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2011 IDEA World Fitness Awards Finalists

Honoring the accomplishments of veteran fitness pros.

IDEA members around the world make a difference every day by helping people get fit in body, mind and spirit. The IDEA World Fitness Awards highlight professionals who consistently give their all to motivate their clients, their communities and the fitness industry. Join us in celebrating the achievements of the finalists for the 2011 IDEA Program Director of the Year, IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year. Award recipients will be announced in the July–August issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

Congratulations to all of the fitness pros who applied for the awards and to our finalists. Below we share snapshots of the finalists’ careers, taken from the award applications that IDEA received by December 1, 2010.


This award recognizes an individual 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: Lance Breger, MS Washington, DC

Lance Breger, MS, is the head private trainer and senior master instructor at MINT Fitness & Spa in Washington, DC.

In addition to having a passion for helping adults, he loves to light the fitness fire under kids. He co-founded a nonprofit called Infinity Wellness Foundation. This foundation uses its WELLKIDS program to help prevent childhood obesity in local students by offering them cardio and strength training, flexibility training, yoga, meditation and nutrition education.

Breger volunteers 15–20 hours each week for the foundation. As its president, he is helping it move past its startup stage. “Our work—creating a curriculum; training personal trainers; seeking sponsors from business; engaging school nurses, teachers and administrators; and asking for contributions—is all about changing the lives of youth,” he says.

In 2 years of operations, the WELLKIDS program has graduated more than 800 students. Plus, Breger has educated personal trainers and teachers. “We created an orientation program and an 8-week curriculum for personal trainers to work in the DC Public Schools,” he says. “Ten trainers graduated from the program in 2010. We also developed a curriculum for elementary-school teachers to integrate wellness into the classroom.”

To make sure the program is effective, all outcomes for the students are evaluated using the WELLKIDS pre- and post-program questionnaire, which was designed with the support of the chair of the George Washington University exercise science department.

Breger spreads the wellness message in written word through his column in City Living magazine and through “Lance: The Blog!”

Finalist: Fraser Quelch Canmore, Alberta

Fraser Quelch, head of fitness and training for TRX®, is also the creator and lead educator of the TRX Suspension Training® program.

“My role is to work in conjunction with our team to create educational experiences that inspire and challenge fitness professionals and recruit and train top-flight instructors who can deliver our programs all over the world,” says Quelch.

Quelch went from having 30 instructors in three countries in 2009 to having over 200 instructors in 39 countries by the end of 2010. “This growth has been made possible by the successful implementation of an advanced instructor development and evaluation process,” he says. “It has enabled us to withstand an exponential growth in instructor assets while maintaining a high standard of performance.”

Quelch is constantly seeking innovative ways to bring Suspension Training to different groups. “In 2010 we launched TRX TEAM, to provide small-group training in a club environment,” he says. “We also created a new educational program targeted at the military.”

Quelch’s leadership has resulted in the emergence of TRX Suspension Training as an innovative category of exercise. “This proprietary training methodology and [its] system of exercises using body weight and the TRX allow people of every ability, from the [obese] contestants on The Biggest Loser to world-class athletes like swimming legend Michael Phelps, to attain their goals.”

Quelch and his company are involved in the Wounded Warrior Foundation. Five dollars from every TRX FORCE Kit™ purchase goes to provide wounded warriors with training equipment that will help rehabilitate their injuries and re-integrate the veterans into civilian life.

Finalist: Martin Rooney, MHS, PT Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Martin Rooney, MHS, PT, is chief operating officer for Parisi Franchise Systems. He is responsible for the training systems, business strategy and staff development for all 66 Parisi franchises. He is also chief executive officer for Training for Warriors LLC, where he is in charge of training systems development, business strategy and license development.

“I have had to learn how to motivate internally, simplify procedures and programs and develop time and financial management strategies for our staffs,” he says. “I do this with my strategy of ‘open, honest, direct communication in real time.’ Each month I create a company-wide webinar, distilling new topics in training and business to save staff time and assure cutting-edge knowledge.”

In addition to giving presentations for Fortune 500 companies, universities and professional teams, writing articles and creating educational materials, Rooney still enjoys training clients, including many top fighters. Over 500,000 athletes from 7-year-olds to Olympic and pro athletes, have been trained either by Rooney personally or by Parisi instructors whom he has trained.

Of his many programs, the recent Parisi Total Conditioning membership program is a favorite. “To reduce economic barriers to training programs, I co-developed and implemented a membership system: unlimited training for a fixed, low price per month,” he says. “To accomplish that profitably, I designed a structured program with interchangeable modules so we could add to each class size without sacrificing individual attention and quality instruction. The new model is partly geared toward inactive kids.”

Rooney makes a difference in the community by speaking on fitness and nutrition at high-school and elementary-school events across the country.


