Congratulations, Coach Barrett Murphy

Spectrum Fitness and Humana Neighborhood Location
Baton Rouge, LA

Positive, knowledgeable, encouraging and enthusiastic are all common words used to describe Barrett Murphy, the 2019 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year award winner. Affectionately known as “Coach,” Murphy worked in high school athletics for over 45 years, where he won several coaching Hall of Fame awards, and upon retiring became a SilverSneakers instructor.

He transferred his fitness knowledge from teenagers to seniors and has helped countless SilverSneakers members, as he teaches 10 classes a week. Even with an average class size of 40-50 members, Coach Murphy creates an atmosphere of inclusion and energizes the group in such a warm and loving way that one quickly becomes part of his SilverSneakers family. He “exemplifies an attitude of support and an atmosphere that encourages all the class participants to do their best and also get to know and care about each other.”

The SilverSneakers members in Coach Murphy’s classes know he cares about each one of them individually, making sure any members with physical disabilities or limitations are seated in the front row, so he can keep a watchful eye over them. Always bringing a sharp sense of humor and a contagiously cheerful attitude to every class, SilverSneakers is proud to introduce Coach Barrett Murphy as our 2019 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year!

Congratulations to our finalists

Anthony Rodriguez
Gold’s Gym Alamo Heights
San Antonio, TX

After 30 years in law enforcement, Anthony Rodriguez chose to become a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. He started teaching SilverSneakers classes 16 years ago, and instantly fell in love with it. Along with working at the gym every day, Anthony attends several workshops geared towards the senior population, and strives to keep his classes challenging and invigorating. Even though his class sizes have grown from 20 members to well over 50, Anthony goes out of his way to make sure his members feel comfortable and welcome and evokes trust in each member by taking a personal interest in their fitness journey. Along with helping his members stay physically fit, Anthony understands the importance of social interaction and hosts a quarterly luncheon to celebrate the birthdays of class participants. One of the reasons that inspires Anthony to teach SilverSneakers classes is the dedication and determination of his members. This inspires Anthony bring his “A” game and give 100% to every class every day.

Lisa Doll
Axiom Fitness at The Village
Meridian, ID

In 2005, Lisa Doll attended her first SilverSneakers training. She excitedly came home and told her husband, “I never have to retire from fitness now, I can do this forever!” Fourteen years later, Lisa is still teaching SilverSneakers and her popularity as an instructor continues to grow. As one member stated, “Lisa is the instructor everyone who doesn’t want to exercise should have – because she will definitely change your mind about exercise not being fun. With Lisa, exercise is actually FUN!” Lisa’s warm, caring and friendly demeanor instantly puts her members at ease. She always encourages participants to challenge themselves, but also stresses the importance of knowing how to modify an exercise to fit everyone’s unique ability level, especially if a member has a specific health concern. Lisa’s ability to connect with her members on a personal level has extended outside of the gym and SilverSneakers has unexpectedly become a welcome social outlet for many members. Lisa truly “practices what she preaches,” and continues to challenge the bodies and minds of those lucky enough to call her a teacher and a friend.

Anita Stephens
Durango Hills YMCA
Las Vegas, NV

Although only teaching SilverSneakers classes for about a year, Anita Stephens has already made quite an impact on her fellow instructors and class members. In her personal life, Anita selflessly serves her community and is a strong advocate for children. In fact, Anita has fostered 43 children throughout her marriage, along with raising her own! When it comes to teaching her SilverSneakers classes, she brings the same energy and enthusiasm; always working on new routines and techniques to keep the class exciting and the members engaged. Anita continues to learn and educate herself about the special senior populations she interacts with, and repeatedly informs her class as to why they are doing a certain exercise or why a specific technique is important. Along with bringing treats and encouraging dressing up at holidays, Anita goes out of her way to get to know each member as an individual so she can talk to them on a personal level. Anita loves teaching her SilverSneakers classes and likens herself to a quiltmaker – weaving threads in the lives of her members to find balance, increase stamina and maintain strength to help them stay healthy and age gracefully.

Eliot Perez
Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA
Houston, TX

When Eliot Perez was asked to teach SilverSneakers about 5 years ago, his response was “heck no!” At the same time, his father was entering hospice care and Eliot felt he was put in this situation for reason, so he decided to give it try. Not only does Eliot love teaching his SilverSneakers classes, he brings smiles, laughs and kindness to every member, every day. He organizes monthly potluck lunches, sends get well cards to ailing members and even assembles a photo album when a member passes away and presents it to the family. He regularly encourages members to connect with each other outside of class. With class sizes averaging about 45-50 members, Eliot still takes time to learn each member’s name . As one member said, “Without him sharing his joy of life, there would be a lot of us old folks sitting home alone, being immobile, depressed and isolated.” Eliot has created an environment that supports and encourages each other at the Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA and as a result, he credits his SilverSneakers “family” for helping him cope with his father’s illness and passing. Without a doubt, Eliot Perez has brightened the lives and improved the aging experience for hundreds of seniors he teaches every week.