Steve Ward

personal trainier gym instructor

"Mansfield Health & Fitness Centre was conceived through a lifelong interest and involvement in Physical Activity.

As the youngest of 7 children born in the Ovens Valley, some of my earliest memories are virtually running through the bush to keep up on hikes through the nearby hills and mountains.  On reflection we were encouraged to get out and explore our surroundings.  Playing tennis on the highway seemed the "norm", probably because it was the flattest surface!  The nearby Ovens river occupied many summer hours, although I spent far more time climbing trees to jump from than developing my swimming skills.

A passion for skiing was the catalyst for my interest in training for an activity.  I quickly realised that with a relatively limited season, it was important to be able to "go hard" and make the most of each day.  Running on the nearby railway line seemed the obvious choice to improve my balance and concentration as any mistake ended in bruised ankles!  The discarded grocery boxes provided an ideal tool for various forms of lateral jumps to mimic the action of skiing (later I would learn I'd been doing plyometrics).  Although I didn't know their names, Tricep Dips and various forms of pull-ups seemed to mimic the action of race starts.

Secondary school at Myrtleford provided an opportunity to try various other sports but skiing remained the main passion.

A degree in Physical Education and Outdoor Education seemed the logical choice, so it was off to what is now Deakin University.  During my time in Melbourne I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work part time in a corporate health centre. This gave me valuable insight into the importance of remaining active throughout life.

An offer to establish an outdoor education program and live near the snow seemed to good to be true.  The downside was it meant leaving my position in corporate health which was another growth area.

Being young and idealistic, an offer to teach Physical Education at Mansfield provided a great opportunity to develop a lifelong interest in Health and Fitness in adolescents!  It is an underestimated honor to be involved in the development of so many lives, most of whom have gone on to make positive contributions to the communities in which they live.

During this period I was very fortunate to work with students who were keen to develop their fitness for various sporting pursuits, many of whom are still actively involved. Some chose to pursue their sport to elite international level.  Aaron Place in mogul skiing, Josh Fraser in AFL, Simon Gerrans in cycling, Victoria Mitchell in athletics and  Chumpy Pullin in snowboarding.  Each of these elite athletes have demonstrated what is achievable from a relatively isolated area.

It is a pleasure to work with a very broad cross section of the community who are recognising the importance of maintaining their fitness to ensure they can enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle."