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November 2011

Nicole Nichols Named America’s Top Personal Trainer to Watch

Club Industry

Pictured Left to Right: Mike Koskiniemi, Laura Acosta, Chris Clawson (president, Life Fitness), Jessica Shutters, Linda M. Cook, Nicole Nichols (grand prize winner) and Deborah Plitt (master trainer, Life Fitness Academy)


The call by ACE and Life Fitness to find America’s Top Personal Trainer to Watch elicited hundreds of entries and many truly amazing stories. Yet, in the end, only 10 finalists and one grand-prize winner were selected and the results were revealed at Club Industry 2011 in Chicago on October 14.

ACE was thrilled to honor the following outstanding personal trainers for having gone above and beyond in demonstrating a growing commitment to fitness, helping clients achieve lasting lifestyle change and serving as leaders in their communities:


Grand Prize Winner

Nicole Nichols—As an editor and fitness expert at, a lifestyle and weight-loss Web site, Nicoles has reached some 10 million people worldwide. Her most recent boot-camp workout video garnered 70,000 participants, and her workout videos have been viewed more than 14 million times on YouTube.

Nicole Nichols (grand prize winner)

The proud ACE-certified Personal Trainer inspires people from all walks of life to beome physically active and adopt healthier lifestyles. She began her career as a personal trainer eight years ago, and has designed and taught health programs on eating disorders, body image, self-acceptance and strength training for women, exercise for seniors and prenatal exercise.

Along with a $5,000 cash prize, a piece of Life Fitness equipment and an award plaque, Nichols will receive a certification package from ACE that includes all of her study materials and exam fees. She has selected to earn the ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach Certification to further develop her expertise in areas that are critical for any client's long-term weight-management success: nutrition, exercise and lifestyle change.

"I think that having this additional credential behind my name will only add credibility to the features I create for our members and the recommendations as a brand provides," Nichols said.

10 Finalists
Darren Pangle—Owner of Darren Pangle Fitness
Kathleen Ekdahl—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, founded Personal Best Personal Training
Carol Michaels—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, founded Recovery Fitness® to help cancer patients
Mike Koskiniemi—Created virtual exercise program for kids in local charter school
Irv Rubenstein—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, founded personal training center STEPS, Inc.
Collin Eugene Baldwin—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, set up physical readiness regimen for soldiers in Afghanistan
Laura Acosta—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, created Living Lean: 8 Steps to Success
Linda M. Cook—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, owner/president Your Personal Best
Jessica Shutters—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, program coordinator Health Fitness at Eastman Chemical Co.
Dominique Wakefield—ACE-certified Personal Trainer, director Fitness & Exercise Studies at Andrews University

Find out how you can earn the necessary skills to become a top trainer today!

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Share Your Insights — Take the 2012 Fitness Trends Survey

Each year, we reach out to ACE-certified professionals with our Fitness Trends Survey to gain important insights into the fitness industry. Your trend predictions are important to us, and every year the results of the survey are picked up by broadcast, print and online media outlets all over the world. Please take a few moments to share your thoughts about what's next on the horizon.
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Nicole Nichols Named America’s Top Personal Trainer to Watch

The call by ACE and Life Fitness to discover America’s top personal trainer elicited hundreds of entries and many truly amazing stories. Ten finalists and one grand-prize winner were announced at Club Industry 2011, and honored as having gone above and beyond in demonstrating a growing commitment to fitness, helping clients achieve lasting lifestyle change and serving as leaders in their communities.
Read More »

How Can You Play a Critical Role in Fighting America's Obesity Epidemic?

ACE is thrilled that Joining Forces representative and member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Cornell McClellan, will be the featured speaker at the networking lunch during the ACE Fitness Symposium. Find out how—in the spirit of the Let’s Move! and Joining Forces campaigns—collaboration across all fitness and health industries is so critical to creating a healthier America.
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ACE Impact Report 2011

2011 proved to be a busy and rewarding year and we couldn’t have done it without your help! Initiatives designed to educate and motivate Americans to live healthier lifestyles—from Hershey’s Moderation Nation to Joining Forces—continue to reinforce ACE’s position as an industry bridge-builder and an organization dedicated to connecting you with individuals in your communities.
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