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We’re on a mission to recognize the fitness instructors who don’t just look great on Instagram—but actually inspire us to be better. So together with Reebok, we asked you to nominate trainers for the first-ever America’s Most Inspiring Trainer title. After nearly 5,000 entries, we’ve narrowed down the pool to 12 amazing finalists—and now it’s time for you to choose a winner! Learn more about Anne Reuss below, and cast your vote by December 23. 

Anne Reuss, Chicago, Illinois

Personal Trainer at Equinox and #Beastmaking Lead at Lift > Live > Lead

Her Mantra

“Never give up in the face of obstables, forever saying yes to yourself with every rep and every drop of sweat, moving through life with purpose.”

Her Power Jam

“As a deaf person, I can’t hear music. But I make my own beat through the pace of my workouts that have the fitness floor rumbling and the barbell rack shaking. My reps are my power jam.”

Her Story

For Anne Reuss, being deaf since birth has made access to education, relationships, and career opportunities more challenging. But, she says, “no” simply took another meaning for her. ”Try harder, Anne!'” is the inner voice that pushed her along—and eventually pushed her to switch from a marketing career to fitness.

“I knew fitness would become the most powerful medium of communication: By breaking down physical and mental barriers,” she explains. “So I took a minimum wage job at a rock climbing gym to regain confidence in working with hearing people in real life versus Google chats and email.”

Getting her personal trainer certification wasn’t easy—but Ruess persisted. “Stepping onto Equinox’s gym floor on day one, surrounded on all sides by voices I couldn’t hear, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done,” she remembers. “But it was almost one of the most exhilarating ones, too: I was a step closer to my dream of helping people become relentlessly fit and confident.”

As one of Reuss’s clients recently said, “Personal training isn’t what she just happens to be good at. It’s what she is on this earth to do.”

Her Inspiring Mission

Her message? “Fitness isn’t just about training your body today, it’s about training your body for your best life and challenging your mind to think up that best life,” she says. “The obstacle isn’t holding you back; the obstacle just waits to make you stronger.”

The winner of America’s Most Inspiring Trainer will score an exclusive one-year contract with Reebok and major coverage on Well+Good. Cast your vote now!

Photo: Spartan Reebok Race

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