Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been 2 weeks since our yearly fitness conference Filex at Sydney International Convention Center.

This year marked the 30 year anniversary of Fitness Network; the people and organisation responsible for creating the Australian fitness industry as we know it (check out the awesome commemoration video created by my talented friend Nathan Short from Colourbeat) 

This year also marked the 10th anniversary of my Filex presenting debut.  I remember standing on the side of the stage as the delegates filed in feeling equal parts terrified and excited.  Somehow I managed to fumble my way through the presentation (and by the way it was TERRIBLE!  The PowerPoint and delivery were below average but hey, you have to start somewhere right?!).

That experience catapulted my career into a new direction; one that has led me to where I am today.  I am incredibly fortunate that I get to educate personal trainers and speak on a global scale, whilst impacting thousands of everyday women who want to become their best selves.

This happened because:

a)  Nigel Champion and Greg Hurst decided to take a chance on me many moons ago (I had to borrow their belief in me)

b)  I said ‘yes’ to a challenge that scared the living daylights out of me.

c)  I have always known what my ‘calling’ or ‘why’ is and thus work towards it daily (by the way my ‘why’ hasn’t always been super clear but I have also had a rough idea of what it involved).

This year I also experienced a career highlight – being asked to speak at the Network Fitness Women Of Influence Lunch.  I stood aside other great industry influencers such as Dione Forbes Ryrie (MD Les Mills NZ), Libby Babet, Maureen Hagan and Alisha Smith.

We all had our messages to share BUT the overarching theme to emerge from the day was to encourage all female fitness professionals to


There is no need for tall poppy syndrome in our industry, there is more than enough to go around.  We, as a female collective, have the power to positively change the direction of the fitness industry.  To do this we need to own our roles as influencers and impacteurs and help other women rise.

We do not need to compete with or tear down our fellow female professionals – we are stronger TOGETHER.

And together we can do great things (I go into more detail in my closing remarks below)


One of the lectures I presented was titled Redefining Strength – How To Cultivate Internal And External Strength In Female Clients.  The premise of this lecture was to help Fit Pro truely understand the positive benefits that come from helping women get physically stronger.

Sure, we all probably understand the physical benefits of strength training, for example, improvement in posture and an increased ability to handle everyday activities etc.. but do we understand the positive psychological benefits that come from it?

With the industry hyper-focussed on the way individuals look, we tend to forget about all the other life-altering benefits that come from strength training.

Isn’t it OUR responsibility (and duty) to help our clients experience an increase in confidence, self-belief and self-esteem that results from carefully prescribed strength training?  Something to ponder.


This was a new lecture for me, and admittedly it was one I was unsure about presenting.  I knew that it was going to be a contentious lecture due to the possibility of it triggering emotions in the people in the room.

The motivation behind creating this lecture was due to seeing and hearing from so many women (many of whom are fitness professionals) expressing their concerns over their poor relationship with exercise, food and their bodies.

Exercise addiction or obsession is not commonly talked about but it is a growing problem.   It is a complex issue with many contributing factors.  I won’t go into too much detail in this blog (I will dedicate a whole blog to it), but here are some of the issues surrounding it:

1.  There is NO formal definition for exercise addiction or obsession (it is NOT in the DSM-5)

2. Ex-obsession is often masked due to a heavy emphasis on  ‘hard, intense’ training and respecting those with good work ethics (we honour those who seem ‘disciplined’ and ‘motivated’.)

3.  It may be a result of an eating disorder so can act as a secondary addiction

4.  There are no upper limit guidelines for how much exercise is too much exercise

5.  It seems some individuals are more prone to it than others (eg perfectionists, and those with low self-esteem)

6.  It is extremely debilitating

Those who attended the lecture got immense value from exploring this topic and many women shared that they have, at some point in their lives, had a problem with exercise obsession.  For some, the issue was still current and raw.

I am only briefly summarising these two lectures but if you want some more information and access to additional resources then click here >>>>>>  Filex 2017 Notes.


One of the things I LOVE the most about Filex is meeting new people and catching up with old friends (it is after all Fitness Christmas).  The one new person who I met this year who I have been crushing on hard of late is Bret Contreras,  AKA The Glute Guy.  If you haven’t heard of him you need to look him up stat!

With a name such as ‘The Glute Guy’ it is pretty obvious what he is good at – he is responsible for creating some fine-looking booties around the world.  He is also a smart and super lovely dude.  Last year I did his 2 x 4 program got some impressive strength gains and learnt a lot about myself on the way.

I had a couple of great chats with him throughout the weekend and naturally had to take a selfie (otherwise it didn’t happen right?).

And so, that brings us to a close of another amazing year of the Filex Convention.

It is really easy for people to mock or criticise elements of the industry (hell I do it on many occasions), but when I go to an event like this I am reminded of all the GOOD that exists – the GREAT people, the exciting information and just the FUN that is to be had hanging out with like-minded badasses!

I hope to see you in 2018!

Nards x


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