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Ok so Riwai was going to do a blog every week…. except this week with me in hospital and he has been working ridiculous long hours he actually asked me to write it…. That was never going to work because I write way differently to him and everyone would know it was me!  So instead this is from me…. about us and our first Sunday Session…

It has been an amazing journey.  Seven years ago Riwai and I had heard about a thing called a 20 Week Challenge. To be honest we thought it was for lycra clad gym junkies….We had no idea what it was or whether we should do it. After a family picnic we decided we formed a family group and entered our first series. You can read more here about my story here cates-20-week-story

Back in those days it ran twice a year, this year the series doesn’t start until May and we think that’s a bit long to hold off making life changes so for 2016 we decided to launch LeapStart and it just happens to be that Broni and her team have also come up with a new category – Early Start We think that’s pretty awesome, espeically after last week Riwai hitting the wall and getting started last week, he inspired me to take my bike in for a service so that after all my infusions (that blog is coming) we will both be LeapStarting!

We also had a second Flashback to 2010 – when it was my first year out as a PT.   I used to work Sundays because I was working pretty much full time. Riwai and I decided that maybe I should do that again as we used to have so much fun.    (Think I might do a poll of my LeapStars before I go back to work to see if there is any demand).

Anyway today is what Riwai calls his in between, the day before his night shift.   He slept in and then we went ahead with our first Sunday Sesh as two of our old friends who supported us both when we started out were coming for lunch.  They also both wanted to get back into training again and commit to the 20 Week Challenge.   We had an awesome catch up but i had to put my PT hat on and cross some boundaries and we had our first 2016 Sunday Session.   We were having discussions about the health, diet and fitness industry and how hard it can be to break habits of a lifetime. We also said how when you get into your 40’s being 60 is not that far away and how we often forget to celebrate all the little changes we have already made (especially since we began this career and life change in 2009).  We decided that diets were out, fitbits were in, community of like minds was in, bootcamp and yelling was out and eating real and nourishing food was a definate goal of all of ours!  We then talked about  Nadia Lim, Jamie Oliver and Damon GameauWhat the Fat?Sarah Wilson,  and  Nigel Latta on Sugar and realised that as two of us are diabetic, one a self- confessed sugar addict and me a food lover that we our first LeapStart mission would be to get back to  nourishing basics (with their ideas and cookbooks) .   So we are begin with a Nourishing Breakfast Club to get us going.  We will keep you updated on our progress.    It is so cool they are both back and the four of us will train and get healthy this year too.   Riwai and I are stoked to be able to all catch up as a team and know we can all support each other.

Oh and he did to a VLOG

So if anyone else wants to get started early you can name your start date and the number of weeks you want to do between now  until the start of this series in May.

Riwai decided that because it’s his 10th that he would give it for half price, I rolled my eyes a bit and could hear Lou (our office angel and money lady sighing too!) But you only live once and we want you to live a long time so LeapStart is for anyone who has signed up for the 2016 20 Week Body and Lifestyle Competition but wants to get started early!  Sign up to LeapStart in January and Riwai is offering over 50% discount on our LeapStart packages this year to get you started on your 20 Weeks extra category!  You can get $309 value for just $149.

Why because it is our 10th anniversary doing this great event and TutuMan and our LeapCrew are keen to support you all to kick start your 2016 year too!    See more here about our VIP package

And besides after our lunch today we think LeapStart is a perfect way to get ready for the main event and be recognised for any of the milestones you achieve before the main event begins in May. The 20 Weeks main event is run through winter, when you’re least motivated, which means by the time you finish you’ll not only be in to win lots of awesome prizes you’ll be geared up to make the most of summer.

ps don’t forget we have trained over 100 people with finalists and category winners in each season we have been involved in. We know how to inspire and encourage you to be your best and really are excited about what this year will bring!   Remember Riwai is toast when it comes to the offical stuff so if you want to do it make sure you email Lou and she will get it when she is back at work tomorrow –  leapangel.nz@gmail.com and she will contact you to discuss options.


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 http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/9137421/Rheumatoid-arthritis-sufferer-turns-personal-trainer.

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!!