CONROE, TX — The Change Your Body, Change Your Life Award began as a simple idea. Bryan Murphy, owner of Gold's Gyms in the Houston area, wanted to create a meaningful award to honor something other than the club with the most big-screen TVs. Instead, he created an award that celebrates the life-changing experiences of members. This was the first year for the award, which went to Leelo Moore and his personal trainer, Jarrett Smilie, at Gold's Gym Conroe, TX.

At age 11, Moore suffered a severe close-head injury that put him in a coma for six months. Once out of the coma, Moore underwent surgeries to correct his walk and spent 20 years being shuffled between six rehab facilities and in-and-out patient programs. Health professionals told him he had progressed as far as he could despite a continued imbalance in his walk.

Then Moore's parents sent him to the Gold's Gym in Conroe, TX, to work with Smilie, a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified trainer. During the first eight months, Moore gained 35 pounds of muscle and lost nearly 10 pounds of body fat. He also managed to balance out the measurements of his legs, arms, chest and neck, and he regained much of the function in his arms. Smilie began training Moore's hand and finger functions, which were lacking. After seven months of training, Moore could successfully pick up a soft drink can and set it back down without any problems.

Smilie says in order to work with clients like Moore, he researches the person's condition or inhibition and tries to adapt the training to each person for the best possible outcome.

Murphy says the member response to Leelo's award has been “remarkable.”

“It's generated a lot of questions from people who wouldn't see themselves as a health club-type person,” he says. “He's become a household name for us.”

Many members are impressed with Smilie and his loyalty to Moore and the program, Murphy says. The award is more about which Gold's Gym member had the most significant change in his or her life than which one lost the most weight and looked better, Murphy says.