I was recently inducted in to the National Fitness Hall of Fame along with some of my fellow fitness professionals, Brenda Dykgraaf, Clyde Emrich and Anibal Lopez, whom I hold in high esteem. It is an honor that I am truly thankful for, especially since inductees are chosen based on a public vote – so a sincere “Thank You,” to everyone who voted for me. It is a blessing from above to have your product and passion recognized.
But kudos should really go to Mr. John Figerelli, creator of the National Fitness Hall of Fame. A veteran in the fitness industry himself, John began his career in 1981 teaching the then-popular, Slimnastics and Men’s Fitness classes at local park districts. He went on to earn his official certification as a Health-Fitness Instructor with the prestigious American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 1991 and later created the NU-SHAPE Weight-Loss & Fitness Program and in 2004.
However, several years ago, John found that little was being done to recognize and remember the efforts that so many have made promoting health and fitness to the American public. So in December of 2004, in order to preserve the history of the fitness industry, John founded The National Fitness Hall of Fame & Museum (NFHOF&M) to provide both a physical and virtual place where the lifelong efforts of individuals and organizations are acknowledged and showcased.
Today, the museum houses the most extensive collection of fitness artifacts, products and memorabilia dating back to the 19th Century. It highlights the careers of industry pioneers such as Joe Weider, Bob Hoffman, Charles Atlas with his “Dynamic Tension” program, Betty Weider (then Betty Brosmer), Jacki Sorensen, who coined the term “Aerobic Dancing” and Judi Sheppard Missett, who trademarked Jazzercise®.
Without these fitness trailblazers, who first opened up people’s minds to the concept of bettering one’s physical health and well-being through exercise, Total Gym would not exist. And without the efforts of John Figerelli, their stories and the evolution of our industry would not be immortalized forever so that millions of generations can continue to be inspired to carry on the tradition of physical fitness.