Three years ago, Belgravia Leisure’s NSW Health and Wellbeing Manager Joel Costello underwent lifesaving surgery to remove a tumour on his brain. Today, he is NSW’s finalist for exercise instructor of the year, and his name sits on the shortlist for the national title at the prestigious AUSactive 2023 awards to be held this September.
Attracting thousands of applications each year, a national AUSactive award is considered the pinnacle of the country’s health and exercise industry achievement.
Prior to brain surgery, the now 40-year-old Joel Costello was a fitness guru, running programs through his local gym, large group fitness events, PT sessions for celebrities, sports stars and corporates and various initiatives, including boot camps, fitness fundraisers and health retreats.
After getting dizzy on a run one day, a long journey would ensue for Joel to try to get a straight diagnosis, bouncing between specialists, naturopaths and surgeons. After finally getting surgery following years of frustration, Joel spent five weeks in the hospital (contracting pneumonia along the way), then another five weeks in rehab and couldn’t walk, see or eat for three months.
Whilst Joel now has a slight limp, has trouble walking down sets of stairs, has to be careful when swallowing food and is unable to undertake particular physical activities – it doesn’t stop him from living a full and active life, exercising whenever he can.
Joel defied the odds, and he has now dedicated himself to inspiring members to move past any limitations we may put on ourselves.
“As the NSW Health and Wellbeing Manager, I am privileged to lead a team of Health Club Managers across the state, using the platform to help inspire communities to embrace movement and well-being. This responsibility carries the incredible potential to extend my influence across our national network of health clubs, propelling a collective journey toward better health and vitality.”
Joel continued, “My connection to this mission runs deep, rooted in my personal experience of recovering from brain surgery. This profound empathy drives my commitment to fostering a welcoming space within our gyms, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background, can step into with confidence. It is my unwavering belief that each visit should leave our members in a brighter state of mind than when they entered.”
“Through all my endeavours, whether in the public speaking arena, during a team meeting or within the heart of our health clubs, my resounding message remains unchanged: “move because you can!” This succinct phrase encapsulates the essence of my dedication, urging all of us to recognise the privilege of our current mobility, what we are currently lucky enough to be able to do with our bodies and the transformative impact it can have on our lives.”
Victoria Goodwin Barlow, Belgravia Leisure Group Health and Wellbeing Manager, continues to be inspired every day by all that Joel has to offer.
“Joel is far more than a fitness expert; he is a cornerstone in our team. His vibrant energy consistently boosts team morale, acting as a catalyst that recharges everyone around him. With an unwavering positive outlook, Joel sets a tone of optimism that creates a healthy, productive work environment.
His focus and determination are exemplary, inspiring all of us to strive for excellence inside and outside of work. Beyond his professional expertise, Joel’s genuine care for people makes him not just a wonderful trainer but also a cherished colleague. In essence, Joel is an essential member of our team; uniting, motivating, and inspiring everyone that he meets.”
As a finalist in the AUSactive Awards, Belgravia Leisure’s Joel Costello serves as a source of motivation and encouragement for all to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the health and leisure industry, and to keep inspiring the local community to work towards a healthier lifestyle.
The AUSactive National Awards, formerly known as the Fitness Australia Awards, have a proud history of recognising and celebrating the outstanding achievements of the Australian health and exercise industry.
Belgravia Leisure looks forward to the National AUSactive Gala Night on Friday, 15 September.