If you’re like me and watch a lot of YouTube, then you probably are subscribed to quite a few channels! And, if you are just as passionate about health and fitness, then you know several YouTubers in the health and fitness realm as well. Whether super influential or just starting on the platform, there are so many to pick from. It’s almost overwhelming how many YouTubers carry a fitness-oriented channel!
Figuratively, most of the channels I’m subscribed to revolve around healthy living. Whenever I come across a YouTuber, I feel inclined to subscribe if I am attracted to most of the following: credibility, personality, authenticity, energy, engagement with their followers, dedication, creativity, and video quality. In general, I don’t like all the videos posted of each channel, let alone the qualities of the person behind the channel. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary to enjoy every single aspect and nitty-gritty detail of everyone I am subscribed to. Nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they cannot provide quality content.
I would have compiled all of my favorite fitness YouTubers in one list, but because there are just too many for me to pick from, I decided to organize them into separate lists based on their subscriber count. This post focuses on the first list of my favorite health and fitness YouTubers! The criteria of this list? The majority of the videos on these channels must be about exercise, nutrition, and fitness. In addition, these channels must have less than 500K subscribers but more than 100K subscribers.
In the future, I will create a list of my favorite YouTubers who have less than 100K subscribers and another list of channels with more than 500K subscribers. For now, here are my personal recommendations of YouTubers with under 500K (along with my top three favorite videos from each channel) you should all follow online for health and fitness content if you don’t already!
7/11/20 – CHANNELS I AM NO LONGER SUBSCRIBED TO AND DO NOT PROMOTE ANYMORE: Jon Venus, Christine Salus, and Rob Lipsett. This isn’t to say that I believe they are bad people or post worthless content, but I just stopped watching their videos after some point because a lot of their videos no longer served of interest for me.
- Seeing that the first YouTuber I introduce is a male may be interesting since I am female. Yes, I do indeed follow male fitness YouTubers, and Jon Venus is no exception. I absolutely love the way he edits his videos, shares his authenticity about his journey, and puts out motivational content in regards to transforming your body by living healthily. In 2017, I actually got the chance to meet him and his wife Kathrine at the L.A. Fit Expo! The two of them are truly genuine and down-to-earth people who are very passionate about what they do.
- Jon didn’t initially start off as a vegan YouTuber, but once going vegan himself, he placed a bigger emphasis on using a plant-based diet to optimize muscle growth, fat loss, and physical progression. Just a few years ago, vegan bodybuilders were scarce and were generally ostracized in the general fitness community because abstaining from animal products was considered an unwise move. Back then, massive amounts of protein equated to the largest and fastest gains. However, Jon’s rapid and natural growth in strength and muscle mass has served as major inspiration for others, vegan and non-vegan. It’s absolutely incredible to have another amazing fitness influencer in the vegan community, because it shows that you can indeed put on muscle and see progress with a plant-based diet. On the other hand, I appreciate that he doesn’t constantly shove veganism towards his viewers and continues to lead by example rather than preaching.
- Speaking of diet, Jon has quite the amount of diet and food-related videos as well, many of them giving nutritional advice. I really like this video that shares the basics on creating a macronutrient-balanced meal because most people diving headfirst into health and fitness seem to shy away from the carbs and load up on protein and vegetables. Jon’s approach to dieting is incredible–carbs are not the devil, eat the right kinds of fats, and focus on–but don’t obsess over–high-quality protein. Practicing a restrictive-free lifestyle is one of the most important pointers when I watch a YouTuber. I just naturally gravitate towards people who enjoy as much food as they want and know how to nourish themselves properly without deprivation!
STEPHANIE BUTTERMORE (UPDATE: Congratulations to Stephanie Buttermore for reaching over 500K subscribers! She’s reached a MILLION now!)
- To me, the most admirable qualities someone can have are confidence and intelligence. In this case, Stephanie Buttermore pretty much signifies all of those, plus an undying love for food, fitness, and all my favorite hip-hop artists (Kendrick Lamar + BROCKHAMPTON + Travis Scott = LIFE), which I can totally relate to! With a Ph.D. in pathology and cell biology, she has the smarts, and it really shows in her videos regarding how the functionality of the human body when it comes to exercise and dieting. One of my favorite scientific-themed videos from her channel is her video report on the physiological effects of a cheat day titled: “What Happens After a Cheat Day? (Weight Gain, Bloating, Bodyfat, Blood Sugar)”. Her follow-up video regarding the psychological effects of cheat days was also incredible. You can watch it here!
