Fitness First’s New You Achievement Awards 2015: The Challenges and the Winners

by - December 04, 2015

I always admire people who in one or another have overcome struggles and burdens and emerge as a completely different person. These are the people who value their life and what they believe in and break free of what’s keeping them from becoming a good person.

Staying true to Fitness First’s vision of making a difference to the individuals and communities they live among, the company annually holds the New You Achievement Awards (NYAA). This much-anticipated event is a celebration of the members’ outstanding achievements throughout the year.

Now on its 7th year, the awards recognize significant fitness milestones that are classified into six categories. The Health category acknowledges members who were able to improve their well-being and used training to help overcome an illness or injury. Finalists who have successfully achieved their goal of building muscle mass are classified under the Strength category while the Shape category is for those who achieved their goal of weight reduction. The Sports category is for members who found a passion for a sport or trained for a specific sporting event. This year, an Open category was added for members who achieved their transformation without necessarily undergoing regular training with a personal trainer. The Staff category recognizes employees who have used their employment at Fitness First to improve their health and fitness.

After grueling eliminations, 6 finalists rose above the rest. Though all the stories are remarkable, these 6 were the most compelling in terms of depth and social impact of their achievement.

Health Category - Prince Chong. At 260 lbs, Prince was diagnosed with severe obesity and gout due to high levels of uric acid 2 years ago. Training with Fitness First for close to 2 years, he is now at 160 lbs and no longer has gout. Prince has become more confident, sociable, and much happier.
Strength Category- Erwin Temporal. Erwin Temporal’s story of strength goes beyond muscles. Before joining Fitness First, he was a long-haired estrogen-using cross-dresser who had high cholesterol and sugar levels and was diagnosed to be clinically depressed.  He had a mishap in the salon one day which caused him to lose his hair and from then he then decided to change his persona. He started committing to be fit and worked out regularly at the club.  From 110lbs, he’s now at 142, and from 22% body fat, his is now 16%.
Sport Category - Demo Valmores. Demo has been training for 2 years now. His journey started with a broken heart, which, as he said, is the same case for every surfer. He went on a sabbatical leave to go to La Union and try to find himself again. When he started surfing, he didn’t have the stamina for this physically demanding sport. He soon realized that he needed to gain strength and improve his balance. Demo’s personal trainer customized sessions for him and now he is an award-winning surfer.
Shape Category- Gretchen Sarsaba. Gretchen used to have very low self-esteem because of her being overweight. It didn’t help that her Mom is very gorgeous and fit, always being compared to her. When she graduated from college, nobody wanted to hire her because of her physical appearance. In 2014, she finally decided to make a change for the better.
She now goes to the gym 7 days a week, and trains with her personal instructor for 3 times.  Now, 60 lbs lighter, and 100% more confident, Gretchen admits that taking a rest day is a lot more taxing than working out. In fact, working out is not working anymore, and her next step is to be a group instructor at Fitness First.
Open Category- Manu Reyes. Manu’s is a story of second chances.  By profession, he is a pastor and health trainer who used prohibited substances to enhance his appearance. This year is a year of enlightenment as he decided to clean up his act and train without the aid of substances. It was a long and arduous journey to self discipline that naturally paid off.
Staff Category – Biondi Santi. Biondi has been employed at Fitness First Metro East for 4 years. Being overweight runs in the family, with everyone either obese or overweight.  It was a real struggle to go against his natural predisposition. He believes that lifestyle habits are the only thing hereditary and became committed to a total lifestyle change.  He also encouraged the rest of his family members to take a step towards a fitter and healthier life.
These are the inspirational stories of the 6 finalists. All have worked tirelessly to transform and become better versions of them. In the end, one emerges to become the overall winner.
Ad this year’s Fitness First New You Achievement Award Overall Winner is Demo Valmores who has overcome a lost love and finding a new one. His love for surfing led him to Fitness First and completely change his outlook in life.
His diligence paid off and he was truly transformed and has become the multi-awarded winner that he is now, representing the country in local and international competitions. He has proven to the surfing community that gym training is pivotal to a surfer’s success.

“We chose Demo because he was able to make a real difference in his personal life as well as his ability to inspire others to do the same.  His exceptional achievement is testament to the fact that anyone can change and achieve their personal goals with the right attitude and behavior.  It takes a lot of discipline, determination and hard work but it certainly can be done.  We've seen it countless times over the years and will definitely continue to see more." said Eric Seegers, National Fitness Manager of Fitness First Philippines.  “We are proud to announce Demo Valmores as the 2015 New You Achievement Award Overall Winner.”

Photo Credits: Fitness First Official Page and OrangeMag TV

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