Celebrating Fitness Accomplishments

The 2004 IDEA Health & Fitness Awards finalists motivate the world to get fit.

Just as the movie industry has its glamorous Academy Awards, the fitness industry honors its best and brightest stars in an exciting gala tradition—the IDEA Health & Fitness Awards Ceremony.

We honor colleagues who have excelled at improving the health and fitness of their clients while inspiring other fitness professionals to do the same. All IDEA members who qualify for a given award are urged to apply and share what they are doing to Inspire the World to Fitness. Applicants are judged by their written responses to four essay questions and by their education, industry experience and community service work. Essay answers must show that the candidates meet the award criteria.

Join us on July 9 at the IDEA Health & Fitness Awards Ceremony sponsored by Propel® Fitness Water, as we honor the accomplishments of the awards finalists and recipients (envelope, please!). The ceremony will take place during the IDEA World Fitness Convention®. This gala celebration, which generates buzz all convention long, also provides you with time to relax, enjoy spectacular entertainment (and food!) and reflect on all that you and your colleagues have done to change the world.

We will present the IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award and the IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award. We will also recognize the 2004 IDEA Program Director of the Year, the 2004 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and the 2004 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year. Congratulations to all of the dedicated fitness professionals who applied for the awards and to these finalists.

IDEA PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

This award recognizes an individual who is a healthy role model, who demonstrates keen professional commitment through community and industry involvement and whose outstanding leadership inspires staff and influences both active and underactive people to commit to a healthy lifestyle through successful, creative and diverse programming.

FINALIST: SHERRY CATLIN
Boston, Massachusets

Sherry Catlin knows that effective fitness programs, instructors and businesses don’t just happen. They come about because of hard work, innovation and leadership. For over 25 years Sherry has committed her energy and creative passion for movement to bringing thousands of participants and instructors to studio programs and weekly classes. She teaches classes in Boston and provides services to the fitness industry through Sherry Catlin & Associates.

She created the Body Bar Systems Master Your Body program, which is committed to inspiring creativity in exercise through master classes, workshops and instructional fitness videos. As director of program development for the company, she comes up with new programs and new talent for Team Body Bar.

As fitness director for The Squash Club in Boston, she created and cultivated a cutting-edge group fitness program that directly increased membership sales, led to a 75% club expansion and won five Best-of-Boston awards for programming and instruction. She also founded the Top Gun Instructor Training School, which has graduated numerous industry leaders.

Sherry is proud of her continued work to assist the leaders of the Russian Aerobics Federation in Moscow in developing the aerobics and fitness movement there. Since 1995, she has visited regularly, providing training and products and arranging visits by other presenters.

Sherry’s love of the industry has kept her very involved as a member of organizations and task forces such as the Avia Elite and Reebok C.O.R.P.S. She is also a former regional director for East Coast Alliance.

Sherry donates time and energy to charitable organizations. “I have found immeasurable gifts from teaching regular stretch and relaxation classes to cancer patients and cancer survivors, as well as training women in the art of self-defense through Triad Fitness, a self-defense program for women that I developed with an Israeli soldier,” she says.

FINALIST: BETH SHAW
Hermosa Beach, California

In YogaFit®’s Angles magazine, founder Beth Shaw writes, “I find myself constantly asking, ‘How can I continue to give back? How can I make a difference? How can I change the world?’” For Beth, the answer is yoga. Through her YogaFit Training Systems Worldwide, she educates fitness professionals on how to teach fitness-inspired yoga classes to millions of consumers around the world.

Why did she create YogaFit? In 1994, after training with a traditional school of yoga, she began teaching yoga at fitness clubs. She felt that the traditional yoga programs did not work in a health club, so she created her own style of yoga that combines fitness moves with traditional yoga postures.

Beth requires instructors entering the YogaFit program to participate in community service activities that bring yoga to places that may not otherwise have found it, such as prisons and shelters. She also founded Visionary Women in Fitness, which works through YogaFit’s network of 15,000 instructors to educate girls in middle school and high school on the importance of mind-body fitness and self-confidence.

Always staying at the forefront of yoga programming, Beth created two new programs in 2003. YogaStrength is a hybrid fitness program that fuses functional strength and flexibility with resistance from hand weights and body bars. YogaFit Level 4 is advanced instructor training that includes advanced master classes, introduction to sound therapy/chanting and yoga for depression.

