Kate Ivey’s focus is getting people to see exercise as an important tool for their lives, to make them feel good. Rebecca Greaves reports.

From running personal training sessions on her front lawn while her young children slept, to a thriving online health and fitness platform, Kate Ivey is inspiring people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable long-term.

Founder and trainer of DediKate, Kate Ivey Fitness, Kate runs her business from a farm near Twizel, where she lives with her husband Mark and their three children. DediKate now has about 1700 members across New Zealand and Australia.

The main focus is workouts, with a wide offering including HIIT, strength, boxing, yoga, pilates and pregnancy and post-partum, but the programme also includes nutrition and recipes, meditations and a podcast.

“It’s helping people to change the way they look at fitness. We have just launched a workout for mental health for example, and the focus is getting people to see exercise as an important tool for their lives, to make them feel good, increase their confidence, energy levels, all that. Instead of what people have traditionally done, which is exercising to lose weight.”

Kate’s on a mission to get rid of the diet mentality, encouraging positive habits to help people become consistent with exercise, no quick fixes, but instead creating long term maintainable habits.

“It’s workouts but it’s changing habits and changing thought patterns, and realistic. Myself and my trainers are real, everyday women who happen to be fitness trainers but also have a lot of other things going on in our lives, just like our members.”

Sport and exercise have always been part of Kate’s self-identity and something she was keen to pursue as a business. She has a bachelor exercise prescription and also a bachelor of science in psychology.

She worked for the Heart Foundation and as a stop-smoking facilitator, as well as doing some personal training, while overseas. When she and Mark moved home to the farm, Glentanner Station, half an hour from the nearest town, they started a family and Kate began running personal training sessions on the front lawn.

Kate grew up on a farm and loves living on a farm, but farming was never something she particularly enjoyed.

“It wasn’t something I wanted to do as a career, I just knew I wanted my own thing.”

After the birth of her third child, she found herself in a rut. She had ruptured her Achilles and was unable to exercise while pregnant. Using food as a way to make herself happy, she wasn’t looking after herself.

“Things were pretty full on and I completely lost my sense of self. I wanted to be successful in my own right, and I wasn’t fit.”

Kate got herself back on track using short and effective workouts, and sorted out her nutrition too.

“Between my pregnancies my focus had been on being skinny, rather than fuelling my body. It was after my third child I realised how nonsense that was. I had so much going on, I needed to fuel my body to be at my best.”

Her education, own journey and her experience working with others all suddenly clicked – an aha moment.

“It seemed so obvious, nutrition for energy and health, look after your body, exercise you can fit into your life and that’s not stop start, so 20-minute sessions and being able to balance it with a busy life. I was feeling really good.”

After brainstorming business ideas, Kate realised there must be other women out there like her, who needed this information. “Surely there must be other women just like me who I can help, and that’s how it all started.”

An online subscription model was the obvious option, due to her remote location and in order to create a viable business that was scalable. A strong desire to succeed and self-belief propelled her forward.

“I was going to succeed, there was no question, it was just a matter of putting in the work. It’s still like that now. I had my goals and I believed I could achieve them, so I just did what it took. There’s a lot of learning along the way.”