This award recognizes an individual 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: JJ Flizanes Beverly Hills, California

JJ Flizanes is director of Invisible Fitness™ and co-founder of Getting-Fit.com, a business and results management program for both trainers and clients.

From exercise design to implementation, Invisible Fitness provides one-on-one personal training for executives, high-performance clients and high-visibility individuals. The personalized programs employ in-person and telephone coaching in fitness, nutrition and life balance.

What set Flizanes apart from her celebrity fitness counterparts are her anatomically centered routines, which protect overworked and aging joints. “When training, I honor each individual’s anatomical structure, since we are all built differently,” she says. “That’s why I branded my company Invisible Fitness. What you can’t see is more important than what you can. I base my exercises on biomechanics, physics and the individual, while I base my programming on the person’s goals, mindset and needs.”

She is the co-creator of the 6 Week Beach Body Program, designed to help clients lose weight quickly, easily and healthfully and keep it off using both mind and body tools. She is also the author of the Amazon.com best-selling Fit 2 Love: How to Get Physically, Emotionally, and Spiritually Fit to Attract the Love of Your Life (Bush Street Press 2011). Her newest book, Knack Absolute Abs: Routines for a Fit and Firm Core will be released in August.

Flizanes is the fitness and health expert for the National Association of Entrepreneur Moms. She also shares her knowledge with the community: she has presented monthly free talks for Whole Foods® and put together the National Breast Cancer Coalition fundraiser to promote breast cancer awareness and research.

Finalist: Jason Karp, PhD San Diego, California

Jason Karp, PhD, is founder and trainer at RunCoachJason.com, where he spends 20–25 hours per week working one-on-one with clients. He is also founder and instructor of Dr. Karp’s Run-Fit Boot Camp and founder and trainer of the REVO2LT Running Team™.

“All of the programs I use with my one-on-one clients, whether they want to lose 20 pounds or run a marathon, are systematic and based on science,” he says. “My training programs are planned in cycles, with each cycle building on what came before it. Everything is designed with a physiological purpose, taking into consideration the client’s goals and his or her strengths and weaknesses. It’s a give-and-take process, with me learning and understanding what is best for the client and then developing a training program to highlight the client’s strengths while improving his or her weaknesses. This systematic, scientific approach is what gives clients results.”

Karp challenges his clients to use their training and their pursuit of goals to better themselves. “In a society in which we often reward mediocrity, in which ‘everyone is a winner,’ people respond to the standards we set,” he says. “If we set high standards, people respond by achieving a lot more. People can achieve a lot more than they think, but they often need to be challenged to do so.”

Jason has published more than 200 articles in industry magazines and journals and in local, national and international consumer fitness magazines. He is the author of How to Survive Your PhD (Sourcebooks 2009), 101 Developmental Concepts & Workouts for Cross Country Runners (Healthy Learning 2010) and the forthcoming 101 Winning Racing Strategies and Women’s Running Bible.

Finalist: Brett Klika San Diego, California

Brett Klika is director of athletic performance for Fitness Quest 10. He manages a staff of eight athlete performance specialists and maintains a personal training schedule of 35–50 client sessions per week, working with children, adults and professional athletes.

“My programs are based on the physical and emotional needs of the different ages and levels of clients involved,” he says. “By applying scientifically sound exercise programming in a positive and fun environment, clients can achieve on-going success. From my BE GREAT! program for youth, which combines physical development pedagogy with life skills training, to my Accountability Coach online adult program, which has provided information and motivation to clients around the world, [my programs are motivating participants] to improve their fitness and overall well-being.”

When it comes to his professional standards, Klika is committed to creating a fulfilling experience for clients. “This involves gaining their trust and commitment through professionalism, sincerity and being a great listener. I aim to listen more than I talk, and never contaminate my clients with toxic comments or gossip. Above all, I try to get clients to laugh and play. I don’t want them to view exercise as ‘penance’ for the ‘sins’ they have committed. I want them to look forward to being active.”

Klika’s goal for the personal training industry? “When training, presenting and writing, I aim to motivate, educate and inspire trainers to expect greatness from themselves. This enables them to deliver a successful and empowering experience to their clients.”

To educate people in the community, he gives two to three free lectures per month on youth fitness and performance topics for physical education departments, sports clubs, youth organizations and parent groups.


This award recognizes an individual IDEA member who is a practicing group fitness instructor and 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 lifestyles.

Finalist: Leigh Crews Rome, Georgia

Founder and president of Dynalife Inc., Leigh Crews has worn just about every hat possible in the fitness industry, from instructor to general manager to aerobic competition judge to program developer/educator. “Now I teach classes, coach and train clients, plus travel to teach at workshops and conventions,” she says. “I am also a member of the Batuka Development Team.”

In the last 30 years Crews has taught a vast array of classes, such as high- and low-impact, abs and core, step, slide, Gliding™, core board, barbell classes, circuits and interval training, boot camps, stretching, yoga, studio cycle, stability ball, TRX Suspension Training, kettlebells, sports programs, kids’ classes and classes for older adults.