- Stephanie also has a collection of videos where she shows full days of eating and some super fun cheat day videos. Most notably, she has a 10,000 calorie challenge video that has reached over 3 million views–and she KILLED it; like seriously, I am so amazed that I want to attempt it–which comes with a follow-up video on the physiological effects of completing the challenge. I also adore her two other cheat days videos. You can find the first one here and the second one here!
- What I love about Stephanie the most is her personality: she is bubbly, vibrant, and genuine in her vlog-style videos, but also very professional and articulate in her science-based videos. I find that a lot of female fitness YouTubers try to fake the same energy, and it doesn’t quite rub off the same way. Her lean bulking journey is also incredibly inspiring both physically and psychologically–it really executes how slowly incorporating more food and heavy strength training into one’s lifestyle can heal someone’s relationship with the two.
- Yet another male vegan bodybuilder! Brian Turner was actually one of the first male fitness YouTubers I started following early in my health and fitness journey. Not only are his videos superb, but his vivacious energy and hilarious personality is absolutely contagious. The most recent time I met Brian and Sammy was at last year’s Circle V Fest and they are both just as fun to be around as they appear on camera! But anyways, I highly recommend subscribing to Brian Turner, as he gives amazing advice for bulking, cutting, enhancing gym performance, and creating glorious vegan recipes that are easy to prepare and require minimal time and effort.
- As iterated before, Brian is indeed a vegan bodybuilder who did not initially start off as a vegan. Given that he is vegan now, a lot of his videos include unique vegan meals that are fantastic for those of you who don’t like spending a lot of time in the kitchen or precisely following recipes to a T. Honestly, it is overwhelming how many recipes Brian provides, but I adore this video where he shares his top three favorite vegan recipes. We’re talking sushi, pasta, and Thanksgiving-style meals. YUM. In addition, he also has a huge collection of full days of eating videos and even some food challenges here and there–he has THREE 10,000 calorie challenges (first, second, and third) and several other different ones! If you are a serious foodie, you’re going to love the diet and recipe videos from this channel.
- This might just be me, but I’ve noticed that people who have never or have rarely ever struggled with a weight problem generally tend to have more aggravating experiences with acne. I can attest this to my sisters and I–if I’m struggling to lose or gain a few pounds, they struggle with skin problems. Neither is worse than the other, but simply different. In this case, Brian Turner’s channel does revolve mostly around health and fitness, but the most inspiring aspect of his journey is not in changes in weight, but changes in clearing up skin. Veganism did play a huge role in Brian’s journey; however, do watch the video above for the complete story, as health and fitness may not necessarily encompass the entirety of one’s journey with acne.
- So often we see bodybuilders, powerlifters, runners, cyclists, and athletes of extremely intensive and vigorous sports. At least from my experience, it’s quite rare to come across influential yogis on YouTube, but Tara Stiles is truly a gem among all. She has a wide variety of different yoga tutorials that have their own unique purpose, whether stretching out tense muscles, awakening your spirit, getting ready for bed, meditation, or even just focusing on breathing like in the tutorial above. Tara also has the most calming and down-to-earth energy in her videos. I find her voice to be very soothing, so it makes following her yoga workouts even easier.
- Even though she teaches her own classes, Tara never fails to upload at least one yoga tutorial every week for her devoted subscribers. Despite being relatively simple without any fancy music or settings, her yoga flows never disappoint. If anything, I really adore the fact that she keeps everything simple and relaxed. Who says you need to stress yourself out about making anything presentable for the sake of trying to calm down? When I began practicing yoga for the first time, I remember following this morning yoga at least once every other day–sometimes every day if I was diligent with time–to get a head-start on the day and set the mood. I always ended this video feeling awakened and more energized!
- Unlike most yogis, Tara has her own spin on how she teaches yoga. Her practice defies the standards–mainstream terms are used for demonstrating her moves, no Hindi traditions (i.e. chakras and chants) are involved, and she charges $10 a class, which is absolutely insane when you compare that with conventional prices of yoga classes. While there has been some controversy in this new spin on yoga, I personally find it admirable that Tara has created her own rules to a practice that should be enjoyed by everyone, ensures that any kind of person can thrive from practicing yoga, and has gained a strong following (including Deepak Chopra!) in the process.
NATACHA OCEANE (UPDATE: Congratulations to Natacha Oceane for reaching over ONE MILLION subscribers!)
- Goddamn, do I love this girl. Natacha is a beastly beauty or a beautiful beast if you will call it–that may sound insulting, but what I mean is that she has the aura and personality of a princess or a goddess, but the vigor, energy, stamina, and fitness level of an Amazonian warrior! Her channel encompasses a wide variety of training for functionality and athleticism with a focus on powerlifting, calisthenics, hypertrophy, and performance enhancement rather than external ambitions, but also stresses the importance of living an enjoyable lifestyle that includes more recreational forms of physical activity and flexible rest days.
