2016 LISA WESTLAKE
Lisa’s distinguished career has seen her combining her twin passions of physiotherapy and exercise to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of people, from oncology, cystic fibrosis and renal patients, to weekend warriors and mums-to-be.
The pioneer of instructor Fitball training in Australia and co-creator of Melbourne University’s Exercise for Women postgraduate course, she was also instrumental in helping set up the highly regarded Pelvic Floor First project.
Through her company, Physical Best, Lisa espouses the philosophy that everyone, of any age or level, can reap the physical and emotional benefits of exercise – especially when there’s also a good dose of fun thrown in.
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2015 STEVE JENSEN
Managing director and owner of Impact Training Corporation and the National Sales Academy, Jensen has influenced and trained literally thousands of fitness professionals around the globe through his legendary sales and communications workshops.
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2014 MARG ANDERSON
Starting her career as a relief instructor in the remote town of Tom Price in the Pilbara, WA, in the early 1980s, Marg has been involved in shaping the fitness industry in Australia ever since.
After several years teaching group exercise classes in YMCAs, schools, universities and gyms, Marg established her own personal training and group exercise business that still thrives today. She then held the position of fitness manager at her local government gym and recreation centre, where she spearheaded cutting edge initiatives that would become best practice in the industry.
She also became a lecturer in health and fitness at Challenger TAFE, a position she held for nine years. In 2011 she became a member of the Fitness WA Management Committee and was instrumental in the creation of the industry Code of Practice.
Her efforts within the fitness industry were acknowledged when she was awarded Western Australian Fitness Professional 2005 and Australian Fitness Professional 2006. Marg has always gone beyond the call of duty to improve the profile and the standards of the fitness industry.
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2013 LISA CHAMPION, NSW
Recognising an individual who has spent their professional life working to improve standards within the fitness industry and giving back to the community, Network presented the 2013 Lifetime Achievement award to a very pleasantly surprised Lisa Champion.
After gaining her master’s degree in exercise science and subsequently conducting rehab programs for the Marines in her native US, in 1987 Lisa travelled to Australia where she taught aerobic classes, lectured on the ACHPER Fitness Leader Courses and became Australian Fitness Network’s first convention manager.
Marriage and children didn’t slow Lisa down as she continued to work in numerous aspects of the fitness industry, including post natal exercise training, associate editing industry publications, forging strong relationships with the medical and physiotherapy worlds, and educating fitness professionals on how to minimise injury and maximise their clients’ performance. Add to this her love for the discipline of dressage and her presenting engagements at fitness industry and equestrian events, and it’s clear that Lisa’s diary for the past two decades has never been empty!
In 2009 Lisa commenced a postgraduate degree in counselling while continuing to grow her exercise therapy business. Combining her passion for the fitness industry with the knowledge she gained from her counselling degree, in 2011 she launched Fit for Good, a charitable foundation with the aim of enhancing the lives of Australians in need by providing them with health and fitness opportunities.
In 2013 Lisa’s fitness career transitioned into the area of mental wellbeing as she embarked upon her own private counselling practice. Network congratulates Lisa on her very well deserved Lifetime Achievement award.
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2012 DR PAUL BATMAN, PHD, NSW
Dr Paul Batman is what we call a ‘highly educated educator’! Over 30 years, he has achieved a PhD in exercise physiology, a Masters of Science in PE, a Bachelor of Science in PE, and two Diplomas of Education in PE.
In addition to studying, Paul also spent three decades lecturing in fitness education courses, beginning in 1982 with delivery of the ‘Exercise to Music’ courses, in Victoria. In 1999, alongside Andrew Richardson, Paul established the Fitness Institute Australia (FIA).
Paul has written and collaborated on 15 health and fitness-related books and authored over 100 articles on exercise science, health and fitness, and for over 25 years he has presented at conferences in the USA, UK, Europe and Australia. In fact, Paul presented a session at the very first Network convention in 1987. 2012 marked Paul’s 40th year of involvement in the physical education, health, sport and fitness industries.
2011 PHILLIP MILLS, NZ
The 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to one of the pioneers of the international fitness industry, and a driving force behind the popularisation of the modern group exercise experience.
Phillip Mills was born into an athletic family in Auckland, New Zealand in 1955. His father, Les, competed at four Olympic Games, and his mother, Colleen, was a New Zealand representative in the Commonwealth Games. Phillip was a Commonwealth Games 110 and 400 metre hurdles finalist and gained a track scholarship to the University of California.
On returning to New Zealand, he took an increasing role in the Les Mills fitness club business, founded by his parents in 1968. He has grown the business to the point where there are now eleven Les Mills clubs in New Zealand with a total of 50,000 members.
