How delightful to be interviewed today by the lovely Carly Flynn on Saturday Fresh,  Saturday Fresh on Radio Live Saturday 10AM – 2PM

Saturday Fresh
Ideas for everyday living with Carly Flynn – a great place to go for useful and inspiring ideas to help make life just that little bit easier.  
Great recipes, tips on home life, time savers, travel advice, new home products, cosmetics and beauty advise, health and well being, mindfulness – Saturday Fresh has it all covered.


Here is a link to the interview today with myself and Sandra Kirby, CEO of Arthritis NZ

Living with Arthritis – Radio Live Interview 19.03.2016 with Cate Grace & Arthritis NZ

And seven of my tips for starting to manage your Arthritis for a positive and happy life!

  1. Be Ok with asking for help and get a team around you including medical people, an Arthritis Educator fron Arthritis NZ, friends and family, and support person (especially for appointments).
  2. Book in regular friends and family dates where you and loved ones agree not only focus on your illness
  3. Focus on what your body does well – stop beating yourself up for what it doesn’t
  4. Hang out by yourself doing things you like doing
  5. Give yourself pat on the back for all you did well today
  6. Drink more water; hydration is a great pain killer
  7. Move more – start with a few minutes, build up to exercise snacks and focus on what you can do not what you can’t

Keep practicing on your positive mindset
I believe it is the best the way to cope
for there’s no arthritis cure… yet
but there’s a lot that can be done
many small steps lead to big possibilities
and if you positively embrace life with arthritis you can achieve all that you desire


Smiles for a fabulous day & rest of your weekend

Cate x


6:30am and I am at the front door of where I have worked for the past four years.  

I graduated in 2010 as a personal trainer and was ready to put my big toe into a foreign and brand new industry.  I was scared as hell but had a trainer who had offered to support me in my journey and offered me a space to work from.   I was so excited!  I continued to work full time, four long days so I could financially support my new venture  – Seth Godin would likely name me a bootstrapper company – I worked weekends, Mondays and early starts and late nights as a trainer while by day I continued as a youth coordinator.   It was a hard slog but it was worth it.   Within a couple of months I was faced with my first major challenge.   From nowhere my support person called me in to say there was no room for me to work with her and her new business partner.   I remember leaving that meeting in shock and disbelief,  I was devastated and felt I had made a horrible mistake taking a risk based on someone else’s  belief of me.   Why on earth had I done that!  How would I work in an industry that didn’t get me and didn’t support me.  It was a dark week.   Five years on and I finally get it.  She and her business partner gave me the most extraordinary gift the day they both turned their back on me.  That day I realised how much I loved what I did, it helped be unleash a passion I never knew exisisted.   I had to completely change how I worked following that frank discussion with them both.  I instantly became resourceful, adaptable, flexible and willing to embrace change, I learnt to dig myself out of a hole.    They will both know who they are, so I don’t need to name them,  but as I climbed the stairs this morning I paused and quietly thanked them both in my head.  I am grateful for what they did that day in 2010 as without that hard lesson so early in my career I doubt my business would have survived all we have been through.  I certainly would have never have met Donna Knowles and Richard Green who saved my bacon and let me work with all my coloured balls and squeeky chickens at Zest,  or have worked alongside Janelle Woolridge.   When Zest was firmly ensconced In the red Zone in 2011,  Janelle had moved to her own premises in dec 2010.  In March 2011 she opened her doors to allow me to work beside her but keep my brand and business.  We have grown our own businesses working in a unique business relationship that only worked because of the adversity Christchurch faced and Janelles generosity.    

Janelle has been one of my greatest mentors.  I will certainly miss her, her clients and her technical talents.   

This morning as I walked the stairs at a Form a new calm washed over me. I  realised those dark times in early 2010 had led me to climb these 17 stairs most days for the past four years.  

65280 stairs later… Thank You Janelle, it has been and incredible journey. 


So much of my anxiety for this last minute trip was about my ability to fly long haul with all my conditions.

I figured I could be in pain at home so why not be in a magical new place to experience.

Travelling is good for my soul regardless of how I feel or where I am on the pain scale there is always something to discover to make me smile. It wasn’t easy at times but totally worth it and here are a few of my trade secrets that worked a treat 🙂

1. Write a list and use it to prepare for your journey the week leading up to when you go. I work from my head down and make sure I have all I need written down. Then make sure it is clean, mended and still fits before packing to the lets take it pile.

