Five outstanding Fitness First members live to inspire at the New You Achievement Awards
Five deserving men and women out of the fifteen finalists who all have undergone remarkable transformations after taking up a healthier lifestyle were crowned winners at the recent 2012 Fitness First New You Achievement Awards held at the Unilab Bayanihan Center.
Twelve months of discipline and rigorous tasks paid off for the winners of this year’s NYAA as they all achieved life-changing success because of their determination to stay fit. This year’s NYAA featured inspiring stories of triumph, from a journalist whose weight became a hindrance to his physically demanding job, an ultra-marathon runner, a retired government employee who switched to a more active lifestyle after years in a desk job, to a former model now training for a triathlon competition.
The award, which recognizes the extraordinary health and fitness achievements of Fitness First members, is divided into five categories: Health, Shape, Strength, Sport, and Staff.
The over-all winner Haide Acuña came from Fitness First Cebu. In January this year, she had capped off a 2nd place finish among women in the Bataan Death March 160k race—the longest solo road race in our country that retraces the infamous “Death March” route during WWII. Now she is proudly five months pregnant with her first child. She is also the winner for the Sports Category which recognizes finalists who underwent rigorous training regimen to prepare for a sports competition or a physical event.
“Now people will look to me as an example and I will have to inspire them the same way I was inspired by people before me,” she explains. “I cherish it because it’s a rare gift. Not everyone can be an inspiration to others.”
The Health Category acknowledges contenders who were able to improve their well-being. Richard Mitra, winner of the Health Category, was diagnosed at an early age with hyperthyroidism, but overcame his illness through hard work and determination. “I’m more determined to inspire people, especially those who have health problems, to get fit because it’s never too late,” he says.
Finalists who have successfully toned their physique compete under the Shape category. Winning the title for this category is Cristina del Rosario, who lost 30 lbs. and is now ready to compete in her first running event. “Being an inspiration to others makes my success 10 times more rewarding,” she relates.
The Strength Category includes those who improved their endurance to withstand arduous exercise. This year’s winner, Pure Lozada, is a 63 year-old retired government employee who successfully battled obesity and stroke to attain fitness and strength. “I am now more motivated because of the positive results that I myself experienced,” she shares.
Lastly, Fitness First also recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of its own employees through the Staff Category. Bataan Death March female champion and Staff Category winner Lieza Valerio said, “I’m happy to serve as an inspiration to others, especially after having to make the sacrifices to get to where I am now.”
This year’s panel of judges included acclaimed fashion designer Frederick Peralta, film director Joey Reyes, NYAA 2011 overall winner Charm Valenzuela, Fitness First coordinator National Fitness Manager Roger Villarimo, Fitness First Projects Champion Anne Constantino, and Fitness First technical services director Anne Constantino.
“The stories of these finalists will serve as a big inspiration to everyone who needs the motivation to pursue a healthier life,” says Fitness First’s Country Manager Mark Ellis. “Their transformation goes beyond the incredible improvement in their physique or physical strength. What is even more moving is how their decision to be fit also positively impacted other aspects of their lives. We at Fitness First are very proud to be instrumental in changing the lives of thousands of our members.”