Determination of what is “the best” in any area is often subjective, but that does not stop people from lining up to offer their opinions. And the subjectiveness does not make any winner less worthy.

This year’s winners of Club Industry’s Best of the Best competition have something special that stood out from the other entries, despite some stiff competition in each category. For some of the winners, it was their program’s innovation, and for others, it was the number of lives they touched or the way they continue to follow participants even after the program ends.

The Best of the Best awards recognize the best programming at fitness facilities in the United States and provide concrete examples of programs that have proven, successful results. The entries were rated by a group of judges from within the fitness industry. This year’s panel included Karen Woodard-Chavez, president, Premium Performance Training; Laurie Cingle, owner, Laurie Cingle Consulting and Coaching; Sandy Coffman, president, Programming for Profit; Eddie Tock, owner, Eddie Tock Consulting; Paula Neubert, general manager, Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club; Casey Conrad, owner, Communication Consultants; Kelli Calabrese, owner, Calabrese Consulting; Greg Maurer, associate partner, New Paradigm Partners; Joe Cirulli, owner, Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers; Blair McHaney, chief executive officer, Confluence Fitness Partners Inc.; and Thomas Kulp, chief motivational officer, Universal Athletic Club.

The judges ranked each program based on its goals, goal attainment, innovation, budgeting, member or nonmember participation, marketing, program effectiveness, and the club’s follow-up efforts.

Follow the links below to read about each of the winning programs for 2011. (You can read about previous years’ winners online too.)