IDEA Health and Fitness Leader of the Year – Trina Gray

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IDEA Health and Fitness Association is the global leader in education for fitness professionals. From personal trainers to group fitness instructors to studio owners and boot camp leaders and nutrition coaches. There are more than 275,000 members world wide.

At the annual IDEA WORLD Convention (dubbed the Superbowl of Fitness), IDEA recognizes the best of the industry at their award’s ceremony. In 2018, they launched the first-ever FITNESS LEADER of the YEAR.

Trina Gray was recognized as the first recipient and accepted this award in front of 5,000 attendees in the San Diego Convention Center.
She is the owner of Bay Athletic Club and Bay Urban Fitness. She is the founder of Team Rockstar Fit, an on-line coaching team for women in fitness, in partnership with Team Beachbody.

This is a short version of her acceptance speech.

I am humbled. I am honored. And yes, I am crying.

Thank you IDEA for this honor of a lifetime. You are an association that builds leaders.

I attended my first IDEA event 20 years ago in Chicago. At the time, I was a full-time journalist with a newfound passion for group fitness. It was my fun, after-hours hobby. I found IDEA. I’ve never left.

If I could express the meaning behind this award in only a few minutes, I’d want to share this. If you’d asked me as a little girl what my dreams were, I would have told you that I was going to be an anchor on 60 minutes, a famous globetrotting journalist. But instead, I met a guy. We fell in love, married and moved to a small, rural town in northeast Michigan where he runs a marine sanctuary to preserve historic shipwrecks.

I had no job, no plan and no connections. But I had a passion for fitness and a head full of ideas. So, with two kids under the age of two and degrees in journalism and French, I took out the biggest loan of my life.

I opened a 12,000 sq foot medically based health club with a team of fellow believers. Disclaimer: I wouldn’t try that stunt at home, folks, it’s dangerous. In the years to follow, I opened a second training studio, launched an international corporate fit challenge and founded an on-line coaching team with Beachbody. All of this came to life because I saw a need. Then I grabbed hands with other passionate fitness professionals to fill it.

So, yes, this leadership award was born and bred in Alpena, Michigan, a place I’m proud to call home. I know that someday, Oprah will tell our story. It is the story of an underdog town with rampant unemployment, obesity, diabetes and smoking rates. With the work of many, Alpena has transformed into a gem with busy bike trails, thriving local races, healthier households, schools and workplaces. We are reaching into the corners of our community, and we will not stop.

To my husband Jeff who represents the other half of this award. We lead together in life. Your friendship makes me better. Your love makes me stronger. You are everything.

To my mentor Todd Durkin. No words feel like enough. I’m here on this stage because you noticed me at an IDEA event a decade ago. You believed, listened, advised and pushed me to lead in a way that I didn’t know I had in me. You’ve been a fierce supporter and role model.

To my mastermind friends, your sweaty fingers are all over this. You have made me think deeper, laugh richer and rise up in faith over the years. You are my inner circle of genius.

To Kellie Kaseburg at IDEA, my partner in crime and a true class act.

To the members of Bay Athletic Club, past and present, your stories have inspired my life. Your struggles and successes are woven into my DNA. I am here to tell them.

To my entire team at Bay Athletic Club, including my leaders in the house today. Lara, Sarah, Courtney and Lindsey. Thank you. For your loyalty, your friendship, for your own love of BAC. I would be a drowning, running-like-ragged, burnt out owner by now if you hadn’t joined my mission and stepped into my life. You are world class.

To all of my peers in the industry, leaders in your own right. You are warriors of a great cause. I’m honored to be serving alongside you.

In close, being a leader is not about winning a popularity contest or receiving an award, as exciting as this honor is. Leaders are dealers of hope. They believe in others until they believe in themselves. That’s it. No title needed.

As an industry, let’s lead with integrity, with grace and with kind words in a time that our nation needs it. Fitness does not discriminate. It is for all. I’ve discovered that the road of leadership is not easy. But it is worth it. Have enough amour to protect your spirit.

Be willing to run your race, the one you were put on this earth to do.

The journey is perfectly imperfect. Chase it. Shine on, my friends.

Thank you.