What it means to win Small Group Trainer of the Year

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Photo: My beautiful wife Mon and I at the Awards.

The New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards celebrate the very best in the health and fitness business, and over the weekend I was lucky enough to receive the Small Group Trainer of the Year award at this hugely prestigious event.

Registered Exercise Professionals are the best of the best. All of the big names are at these Awards, especially the judges (many Australian), and it’s not an easy selection process - so to not only qualify but win was huge for me. I am absolutely over the moon and the reality hasn’t quite sunk in yet.

As a personal trainer and business owner, the journey can be quite lonely with the late nights and early mornings but for me, the changes in people lives make it all worth it. It’s good to know you are working in a role where you are making a real difference in the community and receiving an award like this cements the fact that all my hard work and efforts are paying off.

This will now position Recreate Personal Training as an industry leader, which has been a long-term goal for me. It really doesn’t get much better than this and I can’t thank my amazing family, team and clients enough. You are what drives me to succeed and without you, I would be nothing.

Here’s a little insight into my journey this year and what it takes (and means) to be named Small Group Trainer of the Year. 

The nomination 

Like any journey in this industry, I had to put in some seriously hard yards to get to the top.

It all started when I was anonymously nominated for Small Group Trainer of the Year back in June - whoever you are, thank you for putting my name in the hat.

There were three rounds of submissions, including a video entry, before being selected to go in front of the judging panel, which was made up of elite professionals in the industry.

My training approach

When arriving at the live judging, I knew I would need to bring my A-game. The finalists in my category where high-calibre. I actually left thinking I had done well just to be there alongside these people, as my competitors were all top-class and their skills were amazing. The field was very diverse and the other finalists included ex-military, self-defence trainers and wellness coaches.

My style is strength and conditioning based. My main focus when working with clients is to develop a community and we do this at Recreate through connecting people through common purpose. We all come to train for different reasons - physical, social or mental - but we stay when we love the culture and have performance-based goals that give us purpose. I’m a big believer in people first and fitness second.

We’ve also spent a lot of time this year raising funds and awareness for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. This is something that is close to my heart and has been very rewarding. It’s definitely something we will keep doing in 2019 and I was proud to share this with the judges. 

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Photo: The Recreate Personal Training crew. I couldn't do what I do without these folks on my team.

Delivering a session in front of the judges

The most challenging part for me was delivering a 10-minute group training session in front of the judges – something I would normally run over half an hour. There were specific movements and criteria we needed to meet in the 10 minutes, which isn’t exactly a long time to make an impression. The participants in the training session were also other finalists, and this made it difficult as you knew you were training the best.

Next was an interview with the judges. I was asked some tough questions, but I stuck to my core values and answered as myself. Sometimes I knew what the answer should have been, but I didn’t want to tell them what they wanted to hear. My approach is a little against the grain and I know my target market - it’s not for everyone and I explained this. I think they appreciated my honesty.  

The win!

Being announced as the winner and going up on stage is still a bit of a blur and I still can’t quite believe it!

It was also awesome to see so many other people from Christchurch at the Awards, with our region taking out almost half of all the top prizes. It’s exciting to see that we are becoming a dominant region, with so many industry leaders here in Canterbury.

Congratulations to everyone who made it to the Awards. I know that you all put in a lot of hard work to become finalists and it was a privilege to meet so many like-minded pros in our industry.

The full list of winners is available here.

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Photo: All the awesome Award winners!

What next?

2018 has been huge in terms of scaling Recreate, taking on more awesome coaching staff, and becoming a better manager. I am feeling so thankful to all the people around me who have supported me. This is now an opportunity for me to continue with my dreams as a great coach, father and husband, with some exciting things to come in 2019.

-       Reece #noexcuses