Elevation Fitness member Anthony Karos

Name Anthony Karos Age 46  Lives Currumbin Valley 


A keen surfer with an adventurous spirit, long-term Elevation member Anthony Karos has adapted his training to recover a knee reconstruction in record time. He’s also embraced our yoga and pilates classes to improve mobility, core strength and restoration.

Janelle Estreich caught up with Anthony to find out how he is overcoming injuries and what motivates him to keep up his training.


What are you focusing on with your training?

I’m the ‘Rehab King’! I originally started at Elevation in January 2017 after dislocating a toe. I had a 60 km trek that I had to get right for and hadn’t done anything like that before. I was using the Altitude Rooms and mountain climber equipment to help prepare for the trek.


What does your training look like on a usual week?

I normally get to two yoga classes and a pilates class. I’d never done yoga or pilates before but now Tuesday nights is ‘Broga’ — me and about five other mates have really taken to the yin yoga. We’re smashing the women at the moment in the numbers! We come out all floppy and sleepy so that helps with the restoration side of things that Ali encourages us to bring to our training.

I’ve been to a few other group classes with my wife and kids in the past. Because I’ve come off a knee reconstruction and some ankle issues, I use the bikes in the Altitude Room because it’s low impact but I still get the benefits.


It sounds as though you’re either accident prone or very unlucky — what’s the story?!

I injured my ankle in Bali surfing. My knee injury came about partly through the trekking but the dislocation happened while playing beach cricket with my 9-year-old daughter. Before that, my toe dislocation happened playing beach rugby with some Fijians. I have a tendency to go a bit too hard, too often and come away with injuries! I never injured myself from 0-40 years of age, but from 40-46 I’ve caught up pretty quickly.


Has that influenced the way you train now?

From a training perspective, I’m really wanting to do stuff that sets me up for the next 10, 20, 30 years. The focus is more on mobility and strength to keep joints and muscles working well, not so much for walking down the beach with the guns out! I love surfing so anything that can help me with that and the rehab is important for me.


How have you utilised the Centre to assist your recovery?

The beauty of the Altitude Rooms is that you can continue with your training, modifying what you’re doing, but really keep that cardio side up without putting stress on your joints or on an injury. After my knee reconstruction I was keeping up with 20-year-old footballers in terms of my rehab because I was going every day into the Altitude Rooms to do my physio, stretching and strength in there, as well as the cardio.

Within four months of having a knee reconstruction, I was back surfing. There’s no way I could have done that without the Altitude Rooms and the kind of gym that Elevation is where they encourage you to take that approach.


What’s the community side been like in your experience?

I hadn’t been to a gym in 20+ years, so I’ve found it be an amazing bunch of people. The reasons people come to Elevation seems to vary significantly, but there’s a core culture where people will say hello to you and are generally warm and engaging.

I love it when people are passionate about what they do. Ali and Cal have certainly got that passion and are seeing the benefits for their members and in terms of the kind of culture they’re creating.


Anthony Karos and family


How do you refuel after a workout?

My wife is a food Nazi so that certainly helps me! I eat at the Elevation cafe quite a bit, so I can have a shower and go straight to work from the gym after a nice, nutritional breakfast.


When you’re not at the gym, where would we find you?

In the water, definitely. I love surfing, on all kinds of boards — the 4’6″ mini surfboards through to 9’8″ 1960s log. I get out with my three daughters and my wife who is learning to surf. When we’re not doing that, we enjoy travelling and camping in our caravan.


Our 7-Day Free trial is a great way to get a feel for Elevation. Pop in for a chat and see the Centre at Shop 2/151 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads, get in touch via 0422205752 or email info@elevationfitness.com.au.

Burleigh Heads gym lovers Wayne and Maria Oksanen

Name Maria Oksanen Age 50  Lives Burleigh Heads

Fitness is a family-affair for Maria and husband Wayne, who are Elevation regulars along with their two adult children, Jayde and Jake. The whole family makes the most of every aspect that the Centre has to offer — be it a session in the gym, training in the Altitude Rooms, classes, workshops and catching up with friends. We love their commitment to fitness and their passion for adventure, which this year saw Maria celebrate her 50th birthday on a trek to Everest Base Camp.  

Janelle Estreich caught up with Maria to find out how Elevation helped her to prepare for that challenging adventure.


How long have you been training at Elevation?

My husband Wayne and I have been members since Elevation Fitness opened. My daughter Jayde came across and then my son Jake joined a few months ago, so they both love it too. Sometimes my husband and I will train together, sometimes Wayne and Jake will train together and other times it’s Jayde and I. It’s a great way to stay in touch when everyone is so busy with work and in their own lives.

Are you training for anything in particular?  

We trained really hard in the lead up to my 50th birthday in March, when Wayne and I climbed Everest Base Camp with our best friends of 30 years. It’s always been a challenge that I’ve wanted to take on — it’s mental as much physical and you take on all of the elements.

We got to Base Camp the day after my 50th birthday. At the top it’s 50% of what the oxygen normally is, it’s freezing cold and the winds are howling. You’re hiking for 10 hours a day and it took us seven days. It’s intense!

How did your training prepare you for that experience?

I train at Elevation up to five times per week and do up to five classes a week. If I wasn’t doing a class, I would train in the Altitude Rooms. Having the Altitude Rooms was amazing to train for Everest — it reduces the oxygen so that you get used to it. We’d also then do hikes on the weekends.

I love Elevation. It’s not just the gym, it’s the community. I’ve made some great friends there. Ali and Cal have created this really special community. It’s not just about the gym — there’s the cafe on site and they run different courses as well which makes it like a hub. Their trainers are exceptional and we’ve learnt so much about fitness and our bodies, especially around ageing gracefully and the importance of mobility.

I’ve been going to gyms for 20 years on the Gold Coast and it’s way above any other.

Has fitness always been a part of your life? 

Always. Even when I had young kids at home and I was doing Oz Aerobics on the TV. My whole family is really active — we’re really into the snow sports and we love the ocean for surfing and paddling. A little bit competitive, the Oksanen’s are!

My husband and I are adventurers. For us to go on a holiday, we don’t go and sit on a beach. We’ve done Machu Picchu, Peru and Wayne heli-snowboards. People say, Do you want to go on a cruise?… yeah, no!

