From its humble origins in aerobics classes, to the diverse fitness environment we know today, our industry’s continual development is reliant on individuals and organisations that embrace new ideas, strive to improve standards and assume positions of leadership. This year, during Australian Fitness Network’s FILEX convention, we formally recognised a selection of these people who make a positive difference to the lives of those they work with, and to the wider community. We congratulate the 2013 Fitness Industry Award winners on their achievements, and express the collective gratitude of our industry for the positive roles they continue to play.

Lifetime Achievement: Lisa Champion

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.

Read Lisa’s Perspective feature here.


Inspiration of the Year: Fitness New Zealand

On 4 September 2010 the first of a series of major earthquakes hit Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand. Although, amazingly, there were no fatalities, many houses were left without power or water. Within a day most fitness clubs opened their doors to locals, offering use of showers and facilities. This set the tone for how Christchurch businesses and locals would collaborate to help others in the months to come.

On 22 February 2011 another major earthquake hit. Tragically, 185 people lost their lives and major sections of the city were destroyed. Fitness New Zealand identified that most major gyms were either closed or being used as emergency accommodation, leaving the majority of personal trainers with no income or base of operations.

Fitness New Zealand proceeded to oversee a series of initiatives to support the industry, including PT in the Park; Fight Back Friday education workshops and fundraising campaigns, to name but a few.

Through co-operation and tireless ingenuity, Fitness New Zealand has been instrumental in leading the fitness industry in Christchurch through a seemingly insurmountable and ongoing challenge. In recognition of these efforts Network was proud to present the industry organisation with the 2013 Inspiration of the Year award.


Presenter of the Year: Rebecca Small

Born and bred on the northern beaches of Sydney, Network’s 2013 presenter of the year started her fitness industry journey by teaching her first aerobics class in the late 1980s. Rising quickly through the ranks of a very competitive industry, she presented her first session at the 1995 Network convention.

In 1997 she left Australia for Germany with her now husband Steve, to pursue a career in international presenting. After months of sending out VHS tapes of her classes, Rebecca finally landed her first presenting gig. At her peak she was presenting at an incredible 35 events annually.

Highly awarded, and highly sought-after for her immaculate step teaching methodology, she was a pioneer of ‘tap-free’ choreography and ‘Stepping the Balanced Way’. Many convention delegates and presenters, both in Australia and overseas, have granted her the title of ‘Queen of Step’, which has stuck to this day.

In the course of her presenting career it is estimated that Rebecca has travelled to more than 40 countries and trained in excess of 375,000 fitness professionals. In Australia we’ve had the enormous privilege of featuring Rebecca on the FILEX schedule on a regular basis since 2001. For these reasons, and many more, Network was pleased to present Rebecca with the 2013 Presenter of the Year award.


Event Crew Member of the Year: Andrew ‘Flash’ Stephens

After completing his certifications at Network in 2000 and embarking on his career as a successful Sydney-based personal trainer, Andrew ‘Flash’ Stephens first volunteered as an Event Crew at Network’s FILEX fitness industry convention in 2001.

On a professional level, in his 13 years working in the fitness industry, Andrew has trained a variety of clients from children to the elderly, and Ironmen and women, and has also worked to rehabilitee injured athletes and clients recovering from major health problems. He has lectured a number of high profile corporate clients in the areas of good health and a balanced lifestyle and has been featured in fitness publications including MindFood and Mens Health magazine.

During his fitness career, Andrew has generously donated his time and skills as an Event Crew at numerous FILEX events. With the nickname ‘Flash’, he is renowned for going above and beyond expectations with a big smile on his face. A respected and reliable team player, Andrew is always willing to help new Event Crew find their feet and to share his experience of working behind the scenes at FILEX. For this reason, we always look forward to welcoming Andrew back as an Event Crew volunteer. Network congratulates ‘Flash’ on his truly hard-earned recognition as Event Crew Member of the Year.​