fbpx Skip to content


2008 IDEA Health & Fitness Inspiration Awards™ Finalists

Celebrate the accomplishments of exceptional industry leaders.

IDEA is proud of the contributions of
all our members, who work hard every day to share the joys of active and
healthy living with their clients. The IDEA Health & Fitness Inspiration
Awards honor fitness colleagues who make exceptional efforts to support clients,
communities and the fitness industry. Join us as we recognize the achievements
of the 2008 finalists at the IDEA World Fitness Convention

awards ceremony in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 9, at 8:15 am. The presentations will recognize the
2008 IDEA Program Director of the Year, IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and
IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year.

Congratulations to the many fitness pros who applied
for the awards and to the following award finalists. Below we touch on a few of
the finalists’ accomplishments.


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

Finalist: Debbie Bellenger, MA

Lexington, South Carolina

Debbie Bellenger is director of Health
Directions at Lexington Medical Centre (LMC). She currently manages the overall
operation of Health Directions’ 13,000-square-foot facility and two satellite
locations. She is also a part-time professor at the University of South
Carolina, where she teaches the EXSC 454 Fitness Management course.

Bellenger and her staff offer numerous fitness programs to
motivate active and underactive clients. Classes include Sit and Be Fit™,
Zumba® and Zumba Gold, “Foam Rolling,” “Pilates Fundamentals,” “Kettlebell
Fundamentals” and “Sensitive Cycle.” “Intro classes make up 10% of our
schedule,” she says.

Bellenger also oversees successful retention and wellness programs
that help different populations. In fact, membership retention increased from
30% to 51% in 2007. As a retention example, all new members now receive two 1-hour orientations
instead of just one. “We also offered the Great Weight Challenge for LMC
employees and Health Directions members,” says Bellenger. “This 10-week program
focused on eating well and exercising regularly. The total pounds lost last
year was 2,217.”

In Bellenger’s 7-year tenure as director, the membership base has
grown from 425 members to 3,000, and personal training revenues have increased
from $1,000 to $26,000 per month.

“My goal is to touch as many lives as possible,” Bellenger says.
She submits monthly wellness columns to the local Lexington Chronicle, featuring members of her
team as the authors. Health Directions Wellness Team offers many disease
management programs to LMC employees and members alike. The programs include
“Fresh Start” (smoking cessation), “Live Light” (weight management), “Healthy
Back” and “Cancer and Exercise.”

Finalist: PJ O’Clair

Manchester, Massachusetts

PJ O’Clair owns a business that combines
Northeast Pilates Certification Centers (NEPCC) and the ClubXcel fitness
facility. NEPCC is the professional side of her business, and ClubXcel is the
consumer side. While running her own fitness club and teacher-training
business, she still finds 25-plus hours per week to work with personal clients.

O’Clair has developed numerous programs to appeal to active and
inactive niche markets. Her programs include “Pilates for Breast Cancer
Survivors,” “The Secret to a Strong Back,” “Staying Strong,” “Pre/Postnatal
Yoga and Pilates,” “XKids” and “TeenXcel.” In addition, ClubXcel offers many
other programs, such as “Core Xpress,” “Yoga for Detox,” “Pilates Infused Yoga”
and “Pilates for Performance.”

How does she help her staff? “An enthusiasm for knowledge and
programming excellence is the gift I give my team,” she says. “I lead by
creating an environment that respects my staff, welcomes their ideas, promotes
continuing education, encourages professional advancement and rewards positive

NEPCC, O’Clair’s teacher-training business, was one of the first
STOTT PILATES®–licensed training centers in North America. NEPCC has been
recognized as the “Most Productive Training Center Worldwide” in 2005, 2006 and

How does she contribute to her community? This year, by donating
lectures and workouts at the Beverly Hospital, O’Clair is inspiring teenage
moms to get fit. For 10 years she has organized a team to participate in the
Pan Mass Challenge, a 2-day, 200-mile cycling event to fund cancer research at
the Dana Farber Cancer Center.