How do you recover and refuel after a workout?

I spend a lot of time at P3 Sports and Recovery in their pools. We’re big believers in stretching and mobilisation. Brett Robbo — a trainer at Elevation — teaches the floss bands, so we do a lot of that. Nutrition-wise, I’ll usually have a berry smoothie.

When you’re not at Elevation, where would we find you?  

At the beach with my beautiful French Bulldog. People say we’re the ultimate Gold Coast family and we really are. Every time we fly back from overseas, the first place I want to go is the beach. My tracker goes off if I leave my postcode!

As our member of the month, Maria is gifted a Styku Body Composition Scan at Elevation Fitness, a $25 gift voucher from Espresso 151 and a 1 hour float with 30 minute sauna at Freedom Float Centre. Enjoy! 

Triathlete Jack Murphy

Name Jack Murphy Age 26 Works Team Leader, Tribes Adventure Group; Resident Master, The Southport School Lives Southport

Jack’s commitment to training and his positive attitude to life have made a big impression on the Elevation team. Having faced some major challenges in his personal life, Jack’s focus on nutrition, training and community have been key in his recovery. We love to see him upping his triathlon game in the Altitude Rooms and hope to see those efforts pay off at his next big event in December.

Janelle Estreich caught up with Jack who shared the experiences and events that led him to leave Melbourne and pursue his triathlon goals on the Gold Coast.

How did you get into triathlon?

At age 20 I was 185kg. I was already active in Surf LifeSaving in Victoria so my issue was 100% diet. One day I just decided to flick a switch and get healthy.

Originally I wanted to lose weight to see what I could do with my swimming. Even at 160kg I qualified for the state championships in Victoria for the 50m and 100m butterfly. I then started to do a bit of running, for fun and fitness. My first ever fitness goal was to be able to run 3.5km.

As the fitness came along, I’m a pretty competitive person so it wasn’t just about how much weight I could lose, it was also how fast I could swim and how far I could run. I then did my first triathlon and came second in my category.  Four years later I did my first ironman.

What are you training for right now?

I’m training for Ironman Western Australia on December 2. I recently represented Australia for my age group at the ITU World Championships on the Gold Coast in September.

Having just finished a triathlon for the Olympic distance, it’s been a bit tricky to alter my training quickly to get more volume in. I’m training around 20-25 hours a week, doing a lot more long runs and rides. I’m using the Altitude Rooms at Elevation for some interval sessions and already I’m noticing an increased ability to breathe at a higher threshold level.

What attracted you to Elevation?  

I joined Elevation to get access to the Altitude Rooms — being a triathlete, I’m interested in finding any advantage I can! I also wanted to train with like-minded people. I’ve done a few of the group classes for interest and a bit of cross-training. Everyone has been lovely and I love the way the gym is set up. Rather than being a big gym, it’s more of a community environment. I’ve used a lot of gyms and used to run gyms, and it’s by far the nicest gym I’ve ever used.

So you’re from Melbourne, what prompted the move north? 

I’d had a pretty rough year with both of my parents having passed away. My dad had a fall down the stairs and hit his head. He had a bleed on the brain and never woke up. Two months later, Mum passed away from breast cancer.

I was partly running away from what happened in Melbourne and also wanting a fresh start. At the time I was really getting into triathlons and the environment on the Gold Coast for training is ideal. It’s so much better waking up here at 4.30am where it’s already warm, rather than spending an hour just waiting for the car to thaw out like you would in Melbourne!

How have you settled in on the Gold Coast?

I’ve been really lucky to meet some quality people up here, especially during those first few weeks at uni. I was still going through that grieving process so they were there for me, even though they weren’t there when my parents passed away.

I’m working at The Southport School as a Resident Master, which involves assisting the students in the boarding house while they’re away from home. I also mentor kids with mental and physical disability through a group called Tribes Adventure Group. We do one-on-one mentoring with kids and the occasional weekend camp to get them together outdoors. I love it, even the hard days are still really good.

I’ve studied Exercise Science and I’d like to go on to study a Masters of Teaching to work in a secondary school, teaching HPE and Psychology. For me, I think it’s really important for kids to understand the basics of how their body works – whether it’s the psychological side and mental illness or how get the best performance from your body. You’ve only got one body, so you may as well look after it and start as soon as you can.

When you’re not training or at work, where would we find you?  

Probably at the beach when the weather’s not so terrible! I’ve done a lot of indoor training lately due to the rain. The ability to watch Netflix for 3 hours while training on the bike is fantastic!

As our Member of the Month, Jack scores a Styku Body Composition Scan at Elevation Fitness, a $25 gift voucher from Espresso 151 and a 1 hour float with 30 minute sauna at Freedom Float Centre. Enjoy! 

Angie Montey and friends

Name Angie Money  Works Owner, Calmer Therapies, Surfers Paradise  Age 45  Lives Southport

Angie is a regular at our 5.15am classes. She’s an amazing mum of three girls and a hard-working business owner. Angie shows up with a smile on her face, puts in 100% during her workout and enjoys a Campos coffee at Espresso 151 with her besties afterwards. We are so inspired by Angie’s positive attitude and her commitment, travelling from Southport for her early morning workouts. Amazing effort Angie!

Janelle Estreich caught up with Angie to find out what keeps her motivated and discovers that a major life change has given her a new lease on life.

How long have you been training at Elevation?

I’m a foundation member! There’s a little possie that goes there – myself, Megan, Ross and Renae. We do the group classes with Dan Carruthers. His love and passion for health and fitness is outstanding. And now that Jaime has come on board we’ve been to a few of her sessions too. All of the trainers are very different which changes things up a bit and is so great for the body.

I’ve been going 3-4 times a week. We usually go to the 5.15am Elevate class on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Lately I’ve been upping the anti by doing Shred class on a Tuesday 5.15am as well because that’s got the weights.



I travel from Southport to train at Elevation. I was living with my family in Mermaid Beach but unfortunately separated from my husband which prompted the move to Southport. It’s about a 20-minute drive but I use that time to oil pull. It’s been the best thing for my teeth!

