How a spin instructor with body dysmorphia became a motivational powerhouse

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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 Stephanie Shames below, and cast your vote by December 23. 

Stephanie Shames, Miami, Florida

Master Instructor and Teacher Trainer at Redbike Studios

Her Mantra

“Be shameless.”

Her Power Jams

“Never Give Up” – Sia

Her Story

“For as long as I can remember, I was always self-conscious about the way I looked,” Shames admits. A trip to her mother’s spin class, however, seemed to be the only thing that could help her release negative thoughts and behaviors. A lightbulb went off.

So Shames pursued a degree in health and fitness—but still felt crippled by body dysmorphia and anxiety. “I had to drop out because I couldn’t get over the fact that I was trying to become a professional in a field that I couldn’t get a grip on personally.”

After turning to personal training, she finally started talking publicly about her struggles instead of trying to make them go away—an approach that resonated. Now, she speaks about her journey on social media, in her classes and at motivational events.

“Being shameless has allowed me to finally embrace who I am, and, most importantly, appreciate the personal and professional skills and traits I possess,” she explains. “When you start accepting who you are, it does wonders for your self-esteem.”

Her Inspiring Mission

Her’ goal? To teach fitness with the emphasis that no body size is perfect—even instructors‘ bodies. Shames now acts as a mentor to those who are currently struggling with the same issues she once did.

“I feel so fortunate to have this platform as an instructor to get the message out there.,” she says. “My mission is to tie all these pieces together and inspire people to live their lives as healthily, truthfully, and powerfully as possible.”

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: Marisa Matluck

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