You know how sometimes you feel like certain actors don’t make enough movies because you just love when they do? For me, these are the Bette Midlers, Jack Nicholsons, Don Cheadles and DeNiros of the world. They quietly produce quality work while I wish they would just make a sitcom so I could see them all the time. That’s how I feel about what I call the Fitness Underground Railroad, populated by some of the most respected, hardest working and effective fit pros….that you barely hear about. Is being a marketing and social media maven pre requisite for being a great fitness professional? I’m not sure I believe that at all. 14 years spent in the NY fitness industry has blessed me to work at nearly every place imaginable and WITH these same beloved fit-pros in the city. Many of them don’t get a lot of consistent press but that doesn’t discount their loyal followings, many years in the business and prowess at what they do. Now, this is a fully subjective list based on the criteria of ( in this order)
Client retention and following
1. Mary Onyango
1. Mary is fierce but quietly so. This storm doesn’t need bells and whistles because her body and ability speak for themselves. You will never hear her asking to be followed over social media or touting her latest anything. She shares where she works, does what she does and her clients LOVE her for it. Once a personal trainer and now a a sought after Zumba instructor, she’s got strong skills in both arenas and makes time for it all even with being a wife and mother. I first met her almost 10 years ago (?!!) when she trained me out of her own goodwill to have the best booty on South Beach. We love Mary ( says my glutes)
- Amira LambAmira is pretty popular and for good reason. This tiny dynamo is an ex dancer with all kinds of tricks up her sleeve to carve regular and professional folk into marble sculptures. An official Team Bombshell Bikini Coach, Group Fitness Instructor and trainer to the Moroccan royal family, she is highly knowledgeable in the fitness field, always personable, elegant and more sought after than even she will admit. Nuff respect!
- Prince Brathwaite
At this point Prince should drop his last name. Who needs it? we all recognize those arms and who could miss that personality? While many are touting hollow wins he is busy building a loyal empire of “Troopers” in NYC. If you’ve taken one of his classes then you will honestly know why. It takes real skill to make someone simultaneously see Buddha AND feel deep appreciation for the person making them suffer. He might be Jim Jones reincarnated but whatever, I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. He’s THE Trooper, THE TD Jakes of Fitness. He’s, well, he’s Prince, people. Kings recognize Kings and Queens do too!
4. Billy Cowell
Billy is filled with boyish charm and a great sense of humor but when it comes to training and Cycling, he’s all business. Beloved by colleagues and clients alike, this family man is quick to show his support for everyone around him and competing when he can.
5. Jermaine Bailey
Why isn’t Jermaine more famous? I ssk myself this every time I see his photos or hear someone rave about his Cardio Kick and Wing Chun classes. He is a no-nonesense type who is committed to 3 things: his family, his craft as an actor/director and his classes (martial practice). Maybe THAT’s why: he’s too busy being legit! Jermaine, we see you, have ALWAYS seen you and all class members know what’s up. You rock!
6. Rafique “Flex” Cabral
Flex is man of few words, one of an even disposition that is so unflappable that you wonder what goes on in his head. Until you take his class and then you realize: murder, murder is what is on Flex’s mind. He will murder all of your fat cells and incarcerate your boundaries for those minutes that he holds you hostage…I mean, that you take his Bootcamp or TRX classes. As his name implies, he’s fully flexed at all times but always professional. Flex, keep that stuff UP!
These are only 7 of my favorites and I’m sure you have some too. Are there any you think should be added?