12 Week Challenge National Gala: Event Recap

In December, I was fortunate to have been invited to the Goodlife Health Clubs 12-Week Weight Loss Challenge National Gala. The 1200 person event was held at the Brisbane & Exhibition Convention Centre in South Bank, which celebrated the National finalists from the August 2013 competition. With the new year in full force, and many people setting new fitness and health goals, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my recap. It was pretty remarkable to see the physical and emotional changes many of the challengers underwent.



My date Karen, who has her PhD in Clinical Exercise Physiology, joined me at the media table! We were clearly excited to be there.

Goodlife’s 12-week Challenge is a motivational fitness program run by the well-known Aussie health club. Gym members can sign up, at a cost, to work alongside a personal trainer for approximately 3 months. Through training, nutritional guidance, assessments, check-ins, and ongoing motivation from trainers and other challengers, the participants spend twelve weeks in hopes to reach new health and wellness goals. Over the past decade, more that 30 000 Australians have participated in the challenge, which I think says a lot about its effectiveness. Sure enough, the most recent group of challengers lost a combined 9 000 kg (just under 20 000 lbs), 40 000 cm, and burned over 1.7 million calories!

The Gala was beautiful, with some awesome performances and speeches to keep us entertained throughout dinner:


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Not to mention a pretty hilarious MC, comedian Dave Thornton.


There were two groupings for the competitors:

the Transformation Category: This is designed for people wanting to lose weight, transform their body, change their lifestyle, and maintain it for the rest of their lives. A personal trainer isn’t required to compete in this part of the challenge, but was highly recommended for receiving optimal results.

and the Fitter, Faster, Stronger Category: This is designed for the more experienced challengers, with a focus on functional programming and structured weekly workouts. A personal trainer is required for this sector of the competition for continued guidance, support, and motivation.

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Interestingly, many of the competitors in the Fitter, Faster, Stronger category were gym staff themselves. I thought it was pretty inspiring to see people in the industry also taking the initiative to challenge one another in the creation of new fitness goals, even when they are already immersed in the culture on a daily basis. Many people competing in the Fitter, Faster, Stronger category worked out 7 days/week, sometimes twice a day. The self-discipline and focus of these competitors was pretty remarkable!

As awesome as the Fitter, Faster, Stronger participants were, I must admit that I was incredibly inspired by those competing in the Transformation Category. This is where we could actually see how some lives took a 180˚ turn. For me, one of the most inspirational stories was that of a woman who showed up to her training every day at 5:30am, regardless of the fact that she has 7 (!!!) children at home. There have been days where I’ve blamed lack of exercise on the fact that I’m exhausted by caring for 1 child, let alone 7. Another woman spoke about the amazing realization she experienced when her trainer made her walk around in a 10 kg (22 lbs) vest. It was difficult for her to believe THAT was the exact amount of extra weight that she’d been carrying around 12 weeks prior.


Although people trained hard in the gym throughout these twelve weeks, there was also a huge focus on nutrition. Almost everyone completely cut out alcohol and packaged & processed foods. This makes sense. It would be a shame to exert so much effort in your training, but maintain an unhealthy diet. The results were well worth it. Here are just a few of the nominees for national champion:





The grand prize winners, Daniel Ricardo (Nerang) and Analisa Mathrick (Wantirna) took home $5000 each and a trip to Bali…not to mention a healthier perspective on life and a rockin’ new bod.


Sometimes we need a little push or incentive to change our lives for the better. If you’re an Australian looking to take the plunge in the next round, just a heads up: it begins February 22, 2014. You can find out more information by visiting any Goodlife Health Club. If this is not really your thing, or you don’t live here in the land down under, I’m sure you can at least appreciate the remarkable changes the competitors underwent. It definitely inspired me to keep my goals in clear sight, challenge my fitness level, and clean up my eating in 2014. Anyone can experience lifestyle changes, big or small, as long as you believe in yourself.

6 Thoughts on “12 Week Challenge National Gala: Event Recap

  1. What a fun and inspiring event to attend!! There are several good life gyms around here but mostly Fitness Firsts…vom.

    I love how there are two categories and there is constant support- I should see if there is something similar up in Sydney!! Dave Thornton is a legend.

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on January 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm said:

      Adam swears by his Fitness First! haha, I am actually working with them over the next few months. Is that the gym you attend in melbourne?

      I really liked the 2 categories as well. I think it’s less intimidating for some people who are new to training and not overly excited about competing against others who are confident in the gym.

      As a Canadian, I had no idea who Dave was, but everyone seemed really excited about him! hahah

      • Oh no! Haha- just a bad experience with them. I used to be with them a few years back but their fees and their damn contracts…not cool! Although I’m not sure which ‘chains’ are big in Sydney!

        I’m at a generic local pool and gym one, Aquarena! It’s got an older clientele which suits me fine- none of the stereotypical meat heads there 😛

        • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on January 18, 2014 at 10:36 am said:

          I’m assuming Goodlife & Fitness First are the big ones in Sydney, but I’d think there would be so many other interesting alternatives there as well that you couldn’t get elsewhere.

          What do you mean? You don’t like taking turns at the squat rack with Arnold Schwarzenegger?

  2. So cool! The gala looked amazing and you are such a stunner! Such an awesome opportunity and kudos to those who took charge and changed their lives. Seriously inspirational!

    • Kelly @ Femme Fitale on January 18, 2014 at 10:41 am said:

      Thanks, lovely!

      I agree. It was a great experience, and pretty cool to realize how exercise and healthy food can completely change a person, physically & mentally, in such a short period of time.

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