People everywhere want to live healthfully but often lack the drive to get off the couch. Luckily, qualified fitness professionals can show them how to bridge the gap from thinking about good health to living it. Our nine IDEA World Fitness Award finalists have dedicated themselves to impacting their communities, their fitness colleagues and even people around the globe. Please join us in honoring these top-notch program directors, personal trainers and fitness instructors.

Program Director

IDEA Program Director of the Year

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.

Recipient: Carla Sottovia, PhD
Dallas

Carla Sottovia, PhD, is director of fitness and personal training education at the Cooper Fitness Center, and founder and president of MWOVE Education in the USA and Brazil.

Sottovia has worked at the Cooper Aerobic Center for more than 25 years, holding several positions that have been instrumental to the growth of Cooper and the fitness industry. As director of fitness and personal training education since 2009, she has developed and implemented the Cooper Fitness Center Personal Training Philosophy and Training System, which currently generates revenue of more than $3 million annually.

She has created and delivers continuing education programs for the Cooper Personal Training Department. She educates personal trainers outside of Cooper as well. She designed and developed CooperPT Mentorship, a continuing education program specifically for personal trainers wanting to take their business to the next level. She also helps Cooper Fitness Center members through 20-plus hours per week of one-on-one and Pilates training.

Finalists:

Debbie Bellenger, MA
Grace De Simone

Personal Trainer

IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year

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.

Recipient: Douglas Brooks, MS
Truckee, California

Douglas Brooks, MS, exercise physiologist, is director of global programming for BOSU® and for RealRyder® Indoor Cycling. A former Ironman triathlete, he is also director of athlete conditioning for Sugar Bowl Ski Academy.

Brooks trains clients individually and in small groups for an average of 30 hours per week. He works directly with 65 Sugar Bowl Ski Academy student-athletes and indirectly with 400 athletes from Sugar Bowl Ski Team and their associated conditioning programs. His clients range from world-class professional athletes to 13-year-old beginning athletes to adults doing general fitness training.

Why do clients like Brooks? “They know that I am human; I fail often and move forward. They see that I manage my life in a similar manner to how I counsel them. Message: Exercise works; don’t quit; grind it out when you need to; give yourself some slack. But never quit on me; never quit on yourself.”

Finalists:

Hayley Hollander
Carol Michaels, MBA

Fitness Instructor

IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year

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.

Recipient: Krista Popowych
Vancouver, British Columbia

Krista Popowych is a veteran group fitness instructor and presenter. She is education director and a master trainer for Keiser® and JumpSport® Fitness™ and former manager of the Richmond Olympic Oval, overseeing the fitness, sports, events and customer care teams from startup to post-Olympic legacy initiatives. She used to host the Canadian fitness television show, The Caribbean Workout, reaching 35 million viewers.

“I teach boot camps, athletic training, fitness trampoline, indoor cycling, step, kickboxing, strength, yoga, and anything and everything in between,” says Popowych. “I have 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. Some noteworthy classes, both present and past, include Express Workouts—30-minute sessions for the new to the advanced exerciser; Transformer— group resistance training; and Row and Ride—combining indoor cycling and indoor rowing.” Programs like these have increased participation in non-prime-time classes.

Finalists:

Amy Dixon
Linda Freeman Webster

To read the full article that ran in the September 2014 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal click here.