plans… without significant fat-loss results from any of them. Sohee’s training helps her clients fix their relationship with food and with their bodies in general. Check out a testimonial from one of her clients, Kathleen O:

This past weekend I was sick; I couldn’t even keep water down. Normally, the “old me” would have been thrilled with not eating for a couple of days, because my mindset used to be focused on was getting thin. Instead, all I could think was, ‘There’s no way I’m going to hit my macros today!” and “I won’t get to train today.” In addition, typically after getting sick, I would use the couple days of not eating as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Instead, on Sunday, I was right back on track. That is a huge mindset shift for me, and I am so grateful for that. I finally feel like I have control over my eating habits and have a good relationship with food, which is another victory for me. Plus, it feels so damn good to feel strong and fit again!

Further reading: “Good Fitness Habits Gone Bad

Stephanie Lee

Writer at


Age: 27
Location: Boise, ID

Stephanie Lee is a writer for, and one of the best in the business. With a degree in clinical nutrition from the University of California Davis and a life-long passion for both sports and video games, she writes about her true passions: science, fitness, immortality, and fully unlocking the human body’s potential through nutrition. Also, sriracha. Because, sriracha.

Further reading: Feast Like a Beast: 8 Delicious Whey Protein Recipes

Lexie Briggs helped in the writing of this article. Please contact with any comments. All pictures provided by the participants.

Share Button