2. Pack early then take out half the clothes and take twice as much money

3. Book special assistance when you book your plane tickets – if your health is like mine it is unpredictable and the help around the world makes travel much more pleasant. Take your worst case scenario aids – for me that includes extra pain meds, mohair gloves, antiflamme, arnica crutches and wrist braces. Better to have all that you may need than wish you had it all if you end up unwell.

4. Invest in blister packs for your medications and take two extra weeks worth. Take half in your hand luggage and half in your luggage (unlikely both will go missing). Include extra pain meds just incase. Pack any refrigerator meds in a small carryon bag to give to staff when you board. Take a GP letter to show anyone of Authority who may ask eg customs, police, airline staff

5. Invest in a watch that has dual time. Set your main time for the time of your destination on the morning you travel so you start adjusting before you hit the air. Set the less obvious time set to home time to ensure you take your medications at the right time.

6. Go to the airport early to save from rushing and getting all flustered. Make the arrival and relaxing time at the airport part of your experience. Request an aisle set so you can get up easily and move around

7. Say yes to the wheelchair ride. It comes with your own “wheeler”. They are responsible for you until you reach the gate, they help you though customs and to the correct boarding gate. An amazing help when you are tired and you can focus on your health rather than getting lost or stressed your are too slow. With special assistance you will not miss a transfer or boarding.
Ps Anybody travelling with you gets to go with you – make sure they are quick as the wheelers don’t muck around :). It’s also ok to ask to stop at duty free or toilet. Otherwise they will take you directly to the gate.

20131017-014326.jpg8. Invest in noise reducing headphones for the plane . The headphones are amazing and cut out so much noise but you can still hear the hostess ask what you would like for dinner.

9. Travel in lifesocks – these socks keep your feet fresh and prevent risk of DVT – well worth the investment.

10. Drink water regularly, move out of your seat every hour (unless you are sleeping). I constantly ask for water and apple juice every time I move. Ps don’t worry about the toilet – at least going means you are moving – hence the aisle seat

11. Refrain from alcohol – it really doesn’t help you adjust.

12. Use your time at destination clock to work out when to sleep. Use an eyemask to block out the light and turn up your headphones for peace and quiet.

13. Have your ride from the airport prebooked for pick up – it may cost a few dollars more but makes your arrival to your destination much easier. Combined with a special assistance pickup you should arrive at your destination fresh and ready to explore and enjoy.

Ps don’t go to sleep until dark at your new destination and keep drinking water. This will help with your circadian rhythms and allow you to wake up refreshed and adjusted.

And lastly and most importantly have a fantastic time wherever you end up in the world 🙂

What really matters in life is rarely on my daily to do list

So today was about washing, packing and blogging. Anne and Kevin have made it to work, Molly has been picked up by doggy day care and the painters have arrived… We are in London afterall, the washing is out, the packing can’t be done until thats done and the blogging..well its my blog so I guess it can wait!

Good that’s sorted then lets go……

When I left on my OE nan said don’t have any regrets. I didn’t really have a regret but I was sad I hadn’t taken enough photos of my favourite Underground Stations. I had also missed out on Paddington Station back in the day as the day I was going to go I had the flu and never fitted it in, so off we went for an action packed day of tube hopping, store stopping and and old english pub to finish. Riwai was amazing as we ran around like our own version of the amazing race. It was crazy and we certainly walked off all the food and wine from Emiles last night! Another epic day and we made sure we were all packed before bed so it would be more relaxing tomorrow as we head for Portugal – on another adventure via Paris and Beavious.



Flying is incredible to watch – have you ever stopped to think how magnificent, birds, butterflies, insects and man-made aeroplanes really are? They showcase how doing the impossible, with the odds stacked against them can appear effortless, majestically taking to the air and dancing above the world like they were suppose to be there.
I have flown from my earthquake devastated hometown of Christchurch to St Albans, London. I was nominated and picked from 1500 global entrants in 43 countries to represent and showcase my style of personal training. Today as my watch reads 8:48am, I have a great opporunity to inspire and learn. I am surrounded by the globes greatest personal trainers and in a few minutes I am taking my curves and crutches to the world health, fitness and wellness stage.

Today it is my turn to fly…………………..

Keith Austin is a towering gentle giant. He fills a room or in this case a gym with calm and fun. But don’t be fooled by this jovial persona – he is a wealth and depth of knowledge in the health and fitness industry. He is also one of our seven judges, five whom are present today.