She believes fitness professionals can inspire healthy lifestyle choices in more people by offering them nontraditional methods. “My ‘games for fitness,’ wellness coaching, Internet learning and individualized programming are just a few of the ways I have found to do my part to Inspire the World to Fitness®,” she says.

Crews takes pride in inspiring people outside the fitness mainstream. “My Tee Rx course provides sport-specific training and leverages the strengths of the TRX Suspension Trainer™ with other equipment in a 6-week progressive golf conditioning class. Golfers report improved golf performance though increased stamina, improved swing, and longer drives due to gains in power and speed.”

In addition to the numerous projects she’s involved with in her local community, Crews uses GPS Adventure Training, which she created with her husband, as an outlet for philanthropic work. “We have provided many GPS Adventures free of charge for deserving causes,” she says.

Finalist: Stacy McCarthy Rancho Santa Fe, California

As owner and founder of Yoga NamaStacy, Stacy McCarthy offers classes, DVDs, workshops, retreats, corporate events and teacher trainings for the yoga and fitness industry. She is also yoga director and co-founder of the Yoga School of Business and is redesigning the yoga certification program for MiraCosta College.

Formerly a group exercise instructor and chief operating officer for a successful chain of health clubs, McCarthy has become an advanced yoga practitioner and developed a practice derived from ashtanga and vinyasa yoga, implementing techniques designed to inspire beginners and experienced students alike. She is recognized for bridging the gap between fitness and the traditional teachings of yoga.

McCarthy regularly teaches yoga classes in the San Diego area. She also offers mother-daughter retreats focusing on yoga, health, exercise and communication. She teaches yoga to private clients, including older adults, teens, people with disabilities and athletes. In addition, she leads 200- and 500-hour yoga certifications three times a year.

Inspired by the needs of a client who travels frequently, McCarthy has developed an array of products that he—and other clients—can use on the road. These items include yoga DVDs, audio programs, practice posters and yoga applications for downloads.

McCarthy helps organize and present at Yoga for Hope—San Diego, which in 2010 raised over $80,000 in funds for the City of Hope™, to help with life-threatening illnesses. She has also participated in Shakti Rising’s “Karma Yoga for a Cause.” This annual day of health and healing raises money and awareness about helping multiethnic young women at lower economic levels with issues such as substance abuse and violence.

Finalist: Krista Popowych Vancouver, British Columbia

Krista Popowych is a veteran group fitness instructor and presenter and the manager of program services for the Richmond Olympic Oval. As program manager, she was recruited to hire, train and develop the staff, services and programs at the Oval. Now, after the 2010 Winter Olympics, she oversees the fitness, high-performance and client-services teams.

“I teach a variety of classes, including stability ball, athletic training, fitness trampoline, indoor cycling, pre- and post-natal, step, BOSU® Balance Trainer, strength, boot camps, yoga/Pilates fusion and anything and everything in between,” Popowych says. “I have also taught to all market groups, including the active aging, cardiac rehab, high-school students, women’s rehabilitation and wellness programs and corporate fitness.”

Being innovative in class design is a passion for Popowych. “Creating catchy programs and names entices people to try something new,” she says. “It’s important to create the hook, deliver the wow and educate. At the Oval, I have increased program choices and attendance rates through innovative workouts. Some noteworthy classes, both present and past, include express workouts—30-minute sessions for new to advanced exercisers; “Transformer”—group resistance training encouraging strength training; and “Row and Ride”—combining indoor cycling and indoor rowing.”

Popowych also enjoys helping fitness pros. “As a presenter, I regularly receive feedback that I give instructors information and choreography they can use right away with their own students,” she says. She gives back to the fitness industry—and local community—by successfully mentoring students from the University of British Columbia, Langara College and Camosun College. She has spent hundreds of hours volunteering her services; her current love is teaching twice-weekly fitness classes for 5- and 6-year olds.

The Selection Process

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

  • Applications for the IDEA World 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 2012 awards is December 1, 2011.
  • 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, as well as by their education and industry experience. Selection of award finalists and recipients is based entirely on the mean averages of the committee members’ ratings.
  • Finalists are notified, and the recipients are announced in the July–August issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Kudos to Award Judges

Thank you to the following veteran industry professionals who volunteered their time to judge the IDEA World Fitness Awards applications:

  • Biray Alsac
  • Lashaun Dale
  • Eve Fleck
  • Janice Hutton
  • Darren Jacobson
  • Karen Jashinsky
  • Scott Josephson
  • Carol Murphy
  • Christine Romani-Ruby
  • Jonathan Ross
  • Cindy Stokes
  • Zoey Trap
  • Peter Twist
  • Amanda Vogel
  • Alexandra Williams


This award recognizes an individual 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.

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