Six Youtubers That Will Legitimately Increase Your Knowledge About Fitness


I’ve been wanting to write this article for quite a while. I started training in the gym about five years ago. As my journey began, I had a personal trainer by my side who took me under his wing and showed me everything I needed to know about diet, exercise, and life in general. Today, our relationship has evolved into him being my older brother figure and mentor. I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to study under him, but I realize this is a privilege that not many people have when starting, or are currently going through, their health and wellness journey. 

I have also perused through this blog, and noticed that there are a decent amount of articles about health and fitness. This is a good thing and I’m happy that these articles exist because it furthers awareness surrounding a healthy lifestyle. However, I do see a gap that needs to be filled. Aside from being a student here at SJU, I have also spent significant time increasing my knowledge in an extracurricular sense and have obtained my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Personal Trainer certificate two summers ago, so I can offer a different perspective than the other articles on this blog. I have the ability to give credible advice to the public. Aside from my personal trainer, a huge part of my background knowledge going into the NASM exam came from fitness Youtubers. I’ve been binge watching fitness Youtubers ever since I touched a dumbbell for the first time, so I certainly understand Youtube fitness discourse. In this blog, I will be reviewing my top six fitness Youtubers that will help you gain more health and fitness knowledge. If you watch their videos, make sure to take their advice generally while also doing your own extra curricular research. It will lead the way to less confusion both in the gym and in the kitchen. 

Dr. Bret Contreras 

Dr. Bret Contreras is a PhD in Sport Science and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with Distinction from the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He is commonly known as “The Glute Guy” as he dedicates his entire practice to studying ways to efficiently build better glute muscles. His gym, located in San Diego, CA, is called The Glute Lab. Given the specificity of his practice, his clientele is made up predominantly of women who want a bigger butt, but that doesn’t mean men can’t learn a thing or two from him. Dr. Contreras has dedicated his career to showing how a strong glute and hip region can benefit in athletic performance of various sports, and just moving around in everyday life. For any of you women or men that want to learn the most efficient way to build your glutes, check him out. Side note: he isn’t as active on Youtube as he is on his Instagram. His website also has tons of material including his numerous books he authored/co-authored, as well as training programs, so go check all that out too. 

Dr. Aaron Horshig 

Taken from his website, Squat University, “Dr. Aaron Horschig is a physical therapist, strength & conditioning coach, speaker, and writer. After graduating with his bachelors in exercise science from Truman State University in 2009, he then went on to receive a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Missouri in 2012. Aaron now works at Boost Physical Therapy & Sport Performance in Kansas City, Missouri.” Dr. Horschig’s Youtube channel, also named Squat University, is a pivotal resource to learn about proper human movement patterns when performing exercises in the gym. He preaches quality over quantity, and as a physical therapist, he seeks to help people achieve better health and wellness by prioritizing proper mechanics. This type of message is really important for college students because I see guys in O’Pake all the time who load an absurd amount of weight on a bar and successfully complete the lift, yet their mechanics for the exercise are way off. Learning proper technique and mental queues is a crucial part of training because it is counterintuitive to work out while being uneducated about proper form and fundamental movement patterns. I’ve learned a lot from Dr. Horschig’s channel and Instagram page. Since I implemented his advice into my own program, injuries occur less often than in past years when I didn’t understand proper mechanics. 

Omar Isuf 

Unlike the other two personalities listed, Omar Isuf does not have a college degree. He said in a 2014 Facebook post that he “attended 2 years of University (didn’t even complete the degree), pursuing a double major in an unrelated field to Kinesiology,” and that “if I have had any success (so far), it’s because I’ve taken more risks, made many mistakes and learned from them. Putting yourself out there constantly and doing what I enjoy.” I think his Youtube channel really reflects this sentiment. For the most part, Omar has the same credentials as I do, and he has a personal training certificate. However, just because he isn’t as decorated as his peers doesn’t mean he brings no value to the public. After many years of training clients and working out himself, Omar has built up a catalog of knowledge, and seeks out to dispute common misconceptions within the fitness industry. Omar’s channel is very down to earth, and it almost seems like he’s just your run-of-the-mill frat bro giving you lifting advice (in a good way). He makes the list because of the truth he displays in his videos. Though he lacks a college degree, he still makes videos about training and nutritional concepts that are nothing short of quality.

Jeff Nippard

Jeff Nippard is an all natural bodybuilder and powerlifter. He is a B.S. Biochemistry and has gathered the requisite knowledge to become the face of science-based fitness Youtube channels. His Youtube videos explain nuanced topics and concepts regarding training and nutrition. However, through his excellent editing skills, and through the extensive research he puts into each video, he delivers a good synopsis of each topic to the viewers in a way that is very matter-of-fact and unbiased. He is the perfect Youtube channel for anyone who is just starting to look into this type of niche and wants to learn more about the science behind training and nutrition. He is able to examine common theories head-on within the fitness industry. He debunks theories, modifies them according to researched studies, or concludes that the theory is correct beyond a reasonable doubt given the evidence presented. The only thing I would caution viewers about is that his channel is very science heavy, and that can be intimidating for a lot of people. However, he presents it in a way that is understandable and easy to grasp. 