I set two alarms — one for 4.30am (that’s my warning bell), I’m out of bed at 4.40am and on the road at 4.50am. It gives me that time to get my brain sorted and I like the quiet – it’s like a driving meditation.


That’s true dedication! What motivates you to maintain that?

It’s mental health. There’s been a massive readjustment to my life and I’ve had to start from scratch again. It gives me that ritual and keeps me disciplined. I love the accountability and the trainers. The Altitude Room is another reason why I love Elevation — it does up the ante with my exercise routine.

Al and Cal are just such beautiful people. They bring that energy to the gym. And bringing Jaime and Brendon on board, the sense of community there is really growing. It gives us all a community to be a part of. It’s such a blessing to find a place with such a community feel to it, especially a gym.

It’s a pleasure to wake up so early and get there. It has just become the ultimate start to my day. I feel like I’ve done something amazing before I go off to work and run a business. It sets my attitude to start the day off really well.


You must be feeling pumped when you get to work! What do you do? 

I’m a massage therapist and dermal specialist at Calmer Therapies Day Spa in Surfers Paradise. When I acquired my business I was so emotionally unprepared due to the breakdown of my family, but the owner at the time suggested it would keep me focussed. I thought, ‘You know what, I’ve got nothing to lose.’

I’ve learnt so much in terms of running a business but it’s taught me a lot about myself as well. It’s really been a personal growth journey. It’s made me realise that you can’t limit yourself to what you think you can and can’t do. As much as it’s hard work, it’s made me the person that I’ve become today.


So you run your own business and you’ve got three children, how do you fit those workouts into your week?

It’s all about time management and setting clear boundaries. I say to my girls that the gym is ‘me time’. If I get me time then I can give you the best of myself — and they all get it. If anything I think they’re inspired by seeing me with this routine and I stick to it. I don’t have excuses… 3 to 4 times a week I roll out of bed, I put my shoes on and I just go. When I come back feeling mentally prepared for the day, my kids get the best of me.


How do you like to refuel after a workout? 

I always have a black coffee at Espresso 151 after a workout. My first meal of the day is high protein, so like an omelette or a protein smoothie. Then I throw in salads for lunch and dinner, I also love my quinoa — all very clean eating.

On the days that I don’t exercise I love intermittent fasting. It works for my body in that I feel a bit lighter and more energetic. I also have more clarity, and with that comes more focus. I find that may day is super sharp.

I have a background in personal training and a nutritional qualification, so health and nutrition has always been an important part of my life. When you do look after your body – not just from a physical point of view, but also inside – it gives you that stamina to just do it!


When you’re not at the gym or at work, what brings joy into your life? 

If I’m not with my kids, I love doing long beach walks. My ‘partner in crime’ is a surfer so we both love to be at the beach. That’s the place that puts everything into perspective for me. I also love long bike rides while listening to some podcasts.

My dad has gone into high care with dementia so at the moment I spend as much time as I can with him as well. He still knows who I am so I feel I need to go and let him know I’m there. I could be doing so many other things but I’m proud that I’ve got this opportunity to have as much time as I can.

I’m at the best time of my life! At 45 I feel like I’ve got a new start to just do what I want in life. I’m quite grateful and feel blessed to know that what I had wasn’t working for me and I’ve put myself in a position where I can really bring into my life what is working for me. It’s all heart-centred these days.


Keen to try one of our classes? Pop into Elevation Fitness at Shop 2/151 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads, call 0422205752 or email info@elevationfitness.com.au.


Nick Ray, Elevation member of the month, August 2018

Name Nick Ray  Works Owner, Onesector Construction  Age 37 (“And proud of it!”)  Lives Mermaid Beach


Nick joined Elevation when we first opened more than year ago and has fast become one of our favourite faces around the gym each week. His commitment to training to achieve some major goals is inspiring to see, as are his efforts to raise funds for his charity of choice. We can’t wait to see Nick’s hard work pay off when he next takes on the Bass Strait (for the second time!). Such a mammoth achievement from one of our most humble members.

Janelle Estreich caught up with Nick to get the backstory on his training efforts…

How did you come to be training at Elevation?

A friend told me about their Altitude Training Rooms, which interested me. I tried it out and liked it, but once you’re in there you kind of become part of the family.

Ali and Cal know what you’re doing, they know what you’re training for and everyone says ‘hi’ to each other. It’s not like some of the gyms around where you’re surrounded by “roid boys”! Everyone is so friendly, which made all the difference for me.

How often do you train and what do your sessions involve?

Nick Ray loves the Altitude Training rooms at Gold Coast gym Elevation Fitness.My training fluctuates, but at the moment I’m training to paddle across Bass Strait at the end of the year so I’m training six days each week.

I’m building up my endurance by doing interval training. I’ll do an hour on the treadmill and every two minutes I’ll jump off and do 10 sets of push-ups or pull-ups.

Every second day I do strength training, using the weights to build up my shoulder muscles so they don’t give up halfway across!

I get in the Altitude Rooms and work on my cardio in there. I get on the rowing machine or the treadmill for half an hour at a time. I struggle with breathing so training in the Altitude Rooms puts your lungs under a bit more pressure. I find if I train in there a couple of times a week and then do, say, a 10km run outside on a Saturday, I’m leaps and bounds ahead.

Tell us more about this Bass Strait mission…

This is a second attempt — a friend and I tried to paddle across back in March and got stuck on an island halfway, due to weather. Now I’m back on my feet and going back for a solo attempt early next year, weather-depending.

I’m hoping to be the first person to make it across Bass Strait on a stand-up paddle board.

It’s 300kms and there are islands in between, so you’re paddling for up to 8 hours each day and then stopping overnight on an island. A safety boat drops gear on the island and the support crew will pack it up the next day then catch up to me and drive alongside to make sure nothing goes wrong.

I’m training for it to be a 7-day crossing, which allows for a bit of weather. Bass Strait is very unpredictable so you can end up sitting on an island for 10 days, which is what happened last time. We ended up running out of boat hire, food and water. I’m just hoping to get the weather forecast better this time!

I need to get back there – I can’t move on until I do.

That’s one heck of a challenge, what’s your motivation?

