Broni Mcsweeney Peace hands the Challenge Chic

About Us

Our mission

To improve the health and fitness of workplace staff.

Our priorities

  • Developing resources that are unique and fill gaps in the wellness jigsaw of workplaces.
  • Resources that are easy to roll out and mostly don’t require apps, computers or extra staff training.
  • Resources that are based on solid research,
  • That are extremely well priced, and
  • Great for businesses looking to get the wellness ball rolling.

Our location

Our programmes are created in Australia and New Zealand and would suit most English speaking countries.  Some of the resources feature a little Noongar (First Nation people from Western Australia) and te reo Māori (New Zealand/Aotearoa).

History of Success

Our previous challenge was rolled out to some 3000 people. In post-challenge feedback, 99% of  entrant feedback recommended the challenge.

Below are some of the results entrants showing, for example, 80% of entrant feedback showed improvements in energy, 57% in sleep and 54% in stress levels!

About the lead developer

That would be me. Broni Mac, officially Bronwyn McSweeney

  • After working as a lawyer in outback Australia I shifted gears and embarked on a career in recreation and fitness.
  • In 2011 the NZ Exercise Industry Awards honoured me with the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award.  I was awarded Lecturer of the Year and a Finalist in their Mentor Award in 2010.
  • Owner Catch Fitness – deliverer of 300 educational workshops for exercise professionals and national fitness challenges for over 3000 entrants.
Broni Mcsweeney Peace hands the Challenge Chic
Me, Broni Mac, leading a session at a workplace
Article by Amanda Cropp - NEXT Magazine.
  • Educator roles: Lecturer AUT (Auckland University of Technology), tutor ARA (The Ara Institute of Technology), tutor NZ Institute of Sport’s Sportzone.
  • Conference presenter at GetActiveNZ, FitEx, Tonic, YMCA and Exercise Association Business Grow.
  • Advisory roles with NZ Qualification Authority – TRoQ (Targeted Review of Qualifications) board and Active Canterbury Network.
  • Reviewer of industry courses with REPs (The Register of Exercise Professionals).
  • Judge at the New Zealand Exercise Industry Awards.
  • 100s of  reviews about myself and Catch Fitness can be found here.

The workplace story

From day one of my fitness career I was helping to deliver workplace wellness programmes for a guy called Russell Graham.  Rus heads up the Fitness Industry Training course at Ara as well as teaching anatomy and physiology on it.

The pic above is from Lane Walker Rudkin, one of several factories we went to each week. I learn’t an incredible amount from Rus about the exercises that were beneficial to people in factories and how to present them in a way that they would be engaging.  It was a phenomenal opportunity.

I went on to run several of my own wellness programmes for several years, but then my career took off in other areas, and so for 10 years the workplace stuff went on the back burner.

Mind the gap

In 2016 I got a phone call from Pauline Rice who had owned Sole Survival (producers of Macpac gear),  whom I had done a workplace programme for for years.  Her insurance company had originally recommended me to her.  She was now with Chalky Digits and asked if I could help them out with a programme.  I was travelling at the time but offered to do short weekly videos for about eight weeks from memory, from where-ever I was in the world and they agreed.  They sent through photos of their workstations and we got started.

While rolling it out I was reminded of how it doesn’t take a lot to make a positive difference in the day of a worker and how much that difference can flow into all aspects of their life.  It’s not that hard to help people be more relaxed but alert, focused and pain free. It’s actually a pretty easy recipe, yet up for offer was an over abundance of poorly put together step type challenges and at the other end of the spectrum, some better thought out solutions (but not always) but with a price tag that would be unfeasible for many small-medium businesses.  There seemed to be a lack of well priced effective and creative solutions at the ;ow to mid range.  Meanwhile there was a bunch of businesses with their heart in the right place, keen for help but not really knowing who to trust to help implement those changes.  With any business able to produce a swanky website and an app, it’s easy to find yourself buying less than you thought you were.

The scary future

Prompting me along the road to get something out was that I could also envisage a future that could get ‘scary’ if there wasn’t more input.  A future where ensuring staff are ‘fit for duty/job role’ becomes more encompassing in terms of the obligations on all employers around catering effectively for their staff’s levels of health and fitness.  The pressure on employees to be ‘fit and healthy’ growing as a consequence. In some countries fueled by insurance companies.   There are concerns all over the place about this scenario not least of which is that undue weight may be given to something that is easily measurable but not accurate, like weight and BMI, both very poor markers of health and fitness.

Indeed, what is  important in relation to workplace specific health and fitness and the potential for injuries may be more around how susceptible someone is to say, tripping and falling over,  or whether they are suffering from avoidable postural pains, whether they were often sleepy after lunch, how fast their reactions are, their stress levels and ability to focus and whether they are following through on their physio exercises and getting better.  There’s hundreds of more relevant things than weight and BMI that apps and wellness programmes are struggling to include en masse, even if they see them as important.  As biofeedback tools become more readily available employers and insurance companies will be able to look at much more, we just want it to be the right stuff, not just the easy stuff.

Survive is born

Those thoughts, as crazy as they may seem, were the basis of my ‘Survive’ programme with it’s 50 survival flavoured activities (50 more yet to be published).  To be fair it was equally flavoured by the Christchurch Earthquake, the Bali floods, the Aussie bushfires and every other natural disaster I saw.  Events where weight and BMI were irrelevant to how well people fared, but where knowing options was key and having more options helpful.

I should add that being ‘sporty’ isn’t always the measurement to look to either.  Even with great VO2, or heart-lung fitness, from swimming or cycling every week, while helpful in many ways, doesn’t automatically mean you can crawl along the ground of a smoke filled building, or climb out a window, have good grip strength or not suffer from chronic neck and back pain bought on by poor posture.

That’s it

Anyhow, I hope you find something of use here and if not yet, that you feel prompted to stay connected.  This a growing space and I think Catch Fitness is positioned well to release great ideas to match the emerging research and the desire to have a positive impact on those around us.

Special thanks

There are so many people who have contributed to the success of Catch Fitness but in regards to these workplace programmes a special thanks needs to go out to the award winning Russell Graham, as well as Pauline Rice both mentioned above.  And if not for Dr Bill Sukala, I’d never know how to drive a website! Thanks Doc.