Special industry award for Christchurch personal trainer
A Christchurch exercise professional with multiple health conditions has been honoured with a very special award at this
year’s New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards.
Cate Grace from Grace Training (formerly Leap Fitness and Leap2it!) manages her day-to-day chronic pain on crutches with
daily movement, regular infusions, weekly injections and up to 12 pills a day (which all help keep her out of a
wheelchair), was presented with the New Zealand Exercise Industry REPs Award at an event held in Auckland last night.
The Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) award is for contribution to professionalism and standards in the exercise
industry, selected by the REPs board.
“I’m positively overwhelmed and it was totally unexpected. This award is for anyone out there who is struggling, to keep
going and follow their dreams, because that’s what I did,” says Cate.
Cate was invited to the awards as she was a top five finalist for personal trainer of the year, so this special award
took her completely by surprise.
“This is my way of showing that the exercise industry is accessible to anyone. Five years ago I was named New Zealand’s
up-and-coming personal trainer of the year, and over the past five years I’ve continued to disrupt this industry to show
that it’s accessible to absolutely anybody. I’m living proof of that,” she says.
In 2009 she was told by all her health professionals that exercise would be beneficial to her longevity, but was turned
away from all her local gyms because she was deemed too much of a risk.
“I had a strong feeling I was not the only one that was like this. On my challenging road to embrace my conditions and
adversity I was looking for somewhere or someone that could bridge the gap from my medical team to mainstream exercise.
It was a struggle to find the right person,” she says.
So she went out and filled a gap. Cate became the person she needed, in an extremely unlikely industry for someone like
her, through quality education and surrounding herself with inspiring mentors.
“I set up a business that focused on what you can do and from there my passion and enthusiasm has led me to training and
mentoring men and women from all over the country either at my motivation and fitness studio or over Skype, working
specifically to their needs in an environment they can manage and maintain,” she says.
Cate was quickly overwhelmed with requests from others also not catered for by the mainstream – a motley crew of
wonderful people with a wide range of challenges, both physical and psychological who, through encouragement, support
and guidance, are breaking down barriers to great health.
The REPs panel said that Cate positively manages her own health conditions through exercise so practices what she
preaches. Her career model is part business, part humanitarian, operating a safe and inclusive space especially focused
on those with a range of health conditions. Many of these health conditions are externally invisible which means her
clients may not have fitted into a conventional gym model.
Her studio is a place that is accepting of people as they come.