Bright Stars, Big Mission
IDEA’s 25 years of working with fitness celebrities.
There may not be a more recognizable fitness icon than “King of Fitness” Jack La Lanne. The 1986 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner put fitness on the map as he brought exercise into the living rooms of countless Americans from 1951 to 1985 with his television program The Jack La Lanne Show. At 93, La Lanne is still as passionate about fitness as ever and maintains a regimen that would strike awe in the most resolute of enthusiasts.
Since fitness went mainstream, heaps of celebrities have used their fame to motivate others to get physical. None compare to the ultimate movie-star-gone-fitness role model, 1987 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jane Fonda. She began teaching aerobics while filming The Electric Horseman and subsequently starred in a variety of top-selling fitness videos.
Throughout the past 25 years, IDEA Health & Fitness Association has had the great fortune to work with outstanding fitness innovators and celebrities who lent their expertise, good will and energy toward powerful change in the industry. Here we revisit some of those highlights and take one last walk down memory lane, as we welcome the next 25 years of Inspiring the World to Fitness®.
Singer, dancer, actress and creator of the 1983 hit exercise video Do It Debbie’s Way, Debbie Reynolds graced the stage for an unforgettable display of talent as she entertained fitness professionals at the 1984 IDEA World Fitness Convention™.
Famed kickboxer extraordinaire and IDEA presenter Billy Blanks “accidentally” created a fitness program based on the grueling martial art of kickboxing while working out in his basement in 1976. About 20 years later, Tae Bo® became a sensation as celebrities, athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even the inactive danced, kicked and punched their way toward fitter bodies.
As her star was clearly rising, Ellen DeGeneres garnered belly laughs and giggles from convention attendees as an astonishing five-time IDEA World Fitness Convention emcee.
Formerly a physical education teacher, 1980s IDEA presenter Joanie Greggains went on to host the popular television show Morning Stretch, created several award-winning exercise videos and currently headlines San Francisco’s KGO radio’s weekend health and fitness program, The Joanie Greggains Show.
Dean Ornish, MD, advocates lifestyle changes as significant factors for reducing—and even reversing—coronary heart disease. The 2001 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is the founder, president and director of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
Tamilee Webb first rose to fitness fame and glory as creator of the tremendously successful and award- winning Buns of Steel exercise videos. Also the 1993 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, Webb continues to create innovative workouts while sharing wisdom with viewers of high-profile television programs such as Entertainment Tonight and The Today Show.
Perhaps most well-known for his time as host on famed television game show Let’s Make a Deal, Monty Hall lent his talent and humor as emcee of the 2004 IDEA World Fitness Convention in San Diego.
According to his website, fitness icon Richard Simmons has “helped millions of overweight men and women lose close to 3,000,000 pounds.” The once overweight Simmons began a revolution with upbeat and infectious programs, such as “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” “Dance Your Pants Off,” and “Disco Sweat,” to prove that fitness can be fun. He was recognized for his efforts in 1997 as the recipient of that year’s IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, may have famously coined the term aerobics in 1968, but Jacki Sorensen took his program and set it to music. Aerobic dance was born, and Sorenson’s creative fitness moves are still changing lives all over the globe. In 1985, Sorensen was chosen as the first recipient of IDEA’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Not many fitness programs have inspired more people to fitness than Judi Sheppard Missett’s Jazzercise®, with franchises in all 50 states and 30,000 classes taught weekly. The 1986 IDEA Businessperson of the Year and recipient of the 1991 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award, Missett has not only created a dance aerobics phenomenon, but also laid the foundation of success for fellow fitness entrepreneurs.
Karen Voight has made such an impact on the fitness industry that she was recognized twice for her efforts by IDEA. She was first named IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year in 1992 and IDEA Businessperson of the Year in 1994. Voight has been teaching for 20 years, has created 25 fitness videos and currently shares her expertise as a health columnist for the Los Angeles Times.
Recognized as a leader in the fight against obesity, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was presented with the IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award in 2006. Huckabee is no stranger to the cause, beginning his own quest to drop 110 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He has since developed the Healthy Arkansas initiative to encourage exercise, healthy eating and smoking cessation among fellow Arkansans.
1986 IDEA World Fitness Convention keynote speaker Dr. Art Ulene realized early on that one of the best methods for educating the population was through television. He was a regular on NBC’s The Today Show for 23 years, has collaborated with countless health-oriented campaigns and organizations and has written more than 50 books and home audio/video programs.
Gilda Marx made a lasting impression on the fitness industry as one of the first aerobics instructors; she eventually joined IDEA faculty as a presenter. Marx later set her sights on a related industry then in its infancy, developing a company that would become one of the most prominent fitness apparel manufacturers, Gilda Marx Industries Inc.
Bodybuilding bigwig turned Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger shared his thoughts and insights at IDEA’s first Personal Trainer Conference in 1989.
While colleagues considered fitness just a fad, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, forged through popular belief to help ignite an industry that would change lives. Named the 1988 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, the “father of aerobics” continues to develop research studies and programs to help reverse today’s health threats.
Despite 25 years, 16 million workout videos sold, $50 million in infomercial products and a host of other incredible accomplishments, 2003 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner Kathy Smith is just getting started. She’s currently gearing up for her 2008 “Kathy Across America” tour in which she plans to inspire 1 million families to live a healthier lifestyle.
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