Eleven personal trainers were honored by Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise in the top Personal Trainers to Watch awards, presented at the Club Industry 2011 show on Friday in Chicago.

The winner, Nicole Nichols, Cincinnati, OH, was on hand to receive her award from Chris Clawson, president of Life Fitness, Chicago. Nichols won a plaque, Life Fitness equipment, an ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach certification package and a check for $5,000.

Also on hand were five of the 10 finalists: Mike Koskiniemi, Marquette, MI; Laura Acosta, Gainesville, FL, Jessica Shutters, Kingsport, TN; Dominique Wakefield, Berrien Springs, MI; and Linda M. Cook, Springboro, OH. The other finalists were Carol Michaels, Short Hills, NJ; Kathleen Ekdahl, Hudson, MA; Darren Pangle, Katy, TX; Collin Baldwin, Fayetteville, NC; and Irv Rubenstein, Nashville, TN.

Two of the judges, Scott Lewandowski and Deborah Plitt, also were on hand at the event. Another judge, Pete McCall, exercise physiologist with ACE, introduced Clawson, who announced the finalists and the winner, bringing all on stage to receive their awards.

Nichols is a fitness expert and managing editor at SparkPeople.com, a diet and fitness website. She is an ACE-certified personal trainer and an AFAA-certified fitness instructor with a bachelor’s degree in health education. Her exercise videos have been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube. She also writes a blog that is read by several thousand people each week on dailySpark.com.