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Fitness industry awards announced for 2009

Fitness industry awards announced for 2009

August 29, 2009. Auckland: The New Zealand fitness industry’s premier event was held on Friday night, August 28, at Auckland’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.

The prestigious annual Fitness Life Awards black tie gala dinner and awards ceremony is the country’s only national competition celebrating the dedication and success of our world-class fitness leaders and the important role they play in the health of our society. More than 300 guests enjoyed an evening of great food and entertainment, supported by industry body Fitness New Zealand.

Now in its fifth year, the night’s guest speaker was Hon Murray McCully, Minister for Sport, Foreign Affairs and the Rugby World Cup 2011. He was joined by ex-All Black Josh Kronfeld and fitness ambassador Suzy Clarkson in revealing the top 20 health and fitness professionals and centres in New Zealand, including the contribution of businesses and schools in promoting health and exercise.

Judging for the awards is a rigorous process that starts with the submission of detailed and comprehensive entries. These are assessed by a judging panel, which this year comprised senior lecturer in fitness and exercise at AUT, Dr Nigel Harris; invited guest judge Hon Rodney Hide, minister for Local Government, who also spoke at last year’s event; and invited guest judge, social and clinical psychologist, Dr Alice Boyes.

“Trainers and gyms change lives. They certainly changed me. It was a privilege to judge the country’s best this year,” says Rodney Hide, commenting on his involvement in the 2009 event.

The 2009 winners:

PMP Print NZ South Island Contribution to the Community Excellence Award
Bishopdale YMCA Recreation Centre, Jill O’Connor
Judges’ citation:
Are they genuine about making a positive impact on their community, irrespective of business growth? For sure! Outstanding! This YMCA shows good community outreach, such as exercise demonstrations, and good initiatives for improving its community service, for instance how to attract more men.

PMP Print NZ North Island Contribution to the Community Excellence Award
Mish McCormack, MishFitness
Judges’ citation:
Mish just lives it! Her ‘Put the Well back in Wellington’ free waterfront fitness classes for summer were an extremely innovative, voluntary initiative that really got Wellington moving and increased the awareness of community fitness in a great number of people. It also gained endorsement from the mayor, tied in local radio stations and media, and brought the importance of fitness to the fore.
Mish totally “lives” fitness and has done really well to instigate her community initiatives as an independent PT, without multiple resources behind her.

Calypso School Health Initiative of the Year
McAuley High School, Colleen Robertson
Judges’ citation:
So many people spend time identifying problems with the health, activity levels and eating habits of our youth. McAuley High School is a decile 1 school that has just gone ahead and tackled these problems head-on with its own ‘Active Friday’ programme, and the results for students are outstanding!

Calypso School Health Initiative of the Year
YMCA Auckland, Shamila Unka
Judges’ citation:
YMCA Auckland is meeting a real need in the community by working alongside schools to assist them in delivering exercise programmes for youth. It is obviously driven by a desire to make a difference in the community and to have an impact on this important target group. It is also constantly seeking to expand and improve on its programme. It’s great to see such a strong partnership with schools.

Email Direct Corporate Health Initiative of the Year
Healthwise (Division of Flight Centre), ToniLee Luck
Judges’ citation:
Healthwise has implemented a motivational and successful programme catering for many de-conditioned corporate clients. Innovative events and thorough health and fitness screening processes to catch early signs of potential future health problems were evident. Healthwise clearly contributed to the overall success of the company by improving the lives of employees and enhancing employee satisfaction with workplace. This is a successful business model.

Blue Fitness New Zealand Membership Sales Consultant of the Year
Charlotte Worrall, YMCA Auckland Lagoon
Judges’ citation:
Charlotte’s enthusiasm for her product shone through and she provided clear evidence of her sales success – excellent conversion rates etc. Her extremely professional presentation and smart approach to her job impressed the judges. She showed a good balance of authenticity and sales skill.