He sure means business and I am very excited that our first masterclass is a practical workshop on the magnificent LifeFitness Synrgy360. Nuffield Health is also an amazing centre. As we are seated for our briefing I catch out of the corner of my eye state of the art equipment, an indoor pool, squash courts and a welcoming cafe and hub of the centre. The energy has lifted and we are surrounded by cameras, onlookers, media and sponsors. Keith tells us to focus on us and why we are here. He says we must think of today as a learning and have fun. Of course at the end of the day someone will take home a title but he says we are all winners and we must remember that we are the top 10 from 1500 entrants nominated fro 43 countries. Again the tears are right there this is a true honour and still unbelievable! No time for them to flow, a quick bite of the bottom lip, look at my pandora and other sentiments and its show time!

The music is turned up, Keith walks me through this amazing equipment to make sure all can be achieved on my crutches. It all gets the big tick. I am so excited 🙂 The other nine join us in the centre for another reminder from our host Nick Merrell from Life Fitness UK and Europe. A quick
three, two, one FUN!!! and we are warming up to the beat of the music.

It was truey an amazing experience, catering for all levels and our quick highlights package reminds me anyone can exercise and can exercise.. I am in the right industry for inspiring wellness and changing lives.

The rest of the morning sees us in an upstairs meeting room, doing three theory based classes before lunch. One is on sharing best practices on four unique clients of the future – I loved it because these were all my typical clients now and I was able to hear from nine other experienced and top of their game trainers. We then met our clients, real clients based at Nuffield, mine is Beverley a 20 year plus member in her early 50’s, only does classes and has never used the Synrgy360 or weights. She has some old injuries from a car accident. We get to chat over lunch and find out what she likes, dislikes, her longterm fitness goals of weightloss and longevity. Our third masterclass is on the clock – we return to the arena and for the first time since we started with Keith I feel the butterflies again…. I have 55 minutes to plan, record and write down a 15minute progessive workout for Beverley. It is what I do, everyday…. but for 30seconds I am star struck, in awe of the equipment and the task. This is being streamed live around the world, the judges are watching our every move and I have a head full of ideas… at least I am not blank. I take my notebook and sit with my eyes closed for a few minutes. Breathing deep into my belly and calming my nerves, just like this morning I repeat the words ” I got here on my own merits, do this for everyone back home, do this for Riwai” Breathing, relaxing and clearing the mind. And eyes open…. I walk around the gear and ask myself – what would you do at home. Do what you know… I see Riwai arrive and I run over to him “Please can you go back to the hotel and grab the hula hoop? I need it to relax me into the session at 2:30” I have said it before but he is an amazing support crew, he doesn’t hesitate and heads off.

I get planning – Warm Up must be fun cardio and include dynamic stretching. The session will include major compound muscle work, flexion and extenstion exercises. Low impact for knees and lower back pain and no shoulder elevation due to old injuries from car accidents. Short Term Mission – to introduce Beverley to the Synrgy360, get her heart rate elevated, sweating and smiling. Long Term Mission to compliment her love of cardio classes with an alternatve resistance training to promote longevity, muscle building and disease prevention.

Thats the technical bit and in reality this Leap2it! Session sounded like this..

We will take you back to childhood with some hulahooping and hopscotch and throw the rubber duck, then we will put out some washing, spin dry it (dynamic stretching) and grapevine and pattercake around the place (cardio) then move to being a super woman (trx and rip) then we will pop in a bit of water skiing (TRX and RIP) lunge around the clock, and plank the alphabet then we will finish off with some bat wing treatment (with TRX for arms) before we have a lie down and give yourself a round of applause and angel wings. (Obie for myofascial release)

15 minutes exactly – planned and ready to go! Submitted to judges – this was so everyone was on the same level and we couldn’t change our plan.

I was number three so I got to watch Kim and Steven first – they were awesome and it really calmed my nerves. Each was so different and our styles were able to be showcased.

Next up is Cate Grace from New Zealand…..

WOW it was amazing.. a blur, a delight, a wonderment – I didn’t notice the cameras, I ran my own race, and it was so much fun.. it was great to see my clients smile and I felt like it was exactly what I was suppose to be doing. I couldn’t have done it any differently and I gave it my all. What a blast and what a memory.

There was no time to even say hello to Riwai, I literally caught my breath and was whisked away for a video interview, I didn’t even do my hair and I could feel beads of sweat and red cheeks…At least I knew it would look real. I am so stoked with the video, it is only a couple of minutes and it captured my essesnce and why I am in this industry perfectly!

Curves and Crutches – I did it – I felt like i was flying and it was JAZZFASTIC!