Dr. Stefi Cohen

Doctorate of Physical Therapy, Stefi Cohen, obtained her degree from University of Miami, and is the owner of Hybrid Performance Method. She is a 25 time world record holder in women’s powerlifting. Watching her squat and deadlift the weight that she does in competitions is truly remarkable given her small stature. It shows that she had to prove herself to be in the position that she has today. Much like the others, her Youtube and Instagram page sticks to the cold-hard facts when it comes to discussing training periodization and nutritional concepts. She has done an excellent job of being one of the most highly trusted faces in the fitness industry. She did this as a woman in a predominantly male dominated industry. Through her trials and tribulations, I think that she can be looked up to by many women even if they don’t want to look the same way as her. Dr. Cohen perfectly shows the concept that powerlifting is not a male exclusive activity and that anyone who does these exercises, male or female, will have a better body and better health. A lot of women that come up to me for advice often think that they have to train differently than a man, when in reality, we should all be doing generally the same movements and should be well diverse in our training. Women should be doing compound powerlifting movements just like men do because it can lead to a stronger body and it burns more calories than an isolation exercise like a bicep curl or a leg extension. I think Dr. Cohen displays this concept perfectly, which is why she makes my top six list.  

Greg Doucette

If you’re still reading this article, then you’re clearly interested in learning more and want to hear what I have to say. The previous Youtubers I mentioned have very science-based channels and really get into the nitty-gritty of sport science. However, Greg Doucette, Masters in Kinesiology, takes all the science fitness jargon and delivers it in a “dumbed down” way so that people who are just being introduced into fitness can understand the concepts that science-based fitness people discuss. Greg is a no-nonsense, straight shooting, guy, and honestly, the angle he has taken with his Youtube channel is a breath of fresh air. He weeds through all the science, and all the “broscience” and tells the viewers what the science means in very simplistic terms. People criticize Greg because they often say that he denies scientific studies, and has an old fashioned method to training. This can’t be further from the truth because he has a masters in kinesiology, and he also absorbs sport science research papers on his own time. He often explains things in easy to understand ways, and summarizes training and nutritional concepts with easy to remember phrases such as “train harder than last time” and “calories in vs. calories out.” While the sport science is important, Greg stresses viewers to not take the sport science verbatim. For example, doing a set of eight reps just because “that’s what science tells me to do” is not necessarily applicable to every situation. If you feel like you can do more reps, do more reps. If eight reps feels hard, stop at eight. He takes a very stripped down approach to training and emphasizes that if you train hard in the gym, eat low-calorie dense foods, and remain in a caloric deficit, results are bound to come because that’s basic laws of thermodynamics. 

His recipes are also exquisite! On his Youtube channel, he shows viewers’ recipes of foods he has made throughout the years through much trial and error. These foods are very unconventional to the typical bodybuilder who eats chicken, broccoli, and rice four to five times a day. Instead, Greg diversifies his menu, and makes things such as french toast, protein pancakes, protein ice cream, protein popsicles, protein chocolate bars, popcorn, apple goop (kind of like apple pie filling), and so many other fun recipes. These recipes show that dieting can be fun and easy and that you don’t have to sacrifice taste for results. The reason that all these recipes work with his numerous clients, and why people rave about them online is because they’re low-calorie-dense foods. This means is that there’s a lot of food for not that many calories, which then makes you really full, and less likely have the desire to binge. 

Not to mention, Greg is certainly the funniest channel within this community. He’s a jacked, 5’6,” forty-something year old, who screams and spits into the camera and sounds like Gilbert Godfried. So, not only are you being educated when you watch his videos, you’re also highly entertained. Sometimes I just watch his videos because I love the way he talks and the way he rambles on. That, in it of itself, is priceless, and Greg has certainly found his stride within the fitness industry. 

And there you have it, my top six fitness Youtube recommendations that will legitimately increase your knowledge. Although this might’ve been a lengthy piece, I think it’s within reason. I’ve seen so many people struggle with their journey. I see a lot of clueless people walking around in the gym, and I hear a lot of nonsense about different training and nutrition concepts. My goal here is to put a stop to all of this and help the public wipe the crust out of their eyes, and unveil the truth about diet and exercise. All the science-based nuance that goes into it is important, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that hard to be fit. Sure, it might take dedication, and that’s the hard part. Fundamentally, it’s simply to move more and eat less. It’s an oversimplification, but once you have an understanding of the nuanced part of diet and exercise, you can then take a step back and realize the simplicity of it after all. 

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