Since its founding in 1994, the company has grown internationally. YogaFit has trained over 30,000 fitness/yoga professionals in the U.S. and many more internationally. It designed the Club Yoga program for 140 Town Sports International (TSI) clubs and has trained TSI instructors both in YogaFit for kids, seniors and prenatal women and in Power YogaFit. YogaFit also partners with Alaska Clubs, Lifetime Fitness and other high-end chains.

Beth and YogaFit participate in a wide variety of industry events, including those offered by IDEA; the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association; and the American College of Sports Medicine. Beth has also created YogaFit’s own mind-body fitness conference, which is held in various cities throughout the year.

KYMBERLY WILLIAMS-EVANS, MA
Santa Barbara, California

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA, is one fitness professional who is actually pleased with her low retention rate. Her job is shepherding students through the fitness instruction minor program at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), as well as running the college’s on-campus group fitness program. As students graduate each year, she begins with a new batch.

Within the minor, she developed a brand-new personal training track, launch-ed in spring 1999. The career placement rate is 85% for personal training graduates and 90% for group fitness graduates.

What is her favorite indicator of happy customers? “Each year I get a dozen e-mails from recent graduates telling me about their successful entry into the industry,” she says. “I still hear from students who graduated 7 years ago. They are getting promoted, being sent to open new clubs and finishing graduate programs in exercise.”

In the group exercise classes she runs, she strives to meet price-conscious students’ needs for current programming with classes such as “Yoga Zenergy” and “ABC-Abs.” For faculty and staff, she revamped the fee structure and tracking system, resulting in improved customer service, an easier accounting method and happier participants. Since she took over the UCSB fitness program, the net annual revenues have increased by 52% and the participation rates by 38%.

Kymberly’s work also has a global emphasis. She has taught, trained or consulted for at least 4,100 fitness professionals on four continents in four languages over 21 years. She also served as lead, then technical editor for the international newsletter IDEA Fitness Edge.

Kymberly oversees numerous student internships, including a 2002–2003 record of 99 internship placements providing over 900 community service hours. She has coached 10 seasons of league and all-star AYSO soccer and led fitness circuits as a volunteer in her daughter’s class.

IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER OF THE YEAR

This award recognizes an individual who is a practicing industry professional spending at least 15 hours per week actually training clients one-on-one; who has demonstrated exceptional skills in leadership, business management, motivation and instruction; and who has inspired clients to greater personal growth and a higher level of fitness.

FINALIST: TODD DURKIN, MA
San Diego, CA

As a longtime successful athlete and former professional football player, Todd Durkin, MA, always dreamed of the day he could be a “coach” for people’s health, as well as help others get out of pain and increase their athletic performance. He’s achieved these goals with his business, Fitness Quest 10, which he launched 41⁄2 years ago because he wanted to combine his strengths as a personal trainer and massage therapist/body worker under one roof. Now the company is a 3,000-square-foot state-of-the-art health and human performance center with 25 trainers.

Todd’s own clientele and those at the center are very diversified. Every population and age category is well represented. He is training both a 9-year-old Pop Warner quarterback and an 87-year-old woman who is improving her balance skills. He works with a consistent 42–46 clients per week. His center hosts well over 300 private sessions per week, and the business now has gross revenues of more than $500,000 per year.

Todd thinks the training sessions he and his trainers run at Fitness Quest 10 are highly successful because each ends with 10 minutes of manual stretching and body work. “This unique combination allows me to achieve maximal results with my clients. I can give the body a thorough functional workout, retrain the neuromuscular system and then do wonderful manual therapy,” he says. “Our clients consistently tell us the manual therapy and stretching [segment] is one of the best things about their session.”

Todd believes in supporting the community. He and his staff donate time at many local road races and do postrace massage and stretching. They donate personal training packages to silent auctions at community fundraisers and donate their time helping teach physical education at local elementary schools.

Todd is also proud that his continuing education programs have contributed greatly to the personal training industry. “These hands-on workshops allow me to share my work and help trainers build their cognitive knowledge and business practices.”

