Baltimore, Md. – America has voted, and the results are in for the Best Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors of 2017. Burnalong – the world’s leading local community-focused online video fitness and wellness platform – accepted nominations from across the country, asking people “Do you know someone who should be rewarded for their hard work in helping people get healthier?”

“What was amazing to see was how deeply local trainers and instructors across the country are really touching people and transforming lives,” said Daniel Freedman, co-CEO of Burnalong. “It was simply moving reading testimonial after testimonial.”

“There’s a big lesson here for people looking to get started and begin their fitness journey,” said Mike Kott, co-CEO of Burnalong. “You don’t need celebrity instructors from Hollywood to get results. In fact, you’re more likely to succeed with a local instructor who you can actually interact with, who can learn about you, your history, your goals, and work with you.”

The 2017 winner of America’s Favorite Trainer is:

Monte Sanders from MBS Fitness Lab located in Maryland.

“Congratulations to Monte! The deep impact Monte has on people in-person and online is evident from the moving nominations that flooded in from across the country. Whether it’s a young athlete training for the combine, or a 65 year-old looking to lose weight and get off diabetes medication, Monte’s classes and motivation speaks to, and gets results for, them all,” Daniel Freedman said.

On receiving the award, Monte Sanders said, “I’m humbled and honored to receive this Award. I give God all of the thanks and praise for His favor, Grace and Mercy. This is for all of the clients that believe in our philosophy (Mind Body Spirit) and for all that I’ve impacted along the way. I truly understand that I am a reflection of my client’s victories, so for them they are America’s Top Clients.” 

Honorable mentions:


  • Heather Gidusko from Sweat Like a Girl, located in Nazareth, PA
  • Sonja Steward from 5280Fit, located in Highlands Ranch, CO
  • JoanieFit from JoanieFit, located in Wilmington, DE
  • Fawn Cronin from Fawn Heart Cronin in Duxbury, MA
  • Champ Owens from ChampWorkouts located in Washington, D.C.
  • Codi Thompson from Shake It With Codi located in Burleson, TX
  • Darrick Bourgeois from CrossFit RE located in Seattle, WA
  • Karla Myrick from ZI-Zen located in Portsmith, VA
  • Marydawn Taggart from Maddog 5/1 Revolutionary Fitness located in St. Joseph Michigan
  • Brooke Pias from House Party Fitness located in Runnemede, NJ

A sampling of praise received by nominees:

Monte Sanders
I have woken up at 4:15am 3 days a week for 6 years now because of this man. And I have him to thank for being healthier and in better shape than I was 20 years ago.”
“After losing 15 lbs felt a lump in my breast so his program saved my life.”
“He has changed my life in so many ways. I have lost 45 pounds and been able to keep it off… I have become a confident and healthy person. He encourages us through every workout to be our best, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually.”
“Because of his training, I have regained my normal blood pressure back and I am no longer pre-diabetic.”
“After I turned 50 I started gaining unwanted weight. I didn’t understand what was happening. I tried various weight management options but did not stick with them. My sister started training with Monte… I joined her in this journey. Initially, I HATED IT! by the 3rd week I began to look forward to it. I began to transform. Clothes fit differently, I looked GOOD! He is my Coach and my friend for Life.”

Heather Gidusko
“I first met Heather 6 years ago and her workouts have transformed my life. Great environment to work out without gymtimidation.” 
“Even on the worst of day, working out with Heather makes you forget about any stress in life and feel like the world is yours to conquer.”
“Heather is the most motivating crazy pump you up never gives up on you person. She will work with you modify around injuries will have you laughing and crying all while helping you be the best you.”

Sonja Steward
“She is such an inspiration, a great motivator, & her videos are real… She makes you want to go back for more.” 
“Sonja is a great motivator. She explains proper technique to avoid injuries. She is upbeat and is right there working out with you. She has helped me stay focused and I have lost 20 lbs on her fit challenge.”
“Sonja touches and changes so many lives, her ability to push each person in class is admirable. She continues to change her workouts each class and challenges her members to do their best. She just doesn’t treat the body, she also treats the mind and spirit.”

