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!