Profile – Yvette Amadia

Yvette Amadia, 2017 Masters Games gold medallist.

Born in Devonport and raised in Birkenhead, Yvette Amadia was always mad about sport. While as a child she was a keen athlete for a time, her great love has been team sport, beginning with playing soccer for Birkenhead United when she was five, then adding softball and touch football. Never just a casual player, Yvette has made representative teams in all those sports, playing soccer for North Shore City and United Soccer 1 (Auckland North), softball for age group rep teams and touch for North Harbour, New Zealand Mâori Open Women (in one series the team toured Australia and won) and the Sharks, the 2017 New Zealand Masters 35 touch team which won gold, beating Australia’s Dolphins in a tight 4-3 final.
When she left school Yvette worked first an upholsterer but, seeing how training with naval base personal training instructor Mark Harvey produced a massive improvement in her ability to play touch, she decided to switch careers and went to AUT to study to become a personal trainer. Her first job in the field was at the boutique gym Corporate Wellness Centre with well-known fitness guru Jim Blair, an Auckland Blues, All Blacks and Americas’ Cup trainer. With the gym specialising in cardiovascular conditioning for heart health and endurance, stress relief and work life balance, Yvette became practised at devising personal programmes to address improved fitness and specific issues like stress and blood pressure. Her career took a new direction when she was employed as senior fitness instructor at New Zealand’s first élite athlete training centre, Millennium Institute of Sport in Albany. There, she worked alongside some of the country’s best coaches, doctors and physios.
Moving to Helensville 12 years ago with her partner, Helensville-born Steve King, a former rugby player, national rugby referee and international touch referee, Yvette at first found the small-town camaraderie unnerving, but once she’d adjusted she came to love it. Connections to Plunket and Playcentre through her two younger children and coaching primary-aged kids in soccer and touch helped her integration into the community and she now has many friends here.
Work as a contract personal trainer at Helensville Fitness Centre, now Forge Fitness, has provided her with some of those friendships, as well as great job satisfaction. “I still have clients who started with me when I arrived, and it’s always been really interesting working in this community because it’s so relaxed and friendly. I enjoy working with a really diverse bunch of people - horse riders, artists, bee keepers, small local business owners, international business people, commuters, growers, farmers, mums, retirees–who all have different needs and requirements,” she says “I especially love rehabilitation work because you see people significantly improving their quality of life. I hear so many success stories I know I’m in the right job.” She’s very positive about the upgraded equipment at Forge Fitness. “There’s a lot more variety now, with more options for different types of exercise. The beauty of having lots of options is that your body has to adapt, and it’s challenging the body that keeps it responding so you don’t plateau.”
Yvette enjoys that every day is different and she’s always happy to get the word out about maintaining good health. “People don’t realise till they go to the gym how beneficial it is. You get used to your unhealthy, unfit self and just live with it without realising how much three hours a week can make a difference to your life. It’s about creating healthy habits and making exercise part of your routine. I don’t believe in diets - the extent of my dietary advice is to say eat whole foods not processed foods. Extremes can’t be sustained so forget fads in diet and workouts and focus on a balanced lifestyle long term.”
Yvette has recently retired from team sports and is putting her energy instead into trail running and mountain biking, sometimes at Woodhill Forest when there’s a gap in her work schedule, sometimes on trips away with the family to places like Ohakune, Rotorua and Karangahake Gorge. “Now I’m enjoying doing adventurous rather than competitive things. Mountain biking is great fun and there’s really nothing else like it for clearing your head.”

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