PFP is proud and honored to present our first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Phil Kaplan, who we consider to be the Father of Personal Training. Because of his lifetime commitment to elevating the status and compensation of personal trainers through education and the unselfish sharing of his experiences, fitness professionals stand at the forefront of changing America's plight of obesity and the shift to wellness. Phil's 20-year dedication to the fitness industry, the "truth" about fitness, his clients and, most importantly, to the professionalism of personal trainers is the reason that we honor him today.


People throw around the words honesty, integrity and excellence; however, few actually understand or live by their meanings. But those are all words Phil Kaplan takes literally, and they have served him well throughout his incredible career.
Many people know of Phil Kaplan, but few truly know him. I was fortunate enough to find myself sitting across the table from Phil in the spring of 2001 when eDiets interviewed him for a consulting position. Phil leaned forward and simply shared that he was a personal trainer who delivered the fitness truth. Now today, that no longer sounds like a big deal since everyone has adopted Phil-isms, such as fitness truth, supportive nutrition and synergy (for more Phil-isms, see the side bar on the next page). Phil went on to explain that he was the fitness professional who was the watch dog for the consumers. He went up against pharmaceutical and supplement companies, weight loss experts, physicians, fat loss products, infomercials, diet drugs and anyone making false claims regarding fitness and nutrition.
Phil has gone to extreme lengths to stand behind the fitness truth. When he was deceived by an infomercial company who tried to change his words in a commercial segment, he re-mortgaged his house, going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in a legal dispute, in order to prevent the fraudulent show from airing. This was only the beginning of the lengths I have seen Phil go to in order to honor the fitness truth.
Phil was very modest; however, he was extremely passionate. He simply called himself a personal trainer, not a guru, not a fitness business consultant, not a radio personality, not a multi-club owner, not a web master, author, celebrity trainer, millionaire or international presenter — all of which he could have easily done. When I visited his website,, I did not find an alphabet of letters after his name (although he easily could have placed those credentials there). I did not see a bio or resume page, testimonials from celebrity clients or a website
filled with pictures of Phil. There was only a small picture with a quote from none other than legend, Joe Weider, who I later came to find out relied on Phil's consulting to steer the direction of Weider Publications.  
Phil set out to be a personal trainer, and through his passion to deliver a fitness result and his willingness to take risks, he became one of the greatest leaders and pioneers in the personal training industry. He's the first one to admit he has made more mistakes than he's had successes, but Phil is not only a fast learner, but he also has an amazing ability for forecasting and turning lessons into opportunity.  
Phil is not about fluff or hype. He delivers jam-packed, quality information every time, and there are thousands of people in new bodies and thousands of personal trainers in new careers because of Phil's willingness to risk it all in delivering the fitness truth and helping trainers have a rewarding career. Phil continually strives to find ways of raising the bar for fitness pros, setting new standards for professionalism and insisting trainers are placed on a pedestal in terms of public perception, along with medical and legal professionals.
Career Highlights
Phil had gone head-to-head with Dr. Atkins on a top-ranked morning radio show and challenged Dr. Siegel, the Cookie Diet founder, and Dr. Agatston, of South Beach Diet fame, on national TV. As the host of the Mind & Muscle Fitness Hour radio show for over 15 years, Phil thoroughly enjoys pitting people with opposing views against each other so listeners can make more educated decisions. He has completed dozens of media tours and is published in the leading fitness and trade publications, all in the name of providing consumers and trainers with the fitness truth. Some of his most astounding programs include "Transform," "Eat," "The Best You Have Ever Been," "Personal Training Profits," "The Vault," "The Answer," "Exceeding Excellence," "R.E.S.C.U.E," "Ultimate Fat Loss" and the "21 Day Journey to Excellence."  
Phil also co-created the first business conference for personal trainers, called the Personal Trainer Business Forum, where for three days he, along with a few hand-selected speakers, energetically shares with fitness professionals all of his tools and proven business formulas from his past two decades in the trenches. I have seen and heard some of the powerful, life-altering testimonials from personal trainers who return, from all over the world, year after year to further develop their skills and take their business to the next level.  
