Jen Sinkler in short is one of my favorite people. We became fast friends at an event and she is now my go-to professional for anyone seeking clear, accurate and positive information about improving their fitness. She is the only person who’s work I affiliate because I know she leads with “come with me” not “look at me” (her amazing words) and lures with power not shrinking. She also played for the US Rugby team, holds state powerlifting records and… her resume is super impressive. A champion of women and strength who proudly identifies as a feminist in spaces that isn’t always celebrated. She’s a top-notch broad and I’m proud she’s my friend.
Kimbra is my way back. She has always been the 2am phone call, the ride or die, my moral compass. After being diagnosed with cancer in her early 30s, she delved into the world of medical marijuana to get through treatment, eventually turning her long time love of cannabis and cooking into a business to ethically help others with pain management. Now she runs the wicked witch kitchen and collective in the Bay area.
Priscilla is a NYC school teacher whose writing is so good it hurts my feelings a little. She is honest about everyday struggles and finds inspiration in beautiful details. You can find her writing here, and duds with her daydreams drawn on them here.
Erika Nicole Kendall is the woman behind “A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.” I’ve been a long time fan of her work in wellness and her specific brand of encouragement. She addresses difficult subject matter with a unique perspective and she never shies away from controversy. She is not only outspoken about women’s right to autonomy and truly love themselves but regularly uses her platform to speak about racism and other injustices. Her words are beautifully direct and I often look to her perspective when my own is limiting.
Kim Macy is a wild woman, a priestess, a spiritual counselor and a general bad ass. I often seek her counsel on spiritual matters (though I consider about everything a spiritual matter) as well as anything to do with rituals, astrology and whatever the hell is happening with the moon. Her work is about awakening feminine power and she is truly a force of it.
“Girls Gone Strong is the world’s best resource for women’s health, wellness, nutrition, training, and lifestyle information. But more than that, we are a force to be reckoned with that’s fighting back against the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry and mainstream media who try to convince us to be LESS instead of MORE.” For expert information on everything from hormonal changes in menopause to perfecting your kettlebell swing, this team (I’m proud to be on it) lead by owner Molly Galbraith has you covered. Molly, btw, is a gem of a human. People often ask if she’s really the “way she seems online.” She’s better. And one hell of a snuggler.
Gina Deroos is the woman behind Sunshine Warrior Jewelry. She is reiki healer, a fitness professional specializing in pole dancing and a powerful voice of surviving sexual assault. She shares her own journey on her blog and in her various forms of healing work. We found one another right when we needed to. On my bucket list is to experience one of her classes at the amazing Diane Flores’s studio in Modesto, California. She brings women out of their shells as Diane was able to help her do the same, and live truly embodied, regardless of what kept them locked inside before.
Jarrett Arthur and Jennie Trower are my co-founders of the I Am Power Retreat and they are two of the most ferocious women I know. They are also the founders of Empowering Women To Train, setting out to change the world of self-defense to be more welcoming to women and to provide more thoughtful and trauma-informed instruction. They have both been hugely impactful in my own healing work, helping my face some of my biggest fears. They are the kind of leaders I am honored to stand beside.
Susie Roman is a healer, craniosacral therapist and energy worker I see about biweekly for my own work. She has transformed my relationship with myself and expanded my understanding of the world. Working with her continues to help me chip away at old stories and empowers me to live in the moment. She’s a game changer, if you are willing to open yourself to her work.
Andiy Ransom is the metalsmith behind Spell of the Meadow where I work for her part time. She is a mother of boys, a former lead singer and drummer in a punk band, and the kind of witch that walks into a room all stomps and no apologies. She's teaching me to say "fuck off," because sometimes that is the only answer.
Spoiler alert: Cara McDonald is my sister. But her work speaks loud and clear for itself. She is a gifted yoga teacher who lives yoga on and off the mat. Her own journey to recovery after long suffering from an eating disorder began accidentally when seeking yoga believing it would help her lose weight. She credits the practice with bringing her home to her body and is passionate about sharing all that she’s learned from it with others. She’s also a wicked talented writer and has a knack for bringing everyone to the practice by meeting them where they are at.