Finalist: Peter Twist, MSc

North Vancouver, British Columbia

Peter Twist is
the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Twist Conditioning Inc. and
an 11-year-veteran National Hockey League conditioning coach and exercise
physiologist for the Vancouver Canucks. His company has three major divisions,
which focus on training athletes in his franchised sport conditioning centers;
educating advocates in the fitness, sports, teaching, rehabilitation and
emergency services industries; and distributing innovative training equipment.

The Twist sport conditioning paradigm concentrates on “developing
the secondary components of fitness, including balance, speed, agility,
quickness, multijoint strength, neuromuscular reactivity, deceleration,
movement patterning, power and anaerobic energetics,” Twist explains. “I have
programmed this into level-appropriate functional exercise for young kids,
aging Boomers, rehab applications, school curriculums and active adults, as
well as high-profile athletes.”

Twist has tried to establish his company as a place where people
want to stay to develop their careers. “I believe that skills are highly
teachable and that character and personality are not easily modified. I look
for staff who have coaching and training abilities, along with some business
acumen, but more importantly [they need to be] solid people who bring great
passion to work every day. Our environment attracts passionate people who feed
off of the culture, find a home and help the entire company grow to a different

Twist works hard to make a difference where he lives. “We sponsor
young athletes in financial need who themselves are making a positive impact in
their communities,” he says. “Giving back to local charities is also a
fundamental part of our philosophy. We support organizations like Canuck Place
Children’s Hospice and Greater Vancouver Food Bank.”


This award recognizes an IDEA member who is a practicing
industry professional spending at least 15 hours per week actually training
clients one-on-one; has demonstrated exceptional leadership, business
management, motivational and instructional skills; and has inspired his or her
clients to greater personal growth and a higher level of fitness.

Finalist: Nicki Anderson

Naperville, Illinois

Nicki Anderson
runs the award-winning Reality Fitness Inc., a private personal training
studio. She manages the day-to-day activities of eight personal fitness
trainers, an office manager and college interns, in addition to training
clients 15–
20 hours per week. Her studio is experiencing a 10% annual
growth rate.

She wrote a “Trainer’s Creed,” partly to keep herself and her
staff in check, but also to educate clients about the role of personal
trainers. “This creed clearly communicates the ethical and professional
standards I set not only for myself but for other personal trainers as well,”
she says.

In addition to helping clients physically, she strives to help
them mentally. “I designed a journal in which clients can track not only
exercise and nutrition, but thoughts as well,” she says. “The motivational
quotes in the journal are part of my strategy. I also do a lot of visualization
with my clients.”

One of Anderson’s clients always wanted to run but, because of
his weight, believed he couldn’t. “I first had to teach him how to view himself
as a runner, through visualization,” she says. “I taught him to think
differently by seeing himself as he wanted to be. That focus helped him
complete his first competitive run.”

To serve her community, Anderson regularly contributes to and
helps local school districts. She also runs a “New Year, New You” contest,
offering a prize of 12 weeks of personal training at no charge to help someone
who could not otherwise afford it.

Finalist: Andrea Metcalf

Westmont, Illinois

Andrea Metcalf
is the owner of and personal trainer for MBC Fitness and Well Centered Weight
Loss Center. As a personal trainer, she says that understanding what a client
needs isn’t just about physical health and wellness. “Personal trainers need to
understand the architecture of the body, movement mechanics and emotional
quotient of each client,” she says. “Success isn’t just measured in inches,
pounds or heart rate.”

She was greatly inspired by the dedication of her client Dave.
“He has lost 140 pounds since January 2006 and has kept it off. He became so inspired he quit his job
as a mortgage broker and has become a trainer and [run] his first marathon. His
transformation was an incredibly rewarding experience for both of us.”

