They are fitness stars in their own right. They each found their own niche in the fitness industry.
Donna Richardson Joyner
Donna Richardson Joyner was born November 3, 1962. She is an American fitness and aerobics instructor, author, and ESPN television sports commentator. Richardson is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland. She graduated from Hollins College with a degree in Health Education and Dance. She married radio personality Tom Joyner. She met him by being a guest on his radio show. The couple eventually went their separate ways. She is certified by AFAA and ACE as an International Fitness Expert. She began her fitness career as an aerobics instructor. She then started to teach other instructors. She also began to compete nationally and internationally in aerobic competitions. In 1992 she was hired as a co-host of the ESPN Fitness Pro-Show, she also co-starred in her first commercial fitness tape, Platinum Bun of Steel. She produces and hosts Donna Richardson: Mind, Body, and Spirit, which airs on TV One, and Sweating In The Spirit, which comes on The Word Network. She has been on the board of Women’s Sports Foundation Board of Trustees and on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of America. She was one of the “Top 10 Movers and Shakers” by Fitness Magazine. Richardson Joyner was selected by The Oprah Winfrey Show as one of the “Top 5 Fitness Video Instructors. She was also inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame. Essence magazine named Donna “one out of 25 most inspiring women in America” in 2006. She has lectured in 40 countries and been a motivational speaker. She is in The Guinness Book of World Records for creating and leading the world’s largest line dance. She is the author of Let’s Get Real: Exercise Your Right to a Healthy Body. Some of her DVDS include Donna Richardson 3-Day Rotation, 2000 (1999), Sweating In The Spirit (2003), and Sweating In The Spirit 2 (2006). In 2006, Donna was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She has truly brought her own spin on the fitness industry.
Born Shaun Thompson. Shaun T first was a track and field star at Rowan University. At Rowan University, he received a BS in Sports Science with a minor in Theater and Dance. He then went on to do backup dancing for Mariah Carey, he appeared on HBO’s Six Feet Under, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CNN, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, and The Doctors. He has also worked with Radio Shack, Nike Boost Athletic Shoes, and the LA Lakers. In 2007, Shaun T created the amazingly successful dance-based workout, Hip Hop Abs. It targeted hip hop dance that focused on ab exercises. In 2008, he had another hit, Rockin’ Body. In 2009, Beachbody and Shaun T came together to launch INSANITY which was a huge success in the fitness world. It is a 60-day total-body conditioning workout series continued to grow. Then there was the launch of INSANITY THE ASYLUM, a sports-specific training program based on drills used by pro athletes. In 2013, Shaun T created Focus T25, a jam-packed workout program “an hour’s worth of results in just 25 minutes.” In 2014, Shaun T created INSANITY MAX. It is a thirty minute workout in which he gives you all the tools you need to get the best results of your life. In 2015, Shaun T, returned to his personal love of dancing and created CIZE. This is a four-week program where you learn dance routines all while getting a great cardio workout. His videos offer you a selection of either dancing away your weight, training like a pro athlete, or braving the hardest workout ever. Your body will definitely transform with Shaun T workout videos.
Richard Simmons, born on July 12, 1948, has suffered from asthma for many years and was obese throughout his adolescence. Richard adopted his name after an uncle who paid for his college tuition. He started college at University of Southwestern Louisiana, he transferred to Florida State University. He graduated with a BA in Art. Simmons moved to New York City where he worked in advertising as a waiter, and in cosmetics. In the 1970s, he worked as a maître d’ at Dereks a restaurant in Beverly Hills. He developed an interest in fitness and was unhappy with fad diets. He lost 123lbs. He opened his own exercise studio where the emphasis was on healthy eating and exercise that was fun. He began to gain media attention due to the success of his health club. He made t.v. appearances on shows Battlestars; Body Language; Super Password; Win, Lose or Draw; the ABC version of Match Game; Hollywood Squares; and Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out. Positive responses to his television appearances led to a 4-year recurring role as himself in General Hospital. In the 1980’s, Simmons hosted two shows: Slim Cookin and an Emmy Award winning talk show, The Richard Simmons Show which had a focus on personal health fitness exercise, and healthy cooking. He promotes weight loss programs, prominently through his Sweatin’ to the Oldies line of aerobic videos. He is known for his flamboyant and energetic personality. Simmons continues to promote health and has become politically active with support of bill, mandating non-competitive physical education in public schools as a part of the “No Child, Left Behind Act.” In 2010, Simmons said that he had kept off his own 100 plus pound weight loss for 42 years. He had been helping others lose weight for 35 years. Over the course of his fitness career he helped people lose approximately 12,000,000 pounds. He now uses the web as outreach for his fitness career. He has official social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and You Tube.
Jane Fonda was born Jane Seymour Fonda on December 21, 1937. She is from New York City. She is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She is a two-time Academy Award winner and two time BAFTA Award winner. In 1982, she released her first exercise video, the highest-selling video of the time. It was the first of 22 workout videos released by her over the course of 13 years. They collectively sold over 17 million copies.
Denise Austin was born Denise Katnich in San Pedro, California on February 13, 1957. She is an American fitness instructor, author columnist, and former member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President George W. Bush. She started gymnastics at the age of which led to an athletic scholarship at the University of Arizona. Denise is the wife of sports agent and former tennis player Jeff Austin. They have two daughters Katie and Kelly Austin. They reside in Alexandria, Virginia. Initially Austin attended University of Arizona on a gymnastics scholarship, reaching the rank of No. 9 in the NCAA on, balance beam. She later transferred to California State University, Long Beach. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, and a minor in exercise physiology. She has been teaching classes, producing fitness shows, creating exercise video tapes, and writing books and columns on exercise and staying fit. In 2002, she was named as a member of President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. She puts an emphasis on working out 30 minutes a day and not skipping meals. She encourages people to stay fit at every age. She incorporates yoga, Pilates, cross training, and aerobic exercises into her workouts. She had an exercise television show on ESPN2, Getting Fit with Denise Austin which now can be seen in reruns on ESPN Classic. It was also moved to Lifetime Television where it was renamed Fit and Lite and Denise Austin’s Daily Workout. Some of her workout DVDs are Yoga Booty Lift (2014), Burn Fat Fast Latin Dance (2013), and Shrink Belly Fat (2012). She remains very popular in the fitness industry.
All of these people have had successful fitness careers. They conquered different forms of media. They have become authors, television host, they have workout DVDs, and they have worked in government on the behalf of fitness professionals. They have degrees in health and have become household names in the fitness industry, and that is why they deserve to be in the top five.