Today’s fitness professionals know the importance of taking a holistic approach to health and wellness. It’s not enough to count push-ups or to program a list of sets and reps for clients. Many people are stressed out by life’s demands; the pros who truly have a positive influence are the ones who listen to their clients, understand what they need, help them improve their lives, and strive to create a deep bond of trust and respect.
This year’s IDEA award recipients take exactly this approach to working with their clients and communities. The 2015 Program Director of the Year, Personal Trainer of the Year and Fitness Instructor of the Year were celebrated at the IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in Los Angeles in July.
Here, these leaders share their passion for the industry, what is most meaningful for them and what contributes to their clients’ success.
Kimberly Spreen-Glick: 2015 IDEA Program Director of the Year
What is Kimberly Spreen-Glick’s wish for the future of the industry? “To continue to broaden our scope well beyond the physical, and to redefine ‘fitness’ to include the mental, emotional and spiritual,” she says. “I believe this holistic approach will take us to an entirely new level and truly enable our industry to inspire the world with a focus on much more than just losing a pants size.”
She says she’s lucky to have an amazing husband, Rob Glick, who shares a holistic perspective while also being fully engaged in the fitness industry. “In balancing a full-time job with being a wife and mom, I’ve definitely had to broaden my definition of ‘physical activity.’ Often, the right choice for me is to chase my 3-year-old son Ty around the park to get my heart rate up, as opposed to taking a group fitness class. In addition to being my ‘personal trainer,’ Ty is my greatest teacher, as he’s so present in every moment.”
Based in Aliso Viejo, California, Spreen-Glick is the senior national director of group fitness, yoga and cycling for Life Time Fitness®, a company that operates more than 115 centers across the United States and Canada. She is also co-producer of EMPOWER! fitness events and a continuing education provider.
She has spent the last 8 years creating and building Life Time’s unique signature offerings. “These formats have intelligently designed profiles created to provide a safe, effective workout that helps members reach their goals,” she says. “I’ve also ramped up the training protocol [to include] online prelearning in addition to our live training and certifications that instructors must pass to teach these formats.”
Spreen-Glick thinks there are two types of leaders—one who believes her job is to create followers, and one who knows that job is to create more leaders. “I have always prescribed to the latter and do my best to live by it,” she says. “I passionately feel that my professional responsibility is to inspire and lift people up. That starts with setting high standards for what is to be accomplished; hiring talented, passionate people; and giving my best while also expecting their best.”
Jen Ryan, who has worked with Spreen-Glick for 15 years, explains part of what makes her a fantastic program director and leader: “She creates things that have never existed but she believes should have,” she says. “A prime example is our Exclusive Life Time Instructor program. This program allows instructors to get company benefits such as health insurance, education reimbursement, high wages and stock rewards—things that are normally accessible only to full-time employees. This is an industry game-changer!”
Ryan adds, “Kimberly is an inclusive leader, and each individual she interacts with feels accepted,
Spreen-Glick also believes in supporting charities. “In 2014 we partnered with Toyota. For every member who registered prior to a scheduled charity class, Toyota donated $1 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Toyota donated over $3,500 to St. Jude’s from the energy put into 1 hour on 1 day! We’ll be repeating this event at least once per year.”
Mike Z. Robinson: 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year
One of Mike Z. Robinson’s favorite sayings is “Everything that happens inside of the gym makes everything outside of the gym better.” His commitment to helping his clients—and himself—to live authentic, healthy lives inside and outside of physical training drives his success.
Robinson owns MZR Fitness in San Luis Obispo, California, training clients 38–40 hours a week and managing six staff members. He is also the founder of Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises, which features mentorship and personal trainer development programs, gym design, speaking and consulting. He recently completed his first e-book, Fitness Up, Everything Up.
“I always want to learn more,” he says. “I love improving myself to be better. No matter how long I’m in the industry, my personal goal for myself is to get better
His mission for the personal training industry? “Raise the bar in a saturated field of fitness professionals,” he says. “The higher the bar, the less full the industry will be with unqualified personal trainers. Then clients will be able to get reputable assistance and reach fitness success like never before!”
