Fitpro broke the rules: from Fitness professional of the Year to Award for Excellence in Fitness

For those of you who don't live in the world of fitness, Fitpro is the biggest global organisation for fitness professionals. That's BIG! And up until now, they've held their annual UK get-together at Loughborough University. But this year everything changed and Fitpro was on a mission to "break the rules"!

So the Fitpro Convention (conventional name) was rebranded FitproLive (livelier name) and it moved from Loughborough to the amazing London Excel complex in the docklands area. It was an awesome venue and along with the move came an increase in footfall from 1000 to 2500 participants this year - yes, there were 2500 fitness professionals in the Excel, all strutting their stuff and generally looking far too fit and healthy to stand next to!

The Excel was absolutely humming with activity - there were fitness and nutrition stalls - I kept grabbing free samples of yummy Chia Pod puddings - huge group sessions featuring the latest fitness class crazes, talks by world class leaders in fitness, wellbeing and business.... and there was Katie Piper.

Yes, Katie Piper was the keynote speaker and her talk was incredibly moving. To think of the inner strength needed to go through what she has: having sulphuric acid thrown at her face, well over 100 operations, the pain, the anguish but ultimately the success and the desire to be the victor. She is a true survivor and is doing great good helping other burns survivors via The Katie Piper Foundation.  May all fitpros go out there and raise awareness and funds for her charity.

Fitness Professional of the Year vs Award for Excellence in Fitness


And now let me come to the Fitness Professional of the Year award, which is what I was a finalist for. Well, firstly let me tell you that Fitpro has two annual award categories: Fitness Professional of the Year and the Award for Excellence in Fitness. Now as you know, I entered the Fitness Professional of the Year Award and I did this because  I decided that the other category was probably aimed at more estabilished fitpros than me.

Well, on the day, quaking in my boots but nevertheless on a mission to DO MY BEST I stepped into the interview room and found myself facing a panel of 5 judges seated in a row behind a long table. A lone chair was sitting in front of the judges - that was my place. So I think you can probably picture the scene!

The interview got going and questions rained thick and fast. Having said that, the judges were lovely and made me feel at ease, and the interview flew past. Having thanked everyone I stepped out of the room and thought "That's it. It's out of my hands so I'm going to enjoy everything that's on offer here and then tonight will be the moment of truth!".

The Fitness Professional of the Year Moment of Truth


And that moment of truth was really quite surprising on the evening of the awards: Jane Waller,  co-founder of Fitpro, announced that the judges had been unanimous in their agreement that there were two clear winners. They had also been unanimous in their belief that the two winners had entered the wrong categories! So.... the judges decided to break the rules and swap us over.

So instead of walking away with the Fitness Professional of the Year Award, I found myself walking up onto the podium and thanking everyone for giving me the opportunity to win the 2014 Award for Excellence in Fitness.

My three boys were there to see their mama win one of two of the fitness industry's most prestigious awards and to see me up on that stage.

I hope that memory will stay with them always, because it's good for children to see a bit of Mama Power, isn't it?