Rachel is the owner of Bloomfield Fitbody Bootcamp where she is "obsessed with making people like themselves more." She is truly gifted at building community. Creating supportive environments and leading with integrity. She writes about compassion, dismantling privilege, eradicating shame and finding your power here.
People say she looks like a superhero, but that's probably because she is. Elisabeth Akinwale is an MSW, mom and athlete best known for her performances in the crossfit games. She uses her platform to discuss issues of importance to her, even when controversial. She's the first person to ever disagree with me on a panel at a women's event-- which was my favorite experience sitting on one. I started following her on instagram years ago, but fully fell in admiration upon meeting her. She is a kind, grounded grounded leader and easy to love.
Carla is a mother, a celebrated fitness advocate, a writer and a woman so ‘unapologetically’ transparent reading her work is like clean air if you’ve been stuck someplace less real. She’s anti “fake-booking,” always ready to expand her perspective and is amazing at building community and honoring the conversation that happens there.
Glennon Doyle Melton is the woman behind Momastery and her sister (pictured) is the woman behind her. I met her when I moderated her keynote a local conference and she is as delightful in person as she reads online. She is honest about what she calls the “brutiful” parts of life (brutal-beautiful). She writes about her history as an addict, the challenges of marriage and motherhood, struggling with mental illness and living with a full heart. She speaks truth to darkness with eloquence and grace. If you want to feel less alone and full of hope, her work will take you there.
Neghar Fonooni is a lifestyle coach and my co-host at Nasty Women Radio. Her work to empower women began as a career in fitness and has evolved as rapidly as she strives to herself. She is passionate about normalizing women's bodies (including camel toe), teaching her clients to be kinder to themselves and each other during life's honest ups and downs and she brings all the "woo."
Lisa Borchardt was my advisor and mentor in college and has become a dear friend. With her business, Journey Through Living, she helps people struggling with grief which she identifies as being a much more expansive topic than conventional wisdom allows. She’s a LCSW, a professor, and a healer. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and for that I am eternally grateful.
Steph is the co-owner of Iron Lion Training where she coaches strength training and boxing. She helps her clients find their innate power and fire through embodiment in the gym. She is also a leader who always speaks truth to injustice, no matter the inconvenience. You can read her piece on racism for this site here.
Renee Lawrence is a Mother who has experienced losing a child and is unafraid to talk about it. In fact, she’s pretty much unafraid to talk about anything. She’s a legit psychic who I send people to who are interested in that kind of work and who I have leaned on when I couldn’t see my way to the light. By day she’s a master of early childhood education and by night she is a champion of women by way of work as a doula. If you’re into spirit guides and open to expanding your understanding of the universe, she’s your gal.
Krista Scott-Dixon is the "director of headspace adjustment" at Precision Nutrition. She studies behavior patterns to help coaches work more thoughtfully with their clients, meeting them where they are at. Every time I see her speak I walk away with a better understanding of how we work and with a plan to move forward better myself.
My favorite thing about Kourtney Thomas is that she has zero regard for what is convenient or possible, but instead an ironclad sense of what is right. Even if it means overhauling everything or charging toward uncertainty. Her soon to be published "Bigness project" with Jen Sinkler is sure to change the game as to how we talk about women and fitness. She's encouraging "bigness" in every possible way.
Kara is the woman behind KSA Personal Training where she leads clients in sound exercise programming with compassion. She is loyal, a loving mama bear and someone who is always asking me hard the hard questions necessary for better leadership. She is strong as hell but her heart is the powerful muscle she leads with.
Sarah Vance is a body image activist who focuses on body diversity, acceptance and peace after disordered eating/body dysmorphia. She likes to call me to disagree about things. Which is one of my favorite things. She's a part time nurse, part time writer, full time the kind of woman that people call "intimidating" and I call friend.
Sarah Smarsh has reported on class and politics for The New Yorker and Harper's online, The Guardian, Guernica, and many others. Her book IN THE RED, on the American working poor and her own upbringing in rural Kansas, is forthcoming from Scribner. Total. Badass.
Amber is a survivor. It's like she woke up one day and decided that she was going to take on the world, and so she did. She is a coach who aspires to help women find happiness through movement, and peace in their skin. You can find her work here.