Recent Challenges
The past two years have been challenging for Phil — to say the least! It began with Hurricane Wilma, tearing the roof off of his office and damaging his new home and his fitness center in Ft. Lauderdale. Not only did he lose inventory, had computers damaged and had to shut down business for a period of time, but in the months following, he would come to learn that he had developed a neuromuscular disease resulting from a mycotoxin found in the mold growing in the walls of his office. The illness was debilitating; however, he didn't let it slow him down. After relocating his office, traveling to medical facilities around the continent for examination and treatment and going through what many people would consider crippling challenges, Phil puts one foot in front of the other, holds tight to his mission and is excitedly now focused on the next stage of his career. He promises to impact more people than ever in more powerful ways than he ever has, and along with that promise, he's spearheaded a success organization for personal trainers, the Personal Trainer Business Alliance.
Integrity and Friendship
Since I have gotten to know Phil and called him a friend over the past six-plus years, I have seen him turn down lucrative contracts where the product or message was not in line with his personal philosophy on fitness. The more time I spend with Phil, the more impressed I am. He does not tell you the answer you want to hear. He has no hidden agenda except to provide you with a truthful answer that is in your best interest. Phil has yet to steer me wrong, and as one of the members of his mastermind group, I can share that I've seen his advice and introductions help trainers triple their income in a year's time.  
Phil is the guy who is never too busy to take or return your call and will do so with genuine interest and concern. His success is no accident. How can I possibly take 20 years of milestones, breakthroughs, teaching moments, successes and victories and wrap it into one short article? Well, I can't. I sincerely hope you now have an idea of how Phil's unlimited energy and passion for the personal training industry has helped its growth. It is with great gratitude that Personal Fitness Professional presents Phil Kaplan with the Lifetime Achievement Award. I look forward to watching him lead the way for the next 20 years.  
Turn the page to read a small sampling of testimonials of how Phil has positively influenced the many lives of fitness professionals in his astounding career, or log on to for more in-depth testimonials from the many others who have benefited from Phil's guidance and support.


Juan Carlos Santana, IHP:  "Phil is a true leader in the fitness industry. He has the unique ability to take difficult business concepts and communicate them in simple and practical terms. Phil is a consummate professional, and I'm proud to be his friend and colleague."

Joe Cirulli, Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers: "I've known Phil for a long time and have had the opportunity to be with him at many of his conventions. The first quality you'll notice about Phil is the one that makes all great leaders stand out, and that is his passion. Whether he is on stage or one-on-one, it comes through. The other quality that stands out is his ability to be open. He will listen to new ideas and concepts. Even though his core values and beliefs are strong, he's open to learning. That quality is what will make him exceptional in the future, too." 
Jesse D. Harper, National B2B: "As one of the thousands of fitness professionals, Phil has helped over the years, I congratulate him on this Lifetime Achievement Award. Phil is an innovator and a leader in an industry desperately in need of both. He has helped to change the lives of tens of thousands of individuals looking to improve their fitness and has served as the voice of reason against the many weight loss fallacies and myths. Personally, he has been instrumental in my growth and development over the past 15 years of my career. He has helped guide me from a personal trainer to a health club manager to a training studio owner to my current position as the National Sales Director for Polar. I am blessed to call Phil a mentor and a friend."
Dr. Christopher R. Mohr, Mohr Results, Inc: "Phil Kaplan has played an integral role in helping take my business from ordinary to extraordinary. He is a true mentor and friend who is never afraid to share all his positive and negative experiences so others can learn from his mistakes and his successes. Whether it's simple wording on a marketing piece for my latest DVD or more complex business questions, Phil's expertise is such that he is always there to provide amazing insight. Thanks for all your help!" 

Cliff Latham, Fitness Together & Elements: "For a lifetime, Phil has epitomized the true spirit of coaching and training. With integrity, a passion for excellence and a sincere care for every trainer in the industry, Phil has been more than a role model to all. Phil has been our friend and coach. Thanks Phil! You deserve this award." 
