Cate Grace – Top 10 Global Personal Trainer

Cate throws away her crutches and becomes one of the top personal trainers in the world

DaffodilsFour years ago, Cate Grace was lying on the couch, overweight, unhealthy, needing crutches to walk and resigned to a life of crippling pain. Now she is now about to fly to London to vie for the global title of 2013 Personal Trainers to Watch.

Life Fitness, a global leader in fitness equipment manufacturing, announced the 10 international finalists this week. The annual competition recognises personal trainers who demonstrate exceptional leadership, client support, motivation and inspiration. The 2013 competition generated more than 1,500 entries from 43 countries. The 10 elite finalists will compete for the top title on 27 September, in an all-expenses-paid trip to London.

“These finalists change their clients’ lives with their unbridled passion and commitment to healthy living and fitness,” said Chris Clawson, president of Life Fitness.

And changing lives is exactly what Cate Grace does. She started with her own and, like an orb of positivity and motivation, the ripple effect of her LEAP (lifestyle, exercise, appreciation and positivity) philosophy has spread far and wide.

Since launching Leap Fitness and Motivation, her flagship personal training business in 2010, she has committed her career to inspiring and empowering people who have gone through personal struggles or suffer chronic illness, helping them to live healthier happier lives.

Cate has travelled a difficult road to become one of today’s elite personal trainers.  She continues to battle her own chronic health conditions, and uses her own journey to motivate and inspire others.

In her 20s she was diagnosed with chronic asthma, endometriosis and psoriatic arthritis. In her 30s her medical ails included rheumatoid arthritis, osteopenia of the spine and it was confirmed she would never have children.   By 35, she had hit an all-time low, living with pain – both physical and emotional. She did not exercise and ate her way to morbid obesity.

“Even with many health professionals telling me to exercise, I found I just didn’t know how to do this, I didn’t even know how to start.  I approached personal trainers and gyms and over and over I was told ‘you are too unwell to train’, ‘I wouldn’t really be able to help you’, ‘this isn’t the place for you’.”

Cate had hit her breaking point.   “I had three choices, give in, give up or give it my all.” She opted for the latter, and in 2009 took the leap off her couch and “built my wings on the way down”.   She lost 25 kilograms (donated in Cate’s world – lost things always seem to find their way home) and in the process discovered an inner strength and sparkle. 

With this new-found positive energy and healthier body, the smart businesswoman in her realised there was a gap in the wellness industry.  

Still working fulltime, she started studying towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences, majoring in Rehabilitation, and trained at Max International College of Fitness Professionals as a personal trainer. By mid-2010 Leap Fitness and Motivation was born and she was determined to help people get moving.

Earthquakes, red zones, destroyed premises, snow storms and many hospital stays have hampered Leap’s journey, but Cate’s driving passion to help others has kept her true to her vision. With husband and business partner, Riwai by her side, she has overcome all this and grown the business in extraordinary ways. Earlier this year Cate was awarded the Zonta Women in Business Award. This sits alongside numerous other awards and accolades she has gathered from the fitness industry in her short, but fruitful, time within its ranks.

While Leap Fitness and Motivation is making immensely positive change in the lives of its clients (LeapStars in Cate’s lingo) she is driven to widely sharing her messages of living healthier, happier, fitter and stronger lives. She continues to grow the brand. As a professional speaker and with multiple online channels, is already helping hundreds re-evaluate how they live their lives. Her dream is to continue to grow this. She will release her first book next year and will soon complete the model that will help her to train the trainers, so the LEAP philosophy can extend beyond the people she personally touches.

Cate and Riwai are involved in numerous charitable endeavours and part of her business philosophy is to give back to some of the most vulnerable in society. She does extensive work with women who live with domestic violence, emotional abuse or are recovering from traumatic events in life. “The journey and cycle of grief you experience after a trauma is very similar to that of someone diagnosed with a chronic illness.”

Already a lot of this work is done pro-bono and Cate is working alongside other health professionals to help her LeapStars get the help they need to lead healthier lives. In the near future, a charitable trust will help expand the philanthropic side of the business.

“While I am only one person, I know my own personal journey, my empathy, business ability and passion can help the industry recognise the great need to help more people become happier, healthier, fitter and stronger, in both body and mind.    

“Like the pebble in a lake, being in the top 10 for this award will help me send ripples out, grow my business, give back to my community and influence my industry.”

Cate adds that the fitness and wellness industry has done an exceptional job of catering to the needs of the 10 percent of the population who go to a gym. “What I am trying to do is bridge the gap for the remaining 90 percent of the world who don’t like that environment, yet want to be active and healthy.

The competition

Finalists in the global Personal Trainers to Watch were selected based on personal values, innovative training philosophies, education and experience.

The top 10 finalists will compete in the programme’s first live judging event, where they will be scored on their ability to motivate, praise and collaborate with a client, as well as enhance the workout experience and correct exercise performance. Nominees also will be judged on leadership, client motivation, inspiration and previous recognitions.

Among the prize packages are US$5,000, international media exposure and continuing education with the industry.

“I see this competition as yet another way I can help the industry to help those who need it the most,” Cate says.

Among the 10 finalists are three New Zealanders, Cate, Jean Mary Scott (Christchurch) and Mish McCormack (Auckland).

The top 10 finalists will compete in the programme’s first live judging event on 27 September. The winner will be announced immediately afterwards and the entire day’s events will stream live on 


For More Information                               Media Enquiries
Cate Grace 027 532 7248                            Sandy Galland – Your Story Communications                                   Phone 03 383 6083 or 027 479 3205