Inspired by the beginning of the aerobics boom he had witnessed in the US, Phillip developed his own group exercise system that would later grow to include the numerous programs now distributed by Les Mills International to more than 14,000 fitness clubs in 75 countries. He also developed the Les Mills Group Fitness Management system, which supports the operation of group exercise in clubs.
Phillip is a committed advocate for ‘green’ business, heading up a group of business leaders lobbying for green business policy and he is married to Dr Jackie Mills, a medical practitioner and director of group fitness for Les Mills. Together, they are the authors of Fighting Globesity – A Practical Guide to Personal Health and Global Sustainability.
2010 KERRI PARKINSON, NSW
Kerri Parkinson has been a longstanding fixture in the Australian fitness industry. In fact, when you think of aqua exercise in this country, it is very difficult not to think of Kerri.
Of Kerri, Hollywood heavyweight Nicole Kidman says; ‘I trained with Kerri for several years while rehabilitating my knee following surgery. She is a true professional and a joy to be around. A huge congratulations on this very special award, to someone so deserving.’
Similarly, Paula Castile, a less well-known although equally grateful client of Kerri’s, says; ‘In 1999 I had been told that I would lose the use of my legs within five years. Finding Kerry was like finding the sun after a very long and cold winter. Within a year or two she had me walking normally without a walking stick and experiencing a lot less pain. I remain eternally grateful for the gifts she has given me, as well as her friendship, fun and kindness.’
Kerri’s fitness instructor career started in 1987, when she realised she could teach aqua classes and be paid for doing what she already loved participating in. Once she started teaching, her natural enthusiasm and passion fuelled her to tell the world about the amazing benefits that water-based workouts can provide for everybody.
Resplendent in one of her trademark aqua-coloured outfits, Kerri commented that if she could be remembered for anything other than her swimsuits, it would be for her inspiration and integrity. Network could not agree more.
2009 SUSAN KINGSMILL, NSW
A true industry leader, Susan’s passion for the improvement of the fitness industry touches everything that she does and has been an inspiration to countless individuals within the industry.
Susan has been involved with her own business, Hiscoes Fitness Centre, for three decades and has built her success on the key principles of customer care, professionalism and relationship building. Her ability to adapt her business to the changing needs of customers has been a key element of her achievements.
Susan has held office within Fitness Australia for over a decade and has held the position of President and Chairman of the Board. During this time she had the vision to oversee some major developments within the industry association, including the achievement of unification. She also took on a major battle with the international record companies over proposed massive increases to music copyright fees and led the charge to raise funds to present a complex and robust legal case in the Copyright Tribunal.
2008 JULIE JOHNSON, QLD
Julie first became involved in the fitness industry in 1983. Since then, she has been instrumental in the establishment and ongoing development of the Australian fitness industry.
Julie’s contribution has been made through her roles as former president of Fitness Queensland, board member with Fitness Queensland and through her membership with the Queensland Gym Owners Association in the early 1990s.
A former Fitness Leader of the Year, Julie has been a registered instructor since 1985, since when she has served two terms as the vice president of Fitness Australia and played an active role in the development of the national training package through her role as a fitness industry representative on numerous committees.
2007 GINA CHAN, WA
Gina has three decades experience in the industry, having first registered as a group fitness instructor in 1984.
The majority of Gina’s contributions to the fitness industry have been via voluntary roles within fitness organisations and on committees. Her positions have included being a treasurer, committee member, secretary, assessor, vice president, chairperson and president.
On a political level, Gina’s contributions have included involvement in the development of the first constitution and incorporation of the Aerobic Institute of WA and the development of the first aerobics theory assessment paper. She was also integral to the coordination of the first aerobics conferences held in WA, the production of Fitness Institute of WA’s original publication and the steering committee that originally established and launched Fitness WA.
At the grass roots level, Gina was formerly an aerobics instructor, a member of aerobics demonstration teams, a judge at the aerobics championship events, a recipient of the Fitness WA 2001 Healthway Fitness Leader Award and a fitness leader educator.
2006 BILL ROBERTSON, ACT
Bill has had a major impact on the Australian fitness industry since the 1970s, through his role as a National Swimming Coach. In 1975 Bill took over Deakin Health Spa in Canberra, which he continued to run for the next 28 years.
In the early 1990s, Bill noticed that aerobics rooms across Australia were becoming empty, so he identified a solution. In 1995 he introduced BODYPUMP to the Australian market, which soon became the world’s most successfully branded group fitness program.
In 1996 Bill founded Les Mills Australia (now trading as Les Mills Asia Pacific), to bring the Les Mills Group Fitness programs to the Australian market. In that same year he cofounded Les Mills International to take these pre-choreographed programs to the world.
Today, Les Mills Asia Pacific holds a market share of over 80 per cent. It has an instructor base of over 11,500 and is taught in over 55 countries, in 14,000 health clubs, by 60,000 instructors. Every week, more than 4 million people participate in Les Mills programs.