I have a construction company called Onesector Construction and was looking for a charity as a way to give back to the community. I was introduced to Men of Business on the Gold Coast. They run a program to help out youth who are not fitting in with the traditional school system.

I found it fairly relatable because I was a bit of a delinquent. I dropped out of school in Grade 10 and really didn’t respond to traditional learning. I could have gone down the wrong road pretty easily.

It’s great to see these kids who’ve been in a bit of trouble have access to mentors and training that gives them options. It’s not hard to see that it’s a good thing these guys are doing.

I started doing these paddles to raise money for them. I did the Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race in Hawaii last year. We (Dan Carruthers and I) raised $25,000. The second one was the first Bass Strait crossing in March this year, when we raised $40,000. I’ve since been added to the (Men of Business) board and we’re about to release plans to build a school on the Gold Coast that’s designed for these disengaged youth.

There’s a luncheon coming up on September 7 which will help raise funds but the paddles that I do are really important for our fundraising as well. It’s a win-win because it’s something that I really want to do myself, but at the same time we will raise good money and get us a step closer to building that school. We’re aiming to raise $60,000 from this next paddle.

How has training at Elevation helped to achieve your goal?

I’ve been to four big name gyms on the Coast and I’ve never experienced anything like Elevation. It really is like a family in there. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone feels welcome. Especially for paddlers and surfers, it’s really well set up.

There are so many different people in there from all walks of life, and Ali and Cal manage to connect everyone up. It’s like networking without trying!

What’s your favourite post-workout food?

Religiously, I head straight to Espresso 151 (Elevation’s in-house cafe) and get the smashed avo on toast with two poached eggs and the Post-Workout Smoothie.

When you’re not at the gym, where might we find you?

You’d definitely catch me in Tallebudgera Creek, paddling up and down on my SUP, or surfing out the front of my place at Mermaid Beach.


  1.  To purchase a ticket for the September 7 luncheon (Nick is guest speaker), make a tax-deductible donation or find out more about sponsorship, contact Nick at info@onesector.com.au with ‘Bass Strait’ in the subject line.
  2. To take a tour of the Altitude Training Rooms, you can visit Elevation Fitness at Shop 2/151 West Burleigh Road, Burleigh Heads. For membership options, call 0422205752 or email info@elevationfitness.com.au.


Brett Robinson Performance Coach

The start of a new year is a time when many of us are working to establish new habits to improve our health and fitness.

You might have started a new training regime, be overhauling your diet or committing to a daily meditation practice.

But according to Brett Robinson, a performance coach at Elevation, it’s the small daily choices that you make across the board that have the biggest impact — not just on your health and fitness, but on every aspect of your life.

“I say to people that your life is your performance,” says Brett.

“Performance is made up of a lot of different elements. I love to look at those basics and ask, how can you do that better?

“How can you eat better? Sleep better? Breathe better? Move better?”

“You’re already making the choices, but what marginal gains can be made on those? It’s the one percent improvements that add up to shift the bigger picture.”


The backstory on Brett


Since joining Elevation Fitness in May last year, Brett — or Robbo as he’s known! — has cemented himself as a major asset to the training team, with his depth of experience and unlimited enthusiasm.

Brett is a former elite sprinter at the Australian Institute of Sport and has gone on to work with top athletes and sporting teams all over the world as both a soft tissue therapist and high performance coach.

He’s unlikely to tell you himself (shhhhh!) but Brett was named Australian Para Coach of the Year for Track and Field in 2017. He also has his own podcast – Your Life of Impact – offers well-being programs and is expecting his first child with financee Mari later this year.

Having competed at an elite level and coached others to do the same, Brett understands first-hand the impact that simple daily choices have on performance.

“Coming from high performance sport and as coach for Olympic and Paralympic athletes, every little element of their life needs to be dialled in because one split second can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal,” says Brett.

“The best athletes in the world are the ones who consistently do the simple things really well.”


Who does a performance coach help?


Brett applies that same principle to training his one-on-one Elevation clients, who range from those wanting to lose weight, get strong, excel at their chosen sport, prepare for an endurance event or recover from an injury.

“As soon as people experience performance coaching, they love it,” he says.

“It’s not a linear approach. It’s so widespread and focused on getting you better as a person. That goes well beyond getting stronger or losing weight.”

A typical session with a performance coach can cover areas such as movement, mobility, mindset, breathing, sleep, nutrition and even exposure to sunlight.

Part of Brett’s philosophy is to empower you to coach yourself by teaching you tools and strategies to create helpful habits that stick outside of the gym.

“Humans are creatures of habit and environment,” says Brett.

“That’s what I love about Elevation — it’s a place where people can be in an environment that’s helping them to achieve their goals. You might only be here for an hour a day, but it can kickstart your day really well or finish it off in an amazing way.

“If you just remember what it means to be human, you don’t have to try and hack the system. There aren’t massive changes you need to make. Once you understand that there are small things you can do every day to fuel what it means to be human, your life performance will change for the better pretty quickly.”


Brett’s top 6 tips for living your best life


  • Connect with your WHY  Set goals based on your core values and take time to understand WHY these are important.
  • Practice mindful breathing  Breathing lowers stress and keeps your mind from focusing on negative or unhelpful thoughts.
  • Be grateful and kind Consciously expressing gratitude releases feel-good hormones and keeps you in a positive state of mind.
  • Movement as medicine  Move your body in different ways, inside and out in nature, to enjoy the biggest benefits.
  • Prepare for solid sleep  Morning sun, breathing, mindset, healthy food, and limited light/fluids at night all aid super sleep.
  • Think better  Thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all linked. Thinking in a positive space way will lead to helpful choices.

To book a session with Brett or any of our trainers, email info@elevationfitness.com.au or call us on 0422 205 752.


Most of our lives, as women, are spent comparing ourselves to others.  Those we see on tv, our friends, family, and co-workers are all used to guide us toward deciding what is good and beautiful.

About the time we begin to accept the way we look, the way we feel, and decide to stop comparing ourselves to others our bodies begin to take a turn for the worse.  The weight begins to build again and we don’t feel as good about ourselves.

This is because perimenopause has taken hold with its hot flushes, headaches, and weight gain.  You are not alone – this is a very common occurrence that many women experience.

Although it’s common, it is not mandatory.