FINALIST: JON DENORIS, MS
London, England

As director of Catalyst Health & Fitness, Jon Denoris, MS, wants to be the catalyst that changes people’s lives. “My core philosophy [is] that, ultimately, the client has to take responsibility for [his or her] own health and well-being and, as health and fitness professionals, we take on more of a support role, acting as facilitators of change.”

Jon studied exercise psychology and wrote his master’s thesis on exercise adherence. No wonder his business is booming! Since its opening in 1999, Catalyst Health & Fitness has expanded its personal training staff from one to 12. The business currently serves 400 clients throughout the United Kingdom and in Brussels and has an adherence rate of 70%.

Jon has brought together a team of specialists from traditional and alternative medicine to work alongside his team of trainers. He is working with medical professionals on two other projects. The first project is opening his third Catalyst Studio, at the Princess Grace Hospital in London. This unique partnership will enable his trainers to work exclusively alongside physiotherapists, orthopedic surgeons and other sports medicine specialists and let the trainers do research in the area of exercise as medicine. The other project is the development of the Catalyst Medical Exercise Specialist Diploma course.

To help people who can’t train with Jon or his staff in person, he recently launched an online wellness solution that offers large organizations access to a learning platform for their employees. Interactive in nature, it addresses lifestyle issues such as time management, exercise, diet and nutrition, stress management, relaxation and health.

Jon is also developing a not-for-profit organization aimed at enhancing and increasing the health and well-being of children in inner-city districts. Plans include workshops and seminars on healthy eating, exercise classes and fundraising activities.

FINALIST: CARLA BOTELHO SOTTAVIA, PhD
Dallas, Texas

In 1995 Carla Botelho Sottovia, PhD, was diagnosed with a heart condition and had a defibrillator/pacemaker implanted. This would have meant the end of a very active lifestyle and professional career for many people. However, she completed her most recent Ironman triathlons and three marathons after this happened. More importantly, though, she’s able to continue to work with clients and inspire them with her knowledge and positive attitude.

Convinced that personal trainers need a high level of education to be most successful, Carla studied for and received a doctoral degree in exercise physiology. Her knowledge greatly enhances her work with clients as assistant fitness director, senior personal trainer and adjunct faculty member at the world-renowned Cooper Aerobic Center in Dallas. For example, she organizes top-notch continuing education programs for all personal trainers. Knowing that the team is filled with highly educated trainers helps her in her role as client–personal trainer liaison (a role in which she interviews clients and matches them with trainers).

Her work contributes to the personal training department’s bottom line. When she was promoted to assistant fitness director, the monthly gross revenues for the department were $90,000. Today they’re $160,000.

Carla loves her work. Her goal is to teach clients that they do not need to be athletes in order to achieve their inner strength or personal best, and that an active lifestyle can improve their quality of life. She certainly conveyed this to an 80-year-old client who was practically confined to a wheelchair. “In a matter of months he regained his strength and will to live,” explains Carla. “During our 3-year relationship I understood what it really meant to be a personal trainer. Mr. Wiesenbacker used to say, ‘Carla, you are the highlight of my life.’”

In her “free” time, Carla presents workshops and lectures to fitness professionals all over the world. From 1998 to 2000, she served as the chair of Team Diabetes, a marathon training group that fundraises for the American Diabetes Association.

IDEA FITNESS INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR

This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates strong leadership skills through community and industry involvement and whose superior abilities and influence as an instructor motivate active and underactive people to commit to healthy lifestyles.

FINALIST: JULIANE ARNEY
Costa Mesa, California

Since Juliane Arney was 18, she has been teaching group exercise and performing as a professional dancer. This blend has kept her ultra-current with popular culture and given her a unique ability to convert dance trends into fitness workouts for everyone. In her 14 years of instructing, she’s created and taught more than a dozen different class formats, but she is most proud of having brought dance-for-fitness to more than 25 locations around her community.

When industry surveys told fitness professionals that popular exercise such as dance was on the decline, Juliane did not believe it. She designed “Cardio Caliente” to remove the intimidation factor from dance. More than 4,000 instructors at 44 fitness events worldwide have now learned how to use the “Cardio Caliente” formula with their students.

