The Australian Institute of Fitness is proud to have established Australia's largest faculty of experts dedicated to training professionals for the fitness industry. As a Registered Training Organisation it is a requirement that all of our Course Coaches are qualified in the subjects taught. However, the Institute goes one step further by ensuring Course Coaches also have current and relevant experience in the fitness industry so you can be sure you are learning from someone who is walking the talk.
Nationally, the Institute's faculty is governed by the National Training Team. The National Training Team Committee ensures that the delivery and assessment strategies for all programs are updated and compliant with the industry endorsed training packages. Committee representatives have the expertise to combine curriculum design with industry commonsense. The committee members are:
Melody Stewart - National Training Team Captain
Name: Melody Stewart (Nickname: Capatano Lemody)
Qualifications: Master of Management (Human Resource Management), Bachelor of Business (Double major in Management and Sports Management), Graduate Diploma of Education, Certificate III & IV Fitness, Certificate IV Workplace Training & Assessment (TAE)
Experience: Lecturer at James Cook University, Consultant / Business Development Manager in the IT and Engineering sectors, Head of Business curriculum and online learning, Tennis Coach.
Favourite Fitness Activity: Indoor rowing
Favourite Play Away: Watching movies at home
Favourite Food: Chocolate
Favourite Movie: GI Jane
Tip for Institute Friends: Find purpose and passion in everything you do.
Lisa Chivers - National Master Coach (Fitness)
Name: Lisa Chivers (Nickname: CMT - Chivers me timbers)
Qualifications: Master of Education (Exercise Physiology), Bachelor of Human Movement with Honours (Biomechanics), University of Western Australia
Experience: Over 27 years as a fitness educator and presenter in the health/fitness industry (started when she was 5 years of age!); International Fitness Presenter and Education Manager for FitPro (UK) 1992-98, Education Manager, presenter and FILEX presenter for Australian Fitness Network 1998-2004; formerly Master Coach for NSW.
Favourite Fitness Activity: Run, swim, body weight and free weight training
Favourite Play Away: Boating, skiing, bookworm for downtime
Favourite Food: Is champagne a food? Seafood and savouries.
Favourite Movie: Happy Gilmore
Tip for Institute Friends: Change is inevitable, growth is optional - choose to grow!
Jo Peisley - Regional Training Team Captain, NSW/ACT
Name: Jo Peisley
Qualifications: Bachelor of Exercise Science from University of Wollongong, Certificate IV Project Management, Certificate IV TAE, Level 2 Wellness Coach, Level 1 Kettlebells
Experience: Commenced career as a Personal Trainer and continued to work within the fitness industry in a variety of role both here and overseas, including Membership Consultant, Frontline Manager, Club Manager, Compliance and Quality Officer, Product & Marketing Consultant and Organisational Development Manager
Favourite Fitness Activity: Swimming, running (after years of not liking it at all) and functional strength training.
Favourite Play Away: The more variety the better: beach, travel anywhere, outdoors, movies, music, reading, lovely afternoon champagne at trendy new bar and of course seeking out the best coffee in Sydney
Favourite Food: Haigh’s dark chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered strawberries (preferable when the chocolate is set), muesli and natural yogurt
Favourite Movie: Good Will Hunting
Favourite Quote: “Be silly, be honest, be kind” – Emerson
Tip to Institute Friends: Accept this is a journey; love what you do, work hard, be humble and enjoy the ride.
Kate Kraschnefski - Regional Training Team Captain, QLD
Name: Kate Kraschnefski (Nickname: Katey Krasch)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Applied Science, Certified Kettlebell Instructor - Level 1 (International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation)
Experience: Personal Trainer, Personal Training Manager, Group Exercise Instructor, Fitness Business Owner, Fitness Sales & Marketing Manager
Favourite Fitness Activity: Russian Kettlebell training & Indoor cycling
Favourite Play Away: Movies & music, as well as heading into the wilderness!
Favourite Food: Chocolate... if only I could live on it!
Favourite Quote: "The only way to move up from a place of mere survival to stability, and from stability to success, and from success to significance, is to engage in an inspired field of endeavour that will enable you to bring significant benefits to others." - Zig Ziglar
Tip for Institute Friends: "Be passionate about your career path and always open to learning."
Mark Matthews - Regional Training Team Captain, VIC/TAS
Name: Mark Matthews (Nickname: Marky Mark)
Qualifications: Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness, Cert 3 in Group Exercise, Senior First Aid, Cert 4 in Small Business Management, Cert 4 in Business Sales, Diploma in Life Coaching, Diploma in Business (Management), Cert 4 in TAE, Diploma in TAE, Diploma in VET, (currently studying graduate certificate in Management – post grad)
Experience: 12 years working as a Personal Trainer, Group Ex Instructor, Spin Instructor, and Circuit Instructor, and 5 years teaching Cert 3 and 4 in Fitness, Diploma of Business, and Senior First Aid. Punch Boxing Instructor.