I thought this would be an easy post to write but I was so overwhelmed with emotion it has been difficult to put into words what it was like. I have started it each morning to put it in writing but then I just sit and smile with a goofy and satisfied look on my face. How do I describe this amazing feeling….. well it’s like the caramel or chocolate oozing from the centre of a warm fondant. I have tingles and that mmmmm warmth and good feeling all over. Weird analogy when I am about to describe being a finalist in a global fitness competition but hopefully you will get a sense warmth and wonderment too. 🙂

I woke up super early – just like Christmas morning and lay out my uniform. My damn left wrist is playing up – today of all days! Luckily we packed my wrist brace and after a lashing of anitflamme it settles. I have a shower going over and over in my head… “I got here on my own merits” Both bakers cysts are up and my wee legs look like overstuffed sausages. It is just all a bit overwhelming… I can feel the tears coming and think of everyone back home and that because of them I am here. Riwai is being amazing and super supportive. The clock ticks over 6.25am. All my little sentiments are with laid out too and as I add one by one, I pause to savour each memory and what each sentiment means – my pretty pear bird earrings that symbolise so much, my watch and pounamu from nan, my pandora charms from my mum, dad and Riwai. My inspire and be the change bracelet and my bridge and circle of support bracelet. As I put my last charm around my neck it reads “be the best version of you”. All are super important and together they symbolise my tremendous journey to this point. I am almost ready – my tshirt reads personal trainers to watch and coincidentally is in my new blue. I pop all my medications out of my blister pack, as my head goes briefly to the “wow they really picked me”. The irony of pill popping, crutches and wrist guards is another moment to pause, breath and take it all in. …. Riwai is putting my NZ and kiwi sticker on my crutches, i nip back to the bathroom for a last nervous pee and a double check I have all I need. These curves and crutches are about to take the world stage… More tears are coming but my final bit of strength comes from my soul mates. Riwai leans over with a bear hug and perfect kiss on the forehead. “You’ve got this babe, go do it for our LeapStars, those who have passed. We are already proud of you so what ever happens, just go have fun”.

We meet all the competitors and judges for breakfast. Thanks to social media we feel like we are catching up with old friends, we are all humbled and excited to be a part of this special day. Before we know it we are on the bus and heading down to Nuffield Health.

When we arrive the nerves pop back to say hello – cameras, lights, judges tables, the synrgy360 is magnificent and there behind it are our own named chairs. We are as ready as we can be….


What an absolute whirlwind of a month. Just one month ago I was sworn to secrecy by a woman half way around the world. Just five days earlier she had called me at the end of her day, in the early hours of mine. In a gorgeous American accent the caller had left a message asking if I could please call her back as she was following up my attendance for London. What the………..??

What a life changing call that would be.

I had just finished my last treatment for my latest flare up the week before, I was feeling very sorry for myself as my dream to be overseas travelling to celebrate my 40th was dashed, my legs were not working and we had no idea if the mabthera would work longterm. I was about to start work on the last few weeks of series 10 of the catch fitness 20 weeks competition with 53 entrants. Always a hectic time as I showcase what my LeapStars have achieved and encourage those who feel they haven’t to still test. I then have to put together judges reports for all of them. It is my most favourite month of the year as the stories, results and smiles remind me why I do what I do… It usually takes up every waking minute….. As I hung up my voicemail my initial reaction is – “Whoever this lady is – I don’t have time to ring her back let alone go to London”

Luckily my LeapAngel walks in the door for work as I am listening to the voicemail for a second time… Riwai has come in from night shift and is sound asleep… I squeal this time as the reality sinks in and I realise actually who has called and why they want me in London. Please call Lauren back from LifeFitness. You have been named one of ten finalists in the LifeFitness Global Personal Trainers to Watch for 2013. We need to fly you to London for live judging at the end of September.

For the next few weeks there were many early morning calls to Chicago while I asked hundreds questions about the competition, wrote my short and long bios and got pictures ready for their media release. A full day work personal training and then there were many discussions and late night calls to London as the amazing travel team came back and forth with ideas for flights. I have chosen to be in Christchurch for the 20 Weeks Awards night and fly the next day. It is important for me to celebrate my LeapStars success before I leave. This was a huge call and will be no easy feat. As emails, skypes and calls went back and forth I was reminded again of the burdens my disease carrys when you need to do extraordinary things outside our normal routine. The risk of flare is high, and I have very few hours to turn around and be at my best for judging. The stress was mounting and I was getting exhausted. So it was back to basics…to counter balance the sleep deprivation. I had to postpone some sessions to fit everything in and still couldn’t tell people why.

