Posts in the Member of the Month category

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

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


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 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



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