Juliane also partnered with 24 Hour Fitness to launch SuperStreet. This predesigned dance workout capitalizes on people’s desire to dance like a pop star with moves accessible to everyone. 24 Hour Fitness estimates thousands of members new to group exercise are now dancing in 250 clubs and credits SuperStreet for reaching teens to seniors.

Juliane also helps fitness professionals. In her former job as IDEA education manager, she assembled and worked on many industry committees, including the IDEA presenter selection committee. She’s also served on the task force for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness comprehensive instructor-training course.

She has given back to the community through the NIKE-sponsored Culture Shock Dance Troupes Inc., where she’s been volunteer director of the Los Angeles chapter since 1997. The troupes focus almost exclusively on youth outreach events and design school assemblies where every student has a chance to move with the dancers. Culture Shock worked with more than 100 schools between 1997 and 2000.

“Every day was a unique opportunity to interact with, influence and inspire youth—one I could only have had through the diversity and limitless opportunity offered by the fitness industry,” Juliane says about these events.

FINALIST: LAWRENCE BISCONTINI, MA
Fajardo, Puerto Rico

Lawrence Bisontini, MA, and his family have battled many physical problems. He was an overweight youth and survived anorexia as an adolescent. His father and only brother both died from heart disease, and his mother had open heart surgery. Lawrence’s past fuels his desire to inspire others with the same techniques he has used to improve his health and fitness.

As group exercise coordinator, nutrition counselor and personal trainer at the Golden Door® Spa in Las Croabas, Puerto Rico, he has worked hard to elevate fitness standards throughout the Caribbean. He has introduced signature fusion classes such as Yo-Chi-Stability Ball® and “Millennium Foam Roller Mind-Body Circuit Training.”

He strives to use his skills to benefit everyone. Monthly he gives all Golden Door instructors (locally and at the spas in California, Colorado and Arizona) an updated group exercise manual. It is chock-full of the latest research from leading international fitness publications, and it also provides policies, procedures and protocols for instructors’ continuing education.

Lawrence is dedicated to helping fellow fitness professionals and consumers. He translates fitness information into Spanish so instructors can stay current. In 2003 alone he raised the educational standards of more than 2,700 Puerto Rican fitness professionals.

He reaches out to his community, too. For the local Catholic and Jewish communities in Puerto Rico (approximately 6,000 parishioners), he uses his nutrition counselor certification to orchestrate monthly charlas (talks), grocery-buying sessions and cooking sessions.

Lawrence’s educational efforts don’t end in Puerto Rico. He serves on industry committees for IDEA and ACE and frequently writes for industry and consumer publications. He volunteers his time to third-world countries that might not experience leading Western programs. In 2003 he took various programs to Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, the Philippines and Greece.

FINALIST: HELEN VANDERBURG
Calgary, Alberta

Helen Vanderburg inspired the world as a former world champion swimmer and she continues to inspire people around the world to follow their goals and dreams.

Under Helen’s leadership and commitment, Heavens Fitness facility has—for 20 years—been recognized for its innovative workouts; specialized weight training programs; professional, certified instruction; and quality service. She is constantly creating new workouts and programs that are creative and doable for members. For example, “Jumpstart” builds confidence among new participants and introduces them to a variety of fitness activities.

She measures her success through her interaction with members. “One powerful moment is when I see young girls who were once babies in our childcare facilities grow up to exercise alongside their mothers and become great role models for other young women,” Helen says. “I’m proud to think I may have been a small part of their lives.”

While Helen has a profound impact on members of her own club, she also helps educate fellow fitness professionals as director of Canada’s NIKE Fitness Team and developer of NIKE specialty instructor workshops. In addition, the Fusion Fitness Training certification course she codeveloped to prepare instructors to teach mind-body integrated classes was so popular that the certification organization Can-Fit-Pro adopted it as its official mind-body certification course.

Helen also works tirelessly to help those in need. She has raised thousands of dollars to help people with juvenile diabetes, Down syndrome and breast cancer. This year she offered free workshops for women suffering from breast cancer.

“Whether it’s helping a new member learn a new exercise or helping fitness instructors in Hong Kong with new and creative ways to inspire their members, I believe we all have a responsibility to our industry to be great leaders and positive role models every day,” Helen says.

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July 2004

© 2004 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

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