IDEA Health & Fitness Association has announced the recipients of its 2008 fitness awards. The winners were honored as part of the award ceremonies at the 26th annual IDEA World Fitness Convention.
The convention, which took place over five days last month in Las Vegas, attracted more than 5,000 fitness professionals from over 60 countries.
  PJ O'Clair was recognized by IDEA Health & Fitness Association as its prestigious IDEA Program Director of the Year.
  Nicki Anderson was awarded the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year.
  Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was chosen as IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year.
O'Clair, who owns a business that combines Northeast Pilates Certification Centers and the ClubXcel fitness facility, still finds time in her busy schedule to work more than 25 hours a week with personal clients. From Manchester, Massachusetts, O'Clair has developed numerous programs that appeal to active and inactive demographics. Of running her own fitness club, she says, "I lead by creating an environment that respects my staff, welcomes their ideas, promotes continuing education, encourages professional advancement and rewards positive results." NEPCC, O'Clair's teacher-training business, was one of the first STOTT PILATES-licensed training centers in North America. She also finds time to donate lectures and workouts at the nearby Beverly Hospital while inspiring teenage moms to get fit by organizing a team to participate in the annual Pan Mass Challenge, a two-day, 200-mile cycling event to fund cancer research.
Anderson, from Naperville, Illinois, runs Reality Fitness Inc., a private personal training studio. Aside from managing the day-to-day activities of eight personal trainers, she finds time to train clients some 15-20 hours a week. In addition to helping clients physically, she also strives to help them mentally. "I designed a journal in which clients can track not only exercise and nutrition, but thoughts as well," she explains. "The motivational quotes in the journal are part of my strategy. I also do a lot of visualization with my clients." Additionally, she runs an annual "New Year, New You" contest with the grand prize of 12 weeks of personal training at no charge.
Archer, who splits her time between West Palm Beach, Florida, and Zurich, is a much-respected fitness and wellness instructor as well as an award-winning author, presenter and educator. Known for presenting cutting-edge classes that skillfully apply the latest research in exercise science, behavioral change and mind-body interactions, she has influenced thousands of faculty, staff and students at Stanford University. "My work spans the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia in multiple languages," she says. "I seek to bridge gaps of understanding among people to help us realize our common humanity and shared needs for happiness and health." Archer also has developed 10 consumer books/products that have helped more than 150,000 people worldwide as they have been translated into five languages.
According to Kathie Davis, co-founder and executive director of IDEA Health & Fitness Association, this year's crew of award winners have been singled out for their superlative efforts in elevating the importance of leading a healthier lifestyle for the good of all types and kinds of people. "The entire IDEA family applauds PJ, Nicki and Shirley for their selfish efforts in personally and professionally inspiring the world to fitness," she says. "IDEA is thrilled to celebrate the wide-ranging accomplishments of these exceptional industry leaders."
And the Fitness Inspiration Award Goes To
In addition, IDEA awarded its prestigious Fitness Inspiration Award to Brian Boyle, a 22-year-old athlete from Waldorf, Maryland, who has defied death to reach his lifetime goal of becoming an elite swimmer. On July 6, 2004, while driving home, the recent high school graduate was hit by a speeding dump truck The impact of the collision caused Boyle's heart to rip across his chest, broke his ribs, pelvis and collarbone, and he lost 60% of his blood. Boyle spent two months in a drug-induced coma and endured 14 operations while being declared dead on eight occasions. With unwavering fortitude, he persevered and fought back to regain his health, well-being and sufficient physical strength to resume a grueling swim regiment.
After being presented with his award by 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O'Brien, Boyle told the audience how he has gone from the edge of death to a full recovery capped by participation in the 2007 Ironman World Championship triathalon. Now a member of the St. Mary's swim team, Boyle says he was "honored and privileged" to receive his award and looks forward to a bright future including work as a personal trainer.
"There was a time when Brian thought his dreams, like his bones, were shattered," says Peter Davis, CEO and co-founder of IDEA Health & Fitness Association. "His subsequent story of recovery and triumph is the supreme testimony to how a positive attitude is a powerful force for overcoming any obstacle. We are all truly inspired by his achievements and cheer his efforts to be an amazing example to others."
IDEA Health & Fitness Association is the world's leading membership organization of fitness and wellness professionals with more than 23,000 members in over 80 countries. For more information on IDEA Health & Fitness Association, visit