Joanie is so positive and strong that she makes you think you can excel. So you do!”
“Joanie is a great trainer with tons of energy. She’s just crazy enough to make our work outs fun and challenging. She always pushes me to be a little better than the last work out.”
“My husband and I have been training with Joanie for several years. She is a fantastic motivator and incredibly optimistic and supportive. She is quite an inspiration!”

Fawn Heart
“Just the best trainer ever! Designed workouts that exactly fit my needs. (And as a 60+ person, I have needs that most trainers ignore.)”
“She’s helped me through pre, pregnancy, during and post-pregnancy workouts and her workouts are always effective and she knows when and how to change things up. She keeps up with the latest news about body, fitness and well-being, not just with exercise and nutrition but also in overall health and wellness. Very effective trainer!”
“Fawn is the most amazing trainer and amazing person. She is so incredibly motivating and pushes you to a level you didn’t know you could ever reach.”

Champ Owens
“Champ is not only a knowledgeable trainer but he loves what he does and is great at motivating you to the next level.”
“The way he inspires and pushes his clients beyond their limits is amazing. But what’s even greater than that is the fact that he cares about each and every person he comes into contact with. He’s a great motivator, leader, and trainer but an even better person!
“He is a wonderful online coach and keeps the whole team engaged.”

Codi Thompson
“She is absolutely inspiring and amazing… captivating and intriguing. She pushes you for the best. Increases your energy just simply being around her.”
“Codi has literally changed my life. She was the reason I first ever cared what I put into my body, what food I ate … Now here I am 3 years later having lost around 60lbs … I love my new life!”
“Well let me just say losing weight after having a kid really isn’t as easy as I thought. I had my son and even a year after I still managed to have all that weight on me. Been going for about 2 1/2 years and am glad to say I’m down to 135 lbs.”

Darrick Bourgeois
“Darrick is a phenomenal coach, great programming, so warm and caring, pushes you but not so much that you injure yourself. Great in so many ways.”
“Darrick and his wife BeckyJo are a couple of the best humans ever. They focus on loving people, taking care of each and every member of their gym like family. They are so fun, and have shown me the most amazing results.”
“Because he transformed me into a different man. He is changing my life and I am loving it.”

Karla Myrick
“She is so sweet, and inspirational. She gives her class so much motivation and encouragement. She is this way in her everyday life, and not just in the classroom.”

“Her dedication to help others achieve a balance of mind, body, and spirit is unlike no other.”

“She truly pours all her heart and soul in making others lives first. She is an awesome fitness instructor who brings a joyful spirit to every workout.”

Marydawn Taggart
“I met Marydawn in a beginning program at a terrible time in my life. I had lost my 5 year old nephew to a rare childhood cancer, I had lost my job 2 weeks before that and I was very overweight. My sister in law asked me to do it with her after the holidays and I was hesitant but signed up. Little did I know what an impact Marydawn would have on me in my life. It was so challenging and I was so sore for weeks and months. But slowly, the pounds not only dropped on my body, but so did the weight I was carrying in my mind…

…I started to feel more like the college athlete I used to be and saw some happiness in all areas of my life. I have since lost around 50 pounds from attending Maddog 5/1 and Marydawn had everything to do with it. She knows how to touch you and make you a better person and achieve things you didn’t know were possible. There are so many others that she has changed as well and continues to every day. She totally deserves this award!”
 “This woman… she is constantly empowering, constantly supporting, and constantly challenging not only herself but every person that walks into her studio. Maddog makes everyone feel like an athlete and makes it safe to go a bit further outside your comfort some with strength and a ‘just say yes’ attitude. She’s a stand out woman who deserves this with all she gives each day to each of her clients.”
 “She inspires people every day to work out consistently to stay healthy and strong. She reaches out to all sizes and shapes to reinforce their value. Instills confidence and commitment by supporting all fitness activities in her community”.

Brooke Pias
“I had gastric sleeve surgery about a year ago and Brooke has helped me to lose the weight, keep it off & make me stronger.”
 “Her ability to motivate and bond a group of people is unparalleled in this field. She has helped to form me into the best version myself both physically and mentally. I am thankful everyday that Jose party fineness has become a part of my life.”

“House Party Fit is an amazing workout that has changed so many women’s lives and empowered them through dance and exercise combined … We all have a ball while getting a wonderful workout.”

Nominations for best trainer of 2018 will open in March. To be kept up to date email [email protected].
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