- Diet plays a huge role in Natacha’s platform as well. Unlike a lot of other fitness YouTubers I see online, Natacha, while consuming mostly whole foods, actually enjoys hearty and delicious meals that look substantial and absolutely beautiful! It’s pretty devastating to me that so many young people getting into health and wellness believe that they need to limit their food intake or be so rigid that other challenges are posed. You need food to fuel your fitness, and Natacha is the pinnacle embodiment of this mantra. Her videos showcasing both normal days of eating and food challenges really helped me recognize that eating more does not necessarily automate fat gain. Look at those abs!
- Anorexia and bulimia are talked about super frequently online, but not so much with binge eating disorder (though there is quite a rise in uploads on YouTube about BED). Binge eating disorder also deals with a sense of helplessness around food, except overeating to the point where you feel uncomfortably stuffed or even sick. Having gone through a past of binge-eating and food restriction, Natacha also has videos about overcoming food anxiety and the binge cycle while healing one’s relationship with their diet.
- You don’t see too many Asian fitness influencers online in comparison to Caucasians. Hence, I always appreciate seeing diversity, especially those from my home continent! One of my favorite health and fitness YouTubers–who just so happens to be Vietnamese like OMG WHAT–is Stephi Nguyen, registered cardiac nurse and passionate health and wellness junkie! Her journey may be unique in that she never started off on the overweight spectrum, but her journey emphasizes the importance of self-love and creating a maintainable lifestyle along with becoming stronger and fitter. Gaining weight doesn’t necessarily signify failure in the fitness community. In many cases, it entails muscle growth, aka strength and performance improvement. Win!
- Yeah, I don’t really plan on taking the NCLEX or MCAT anytime soon…or really at all. Nevertheless, I strangely find these kinds of academic videos so interesting! Maybe it’s just me embracing the nerdy college student I am, or it’s just me being WAY too ambitious in terms of how I can handle anything in the medical field. But anyways, even though Stephi’s video about the NCLEX is not related to health and fitness, it still stresses picking yourself back up after rejection. As a college student, I can really resonate with feeling like such a failure if I don’t pass an exam in a class. If you are currently studying for the NCLEX or any other major test that serves as the door to your future, then this video is for you. Creating a plan for anything is important, whether for academics or for fitness.
- Similarly to how I tried the 20,000-step experiment, Stephi also attempts all kinds of celebrity diet challenges on her channel. My favorite celebrity diet-themed video of hers is, go figure, Jenna Dewan Tatum’s vegan diet video (well, she’s vegetarian, but she was vegan for a while)! While celebrity diets are generally touted to be restrictive, Stephi’s feedback for Jenna’s diet is completely positive in that the diet allows for a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based ingredients that taste superb. While I personally don’t endorse any kind of celebrity diet, I love that Stephi’s meals were easy to make but were loaded with fresh vegetables, complex carbs, and glorious colors. Heck, I’d recreate that vegan power taco bowl any day!
- Beginning my fitness journey, I followed along with a lot of YouTube workout videos because I didn’t really know how to create my own exercise sessions like I do now. One of the channels I’d visit the most frequently was that of Christine Salus, who also happens to be a vegan YouTuber! While this twenty-minute booty burnout isn’t one of the videos I initially exercised to, it is one of my current favorites and has a lot of moves that I’m inspired by when creating my own booty workouts! Christine’s selection of workout videos also range from targeting abs, legs, upper body, total body, as well as different styles of training, including HIIT, tabata, circuit workouts, and even apartment-friendly cardio. You’re bound to find a KILLER session on her channel. Who knew that vegan fitness could look this good?
- Calorie restriction and food group restriction are SO last year (and seriously so overrated). I definitely have seen a positive shift in how people approach cuts and lean-outs these past few months, which is amazing! One of the best full-day-of-eating videos that focuses on a cut or mini-cut is Christine’s food compilation above because it showcases a TON of easy and nutritious meals that are also super tasty and satisfying. I love that she promotes a balanced range of fruits and/or vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates in one’s diet. Seriously, that red lentil chili, oh my gosh. Oh yeah, and Christine’s physique looks incredible in this video!