Keeping the 7 hormones that most affect weight loss during menopause balanced will help you avoid those unwanted symptoms.


Estrogen & Progesterone

Known as the two primary hormones in women, estrogen, and progesterone work together to keep the female reproductive system function properly.  While estrogen is the hormone that controls your mood, it also maintains cortisol, insulin, and other metabolic hormones.

The counterbalance is progesterone, which encourages calming and sedating effects in the brain while keeping your insulin and thyroid hormones balanced.

What happens when unbalanced? – The most common result is known as estrogen dominance.  This may cause mood swings, irregular periods, fat gain from changes to the hormones that control your metabolic rate.

Other changes you may notice include elevated cortisol levels, increased appetite due to changes in leptin and ghrelin levels, and decreased physical activity which all lead to a caloric excess and fat gain.

Menopausal Changes – As you near menopause, your ovaries will stop producing as much estrogen while your progesterone levels remain the same.  This causes a smaller gap which can lead to sensitivity to insulin, resulting in fat storage around the abdomen.  Making a few changes to your lifestyle will help you fight some of the side effects.


Your body is dependent on insulin to control how your body uses or stores glucose and fat.  It signals your liver, muscles, and fat cells to use the glucose from your blood as energy.  Once your body has enough energy, the liver will then begin storing it as glycogen to be used later.  Once those stores are filled, any excess energy will be converted to fat.

What happens when unbalanced? – Due to a lack of physical activity, or an unhealthy diet, anyone can have a decreased insulin sensitivity.  This causes the insulin levels to rise and requires more of it to extract the glucose from your blood.  Since higher levels are needed, your body will begin converting the excess energy to fat much more quickly and cause problems with your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin.

Menopausal Changes – When you reach menopause, your insulin sensitivity will decrease.  The decrease is due to a combination of muscle loss because of less physical activity, and because estrogen helps sensitize insulin.  At Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads we can will help you make lifestyle and diet changes that improve your “metabolic protection” throughout menopause.


Cortisol is commonly known as the “stress hormone.”  It is released on a regular basis throughout your day, such as when you wake up, exercise, or experience acute stress.  Its main role is to help your body maintain its functionary processes.  However, it also plays a huge role in your nutrition.  It keeps your energy balanced by selecting the right type of macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate) your body needs to function.

What happens when unbalanced? – If you enter an extremely stressful situation or experience chronic stress, cortisol levels will become elevated.  This will trigger an increased intake of high carbohydrate foods, resulting in excess calories and high insulin levels.  This combination will create a fat gain, muscle loss, and lowered immunity.

Menopausal Changes – Since estrogen levels decrease during menopause, you may also find things causing more stress than they once did.  You may also notice that physical and psychological challenges are more stressful.  You can fight the effects the reduced insulin and high cortisol levels have on your stress levels with the help of the friendly staff at the best gym on the gold coast Elevation Fitness Centre. Be sure to see Ali to arrange a time to chat or any of our friendly staff on the desk during staff hours

Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones regulate every cell and organ in your body.  They are what control the speed at which your body functions – your metabolic rate.  These hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) – control your heart rate, body temperature, how quickly your body replaces dying cells, how fast your digestive tract works, and how quickly your body burns calories and gains or loses weight.

What happens when unbalanced? – Calorie restriction, over exercising, too few carbs, and changes in other hormones greatly affect your thyroid hormones.  As an example, you can enter a “plateau” when trying to lose weight because your thyroid hormones are too low.

The balancing of thyroid hormones is a complicated process through which the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland to release a thyroid stimulating hormone so that your thyroid gland will release the two thyroid hormones.  T4 can be turned into T3, but if your cortisol level is too high the process is hindered and your levels of active T3 hormones becomes out of balance.

Menopausal Changes – Having too much or too little estrogen can cause your body to produce low levels of T3.  Lower levels of T3 slows your metabolic rate, decreases body temperature, and cause you to become tired and less active.  The right amount of lifestyle and diet change will help you manage your thyroid hormone levels.

Leptin & Ghrelin

Leptin and ghrelin and necessary hormones in appetite control.  Leptin is the appetite regulating hormone released from fat cells.  Ghrelin is the hormone that increases your appetite and plays a major role in body weight.

The more body fat you have, the higher your leptin levels will be and the lower your appetite.  Ghrelin, on the other hand, is not affected by body fat and comes from your stomach.  It is the hormone that signals hunger and activates the reward center of the brain.  This means that ghrelin is also responsible for our emotional hunger that causes us to eat those high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.

What happens when unbalanced? – These hormones do not work appropriately if you are overweight, binge eat, or are in the dieting cycle.  These two hormones become unbalanced because the brain becomes resistant to leptin (the appetite suppressant) due to restrictive eating.  It is important that you eat a balanced diet that includes high-quality foods.

Menopausal Changes –  The lower levels of estrogen in your body effect the amount of leptin your body produces, causing a decrease in leptin levels while your ghrelin levels seem to rise.  Your sensitivity to the leptin will be reduced making it more difficult to keep the hunger hormones balanced.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes that Will Balance Your Hormone Levels Through Menopause

Even though you may feel as though you are losing control as you get older, you can gain back that control.  Making a few diet and lifestyle changes during your 30s will help you balance your hormone levels through menopause.

  1. Include Protein in Your Daily Diet

As you create your nutrition plan, by yourself or with the help of Ali who is our in house nutritionist at Elevation Fitness Centre Gold Coast gym, make sure you include plenty of protein.  The protein will help regulate your appetite and maintain lean muscle.  It is recommended that you eat 1.6 grams of protein for every kg (0.73 lbs.) of body weight.

  1. Aim for High-Quality Protein with Each Meal

You will be able to hit your protein goal, manage blood sugar, and keep insulin in check with high-quality proteins.  The amino acids in proteins such as Include poultry, red meat, fish, eggs, and Greek yogurt, are used as an energy source and aids in repairing muscle tissues.

  1. Eat Plenty of Leafy Green and Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables such as leafy greens, cauliflower, and broccoli help your body metabolize estrogen.  Plus, they have compounds that help your body remove chemicals that mimic estrogen or induce cancer.