What was I thinking!! 52 hours of testing and then 52 reports to write in less than two weeks. We had to continue with our normal Leap business, prepare for London (still in secret) and a side trip holiday after, celebrate my 40th and get a media kit ready – I called in the troops for help with the 20weeks, swapping sessions with me for hours doing data entry. Thank goodness 🙂 Riwai fed and watered us, looked after the team and reminded us it was all worth it. Our team was sensational and I am so proud of us all. We did it 49 reports were submitted, three were unable to complete their testing in the timeframes required. What a feeling!!!!

They say timing is everything – as LifeFitness and Reps NZ released the names of the finalists around the world the 20 weeks reporting was at full swing and was at paper work stage. I enlisted more help as Sandy (your story communications). sent out and managed media for me (it sounded oh so pooosh – i have my own PR lady :). in between all of the madness I met with Bec Eleven from the Christchurch Press and she captured my story beautifully – here’s the link

This week as the storm took hold in Christchurch and I realised what a whirlwind month we had. Thank you to everyone so far – I have no doubt the journey and this new Cate Grace chapter has just began.

Today I called my rheumatology team. Yes I am in another flare, but this time we will manage it. I have too! We finalised my crisis and treatment plan for flying and while I am away. In two weeks I will be waking up in London on the eve of judging, Riwai by my side, crutches at the ready, pill boxes lined up, uniform laid out and a tribe of LeapStars and supporters on my shoulder inspiring me to go out there, be myself, do my very best, smile and enjoy the ride… After all even if I am 10th, I know I will inspire some more people to Leap of their couches, let my industry and colleagues into some secrets of training people with conditions and have an absolute blast! I am in good spirits and so excited :).

Ps – Then i get a side trip to celebrate my 40th in Portugal with Riwai! How cool is that!!


kind to your body final

Great…. so my first session is done. Another very cool reminder of why I am in this industry.

Not that I am overwhelmed with joy and excitement about it all, in fact I was lucky that during my session more pandora boxes like this morning didn’t fly open and hit the back of my eyes and turn on the waterwork taps! My trainer is technically brilliant and she does really know her stuff, sadly she also knows words like “Broken” “It will take forever” “I have never seen it this bad” “No” “Not Really” “That won’t be a good idea” “No it will take at least a year” “Cate did you know this will take a very long time”

As with every health professional in my life she did think it was remarkable I can even walk, yet alone do the work that I do and keep positive. As I rowed 500m she looked in disbelief and said I really was the master of disguise. I was able to let her know that my body is the only one I have and I don’t know what if feels like not to be “sick”, “unwell” or live “painfree”. I keep positive because I make the most of everything I have, including my “broken body”. I won’t do anything stupid (like enter a iron man or a running event) I have spent years learning my bodies limits, I will work with her to build my body strength…. I won’t sit around waiting for a miracle and I will be patient and do my homework!

Bless her cotton socks she told me a few home truths from an anatomical and biological point of view – no real surprises there. My body is hyperflexible, I do have terrible posture because I compensate and my butt is super lazy. Her role will be to guide me to make my body the best it can be. We agreed that how I treat my body and illness is a little different and unorthodox. Ok – very different and off the spectrum!

The most imporant thing is for me to follow my own principles love life, enjoy exercise, appreciate my alone time and play positively. I can do this!! and I have over 50 LeapStars who will help me too! 🙂 xx


Yay I love Mondays!

But this morning was a little challenging….. Every day I empower and inspire LeapStars to leap off their couches, so why when I was in the shower did a little pang of nervousness come over me. I felt my mind wander into that pandoras box (that I was sure was double padlocked and chained) and could hear whispers of "You are too fat to be a trainer, you are too unhealthy to be a trainer, you don't drink enough water to be a trainer, you can't do a push up, you are far to hyperflexible to be a trainer, who the hell do you think you are trailblazing and helping real people, you can't run, you can't even ride a bike at the moment, broken, sick and over weight"

Arrgggghhhhhhhhh …………………………….STOP!! I yelled back at myself (of course no one heard me it was all inside my head) STOP this NONSENSE AT ONCE!!!!

Then I realised. I had my first PT session this morning and my body and mind chatter had gone back in time. It was back years before at my own sessions with PT's in aussie and nz who didn't understand me, training sessions where I felt inadequate. Then I smiled and remember that all these reasons were the reason I got into this industry in the first place. My calling was to make people feel more comfortable about getting fit and healthy. To take away the feelings of fear and dread, embarrassment and anxiousness.

My chatter this morning was a great remeinder. I thought about how my new LeapStars might feel before they come and see me. I am sure my own session will be different from the past, afterall I know so much more and also know how to make this work for me.