Debitsuccess New Zealand Gym Instructor of the Year
Shirley McKain, YMCA Auckland North Shore
Judges’ citation:
Shirley is a clear winner. A passionate professional serving her clients and her club, she is committed to ongoing education and has a real feel for what makes people successful in terms of maintaining their attendance.

Fitness Fusion North Island Choreographed Group Fitness Instructor of the Year
Georgina Clark, Les Mills Auckland City
Judges’ citation:
Georgina showed clear evidence of class growth. A leader and motivator with a great stage presence and exemplary form, she combines this with an effective instruction style. She also won the award for best instructor out of 70 at her club. Her video was particularly good.

Fitness Fusion South Island Choreographed Group Fitness Instructor of the Year
Bianca Richards, Les Mills Christchurch
Judges’ citation:
Bianca has become a leader in her organisation and industry. For someone who so clearly excels in front of large groups of people, she has obviously not allowed her success to compromise her great interpersonal skills. She has attracted amazing loyalty from her participants by welcoming them warmly and providing a real sense that she really cares about their exercise experience.

Fitness Fusion North Island Freestyle Group Fitness Instructor of the Year
Melissa Millar, YMCA Auckland Ellerslie
Judges’ citation:
Melissa is a dynamic and skilled instructor who covers a wide variety of classes. She is caring and shows genuine interest in her participants. She also impressed the judges with her strong form and stage presence.

Fitness Fusion South Island Freestyle Group Fitness Instructor of the Year
Erin Brown, Christchurch City Council Sport & Recreation, and University of Canterbury
Judges’ citation:
Erin is a strong entrant, showing a great video performance and high level of professionalism. It’s great to see that she values ongoing learning.

Fitness Fusion New Zealand Group Fitness Instructor of the Year
Georgina Clark, Les Mills Auckland City
Judges’ citation:
Georgina is an inspiring professional, dedicated to her craft. She is acknowledged within her organisation as an outstanding role model for what it takes to lead world-beating group exercise classes.

2XU North Island Up & Coming Personal Trainer
Hilary Blackstock, Body Evolution
Judges’ citation:
Hilary shows technical proficiency and is happy to critique her own practice. Her specific target market – symptomatic populations – requires specialist knowledge. She shows a strong sense of social responsibility, along with individualised focus. She also recognises that the gym culture doesn’t suit everyone.

2XU South Island Up & Coming Personal Trainer
Natasha Guy, Balance for Life
Judges’ citation:
Natasha shows good business skills and astute use of the internet, combined with personal service. She has a really good appreciation of what people expect and need to achieve from personal training, with a keen awareness of the importance of professional networking.

2XU Overall New Zealand Up & Coming Personal Trainer
Hilary Blackstock, Body Evolution
Judges’ citation:
Successful personal trainers must combine sound technical knowledge with an outstanding understanding of people, and then incorporate effective business practices as well. Hillary has achieved the right mix of these elements through hard work, close critiquing of her professional practice, and being open to personal and professional development. We are sure this up and coming personal trainer will become an outstanding New Zealand personal trainer.

Fitness Life North Island Personal Trainer of the Year
Sue Price, Northland
Judges’ citation:
Sue is one Impressive PT! She helps a diverse range of clients, and her energy and love of what she does is obvious. Her passion for her community is commendable, and she also demonstrates a strong commitment to growing her business through the prudent use of external advice. Her attention to technique, and the interpersonal, and business aspects of PT role demonstrate her extreme professionalism, backed up by her Masters-level qualifications.

Fitness Life South Island Personal Trainer of the Year
Belinda Edmondston, Fortitude Fitness
Judges’ citation:
This was a thorough and exemplary and application. Belinda shows evidence of great business and marketing skills, combined with a thoughtful, holistic approach to her clients’ wellbeing. Overall, she’s a clear winner for this class.