  1. Avoid Highly Processed Carbohydrates

These foods do not add much nutritional value.  Instead, aim to eat high-quality carbohydrates such as fresh fruit, whole grains, and root vegetables.  Your insulin and stress levels will be kept at lower levels.

  1. Eat Fruits and Carbs in Moderation

It is important to eat fruits and carbohydrates, but too many can quickly increase your glucose and fructose levels causing your insulin levels to rise.  You can still enjoy your berries and fruit, or that baked sweet potato after a workout, but remember to do so in moderation.

  1. Include High-Fiber Grains, Fruits, and/or Vegetables with Every Meal

Eating 35 – 45 grams of fiber each day will help keep your gastrointestinal (GI) tract in optimal health.  Plus, keeping your fiber levels balanced aids in weight maintenance.  Include foods such as broccoli, lentils, Brussels sprouts, blackberries, avocados, and oatmeal at every meal.

  1. Lower Your Caffeine Intake

You may enjoy your caffeine in the morning to get you going, but avoid drinking it all day.  Caffeine increases your cortisol levels and increases stress levels.

  1. Include Apple Cider Vinegar in Your Daily Diet

Drinking a dessert spoon of apple cider vinegar before a meal with carbs will reduce your fat storage.  Plus, it is also a natural insulin sensitizer.  You can always mix it with a glass of water or eating it on a salad.

  1. Remember Strength Training

Make sure you include strength training as part of your exercise routine.  It will help you maintain muscle mass and improve fat burning efforts.  You can also find the improved mobility and stress reduction a great benefit.

  1. Manage Your Stress

Find ways to manage your stress.  Doing something each day to manage your stress will help keep your cortisol levels low.  You can use deep breathing exercises, or be sure to join us in one of our yoga sessions at Elevation Fitness Centre in Burleigh Heads and be sure to keep an eye on the Group Class timetable on our website.

  1. Don’t Let Yourself Become Deficient in any Nutrient

Low nutrient levels can cause many hormonal unbalances.  Magnesium for insulin and stress management, vitamin D for bone health and hormone balance, and vitamin C for metabolizing cortisol and synthesizing hormones are three you should focus on.

  1. Include Supplements

There are a few supplements that can help you balance your hormones.  DIM will keep estrogen levels balanced.  Rhodiola rosea or holy basil will help reduce stress.  Fish oil help you metabolize estrogen, keep cortisol levels low, and improves your insulin sensitivity.

Again if you are wanting more information simply drop by the desk at Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads and speak to Ali or one of the friendly staff and we are more than happy to help with information and guidance.

Whether you’re looking to improve your mobility for athletic performance or to improve the quality of your life, there are various options available to you at Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads.  Mobility training changes often – what is popular today may not be popular today.

However, you will find that static stretching, yoga, dynamic stretching, and foam rollers remain constant in the world of mobility training.  Why is this?

Stretching to prevent injury or improve athletic performance is a highly controversial topic.  There are experts who believe that stretching prior to exercising is best, while there are others who believe that stretching should come after (or during) the activity.

Some believe that starting off with a less intense version of the activity you are going to do is best.  As an example: A long distance runner could start with a light jog because stretching will have little to no value for them.  For the more aggressive activities, stretching may have greater benefits.

The “American Journal of Sports Medicine” published a study in 1982 that looked at the correlation between lower body strains and tendinitis injuries.  They discovered that there was a definite connection between muscle tightness and tendinitis.

There are many other movements that require a large range of motion that can take time to develop, as well as injury prevention.  Gymnasts and dancers are a prime example of this.  They need to improve their flexibility from a young age to perform at optimal levels.

Another example is a golfer – by increasing their torso flexibility they can increase their swing.  Some golf pros believe that increasing their backswing 2 inches can increase their drive by 20 yards.

There are four types of stretches most commonly used in fitness and conditioning.  Continue reading for a description of each, and then Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads can help you find the best style of stretching that meets your needs.


Static Stretching

Static stretching is considered the most popular type of stretching.  This is because it is the easiest to learn by reading a book or watching a video.  Bob Anderson’s book, Stretching, is a classic resource for static stretching.

How to:

  • It is highly recommended that you remain motionless throughout the entire stretch.
  • Stretch the muscle past it’s relaxed state.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 – 60 seconds.
  • Slowly release the stretch and allow the muscle to go back to its relaxed state.

Many yoga movements could be considered static stretching, although some of the movements are quite complex and require isometric contractions.

There is some controversy over the use of static stretching prior to exercise.  It is believed, by some, that your strength and speed may be reduced if you use static stretching immediately before your activity.

The Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2012 that reviewed static stretching.  The results of 106 different studies showed that that static stretches of 60 seconds or more prior to your exercise could reduce your speed, power, and strength.

Other types of static stretching:

Partner Stretching – This involves having a partner stretch the intended muscle while you focus on relaxing the muscle.  Stretch to Win (2006) and Fascial Stretch Therapy (2014) are two books written by the Chris and Ann Fredericks about partner stretching.

They teach one method which involves having the individual lay on a table with several wide straps to help stabilize the limbs that are not being stretched.  The partner then moves the limbs through patterns that stretch the intended muscles and a specific type of connective tissue called facia.

Distraction stretching – Distraction stretching has bene popularized by Kelly Starrett.  It uses elastic bands to apply traction that opens joint capsules.  You can find more information about this type of static stretching in Kelly Starrett’s book, Becoming a Supple Leopard (2013).

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling uses dense logs of foam to stretch the soft tissue.  There is a huge variety of foam rollers available with 6 inches by 36 inches being the most popular sized log.  The denser the logs are, the longer they keep their shape and they can be found in the Function room in Elevation Fitness centre.

How to:

  • Lie with the part of your body that is tender or stiff on the foam roller.
  • Slowly roll in both directions to locate the tender spot.
  • Hold that position until the muscle relaxes – approximately 5 – 10 seconds.
  • Slowly roll down the length of muscle until you find the next tender spot.
  • Repeat at each location 3 to 5 times.
  • Complete this process 3 times a week.
  • Use the roller on your bed to lessen the pressure.

During a 2006 study of 23 uni-age men and women who complained of tight hamstrings, researchers discovered that there was not any significant difference in flexibility during the two-month period.