- Female hormonal health is something not talked about enough in the fitness realm, which makes sense since hormonal health is a pretty individual-specific and sensitive topic. A common sensation that many women and young girls encounter is a loss of or an irregular cycle, which can be really taxing on overall health and well-being in females. Christine is no stranger to this, but has shared an incredibly informative and genuine video about her journey on how she healed her menstrual cycle. This video really taught me the importance of listening to your body cues and not ignoring anything that may seem fatal just for the sake of looking a certain way. Health is with us forever, and we have to think of the long-term health conditions before the instant gratification goals of achieving a six-pack.
- It is one thing to talk about what to do in health and fitness, but it’s another to talk about what NOT to do. I admire people who discuss their mistakes in their journeys, so the fact that I’m recommending this video from Rob Lipsett’s channel is a given. Speaking of which, Rob Lipsett is another one of my favorite < 500K fitness YouTubers because of his positive energy and candid approach to health and fitness: work hard, play hard, earn big. This vlog actually showcases a panel where he shares his personal experience with bodybuilding, as well as a lot of valuable advice on finding undying passion in fitness and focusing on what truly matters in your journey: do what works best for you!
- Rags-to-riches stories are always uplifting, but what truly invigorates me to get out of bed and pursue what I love are stories about failure-to-flourisher. Whenever I feel doubtful about my college career, I always look to Rob’s experience in university and how he found an entirely different route. Heck, in this video, he was invited to speak at the college he flunked out of! It really goes to show that believing in yourself and what you dream of are the keys to your personal success. Rob’s story embodies this mantra 100%, and that’s incredibly inspirational. If anything, I prefer Rob’s entrepreneurial videos over his fitness videos!
- Some people may not necessarily know Rob Lipsett from YouTube, but from “Love Island”, which is a UK reality television show kind of like a mix between The Bachelor/Bachelorette, 90210, and any speed dating sort of show. It seems unlikely for a fitness influencer to appear on a reality show about dating, but hey, sometimes it’s interesting to bring a new perspective on a more mainstream media platform. I never actually watched this edition of “Love Island”, but I like how Rob always remained positive about the other contestants and the experience itself, despite not receiving a lot of air-time (Television just LOVES drama. Ugh.).
FIT MEN COOK (UPDATE: Congratulations to Fit Men Cook for reaching over 500K subscribers!)
- Okay, I know that this channel is a bit more on the foodie side, but come on. Fit Men Cook has to be one of the BEST health and wellness channels on YouTube, and I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t include him in my favorites list. Kevin’s vibrant attitude, creativity, and personal journey hits home for so many people, including myself, to find the vivacity in every single aspect of their lifestyles. Something interesting that Kevin discusses in this video is diet depression where eating healthily is no longer fulfilling. My favorite tip of his is to never stop learning. There is an endless list of ways to cook nourishing food–I personally have only scratched the surface on what you can do with any cuisine!
- Stir-fries: veggies, proteins, and a sauce. Makes sense that they can be boring, right? Well, you’re going to think again after watching Kevin’s tutorial on how to create the perfect stir-fry. Not only is this video incredibly straight-forward and innovative, but it really showcases the best of Kevin’s creative skill and video quality. Look at those colorful shots! It is probably my favorite cooking tutorial for beginners, as stir-fries are easy to prepare and are challenging to mess up on (unless you screw up the sauce combination!). Now I’m inspired to make a tofu secret sauce stir-fry!
- Meal prep can roll a lot of eyes behind people’s heads, but it’s an incredible go-to if you live a busy lifestyle. When Fit Men Cook came out with a vegan meal prep plan, I knew this would become one of my favorite videos on his channel. Healthy vegan food isn’t all raw veggies and beans and brown rice. Kevin’s recipes never fail to look delicious, rich in nutrients, and exciting to eat. I mean, how incredible does that peanut butter tempeh look?! Plus, there’s pasta in this meal plan. PASTA.
GRACE FIT UK (UPDATE: Congratulations to Grace Fit UK for reaching over 500K subscribers!)
- Typically, people who lead a healthy lifestyle don’t make health and fitness the entirety of their life. Unlike most fitness YouTubers, Grace of Grace Fit UK has a very balanced lifestyle where she tackles studies, travel, social relationships, and fitness at the same time. I love her spunky personality and her realistic approach to making healthier choices. Her weight loss tips in this video are catered to a sustainable lifestyle and are very easy to work towards. In my opinion, those are the best kinds of tips!
