President's Award Recipient: Maria Teresa Mendizabal, NSCA-CPT,*D Maria Teresa was born in Puerto Rico, and for many years was a professional Ballet and Flamenco Dancer. She has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, and years later graduated Magna Cum Laude in Physical Education. She founded during 1970’s her Dancing and Fitness School. Today, many of her students are dancers and ballet teachers in Puerto Rico and the United States.
During 1975 she introduced aerobics in Puerto Rico, and founded together with her dearest friend Christine Vega, Aerobic Trainings International, a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Trainings Organization. Together they have travelled to South and Central America, Europe, United States and the Caribbean certifying more than 2,000 fitness professionals. During those years she was constantly invited to present in several Conventions and Fitness organizations in Europe, South and Central America, as well as in the United States. In 1995, she was a Gold Medalist in South Africa during the World Aerobic Competition. Had her own Fitness TV program for many years, and had her weekly fit-ness column in one of the best known newspaper in Puerto Rico. In 2004 she was elected by the National Strength and Conditioning Association the Personal Trainer of the Year , and a few years later she was appointed State Director for NSCA in Puerto Rico, and selected State Director of the year, years after.
She holds several certifications among them NSCA-CPT,*D, ACSM, TRX, ZUMBA, Pilates, Willpower and Grace, and Ballet Barre. Her spicy styles, her unique choreography and her not ending desire to elevate the quality of the fitness profession keep her active in her Personal Training and Group Classes.
She has been happily married to Hector Santiago, her beloved husband for 45 years, and together they have six children, and eight grandsons.
Three years ago, she finished her book “Sorry, What’s Your Age”, where she reveals details of her life, and her desire to live 125 years, as still she has many projects to complete in her life.