Foam rolling is a popular method in athletic and physical fitness programs, but there is still questionable debate about whether it improves flexibility.


Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Created in the early 1940’s by Herman Kabat, PNF is most commonly performed with a partner.  The goal is to stimulate nerve endings which respond to muscle tension changes.  The muscles relax more than they can with traditional static stretching when these proprioceptors are activated.

How to:

  • Complete a 5 – 10-minute conditioning warmup prior to stretching.
  • Position the muscle group so that the muscles will be stretched under tension.
  • Contract the muscle group for 5-6 seconds while a partner or immovable object applies resistance.
  • Relax the muscle group.
  • The partner then pushes the muscle group slightly past its normal range and holds for 20 – 30 seconds.
  • Allow the muscle group to relax for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat the process 2 – 4 times with each muscle group.

Robert McAtee and Jeff Charland have a great resourced PDF, Facilitated Stretching (4th ed. 2013), which contains more information about proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.  At the best gym in Burleigh Heads, are we are a little biased, we have Clare and Jeanette to help you and be sure to check the Elevation Fitness Class timetable for a great Pilate’s or Yoga class which we know you will love. We are also so fortunate to have the lovely Erin who instructs the Elevation Fitness Centre mobilise class and we look forward to seeing you there 

Dynamic stretching

Strength and conditioning coaches often recommend dynamic stretching prior to training or competition.  This type of mobility training requires rapid movements and a large range of motion while maintaining full control of the muscles.

How to:

  • Dynamic stretching is intended to activate the muscles you will be using during your training. Therefore, they should focus on the various muscles you will be using complete exercises such as lunges with a twist, knee to chest, high kick, hip stretch with a twist, or jump lunges.
  • Make sure you are not holding the stretches for an extended time.
  • Use full range of motion.

The term “calisthenics” may sound old-fashioned, however many of these exercises are considered dynamic stretches.  Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training (4th ed, 2003), written by Thomas Kurtz is a popular book with more information about dynamic stretching.

Although what’s popular changes, stretching will always be a part of your routine.  No matter which type you prefer, it is best to find someone who can coach you on proper techniques.  You can definitely find our dedicated staff at Elevation Fitness Centre Burleigh Heads can teach you the techniques you need to remain safe and healthy.

Burleigh Heads Gym, Gold Coast gym , Weight loss

Belly fat is an unwanted attribute.  It not only gives you a poor self-image, but it is a symptom of an unhealthy body.  It is your body’s way of letting you know that your cortisol levels are out of balance.

The number one cause of unwanted belly fat is chronic stress.  Stress is something that your body needs, however in unfiltered amounts it can cause a lot of damage.

Think of it this way – Your adrenal glands kick into action to produce cortisol anytime you are put in a threatening situation.  The release of cortisol is needed to trigger the cells in your liver, fat, and muscle tissues to release the energy your body needs to get through the threatening situation.

This release of cortisol is known as fight or flight mode.  Your body will naturally reduce your appetite and shut down other processes such as reproduction and tissue repair – which are not 100% necessary for survival – so that it can focus solely on safety.

This response was great when we were running away from predators, or charging after our food.  Over the centuries, society has developed in such a way that this response is not needed in such drastic measures.

Yet, it remains a natural part of our life.  When stress levels remain high enough to continue producing cortisol for long periods of time, unhealthy and dangerous changes will begin to occur within your body.

The belly fat created begins to act as an endocrine organ – sending hormones directly into the circulatory system.  These hormones increase inflammatory compounds within your body damaging cells, compromising your health, increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many other diseases.

You can control unwanted belly fat.  By joining Elevation Fitness, and we are a little biased but we think it’s the best Fitness Centre on the Gold Coast, we are committed to helping you take control.  Before you begin, it is important that you understand the top 5 ways stress causes belly fat and how to control them.


  1. Uncontrollable Eating

One of the biggest side effects of stress is consuming more food.  It’s proven every time you come home from an exhausting day at work and are consumed with the urge to eat.

That urge to eat is being caused by an excess of cortisol.

If you have a low stress day your cortisol levels have a regular ebb and flow.  In the morning cortisol levels are higher to get you out of bed, once you eat breakfast the level of cortisol is cut in half.  Throughout the rest of your day, your body’s cortisol levels will decrease with a few peaks around lunch and dinner time.  By eating regular, healthy meals throughout the day, the cortisol levels will be low enough to allow you to sleep.

When you live a high-stress life, things change.  When you are in a constant state of stress, those cortisol levels are not able to reduce themselves, thus leading to the urge to eat.

On top of that, stress can reduce your brain’s ability to control your hunger.  Therefore, you may find yourself consuming large amounts of food without noticing it.  Essentially, you are binge eating on a subconscious level.  The excess calories from all that food do not have anywhere to go so they get stored in the abdominal area.

How to take control: The best thing you can do to prevent overeating is to eat regularly planned meals.  Aim to eat every two to four hours to keep your cortisol levels from spiking due to no food intake.  Your meals need to include a balance of high-quality proteins fish, eggs, lean beef, and chicken), vegetables, and healthy fats (avocados, nuts, olive oil, and seeds) to control your blood sugar levels while keeping your appetite in check.


  1. Unable to Make Rational Food Choices

The part of your brain that helps you focus on your goals is reduced, while the cravings for pleasurable foods increases when your cortisol levels are high.  Eating high-quality proteins and vegetables may be your intention, but instead you will reach for the baked goods or highly processed foods to quell those cravings when you are stressed.

Your body knows that the high-carb foods will help reduce cortisol levels by releasing insulin.  Those high-carb foods break down quickly into blood sugars which release the insulin.  The insulin then begins to counteract the cortisol, causing your stress to be reduced.  Essentially, the craving of carbohydrates is your body’s natural protection against high cortisol levels.

When you are highly stressed, you give in to your cravings more often than you should.  This results in large amounts of insulin being released.  When excess insulin and cortisol are released together, they create lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which is a fat storing enzyme.  The more of this enzyme you have, the more belly fat is stored.

Those extreme levels of cortisol also cause damage to cells, lowering their insulin sensitivity.  When your body begins to resist insulin, leptin, and ghrelin (the hunger hormones) become unbalanced – your brain is no longer to accurately perceive when you are full and you are no longer able to control the amount of food you eat.