Metcalf developed her motto, “Be moved,” when she realized that
fitness and health are an emotional and physical commitment. Her mission is to
inspire, educate and motivate change. “I have helped over 20 clients and/or
students become certified fitness professionals. I also reach consumers through
my newly created cable TV show, Fit

She is a fitness contributor for television station NBC 5 in
Chicago and has participated in more than 30 events promoting health, in part
as a result of her NBC affiliation. Six years ago, she started a family
run/walk, which to date has raised over $5,000 for the local community. She
also helped form a team of individuals to volunteer their time to give
deserving moms a total makeover experience for Mother’s Day.

Finalist: Jonathan Ross

Bowie, Maryland

Jonathan Ross does personal training,
consulting, speaking and freelance writing through his company Aion Fitness
LLC. He is also a personal trainer and personal training director for Sport
Fit—Total Fitness Club.

He is dedicated to bringing better living through fitness to
those who need it most. “Both of my parents were obese. This gives me a great
sensitivity and a strong desire to help the majority of the population. I want
people feeling better in their bodies so they can live longer and better.”

Nicholas is just one of Ross’s clients who inspire him. “This
amazing teenager suffered a porencephalic cyst, resulting in hemiparesis—essentially,
a stroke—as an infant. As a result, the right side of his body has limited
motor development and muscle tone. I’ve focused on gross and fine motor skill
development while keeping the sessions fun.”

Ross wants to shape a fresh concept of what a personal trainer is
in the minds of the public. “Too many people feel they ‘need to get in better
shape first, then hire a trainer,’ due to the mistaken perception that a
trainer will put them through grueling workouts,” he explains. “My aim is to
make training a more realistic option for almost everyone.”

Ross strives to share the message of fitness with the public in a
variety of ways. He is the featured fitness expert for Discovery Health’s
National Body Challenge 2008; he acts as an online community leader, posting to
blogs and motivating the 400,000 participants of the challenge.


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

Finalist: Shirley Archer, JD, MA

West Palm Beach, Florida, and Zurich, Switzerland

Shirley Archer
is a fitness and wellness instructor, an award-winning author, a presenter and
a health educator. Her cutting-edge classes skillfully apply the latest
research in exercise science, behavioral change and mind-body interactions.

By leading healthy-lifestyle classes—such as “Walking for
Workplace Well­ness,” “Your Total Body Stretch Plan,” “Workday Survival
Fitness” and “The Road to Wellness”—and leading workshops on workplace movement
mechanics and office ergonomics, she influenced thousands of faculty, staff and
students at Stanford University.

A mind-body-spirit fitness expert, she designs unique fusion
workouts like “Heaven, Earth & Man—A Mind-Body Stretch.” She also teaches
innovative water classes that serve beginners, special populations and
athletes. She is currently creating integrated wellness programming—drawing on
her recent training in wellness coaching—for M.D. Beauty Labs, a leading
medical spa in Palm Beach, Florida, founded by Daniela Dadurian, MD.

Archer strives to inspire the world to wellness. “My work spans
the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia in multiple languages,” she says. “My
mother is Japanese; my father is Caucasian-American. I live in Switzerland and
the U.S. and am developing programs for Europeans. I seek to bridge gaps of
understanding among people to help us realize our common humanity and shared
needs for happiness and health.”

To reach individuals who aren’t necessarily exercising in
facilities, she has developed 10 consumer books/products that have helped over
150,000 people worldwide and been translated into French, German, Italian,
Russian and Chinese. She also inspires new exercisers by giving free talks,
book promos and exercise demos at high-traffic public places.

Finalist: Chalene Johnson

Laguna Hills, California

As creator and
CEO of Powder Blue Productions, Chalene Johnson develops and continually
choreographs new routines and creates instructor-training videotapes for her
prechoreographed formats, such as Turbo Kick
® and PiYo™. She
instructs these workouts—and others—for fitness facilities in Southern

In addition to Turbo Kick and PiYo, Johnson has developed several
other branded fitness classes and consumer workouts, including Turbo Jam™,
Turbo Flex™, Strength Fusion™, Booty Sculpt™, Ab-Jam™ and various exercise ball
programs, to name a few. Johnson’s instructor-training programs have certified
nearly 30,000 fitness professionals.