Howard Ravis, Fitness conference/meeting consultant, formerly Program Manager of Club Industry: "When I was putting together a superstar panel discussion of the leading personal training pros at a recent Club Industry show, Phil's name appeared at the top of the list!" 
Marll Theide, RB Publishing: "When we were thinking about doing the magazine, our president, Ron Brent, went to an event for club owners. While working out, he began talking to Phil, and Ron explained about the new magazine for personal trainers that we were going to launch. Without knowing anything about Ron or our company, Phil really believed in the idea and offered to write articles for the new magazine at no cost. Phil has been writing articles ever since and has advertised in the book on a consistent basis. Phil was instrumental in helping PFP launch and become successful." 
Dexter Tenison, Body Transformations: "Phil took me from a place where I couldn't pay the bills to a place where I lead in my area of the country. When I first started, I wondered if going into the fitness industry was a good decision for me. However, with the guidance of Phil and the things I've learned from him, I can truly see myself working the rest of my days in the fitness industry and loving every moment of it. I have total control of my business due to Phil's marketing systems, client motivational techniques, business structure, fee structures, promotions and on and on. His continued guidance has given me the ability to charge what I believe I am worth and teach other trainers under me that they too can be successful in the fitness industry as well. For all that Phil has done for me, I am truly thankful. Phil does not accept mediocrity. Where most personal trainers fail, Phil leads the way in teaching the business aspect of personal training and motivational techniques that help all trainers be able to boost a success rate that is unheard of by the current standards of the industry. 
Patrick Reilly, Natural Fitness Group: "The impact Phil has had on me is enormous. I remember first seeing him at the 2002 PTBF in Manhattan Beach, and I was blown away. I haven't heard of him before, and when he started to speak at the luncheon, I was impressed and enamored with what he was saying.  Since then he's helped me believe in myself and not be afraid to do things. He's given me direction and belief. That to me is priceless. 
"A few years ago, I was so stuck that I attended a Workshop in Manhattan Beach that Kelli [Calabrese] and Phil were leading. I remember that day very clearly and can confidently say if you're serious about personal training as a career, then you must listen to Phil. He's been there and will give you direction. There is no question that Phil is the leader of this industry. Because of what Phil has taught me, I am driven to prove to him and myself that I will be in the top one percent of the industry. There are many people out there that claim to be the "guru", but they're all knock-offs. There are 3 people I respect and admire in this industry: Kelli Calabrese, Phil and J.C. As far as everyone else, I don't pay attention to them.
"Thanks to Phil! I have so much confidence in what I do, and my future is extremely exciting! There's so much I want to say, but it comes down to a simple thank you. Phil, thank you for everything you've done for me. If you only knew what an important role you've played in my life! I look forward to my future successes!"
Dr. Anthony A. Abbott, Fitness Institute International: "I have been pleased and honored to have known Phil for over fifteen years, and as a result of his outstanding contributions to the fitness industry, he has received two different awards from Fitness Institute International at our annual awards ceremony. In 1996, he received our 'Media Award' for his efforts to educate the public about health and fitness misinformation through his weekly radio show 'Mind and Muscle Fitness Hour'. Later in 2005, he received our 'Fitness Facility of the Year Award' for his setting the standard of excellence and professional service through the employment of a highly credentialed and caring staff at his 'Fitness 21' facility in Sunrise, Florida." 
Ernie Schramayr, All Canadian Fitness: "Before meeting and working with Phil Kaplan, I thought that I was a professional. After just one lesson from Phil, I realized that for 10 years I was spinning my wheels, making little progress and not really knowing where to go next or what to do. Phil is teaching an industry how to act and behave like true professionals. By doing this, the fitness pros he is associated with are bringing infinitely more value to their clients and are building real, sustainable businesses in the process. Somehow, he is also able to make the process exciting and fun. Literally every week is more thrilling than the one before. While he is the ultimate pro and is compensated accordingly, the value he delivers outweighs the cost of doing business with him many times over. Since our association, All Canadian Fitness has grown from one trainer to five, and our gross income has grown five times greater in three years time.
"Thank you, Phil, for changing the industry and for changing my life."