How to take control:  You can take control of your cravings.  Instead of waiting until you are “starving” to eat, eat before you reach that point.  This involves planning.  You need to know what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it.  You may even want to prepare your snacks in advance so they are easier to grab that the junk food.

There are studies going on every day researching this phenomenon.  Preparing and planning has proven to help reduce belly fat build up.


  1. Chronic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance

One of the more dangerous side effects of belly fat is chronic inflammation.  It is complicated to understand and difficult to detect.  You do not always outwardly see the results of chronic inflammation because it occurs inside your body.  This makes it a dangerous complication of belly fat.

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is a fatty acid released from fat cells when cortisol and insulin levels are high.  VLDL is stored as fat in the abdominal area, but on its way, there it damages other tissue within your body as it travels.

While the VLDL is traveling through your body causing damage, your belly fat is metabolically active and releasing adipokines.  These adipokines are also causing damage by disturbing your body’s stress system.  They also increase your risk of heart disease and stroke because of the negative impact they have on your vascular system and blood pressure.

The combination of these two compounds working in your body sends a message to your brain that it needs to release even more cortisol.  Unless you take back control, the cycle of more cortisol, increased insulin resistance, and the buildup of more belly fat will continue.

How to take control: There are two ways you can regain your control – through your diet and creating stress management habits.

Control your diet – There are many super foods which contain antioxidants.  Your body needs antioxidants to reduce inflammation.  Foods such as coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, avocados, berries, a variety of colored vegetables, leafy greens, fish, and legumes all help fight belly fat.  Nutritionists at Elevation Fitness Burleigh Heads gym can help you create a meal plan that fits your lifestyle so be sure to ask at the front desk.

Create Stress Management Habits – You want to keep your hypothalamus from releasing more cortisol.  Habits such as deep breathing, meditation, and exercising all help lower stress levels.


  1. Disrupted Sleep and Insomnia

Another vicious cycle you tend to enter when you are stressed is that of the inability to sleep. You find yourself having disruptive sleep patterns because you are stressed.  At the same time, you are becoming more stressed about the fact that you can’t sleep.

Cortisol levels play a huge role in your ability to sleep.  They should spike in the morning to wake you up and create the hunger for breakfast.  However, they should taper off throughout the day allowing your body to release melatonin (the sleep hormone) so that you can get a good night’s rest.

If you are not able to get to sleep, your body cannot release growth hormone which helps you enter a deep state of sleep.  Due to the lack of sleep, your body loses insulin sensitivity and its glucose tolerance drops the next day.

The lack of sleep leads to uncontrolled eating the inability to make rational food choices, as discussed in number 1 and 2.  Studies have shown that you can increase your food intake by 300 calories the day after a night of disrupted sleep.  That’s not bad if it happens once, but over the course of a week or month it adds up.

How to take control: The best way to get back the control is to get your cortisol levels balanced again.  You can do that by creating daily habits that improve your sleep:

  • Set up your bedroom for sleep – hang dark curtains, unplug electronics, and cover up any the emit light.
  • Turn off electronics approximately 1 hour before bed. Read instead.  This will tell your brain to start producing melatonin.
  • Turn off settings on electronics that disrupt your sleep – i.e. notifications and ringers.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake and stimulant use throughout the day.

You can also take melatonin supplements to aid in resetting your body’s natural sleep rhythm.  Improving your sleep will help you control your belly fat.


  1. Laziness and Lowered Metabolic Rate

Many hormonal changes occur when you are stressed – lowered energy expenditure due to reduced metabolic rate and being less physically active are a few of the side effects.   You exercise less and become more sedentary when you are stressed.

Testosterone, estrogen, and thyroid hormones are all affected by high cortisol levels.  These hormones also alter your metabolic rate, creating a decrease in the amount of calories your body can burn daily.

Belly fat is different from subcutaneous fat – the fat right below the skin – in that it is much easier to lose.  You can easily regain control of belly fat because of the catecholamine adrenaline hormones.

High-intensity activities and interval training, such as sprints are extremely effective when it comes to reducing your belly fat.  This is because they increase the levels of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine, allowing the fatty acids to be used as energy and increasing your metabolism so that it burns more calories for a prolonged period.

How to take control: Scheduling regular workouts will help you control your stress.  45-60-minute workouts are best, followed by adequate recovery time.

Including strength training will improve your body’s ability to maintain lean muscle mass.  Adding in cardio, such as a brisk walk will help lower your cortisol levels and control your stress.

Once you have your stress under control, you can add interval training and sprints two or three times a week to reduce your belly fat.  Create a great exercise routine at the best gym on the Gold Coast 🙂 ‘Elevation Fitness Burleigh Heads’ and be sure to take advantage of the Altitude rooms and gain from the after burn affect you get from working out from inside.

Along with planned workouts, it is important that you maintain an active lifestyle.  You do not want to sit for long periods of time without getting up and moving.  You can easily give your metabolism a boost by standing up every hour to stretch and move your body.  You can also add a 10 minute walk each day to increase your daily activity level.

You know we are here to help so be sure to contact us at the front desk during Staffed Hours and here’s to living longer on the beautiful Gold Coast and better health.

The Cause

  • In News
  • May 8 2017

Elevation Fitness is a social enterprise that was born out of a desire to #trainforchange and cultivate an environment of members who have a passion around giving back to vulnerable communities in our local and global world. We partner with PROJECT FUTURES an Australian not for profit that combats human trafficking through projects in Australia and Cambodia.

  • 45 million people are enslaved in our world today.
  • 2 million are children forced into the sex trade every year.
  • Human trafficking and slavery generates a staggering $32 billion dollars a year.
  • 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys will experience childhood sexual or physical abuse in Australia.
  • Sadly, Australians are key drivers of the sex tourism industry in South East Asia and inadvertently contribute to child sexual exploitation.

Elevation Fitness was born out of a desire to #trainforchange and cultivate an environment of members who have a passion around giving back to vulnerable communities in our local and global world. We partner with PROJECT FUTURES an Australian not for profit that combats human trafficking through projects in Australia and Cambodia. Read More