In 2005 and 2006, with the successful launch of her first fitness
infomercial, Turbo Jam, Johnson introduced her unique brand of fun fitness to
consumers. Turbo Jam became the number-one-selling infomercial of 2006, helping
her reach more than 4 million inactive individuals.

How does Johnson help her community? “Quarterly I volunteer to
teach, coach and educate obese people needing to make permanent lifestyle
changes,” she says. “I meet once a day with up to 75 participants. We exercise
and discuss diet, changing habits and identifying emotional eating for 2 weeks.
Then the coaching continues via Internet, phone and classes for up to 12 weeks.
My proudest accomplishment is to have helped several individuals lose nearly
100 pounds each over the last several years.”

To reach youth, her Turbo Fit Kids program is designed to give
fitness instructors the tools, resources and information they need to serve as
school system volunteers in their communities. Personally, Johnson volunteers
as a physical education teacher for first and second graders.

Finalist: Carol Murphy

Fairport, New York

Carol Murphy is national programming
director and a master trainer for Resist-A-Ball®, as well as a master trainer
for Reebok, Body Bar™, Drums Alive and Gliding™. She is an instructor
coordinator for 10 fitness centers in the Rochester SilverSneakers® network and
led classes for years at her FitLife studio. She now teaches at the
state-of-the-art Eastside YMCA to expand her reach.

Helping people improve their health in fun ways is at the heart
of everything Murphy does. “I initiated ‘Outdoor Fitness Training,’ ‘Reebok
Body Walk,’ ‘Run-Walk’ and ‘Learn to Roller-Blade’ programs to draw the
interest of our community,” she says. “I’ve brought salsa and country line
dancing to community churches and the high-school graduation bash. I’ve taught
fitness classes for mentally disabled adults as well as for deaf and hearing-impaired
students. At FitLife I worked to break down the barriers to fitness by offering
a fun, stimulating childcare environment for students’ kids.”

Murphy strives to listen and respond to people’s goals and
inhibitions, developing intriguing, user-friendly and effective methods to
bring joyful, feels-great movement to everyone. “If we help people find
enjoyable ways to get moving, they will be more compelled to want to do it. This is a
pivotal point, where they become inspired and ultimately empowered toward
getting active.”

Each year, she devotes time to helping the community by offering
a Thanks­giving class and giving the donations that are raised to a local
cause. She has also volunteered her time to teach proper conditioning to local
athletic teams, ranging from Little League baseball teams to the National High
School Cheerleading Champs.

SIDEBAR: The Selection Process

How are the awards finalists and recipients selected? Here
is a brief overview of the selection process:

  • Applications
    for the IDEA Health & Fitness Awards are posted on the IDEA website
    (www.ideafit.com). You may apply for an award yourself or nominate another
    candidate. Appli­cations must adhere closely to the specific guidelines and be
    received by the deadline. The deadline for the 2009 awards is December 1, 2008.
  • The
    application forms are designed by peer committees, who define objective
    criteria for each award. The committees assign a number of points to each
    criterion so judges can rate the applications numerically.
  • The
    applications are reviewed by a committee of fitness peers, and the committee
    members independently review and rate each application. (There is no discussion
    between judges about each applicant.) Each year a new committee is selected to
    judge the applications. Applicants are judged by their written responses to
    questions on how they “walk their walk,” inspire others and make a difference
    in their communities. Selection of finalists and recipients is based entirely
    on the mean averages of the committee members’ ratings.
  • Finalists
    are notified, and the recipients are announced at the IDEA World Fitness
    Convention each summer.

SIDEBAR: Kudos to Award Judges

Thank you to the following veteran industry professionals,
who volunteered their time to judge the IDEA Health & Fitness Inspiration
Awards applications:

  • Lenita
  • Leigh
  • Grace
  • Lisa
  • Shannon
  • Jeff
  • Fred
  • Greg
  • Krista
  • Jennifer
  • Rochelle
  • Kerry
  • Bill
  • Tony
  • Misty


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.