Who is the Challenge Chic?
That would be me. Broni McSweeney.
After working as a lawyer in outback Australia I shifted gears, moved to New Zealand and embarked on a career in recreation and fitness. I’ve now been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years.
I was a gym instructor for almost five years before transitioning into personal training. From early on I was taking group fitness classes like pump, step, circuits, bootcamps, old school aerobics. I took these at gyms and community halls, for senior groups, youth and everyone in between.
My personal training included working in mainstream fitness clubs but also in people’s houses, a drug and re-hab centre, with home detention prisoners, special need groups and schools. I did a monthly rural circuit visiting farms and wineries as well as regular workplace programmes in corporate offices and factories.
In 2006, I set up Catch Fitness to help support people working in the fitness industry. Catch Fitness went on to run over 300 on going educational workshops, utilizing some 200 presenters.
I took on a number of fabulous educator roles two of which I did for many years. Lecturer at AUT (Auckland University of Technology) on the personal training course. Tutor at ARA (The Ara Institute of Technology) on their fitness course and exercise science tutor and body trainer with the performing arts department.
All the while I was doing a lot of one to one mentoring. It was mainly with other self employed instructors – circus performers, dancers, exercise coaches, personal trainers, and group fitness instructors.
I was also fortunate to present at several conferences including:- GetActiveNZ, FitEx, Tonic, YMCA and on the Exercise Association Business Grow.
Some of my advisory roles were with the NZ Qualification Authority – TRoQ (Targeted Review of Qualifications) board, Active Canterbury Network, REPs (The Register of Exercise Professionals) and as a Judge at the New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards.
Way back in 2011 I won the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award at the NZ Exercise Industry Awards and before that I won Lecturer of the Year and was Finalist in the Bella Mentor Award.
Pretty much from day one, I was running challenges. Some classics included:- week long indoor triathlons and decathlons, 6 km rowing challenges and face your fear challenges.
The largest of the challenges was the Catch Fitness 20 Week Challenge. It was ran 14 times and done by over 3000 entrants. Almost 200 Personal Trainers rolled it out and it gave away more than $100,000 in prizes. Interestingly (but intentionally), it was run in the ‘slow’ winter months, for longer than anyone thought was viable to run a challenge! Add to that, it had no weight loss category or prize for weight loss, yet it excelled in achieving just that! And it required entrants to go find themselves a personal trainer and pay extra to see them each month!
In addition to now compiling information for people working in the fitness industry I also develop fitness programmes for schools and workplaces. Broni McSweeney
I really hope you find the information on this site useful. Please drop me an email if you have any questions or ideas. I’ll always respond appreciatively and within the week. You will find my contact details here.