Personal Trainers to Watch Judges Panel

To aid in the selection process for the Personal Trainers to Watch program, Life Fitness and ACE® tapped internal and external experts whose background in the fitness arena span a number of professional areas including personal training, fitness education and corporate management.

Please meet our judges:

Christopher Clawson
President, Life fitness division

Chris Clawson is president of the Life Fitness division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Diego State University and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois.

Recently, Clawson held the position of president and CEO for Johnson Health Tech, North America. Prior to that, he was vice president of marketing and development for Stamina Products, a fitness equipment provider. A Life Fitness veteran, Clawson served nearly 11 years with the company in a number of different positions including: senior director of product management for commercial cardio products, vice president of consumer sales and marketing, and general manager of Omni Fitness brand, a fitness retailer in the United States. Clawson also spent six years in retail management with two leading sporting-goods retailers.

Athletics has always played a significant role in Clawson’s life, having played professional baseball before entering the fitness industry. Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, Clawson is married to wife Beth and has two sons, Cole and Reid. He still plays baseball in his leisure time and is an avid collector of cars.

Deborah Plitt

Life fitness academy

Deborah Plitt has been a network trainer for Life Fitness since 1994 and a master trainer of Life Fitness Academy since 2008. In her role, Plitt develops education modules and provides academic training internally for Life Fitness, as well as to Life Fitness customers throughout the Eastern United States and Canada, United Kingdom and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Plitt received her Bachelor of Science from Penn State University in Exercise and Sport Science and is currently working toward a Master of Science in Human Movement Science from A.T. Still University. Plitt is also a certified corrective exercise specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and an advanced health and fitness specialist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). She has been in the fitness industry for more than 16 years, with experience in hospital and commercial fitness center fitness and wellness management.

Scott Lewandowski, MS, CPT

regional director, fitness formula clubs

Scott Lewandowski, MS, CPT has been in the fitness industry for 19 years and was the 2001 IHRSA/ACE® Fitness Director of the Year. Lewandowski obtained a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology from Benedictine University in 1997 and is a certified personal trainer with The National Academy of Sports Medicine and ACE. He currently holds the regional director position for Fitness Formula Clubs in Chicago, Illinois.  

Lewandowski also contributed a chapter titled "Understanding Organizational Design" to the Second Edition of Health Fitness Management, a 2008 textbook that provides an in-depth picture of the varied and rewarding role of the health and fitness club manager.

Chris Freytag

contributing editor, prevention magazine

fitness professional

Chris Freytag has been a fitness instructor, personal trainer, specializing in the subjects of nutrition and health for more than 20 years. Freytag is a board member for the Directors of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and is a certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer and lifestyle and weight management consultant.

Freytag is a contributing editor for Prevention Magazine, and is the fitness contributor for the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis and a top trainer for Exercise TV. During her career as a successful fitness professional, she has authored five books and has a line of fitness DVD’s. When not leading as a yoga and pilates instructor, Freytag sells her signature line of healthy kitchen and fitness products on QVC.

Pete McCall, M.S., C.S.C.S.

ace exercise physiologist

Pete McCall is an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise® (ACE®). In his role, McCall creates and delivers fitness continuing education programs, and is a co-creator of the ACE Integrated Fitness TrainingTM (ACE IFTTM) model. McCall has a Master of Science in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from California University of Pennsylvania. He is a certified personal trainer with ACE and holds additional certifications and specializations through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).

McCall also serves on the content review committee for, a website dedicated to educating fitness professionals worldwide, and is an adjunct lecturer for the Exercise and Nutritional Sciences program at San Diego State University.