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Tara Dillon - Legacy Awards

Tara Dillon is the CEO of CIMSPA and was a judge in the Raising the Bar category at Future Fit Training’s Legacy Awards, celebrating current students and graduates.


Judging at The Legacy Awards

"As the CEO of CIMSPA I’m totally invested in the sector’s workforce, so I want to see what the future holds; what the next generation of fitness looks like. I’m delighted to say, from what I saw and heard during Future Fit’s Legacy Awards, it’s pretty spectacular! The applications were all incredible."

“In the weeks running up to the Legacy Awards I was so busy with work and hadn’t had the time to prepare for the day so on the morning I really didn’t know how what to expect from the candidates on the day, but I can honestly say it was one of the best afternoons of my entire career. These people should be the keynote speakers at our industry conferences.”

Helping inspiring fitness professionals...

“Other professions would struggle to complete a PT qualification. It’s hard work, full on, and once you qualify you have to stay qualified with regular CPD. You then have to apply your skills to an array of different people. Not so different to medicine?"

“One of the finalists, Shona Hirons, was a lawyer, but burnt herself out, working too hard. During her rehabilitation she discovered physical activity was better than any tablet and has since set up her own business around wellbeing, mindfulness and nutrition. All her social media posts are around establishing a healthy lifestyle versus an unhealthy work life balance. She’s awesome! Despite facing personal health issues, she is totally glass half full and is using physical activity to help her recovery.”

Rachel Lines, another finalist, developed eye cancer, she believes caused by stress. She was working as a senior manager in marketing but had burnt herself out and become addicted to caffeine and sugar. She discovered physical activity and in particular horse riding and now wants to help others avoid becoming her. She introduces people to exercise gently and takes ladies out who wouldn’t dream of doing anything like a class in a leisure centre or gym. She’s dealing with the 50% of the population that don’t exercise and she’s changing lives. You can’t fail to feel compelled by these people!”

Choosing a winner

"It was so hard to choose a winner; everyone’s story was so compelling, but 18-year-old Joseph Bleetman’s style of delivery and the power of that was immense. It was clever, creative and well thought out."


"Joseph suffered with anxiety and depression when he was younger. He made wrong decisions and hung out with the wrong people. Then, watching Love Island one of the contestants said he had suffered with depression and fitness was his therapy. So Joseph joined a gym. This was his introduction to us and during the next eight minutes he went on to tell us why investing in him and his product would be the best decision we’ve ever made. He wasn’t wrong!"


"During Joseph’s presentation to us he took out a tablet, opened a bottle of water and swallowed his ‘anti depressant’ (multi vitamin tablet). He explained to us that it gives him an artificial fix for 24/48 hours by telling his brain it’s got more serotonin."


"Or, he said, I can go to the gym or go for a walk and create my own serotonin, build my own confidence, interact with people and transform my life forever. Now he wants to portray that message to other 14 - 18 year olds, to show people with doubt and anxiety the power of fitness."


Tara is keen to help all the finalists develop even further and has committed to introducing them to people in the sector who can support and mentor them, with a view to ensuring their messages are heard far and wide.


"The more powerful thing is for their message to be heard up scale, particularly with so many of them looking at mental health. They are all about health and wellbeing, recovery, self awareness, confidence, rehabilitation - all the things that are currently gripping British society. It's not just about fitness. They all came with both a story and proof that physical activity can be better than any other cure. So it’s not necessarily what they will be doing in five-10 years, it’s what their message has done for the sector in that time. As a sector we have talked about this for years - here is the proof."


Joseph Bleetman suffered with anxiety and depression when he was younger. If we can help give him more confidence, the self awareness he’s developed he will continue to grow and we will have made a difference. This is the story we should be telling. Let’s put him in front of Matt Hancock. Meet Joseph - he’s done more than take the stairs - he was terrified of even going up them before! He will help deal with the epidemic that is mental health. He is your social prescriber.”

Tara Dillion

Tara Dillon is the CEO of CIMSPA and was a judge in the Raising the Bar category at Future Fit Training’s Legacy Awards, celebrating current students and graduates.