Northland's Corinne Austin, who recently won the Exercise Association of New Zealand's title of Personal Trainer of the Year, says that the adage of 'No pain, no gain' belongs back in the early 2000s, as it intimidates those with well-meaning fitness aspirations.

"I'm a personal trainer and even I don't 'smash it out' every day," she says.

She believes the tough attitude in fitness comes from a need for penance for increasingly bad lifestyle decisions and endless pressure to feel attractive.

"We're health and fitness professionals that have been so focussed on the fitness that we've forgotten about health. Science tells us that we need health and fitness together. Fitness doesn't equal better health unless we're addressing all facets of health."

Advertisement

Corinne is determined to spread her unorthodox fitness gospel across New Zealand. The judges described the Whangarei trainer as being: 'beyond sets and reps and into care of the total person'.

Exercise, Corinne says, is a stressor in its own right so providing our body with exercise modalities that complement our experience of life and stress is critical.

"Especially for those who already have too much stress – a lack of proper sleep, a bad diet, sitting at a desk for hours, career pressures, repeated illnesses, or personal circumstances – exercising with intensity is counter-productive.

"We need to challenge the mindset that hard-core exercise is a cure-for-all."

Corinne has been undergoing ongoing training in exercise physiology and functional health with the Kaizen Institute of Health in Australia.

She now integrates her 12 years of industry experience with the Kaizen approach (Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning continual improvement).

Corinne says most people just need to add extra movement into their day and she started a network of movers four years ago called FitMIn.

The now 2500-strong group across New Zealand has one simple goal: to encourage each other to get out and move.

"It's focus is on reigniting the fun and play elements of movement or fitness, and making the most of your body."

Corinne started her fitness company Fit Fix ten years ago, but you won't find Corinne, her trainers or any clients sweating away in the city centre.

Fit Fix is located on the Austin's ten-acre lifestyle block in idyllic Glenbervie, just minutes from Whangarei city, where she lives with her husband Shane, and their two girls.

And now, after a 23-year career in IT, he is training to become a personal trainer too, working with men over 50.

"We're pretty determined to alter the current paradigm of exercise from something that only fit people do, to something that everyone is motivated to do."