Fitness Life New Zealand Personal Trainer of the Year
Sue Price
Judges’ citation:
Through Sue’s real passion and understanding of her community, she has not only built a thriving personal training business, but has also raised the profile of personal training with many people who may not ever have contemplated using it. Northland is fitter, healthier and better for Sue Price!

Debitsucess North Island Fitness Centre of the Year, Under 1000 Members
OneFiveOne Corporate Health Club, Mike Baker
Judges’ citation:
This club exudes the pride and very personal involvement of both its directors. It demonstrates constant attention to detailed service for its members, with prompts such as “above blue line” correspondance and individualised letters regarding the number of visits to gym in past month leading to impressive retention in a tough market. Its great facilities include a tennis court and a ‘sleep pod’, but it is not reliant on value-adds such as these, nor complacent regarding its need to attract new members.

Debitsucess South Island Fitness Centre of the Year, Under 1000 Members
Heritage Health Club, Julian Hagger and Dave Harrison
Judges’ citation:
Growing and maintaining membership for a health club based on quality of service and facility rather than price point is the distinguishing factor of this club. The entry covered all criteria well, detailing its outstanding facilities, good support for PTs and friendly customer service.

Debitsucess North Island Fitness Centre of the Year, Over 1000 Members
First Place Fitness, Tony Brunton & Ryan Johnston
Judges’ citation:
What fantastic growth! This unified and genuine team shows great pride in both the facility and service they provide, led by two innovative and closely involved owners who show a real commitment to investing in facility growth and improvement. Its great facility and genuine customer service clearly delivers results.

Debitsucess South Island Fitness Centre of the Year, Over 1000 Members
cityfitness Nelson, Debby Callaghan
Judges’ citation:
Specific and strategic goals, with clear plans and measurement of success criteria across all aspects of this club are highly evident. The strong and experienced business management is mindful of what really does make a great club that members will choose to join and stay with. Cityfitness also provides a sense of small club feel in a big club facility with a full service offering. Professionalism, with a dose of fun is the order of the day here, with customer focus the number one priority.

Debitsucess New Zealand Fitness Centre of the Year
First Place Fitness, Tony Brunton & Ryan Johnston
Judges’ citation:
Proving it deserves its title of ‘First Place Fitness’, Tony and Ryan have done an outstanding job of transforming the facility and services on offer here since purchasing the business two years ago. They have systematically created a staff culture where member satisfaction and facility care have lead to a thriving club.

Skills Active Award Manukau Leisure Services, Brett Jude
Skills Active has worked closely with Manukau Leisure Services an entity of the Manukau City Council for several years, helping to establish one of the most robust performance management and professional development systems in the activity and recreation sectors, observed the judges.

"Manukau Leisure focusses on excellence and on providing a superb customer experience. The organisation's culture is positive, dynamic, exciting and energetic, and is ably supported by the leadership of chief executive Brett Jude. It is our privilege to present Manukau Leisure Services with the inaugural Skills Active Award for outstanding professional development and training.

Fitness New Zealand Outstanding Services to the Fitness Industry Award
Wendy Sweet

In her time in the industry, Wendy Sweet has contributed significantly to the education and professional development of many thousands of trainers through her lectureship roles at institutions such as AUT and the University of Waikato. She is widely regarded as expert in PT systems, following her success in establishing and developing that adopted by Les Mills in the early '90s. Wendy has been mentor to many new PTs, providing leadership, motivation, vision and insight into what attracts and retains fitness clients.

"Wendy is committed to the ongoing professional development of fitness industry, providing education and training sessions in direct response to industry demand.
Her long-time status as a leader in the sector, with her finger on the pulse of fitness in NZ has seen her elected for a number of industry advisory boards. She is known as someone who has identifies industry trends early and frequently influences them as they emerge," said the judges.

The Fitness Life Awards 2009 were sponsored by Debit Success; 2XU; Fitness Fusion; PMP Print NZ; Blue Fitness; Calypso; Skills Active, Fitness Life magazine and Fitness NZ.


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