The fitness industry is an industry of deception and broken promises. It is filled with companies creating products that do not work. There are dozens of so-called "fitness marketing professionals" that dish out misleading information about how to grow your business, and there are hundreds of people exaggerating the amount of weight you can lose if you follow their program, buy their device or read their book. There are large companies trying to influence the industry from the outside in, simply to turn a profit. 
Then you have Phil Kaplan, the man leading the battle against all these false claims from the inside out. I say "from the inside out" because Phil is truly enveloped by the fitness industry. Like many of us, he started out as a foot soldier, and over the years he has developed into the general that this industry needed so badly: a man not afraid to challenge the lies and say "prove it". He is a man of integrity, compassion, and courage who was not afraid to put himself out there and lay it all on the line. Phil Kaplan is a true leader, but more importantly, he is a leader you can rely on. 
My First Encounter
I remember meeting Phil for the first time at his Personal Trainer Business Forum in 2003. Other than articles I had read and pictures I saw of him online and in magazines, I did not know who he was. When you get to know people through their writings or products, you never really know what to expect from them when you actually meet them in person for the first time. I will be honest: I was expecting a cocky, self-absorbed man who would not give me the time of day, but why would he? He is this super-successful guy and, at the time, I was struggling to keep a full training schedule. There is no way he could care about my success. I could nothave been more wrong. He not only cared about me and my success, but he cared about every single person in the room. And he has an incredible ability to empower people, one that surpasses any I have ever encountered. That, combined with his real-life business strategies, helped skyrocket many people's careers, including my own. 
Within thirty days of leaving the Forum, I went from being a fitness director for a Gold's Gym to owning my first personal training company, and I was more excited about my career than ever. After seeing that, despite his overwhelming success, Phil was still a normal guy, I started realizing my own potential. He made me feel that, if he could succeed, there is no reason why I couldn't succeed as well. Being able to realize your own potential opens doors for you that you could never open before and gives you a confidence you never had. When you have that confidence and those doors begin to open, your career is hit by the snowball effect. Meeting Phil not only educated and empowered me to be my best, but also helped me realize my true potential, so when I was approached to write this tribute, I not only accepted without hesitation, but I was honored.
His Impact on Us
One of the questions I was asked to address for this tribute was "What do I believe Phil has done or is doing for this industry?" In 2005, I was invited to be a part of a mastermind group of fitness and nutrition experts that Phil Kaplan and Kelli Calabrese were putting together to help raise the bar of the personal training industry and work together to help our businesses grow. This is where I really got to see Phil at work and see how truly passionate he is about everything he does to make things better for those that follow in his footsteps. 
Phil's impact on the industry affects not only fitness professionals but consumers as well. He truly set the standard on delivering quality products, services, and information. He runs a successful health club, has his own line of quality nutritional supplements, created numerous programs for physical change, has written many books, and hosts incredibly life changing seminars. I don't know where this man finds his energy, but he is constantly evolving with today's world and finds ways to communicate with consumers in a way they understand.
I never met someone who cared so much about making an impact. His motives and efforts are truly altruistic. Phil hosts his seminars at the Forum. He has his mastermind group. He facilitates the Be Better Academy for personal trainers. He is one of the leaders of the Personal Training Business Alliance. He writes monthly articles for Personal Fitness Professional. He flies all over the world to speak and consult. He hosts televised seminars for trainer improvement. He has dozens of products for advanced trainer education from Transform Revealed to RESCUE, the financial lifesaver for personal trainers. Put all that together, and you can't find anyone doing more to help improve the future for the personal training industry than Phil Kaplan. 
Phil's Ripple Effect
Are you familiar with the ripple effect? When you throw a pebble into a lake, upon impact there is a splash, but watch the water slowly ripple out as far as the eye can see. All those programs, products, seminars and articles are merely the splash that Phil has on this industry, and the ripple is almost impossible to trace. If you follow it to all of the industry leaders impacted by Phil, you'll find that the ripple he created flows throughout the world.
Thanks to the education and encouragement I received — and continue to receive — from Phil, I have become an effective leader. I often use the tools I learned from Phil to educate my staff, and I am proud to say that I have used Phil's systems to help trainers increase their appointments from five to 30 per week. So Phil doesn't just touch the lives of the people he deals with directly; it becomes a chain reaction: Phil helps business minded fitness professionals, the business minded professionals enhance trainer careers, and these newly enhanced trainers, in turn, help more consumers. This huge ripple created by Phil's splash in this industry goes far beyond what the eye can see or any survey can ever convey. He has set the standard for what the fitness industry should be, and because of him we are much more respected and valued as personal trainers.
Some Things You May Not Know About Phil
He takes as much pride, if not more, in being a father as he does in his business. He has a great sense of humor and makes you smile and laugh in his presence. He lives up to his promises, even if it means making coaching calls at 11:00 PM to help you through stressful situations (thanks, Phil). He is very generous, and the money truly does come second to him. He is an innovator, a man of his word, and he is filled with compassion.
He has gone above and beyond any personal expectations I have had of him, and believe me, they were high. He truly cares about people, the growth and respect of the fitness and, more importantly, the personal training industry as a whole. 
He has affected my life in a positive way on many levels. He is a coach, a motivator, an educator and a good man. I thank him for all he has done for me, my family and the industry.  Congratulations, Phil, on an award well deserved!
Frank Pastorelli is the author of Body Evolution: The Ultimate Personal Training Experience Trainer's Manual. For more information, please visit or email


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