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The winner of Australian Fitness Network’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award ruminates on the power of change.

What an amazing weekend FILEX 2014 was. ‘Embracing Change’, the theme of this year’s convention, holds a very special meaning for me. Change has created many experiences in my fitness career: embracing change has only enriched it.

The world around us changes constantly, and I’ve learnt that we have to choose whether or not to change with it. ‘If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got’ is a quote that perfectly sums up the need for change.

Over my 30 years in the fitness industry I have experienced a sea of new ideas and industry transformation. Where we are today is unrecognisable from where we were in the 1980s. At times the amount of new information and ideas almost overwhelmed me, and I felt the temptation to sidestep the constant evolution and stay in my comfort zone, my safe familiar routine. To have done so, however, would have been a mistake. Learning to accept and manage change has taught me a lot about myself and brought insight into many situations, a journey of both personal and business growth and strength.

We often resist change, and don’t realise that it is constantly occurring all around us. We can choose to see it as either a positive or a negative force in our lives. Whether small or big, forced or chosen, change is about closing one chapter and opening another.

Of course, not all changes are pleasant – but they can bring about positive outcomes. In my early career there were very few professionally run fitness centres. Many operated without ethics, closing down suddenly and leaving a trail of disgruntled members in their wake, along with a damaged image of the fitness industry. One morning I found myself unemployed courtesy of one such centre.

Suddenly I was forced into a state of change. A negative situation that forced me to reflect, reorganise and make a fresh start. Within one week I was appointed fitness coordinator at a newly developed recreation facility. Something very positive had arisen from change. My new beginning was scary at times, but also exciting, energising and highly rewarding.

This turnaround held the key to my future career, a period of personal growth and insight into the fitness industry. The industry was now growing at a rapid rate and experiencing vast reform, a great opportunity to evolve and become more flexible to new situations, programs, environments and people. It also became a time for reviewing life values and deciding where the road of transformation should lead next.

Over the following years I immersed myself in education, earning a range of qualifications and certifications until I felt I had connected all the elements I required to go ahead with my next metamorphose – owning and operating my own personal training business with an emphasis on mind body and rehabilitation.

Through vision and passion I found my fitness niche and achieved my long-term goal. I firmly believe that change is the key foundation to success. Change creates excitement and reward and the opportunity to become a leader. Change reminds us that anything is possible.

We often ‘fail’ at change because we feel it has to be huge and immediate. Like crash-dieters, we want to see results right now! Unfortunately that approach is not always achievable or sustainable. If we modify and plan the way we change, by embracing a series of short-term goals, one at a time, it becomes more valuable, achievable, and enjoyable – and leads us to our bigger desired outcome.

In an industry that can sometimes move too fast, and overload us with information, it’s important to remain grounded, focused and true to our clients and ourselves when we implement change. While we should always trust our own judgement and not change just for the sake of it, when change presents itself we should embrace it, even if only one small step at a time. Whether forced or self-created, change will help us to let go of old thinking as it becomes our new teacher.

In the words of renowned entrepreneur and personal development guru Jim Rohn ‘Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.’

Marg Anderson’s three decades in the fitness industry have seen her instructing group exercise, managing fitness facilities, lecturing in health and fitness, and training clients in her business Regenerate Personal Training

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