- Just like Jon and Brian, Grace did not initially begin her fitness YouTube channel as a vegan. A lot of her older videos actually cater towards flexible dieting and IIFYM, and it wasn’t until recently that Grace became vegan herself, which is absolutely excellent! Her journey with veganism was similar to mine in that I was interested in veganism for years before actually transitioning and that I felt extremely happy and in-tune with this lifestyle. What I love about Grace’s recap is that she periodically lists both pros and cons throughout her months of being vegan, because veganism isn’t perfect (bloating, sickness, social situations, etc.). Her update is very honest but generally positive at the same time. Regardless, the vegan lifestyle is so fulfilling for many people, including Grace, and this video is a wonderful victory for the movement!
- Being a student is rough. REALLY rough. Nevertheless, brain power needs brain food. This is by fay my favorite vegan college student food video on Grace’s channel, as her recipes are foolproof, mostly nutritious, and fulfilling. You have lots of complex carbs, healthy fats, protein, and micronutrient-dense ingredients in this video. What I love about Grace’s meals are that they are generous in macronutrients, but not so ridiculously high that others, especially non-vegans, might find them intimidating, and lastly, that a few meals include some more indulgent items such as the plain bagel and the cinnamon cereal. Just like any diet, the plant-based diet NEEDS balance and variety. We can only have so many bananas and heads of lettuce, now can we?
- No surprise that Naturally Stefanie belongs on my favorite fitness YouTubers list as well! Stefanie is a vegan bodybuilder who isn’t afraid to lift heavy and eat big. Who doesn’t love that? But in all seriousness, I absolutely adore how Stefanie’s approach contrasts to a lot of those of female fitness influencers who tend to be a bit more conservative with their diet. This is my favorite vegan nutrient analysis video from Stefanie’s channel, as it breaks down how you can indeed hit all your macro and micro-nutrient requirements on a vegan diet without any added supplements. In addition, her recipes look absolutely delicious–who wouldn’t dig into chocolate peanut butter oatmeal and red lentil chili?!
- Admitting your insecurities is important, but admitting what you love about yourself and your confidence is even more important. I really respect Stefanie’s take-no-shit attitude about self-love, because a lot of people can be very hesitant on openly expressing their strengths. We all understand that confidence is important, but how many of us try to nurture it if it’s lacking? If you need some insight on loving who you are and why you shouldn’t be afraid of confidence, I highly recommend watching this video. Self-acceptance should absolutely be embraced.
- Too many females shy away from bodybuilding and go straight to the cardio machines in the gym to exercise, but Stefanie’s emphasis on weight training is one of many things that I love about her! As you will see in this video, Stefanie lifts and trains heavy, which is part of her formula to performing optimally, looking healthy, and enjoying exercising. I am personally working on defining my back and strengthening my lower body, so this butt and back workout routine is perfect for my goals. Performing split-legged lunges, lat pull-downs, squat walks, and bent-over rows have helped my progression immensely!
- More vegan fitness and nutrition…all for amazing reasons! I actually followed almost all these vegan YouTubers before becoming vegan myself, so it goes to show that even non-vegans will adore vegan fitness, and Tess Begg is no exception. All that aside, you are seriously missing out if you are not subscribed to her channel. I find her approach similar to Naturally Stefanie’s, except Tess’s fitness routine incorporates a bit more bodyweight exercises (you can find a lot of bodyweight-based workouts on her channel). Just as anyone should, Tess doesn’t skimp on hardcore training, as well as proper nutrition to fuel recovery and performance.
- As a trend, it seems that most vegan fitness influencers are a bit too high carb, whereas non-vegan fitness YouTubers are a bit too high protein. On the other hand, I love that Tess’s diet centralizes on a balanced macronutrient ratio of protein, fats, and carbs, as well as whole, unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. It’s definitely not necessary to rely on protein powders, pre-workouts, stimulants, or supplements (EXCEPT B12–TAKE YOUR B12!) to suffice your nutrient needs. On top of that, Tess’s recipes are absolutely mindblowing. The ingredients are vibrant, the procedures are so simple, and the turnout is always beautiful. Serious food porn right here!
- On the topic of food porn, I am also a HUGE sucker for travel videos, specifically those showcasing restaurants abroad. Tess’s videos of Bali restaurants never fail to dazzle me. Her travel videos in Bali share some of the most attractive places and epic foods that I am dying to try myself! The way she captures all her meals only enhance her experiences, especially with the close-ups and panning shots. 2:47. No words. But anyways, these compilations of restaurants showcase that it is not only super easy to find vegan options while traveling, but it can be EXCITING! Fun fact: prior to being vegan, I would look forward to vegan restaurants the most out of my selection of bucket-list destinations, such as Beyond Sushi from my NYC trip.
Hope you liked this list, and PLEASE don’t forget to check them all out. Who are your favorite health and fitness YouTubers?