In Women's Health's fourth search for America's top personal trainer, we pored over thousands of submissions with a truly 360-degree lens. We looked for empowering personal stories, loud and proud herds of social media followers, savvy entrepreneurship, and savvier workouts. Our five finalists deliver—and then some. Help us decide who most deserves the title!
About Andrea Speir:
City: Los Angeles
Three Things That Describe Her
Smoothies. "A spinach, blueberry, banana, and almond butter blend is a favorite go-to."
Messy buns. "I abhor blow-drying my hair! So it's usually thrown up in a crazy topknot."
Hand sanitizer. "With gym equipment, it's hygiene or bust. I can legitimately get distracted thinking about germs."
Andrea has the gods of injury to thank for hooking her up with Pilates. Twice in her life it was her savior: First after a track accident left her with a torn meniscus, then again after the same knee gave out on stage in dance rehearsal, where—as a competitive dancer since age 12—she spent most of her time. Her practice may have started as rehab, but it quickly grew into her exercise of choice. "Pilates can be really hard, but you don't feel depleted after," she says. "You get a rush of endorphins from the muscular work, but all the stretching makes you feel restored."
In college, Andrea started taking regular lessons at a local studio, then got certified to teach it herself. Training was supposed to be a side gig (her longtime plan: law school), but when she arrived on campus, she realized her heart was no longer in law—it was right there on the reformer.
Today, Andrea's a 10-year veteran who's known for her Speir Pilates method, which adds aerobic intervals, free weights, and box work to classic moves on the reformer to accelerate and amplify results. She even opened her own studio earlier this year, Speir Pilates, establishing her place among the most respected Pilates pros. "I want to show people that you can fuse feel-good movements with kick-your-butt exercises to create a strong, lean body that won't break down as you age."
Her Fitness Philosophy
Keep it simple: "Many instructors, particularly in Pilates, move quickly between body areas to create more of a flow, but so much can get missed. Especially if you're a beginner, it can take more than a few minutes to understand the movement and feel the right sensation in the right place. I prioritize more targeted reps over fancy choreography to make sure you're really working a particular muscle group." (Want to get in shape, fast? Check out Women's Health's Ignite routine created by last year’s Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger.)
Give your gluteus medius some love! "We tend to think of our glutes as one muscle, but they're not. The gluteus maximus gets all the hype, but the gluteus medius [side butt] tightens and lifts the booty like whoa and helps support and stabilize your lower back. Tons of butt moves engage the gluteus medius, but you can also give them some solo attention with moves like clamshells."
Don't take your workout so seriously: "If you had every intention of running after work but you're just not feeling it, swap it for a Britney Spears dance class, or anything that's fun to you. Fitness should be a hobby, not a chore."
Head over to TheNextFitnessStar.com to vote for Andrea!