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What fitness qualifications do you hold?

I’ve gained a diverse range of qualifications over 19 years in the industry, including my certificates 3 and 4 of course. I’m registered as an Intermediate Fitness Professional.

Where do you live and work?

I live in Little Douglas, a remote beachside location. My business, First Choice Fitness, is currently contracting out of 24Fit in Port Lincoln.

What are your main roles in the fitness industry?

Personal training, wellness coaching and mentoring.

How did you arrive at where you are today in your career?

I started out managing the fitness section of a recreation centre. Since then, my career has taken many twists and turns, including training passengers on board cruise ships. I have won a number of awards, including SA Personal Trainer of the Year and SA Fitness Professional of the Year. Flatteringly, I was once head-hunted to apply to work with The Biggest Loser TV series.

Describe your typical day

I start with gratitudes, meditation, a beach walk and a swim in the ocean most days. Then I train PT clients mid-morning and get a little admin and research done. In the afternoon I take a few more PT sessions and teach a class before watching the sunset. In the evenings I’ll often mentor students via Skype.

What skills are needed in your role?

Customer service, honesty, discipline, self-belief, determination, integrity, setting clear boundaries and the ability to say the hard things to people when required!

What’s your greatest career highlight?

In all honesty, teaching orphaned children PE, dance and art in Africa – with up to 80 kids in a class! These kids are radiant, vibrant, have fun and live in the moment, even though their bodies may be riddled with HIV, TB or hepatitis. This chapter taught me kindness, humility, courage and to make the most of each day. These children are some of the 59 million orphans across Africa. They are eager to learn and travel large distances to attend school and collect water for themselves and their families.

Africa changed me for the better and I left a lot of egotism, my own self-importance and materialism behind there. Now I focus on gratitude and my blessings in life a lot more, especially the people and animals that really matter to me. Seeing 270 hungry kids each day sorted me out with priorities!

Who has inspired you in your fitness industry career, and why?

Michelle Dean for her up-tempo classes and positive energy!

What’s your main focus now and what are your goals for the future?

Wellness retreats. I’m currently studying the connection between emotions and how they manifest in the body and how to work on these issues moving people forward in a positive direction. An innovative outdoor group fitness class new to Australia is also in the pipeline.

What motto or words of wisdom sum up your fitness/life philosophy?

‘What you think you create. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you become.’ Adele Basheer

And finally – who would be on your ultimate dinner party guest list?

Cathy Freeman for her guts and determination and getting her point across. Jane Goodall, as I have huge respect for the awareness she raises for the plight of animals. Oprah Winfrey is smart, generous and a positive role model. The late Nelson Mandela for his ability to forgive and overcome great adversity. He had the courage to never give up in what he believed in.

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