Meet the barre3 trainer who survived cancer and fights for civil rights

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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. From nearly 5,000 entries, we narrowed down the pool to 12 amazing finalists—and after almost 200,000 votes, our judges have crowned a winner: CJ Frogozo!  Learn all about the fitness game-changer below.

CJ Frogozo, New York, New York

Instructor at barre3 and Founder and President of Drake Communications

Her Mantra

“Do you, boo!”

Her Power Jam

“Formation” – Beyoncé

Her Story

“I’ve taught everything: step aerobics, cardio kickboxing and hip hop, yoga, indoor cycling, and barre3,” Frogozo explains. “I’ve had a consistent yoga practice for over seventeen years, am an avid SoulCycle rider, have run three marathons, and recently became a more serious road cyclist.”

But in July 2012, Frogozo was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to undergo surgery—which forced her to stop and reflect. “Being diagnosed with cancer completely changed my view of movement,” she says. “I even practiced while under radioactive isolation.”

And it caused her to reexamine everything. Frogozo and her then husband made the decision to part ways, and she moved to New York City. “The women who come to my classes have become not just my clients, but also my friends and confidantes,” she says.

Her Biggest Inspiration

Frogozo credits her mother with her strength. “She immigrated to the US from the Philippines in 1975 with my sister, my dad, and two suitcases, and at 65 years old, she attended my barre3 class and literally killed it,” she explains.

Her Inspiring Mission

“To bring fitness to everyone: at-risk communities, kids, cancer patients, and anyone who could benefit from movement,” Frogozo says. “As I have experienced in my own life, fitness can be the anchor that grounds you despite all the noise. Not only does it have physical benefits, but fitness also brings together communities.”

Frogozo also works tirelessly for civil and womens’ rights. “I have worked in different capacities on the John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton campaigns,” she notes. “Now more than ever, we need to practice mindfulness and honor our bodies and our voices. Fitness is an important first step in creating a more mindful world.”

Congrats CJ! Stay tuned for more from America’s Most Inspiring Trainer

Photo: Ryan Brady for Well+Good

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