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A Message to the 2012 Personal Trainer to Watch


Please join me in congratulating the official 2012 Personal Trainer to Watch, Joanne Blackerby. The competition was strong (nearly 1,000 of the top personal trainers from every corner of the globe), but in the end, the honor went to Joanne, a trainer based in Austin, Texas, USA and the founder of Spirit Fitness.

Life Fitness and FitPro gathered an esteemed group of judges, including 2011 PTTW Nicole Nichols, who rigorously evaluated entrants based on a number of criteria in categories like member experience, community and volunteer involvement, education level, and tenure. In only the second year of competition, the invitation to enter was extended to personal trainers across the globe.  Our judges had no easy task on their hands, narrowing the field first to 20 semi-finalists, then to 10 finalists (see list below), and finally selecting Joanne to receive the top honor, which includes a package of valuable prizes such as a one-year membership to continuing fitness education resource PTontheNet, a piece of premium Life Fitness equipment, global recognition, and $5,000 to put towards her business, Spirit Fitness– a personal training co-operative in Austin, Texas.

Joanne’s exhaustive list of credentials, 20-plus years of experience in full-body training, and dedication to helping her clients and community lead healthier lives through fitness spoke volumes about her qualification to be named the winner, but what stood out to me in particular were her ongoing initiatives to build partnerships with local Austin businesses, like She develops these partnerships to not only grow her own business and those of her partners, but ultimately to benefit her client base by helping them explore additional fitness activities and become more well-rounded exercisers.

That unselfish desire to develop and foster relationships and collaborate within the fitness industry resounded with me because it echoes one of the most important company values we have here at Life Fitness.

Congratulations, Joanne Blackerby! We’re looking forward to watching your star rise.

Congratulations as well to our 10 finalists:

  • Tonja Barugh – West Byfleet, Surrey, U.K. 
  • Katie Bulmer-Cooke – Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, U.K. 
  • Benjamin “Apollos” Crawford– Orlando, Fla., U.S.
  • Annelise Digiacamo– Issaquah, Wash., U.S.
  • Hayley Hollander– Las Vegas, N.V., U.S.
  • Mary Beth Knight – Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
  • John Sinclair – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Zahin Singh – Rockdale, NSW, Australia
  • Shawn Slade – London, Ontario, Canada
  • Ryan Wilkins – Riverside, N.J., U.S.
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Joanne Blackerby
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