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What does it mean to be the world’s top Personal Trainer to Watch?


"I’ve learned that people will forget what you’ve said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel” - Maya Angelou

I have to admit that I honestly thought I was the victim of some sort of prank. The email open on my desktop screen congratulated me on winning the 2012 Personal Trainers to Watch award. Scrolling down to the bottom of the screen, I eyed the Life Fitness signature, hit the reply button and responded with a less than impressive “Are you kidding me?”

I was in a suspended state of shock as I stared at the subsequent replies. It was true. I won the award. I was not, contrary to what you might imagine, jumping up and down and screaming. How could I be the one out of over 1000 worldwide entries?  I didn’t know what to do. What does the World’s Top Trainer do?

I had no idea, so I carried on with the rest of my day, not breathing a word to anyone and did what I know best: I shut down my computer, threw on my gym shoes and returned to my small studio floor to train. Over the next few weeks, the word got out. Over the past several months, I have been interviewed by magazines and radio shows. It is a wonderful experience! My commemorative plaque hangs in the office at my gym, Spirit Fitness Training in Austin, Texas. My clients and staff are as proud of the award as I am. A copy of the press release is posted on the door and I love watching new clients as they arrive for our first meeting. I see their eyes volley back and forth between the plaque, photo on the release and me. There’s a moment of pause until I acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room as say, “Yes, that’s me. Crazy right?” quickly returning to the session at hand. I am regularly asked how I won the award, what did I do to get it and how and if it has boosted my client base at the gym. There is a desire for me to provide some sort of measurable monetary based return on holding the PTTW title. People want to know if there is some sort of big payoff.

My little gym continues to chug along and my client referrals are still largely by my professional reputation and word of mouth. We all absolutely love the new Life Fitness elliptical that came as part of my prize package. On the day it arrived, I am absolutely certain that the delivery guys were a bit overwhelmed by my client’s screams and excitement. Their elliptical was here! And yes, they had to video the impressive machine being put in to place. As one woman put it “We are moving on up!”

On a professional level, I worked hard to be a chosen member of the ViPR Pro Training team and a contributing author to PTontheNet. I continuously plan my education goals for the year, always seeking advanced knowledge and higher certification. A personal memoir is coming along and I hope to complete the final manuscript over the next few months.

Over the past several months, I have learned to appreciate what winning this award really means. The fitness industry is a competitive. Trainers are often judged by popularity votes. Personal Trainers to Watch is different in this regard.

The substance of the award is not in the media attention or marketing efforts. It is not in the prizes. It is not in the public recognition. The real award is the peer recognition. The real honor is in the realization that this program is based on service, education and achievement. The humbling gift is the awesome knowledge that leaders in my profession have acknowledged my intentional contributions to the industry, regardless of how many or how few fans I have. As my husband says, “This program is like trying to compare the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Emmy’s - review by professional peers is so much more meaningful.” He’s right.

My work days begin at 4:45 a.m. six days a week. Driving to the gym each morning, I know I am gifted with another day. Opening the front doors with one hand and a foot, I drag in a clean batch of towels and hit the light switch that awakens the fluorescent hum. The clock on the wall movies mechanically. Minute by minute, the outside world is rising. The race against time has not yet begun. The early bird clients arrive to take up their familiar stations on mats and machines. Movement begins. Bodies warm. Heart rates accelerate. Breathing is focused, audible and evident. I train bodies for a living. I train bodies for life. I love it.

If you or someone you know loves personal training as much as I do, I encourage you to enter this amazing competition. As one of this year’s judges, we’ll be looking for trainers who demonstrate exceptional leadership, client support, motivation and inspiration.

What are you waiting for?

Nominate Yourself

Nominate a Trainer

personal training
personal trainers to watch
Personal Trainers
Joanne Blackerby


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