Favourite Fitness Activity: Weight training in circuit interval style – similar to CrossFit
Favourite Play Away: Thailand Koh Samui, relaxing in five star comfort, swimming in the pool, great food and good friends to have fun with
Favourite Food: Italian (my mother and my mother in law’s cooking)
Favourite Movie: Fried Green Tomatoes
Tip for Institute Friends: Learn to be as professional as you can, and hire the best Personal Trainer that you can afford to help you progress to being the best
Darren Fidge - Regional Training Team Captain, SA/NT
Name: Darren Fidge (Nickname: Fidgey)
Qualifications: Diploma in 'Quick Wit', TAA
Experience: Over 10 years as a Personal Trainer for 10 years and over 20 years as a Pro-Baseball in Australia and USA; plus Health Club Manager Perfect and Pool Operator
Favourite Fitness Activity: Lifting heavy things
Favourite Play Away: Fishing with the kiddies
Favourite Food: Chips and beer
Favourite Quote: Good things come to those who work hard
Tip for Institute Friends: "You'll never know it all, always strive to learn more!"
Tallan Ames - Regional Training Team Captain, WA
Name: Tallan Ames (Nickname: Amesy)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Sports Science, Graduate Diploma in Physical Education, Edith Cowan University
Experience: Over 8 years in the fitness industry, progressed from Course Coach to Training Team Captain, 150+ senior WAFL games
Favourite Fitness Activity: Olympic lifting
Favourite Play Away: Adventure and extreme activities e.g. scuba diving deep
Favourite Food: Steak and anything that you can throw on the BBQ
Favourite Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
Tip for Institute Friends: "You gotta grip it 'n' rip it"
Katrina Cochrane - Regional Master Coach (Fitness), NSW/ACT
Name: Katrina Cochrane (Nickname: Shorty)
Qualifications: Bachelor Human Movement Science/Bachelor Education, and studying masters in exercise science (strength and conditioning)
Experience: School Teacher, Exercise Physiologist, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Business Owner of an outdoor PT company with an extensive array of experience in all aspects of the fitness industry including special populations, rehabilitation, group exercise, work with national and international elite athletes and sporting teams including hockey, union, league and soccer.
Favourite Fitness Activity: Anything that involves the great outdoors
Favourite Play Away: Spending time with family and friends
Favourite Food: Seafood
Favourite Quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you never take” – Wayne Gretzky
Tip for Institute Friends: Follow your passion and success will follow.
Andre Sammut - Regional Master Coach (Fitness), VIC/TAS
Name: Andre Sammut (Nickname: Doc)
Qualifications: Graduate Diploma in Recreation and Sports Management, Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education), Cert III and IV in Fitness, Cert IV In TAE
Experience: Physical Education teacher; over 12 years experience in sports and fitness industry including roles as a Fitness Educator, Personal Trainer, Group Outdoor Fitness Instructor, Gym Instructor, Coach Development Manager, and Facility and Program Manager, with organisations such as Australian Institute of Fitness, Fire Up Fitness, Basketball Victoria, Netball Victoria, and Life. Be In It; over 20 years of basketball coaching experience including State Representative Teams and semi professional Mens Teams; 10 years experience in Vocational Education and Training including roles as a State Manager and current position as Master Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness
Favourite Fitness Activity: Running, hitting the gym, and recently taken up road cycling
Favourite Play Away: Cinque Terra, Barcelona
Favourite Food: Chicken
Favourite Movie: Avatar
Tip for Institute Friends: Train as hard as you can in the time that you’ve got!
Thamsin Dunn - Regional Master Coach (Fitness), SA/NT
Name: Thamsin Dunn (Nickname: Tenacious T)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement), University of South Australia, ISAK Level 1 Pre-Hospital Emergency Care
Experience: Over 7 years as a Personal Trainer specialising in Active Ageing; over 4 years Exercise Scientist specialising in physical rehabilitation
Favourite Fitness Activity: Any competitive sport!
Favourite Play Away: Riding fabulous horses and skiing
Favourite Food: Beetroot
Favourite Quote: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going
Tip for Institute Friends: There are no stupid questions- ask away!
Joanna Nicholas - Regional Master Coach (Fitness), WA
Name: Joanna Nicholas (Nickname: Jeté)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Health & Exercise Science, University of Western Australia
Experience: Entered the industry in 2003 as a Group Exercise Instructor and Personal Trainer (including a period in London) plus years experience as a consultant in program/course development, and magazine health and fitness editor. Since 2007, has competed nationally and internationally in fitness/sports modeling.
Favourite Fitness Activity: Variety! Running, dancing, boxing, weight training and yoga
Favourite Play Away: Training or getting out in the fresh air!
Favourite Food: Quinoa (only because coffee isn't a food)
Favourite Quote: Live Your Bliss
Tip for Institute Friends: "Practice what you preach"