The Exercise Association of New Zealand Board/Staff
Grant Helleur – Chair
With 15 years experience in the fitness industry, Grant currently owns an exercise studio in Auckland’s Grey Lynn – prior to owning his own studio he was Business Manager Fitness and Recreation for YMCA Auckland.
Entering the industry as Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor quickly moving into management, he remains hands-on teaching regular spin classes.
With qualifications in Quantity Surveying, Fitness, Management and Business his interests are in developing and improving business operations and performance. Passionate about the industry he is currently Chair of the Exercise Association of NZ; he is also on the Board of the Grey Lynn Business Association and has previously served as secretary for over 5 years on the NZRA committee for Auckland/Northland.
Himan Patel – Secretary
Himan has over 22 years in the industry as a Manager, Educator, PT Manager, Recreation Officer, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor at two of New Zealand’s largest Universities (Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and University of Auckland) and still am as passionate about the industry today as I was when I started out.
The vast variety of roles Himan have been involved in makes him a valuable contributor with a unique perspective to the governance board. The knowledge, skills and experience gained through my academic involvement at AUT within the School of Sport and Recreation and running three not for profit Sport and Fitness Centres across AUT, at the same time has allowed him to “walk the talk” for our industry and his School.
He has worked with Exercise New Zealand and REP’s on behalf of AUT to deliver New Zealand’s largest fitness industry conference (FitEx) since its inception. He also has a vision to help grow our industry and the conference by educating students in the value of personal and professional development.
Himan understands the challenges of running both small and large businesses in our industry, and also has experience at a strategic level, and keen to give back to the industry.
Sophie started in the fitness industry at AUT 16 years ago as a Personal Trainer. Since then she has run her own PT company, trained Personal Trainers (NZIHF, NZCF, AUT) and set up NZs first Fitness Industry recruitment company. She has worked with Sales and Corporate Membership for Les Mills, YMCA and in the last 6 years Sophie has been involved in corporate wellness. Her focus within the Board environment is to make health and wellness more accessible to New Zealanders by supporting both the professionalism of our industry and the resources available to those working within the industry to be successful.
Sophie has a Bachelor of Commerce (Management & Human Resource Management) Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Financial Management and a Diploma in Fitness Training. She has a strong background in sales, sales management and business development.
Having worked in the industry for so long, Ross understands the challenges of operating a fitness centre and the issues that small businesses face on a day to day basis. With over 20 years retail management experience Ross also has solid business grounding and understands about working with others at board level.
Ross has owned and operated his gym business, Evolve Fitness, in Feilding for 11.5 years. Starting with nothing but a 1000m2 empty building (and with 3 other gyms already operating in a town of 14000 people). It is now in a new site, double the size, and has three health related business operating from within it – Ross gets health-exercise collaboration, and is keen to explore how the industry can tap into that further.
With an extensive background in Sales and Entrepreneurship; Ken is motivated to deliver exceptional service and create opportunities to build positive client relationships. Ken recognises the value of collaboration and enjoys working with others to drive for innovation and develop a culture of continuous improvement. As an advocate for health and wellbeing, he loves seeing clients embrace positive changes to improve their health and vitality. Together with his wife, he owns the Heritage Health Club in Christchurch (since 2010) and has created a unique fitness facility within the local market. Getting to know their clients is an advantage of a club with limited membership and enables them to understand their requirements and provide a welcoming, supportive environment.
Stephanie started in the industry as a group fitness instructor at the University of Canterbury Recreation Centre while studying to complete her Law and Arts degree. Coming from a strong background in dance, she is now the Managing Director of En Forme Studios in Christchurch where she teaches Barre, Pilates and DanceFit classes. Stephanie is equally well versed in the commercial arena of law and marketing and is a specialist Intellectual Property Solicitor at James & Wells.
Stephanie has held previous Board roles including as Trustee for the Dance and Physical Theatre Trust and hopes to use these skills to help the Exercise Association of New Zealand continue to improve industry standards and offer a modern and engaging approach to supporting its members.
Stephanie currently holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (media and communications) and is a REPs Registered Exercise Professional.
Reece has been in the fitness industry for more than 30 years. He currently works largely as a consultant to the industry with clients in New Zealand, Australia and China. Prior to consulting, Reece was the CEO of Les Mills New Zealand for some 11 years. Reece has operational experience ranging from being a group fitness teacher, PT, gym floor staff, management, owner operator of a small club and large gym general manager.
Richard Beddie – Chief Executive
Previous owner of fitness centres in Christchurch for 15 years, and has worked in the industry for over 20 years. Involved with ExerciseNZ since 1998, and President from 1999-2005.
Has a Bachelor of Science in Statistics, and completed a Masters degree (MBA) specialising in the fitness industry.
Richard presents internationally on fitness industry trends and has a passion for helping businesses realise their potential.
Nathan Burrows – Operations Manager
Nathan has been with ExerciseNZ since 2002 where he worked part-time, while studying towards his BA and Graduate Diploma in Teaching.
After completion of study he became a full-time employee and has held many different roles in both REPs and ExerciseNZ.
His current job roles include coordinating and running ExerciseNZ’s events including FitEx Conference, and the annual roadshow. Day to day he assists ExerciseNZ members and works on projects.
Louise Ryk – Office Support
Louise comes to Exercise NZ from a background in customer service, most recently managing a department in a large chain store. Louise has a knack for troubleshooting and takes pride in having good rapport with the fitness community. A big fan of both team sports and going to the gym, Louise has always been involved in exercise in some way. She has played in several representative teams from her hometown Ashburton, for both netball and tennis.
Dr Nigel Harris – Chief Science Advisor
Nigel Harris is a Senior Lecturer in fitness and exercise science AUT University. Nigel brings a wealth of industry and education experience, having been on the ExerciseNZ board for over five years (in two separate sessions) and is keen to further contribute as an advisor to ExerciseNZ.
ExerciseNZ shares an office with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). From time to time you may talk with one of the staff at REPs as they often help ExerciseNZ with tasks.
Stephen Gacsal – REPs Registrar
Stephen Gacsal is the Registrar of REPs, who oversees the day to day operations of the register.
Stephen has extensive management and industry experience, having previously operated businesses, and holding board and directorship positions in the exercise industry for over 20 years. Stephen in conjunction with the REPs board, is committed to the ongoing growth and development of the register.
Charlie Beagle – REPs, Projects Co-ordinator
Specialising in web support, registration of exercise facilities and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses, Project development and helps Exercise New Zealand with the running of it’s national conference FitEx.
Charlie first started in the industry in 2005 as a Sales Manager for successful facilities in Christchurch. After a short break away he came back to manage two facilities in Christchurch before coming on board with REPs in July 2008.
Hannah King – REPs Registration Co-ordinator
Hannah King started in the role of REPs Registration Coordinator in November 2015. Hannah comes to REPs from a background in electronics and sales work. She will be using her previous experience for processing REPs registrations, answering any REPs questions and helping guide applicants through the registration process.
Hannah has lived in Christchurch for several years but is from both Te Hiku O Te Ika, the Far North District – North Island where her family still resides and the Waikato area. Has had experience as a Waka Ama Paddler is still an avid follower of the sport due to her family’s continued participation and success in the sport.