He raises the bar for his clients by never repeating a workout. “My clients love the diversity that I bring them in our workouts,” he notes. “I aim to spark their interest, set goals and get quick results, which help them catch the ‘fitness bug’ and want to do all of the right things the rest of the week when I’m not with them.” He has helped 13 clients lose more than 100 pounds each in the last 4 years.
To reach people who don’t want personal or semiprivate training, he offers an indoor circuit training boot camp, youth fitness programs, MZR Fit Kids Afterschool, fitness retreats, corporate fitness and MZR Weight Loss Programs.
Robinson focuses strongly on building relationships with his clients. He created a board of directors (exclusively from his client base) to help him make various decisions about his business. He also surveys all his clients quarterly.
It’s clear that clients think he’s a first-class trainer. “People love training with him because he’s so much fun that you forget you are even working out,” says Carol G. Melstrand. “His positive energy is contagious, his sense of humor is great, and he is so detail-oriented in every training session. He routinely does more than you would expect a trainer to do to help you reach a goal.”
Client Clark B. agrees: “My quality of life is healthier. I sleep better, eat better, drink more water, handle stress better and make it a point to be around positive people. I owe this all to Mike because he drills it into my head that all of the ‘little things’ in fitness are much more important than looking good.”
Robinson is also passionate about healthy kids catching the fitness bug. As part of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, he created an essay-writing contest with the topic “What does fitness mean to me?” Over 150 essays were submitted, and the winners—one boy and one girl—received semipersonal training sessions.
Amy Dixon: 2015 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year
Amy Dixon believes in paying it forward. Having taught group fitness classes since she was 15, she’s had the opportunity to be surrounded by some of the best fitness instructors in the world. She’s applied her knowledge to better herself and to educate other instructors in how to bring current, effective movement to their students.
“It’s important to help raise the level of professionalism within the industry,” she says. “The better, more educated and more innovative every fitness professional becomes, the more successful we’ll be in helping to Inspire the World to Fitness®.”
Dixon has worked for Equinox Fitness Clubs for more than 11 years, and she was recently named national group fitness creative manager, a role in which she develops and creates group fitness programming. She is also West Coast cycling master trainer with Equinox, helping to teach newer instructors how to deliver an unparalleled member experience. Based in Los Angeles, she teaches several fitness classes per week and is a master trainer and international program developer for Schwinn®, BOSU®, GRAVITY® and SHOCKWAVE®.
“I have always felt connected to the collective energy that elevates everyone in a group fitness class to do better,” Dixon says. “I truly love teaching movement in all forms.” She’s created the following international programs for Equinox: Super Hero Training Camp; Full Circle; and Breathless: The Ride. In addition to these programs, she teaches or has taught numerous formats, such as kickboxing, global conditioning, vinyasa flow yoga, barre burn and a ViPR™-kettlebell combo.
“She loves to change lives, and she studies ferociously so she can speak as an expert,” says client Caleb Wilson. “She is always the hardest-working person in the room. But she is also the happiest. She shows you how to push past a threshold with a smile on your face, and that is why people love her.”
Dixon also enjoys inspiring instructors. “I have taught certifications and workshops to instructors across the United States and Canada, as well as developing and presenting workshops at major conventions internationally since 2007.”
She wants to make sure everyone has access to fitness, and toward that end she has self-produced a number of respected workout DVDs for consumers. Examples include
a combo of cardio kickboxing and core conditioning, and
Give Me 10!,
which includes five 10-minute workouts.
It’s hard for her to measure the impact she’s made on DVD watchers, but she received a note from a woman who was recovering from cancer. “After the surgeries and the weight gain, I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror, much less exercise,” she writes. “But I started to research videos and saw a demo of Amy’s
Give Me 10!
I immediately felt a positive connection to her. I purchased several of her videos and have been hooked ever since! Amy’s routines and her words of wisdom kept me motivated and told me to never give up. Because of her I lost 30 pounds!”
Dixon also focuses on giving back to her community. She is a local school event leader for Jump Rope for Heart and has served as an instructor and team leader for Cycle for Heroes—a fundraiser for The Heroes Project, a veterans support organization.