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Head Coach Aaron


Managing Director / Accredited Exercise Physiologist 

Aaron, or big boss as most people refer to me as. I started my journey towards the exercise and recovery sector by starting as a butcher when I left school and learning my anatomy that way. I think I found that I would rather work with things that are alive so packed my bags and went down to the mighty Palmerston North to join student life and do a degree in sport and exercise. The idea was to become a typical personal trainer building bodies to look good in summer however the experience I had when working with people with significant health challenges and the power that exercise had to impact their lives, changed my career path. After finishing my degree and heading home to the Bay I worked at a few gyms trying to seek out clients that had more challenging issues before finally getting my break and being asked to come and open up a rehab gym and 8 years later I am still here, loving it and taking the NextStep in my career with ownership.


My special focus areas are in the Activity based therapy side of things where I love to try and recover function, challenge your body in various ways and really make an impact with exercise for Neurological conditions. 


Fun facts:

  • I used to be a strength and conditioning coach for the Bay of Plenty Steamers rugby team

  • I have 4 awesome kids

  • I am a fanatical All Blacks fan


  • Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Prescription

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Sport & Exercise

  • Medical Exercise Specialist Certification

  • Workplace First Aid Certification

  • SESNZ Accredited Exercise Physiologist 

Casey Brady



My journey into the fitness industry started differently to most, in 2017 I had a motocross accident that left me with a spinal cord injury. Since this day my life goals and journey have been slightly changed as I added in giving everything in my will power to walk again. I started my rehab Journey the moment I left the hospital and created my own path for my recovery.


During this time I found a massive passion in the health, fitness and rehabilitation industry. I used this passion to my advantage and have made a business and a career from a situation that I did not want to be in.  It gave me the desire to learn more about my own body fuelling me to undertake a personal training qualification so I could aid people in similar situations with their health, fitness and recovery. I continue to do rehab every day but I have found my purpose to help and inspire others along the way .


I keep busy by not letting my injury limit me and carry on with life activities and adventures.


Fun facts:

  • My first job was milking cows

  • 1 of 4 sisters

  • Qualified teacher


  • Qualified Personal Trainer 

  • First aid certificate

  • REPs registered personal trainer

Paediactric coach Sam


Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Originally from Wellington, I started at Otago University in 2016 studying exercise and sports science. After my undergrad, I completed both my honors and master’s in clinical exercise oncology in 2019 and 2021 respectively. Previously I have worked at the ExPinkT clinic in the university of Otago, a gym specializing in exercise and cancer rehabilitation, and following that, TBI health. I am a big fan of movement and exercise for clinical populations and love being a part of people’s rehabilitation journeys. After 7 great years in the South Island, I’m stoked to be back in the northern half of the country!

My areas of focus are exercise oncology, musculoskeletal rehab and falls prevention, as well as a big interest in cardiovascular and neurological rehabilitation and long-term pain.


Fun facts:

  • I am a huge sport watcher; Football, rugby, basketball, golf, American football, you name it.


  • Playing wise, I play football and golf as well as being a fan of both snow and water sports.


  • Bachelor of Science majoring in sport and exercise science and physical activity and health

  • Bachelor of Science with honors (first class) in Sport, Exercise and Health

  • Master of Science (distinction) in Sport, Exercise, and health

  • DMI Therapist 

  • Workplace First Aid Certificate

Exercise Physiologist Doug
Clinical physiologist Natalja


Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Natalja, or you can call me Nat.

I have always been passionate about physical activity from when I was a young child, involved in lots of different sports like swimming, soccer, track and field, Tennis. I grew up on a farm, hence I enjoy being active outdoors, exploring nature.

I started my journey within the sport science field, mainly working together with apparently healthy people in fitness, corporate sports, leisure sports.

I’ve always enjoyed helping people on their health journey, seeing them grow.

Soon I realised I wanted to learn more and rather work with people who need more individual help, branching out more into the rehabilitation side of exercise.

At that point in my life I wanted a lifestyle change as well, living closer to the beach where I can surf and in general enjoying more time outdoors.

Being originally from Germany, I then decided to move my life to NZ and specialise my further studies in Clinical Exercise Physiology.

Best decision I’ve made in my life.


Fun facts:

  • I go surfing in winter as well, although I hate cold weather

  • I’m vegetarian, but love cheese

  • I did my yoga teacher training in India

  • Master of Human Performance Science

major in Clinical Exercise Physiology

  • Bachelor of Sport Science

major leisure, health, training

  • Yoga Teacher Training Hatha and Ashtanga -

200h - Yoga Alliance

  • Reformer Pilates Teacher Training - KX Pilates

Exercise specialist Daymian


Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Born and raised in Zimbabwe and relocated to NZ with my folks as refugees in 2004, grateful to be following my passions in my second home.

Growing up I always aspired to become a professional rugby player/athlete, but was never gifted in the genetic or athletic department. This propelled me into learning the ins and outs of athletic performance as well as beginning to live it in order to achieve my desires. As with all knowledge gaining experiences there were a lot of failures aka opportunities to learn from. This coupled with diving into a sports and exercise degree after school curved my life trajectory towards helping people to become stronger, healthier, fitter and happier humans.

Fast forward to present day I have a Diploma, a Degree and a Post graduate qualification in exercise physiology and 12 years experience working as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, deep tissue massage therapist, physiotherapist assistant and being a player immersed in a professional athlete environment for a number of years.

Now, here at Next Step I intend to keep being a forever student in learning but also use the skills, knowledge and passion I have cultivated all these years to give Next Step clients their best experience possible in their rehabilitation, health and fitness goals and ensure to continue helping people become the strongest version of themselves.

Fun facts:

  • I had a pet monkey as a kid and have ridden a elephant, ostrich and rhino!

  • I have played rugby in 8 countries

  • I have had 5 surgeries for rugby related injuries


  • Diploma in International Sports Studies at International Pacific University (PN)

  • Bachelor of Exercise & Sports Studies at UCOL (PN)

  • Post Graduate Diploma in Sports & Exercise


Exercise Specialist

Hey there, my name is Daymian and I am from Tauranga. Growing up, I always enjoyed playing sports, from Badminton to rock climbing I loved to be active and social.


Eventually, I found myself gaining an interest in exercise and even exercise physiology, leading me to pursue a degree in my new found passion. I wanted to understand the science behind training and how the body responds to exercise.


Now, I am able to use my knowledge to assist others on their well-being journey and I want to keep developing my skills so I can further apply myself and continue to help people reach their health and fitness goals.

Fun facts:

  • I studied my degree in Hamilton

  • My first sport was Karate

  • I have 3 sisters


  • Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance

-Major in Human Performance Science

-Minor in Community Health

  • Essential First Aid

Whakatane Team

Chris Kessell

Whakatane physiologist Chris

Clinical Exercise Physiologist

Like most kids growing up in New Zealand, I was passionate about playing sports, particularly football. After playing at national league level, I decided to focus my hard work and efforts on my future outside of football. I studied for four years at Otago, where I fell in love with learning about how the human body functions and adapts during exercise. After personal training for a year and thinking everyone could train like an athlete, I quickly learnt there is a significant portion of the population that needs extra attention when it comes to safely prescribing and optimizing exercise behaviour. This motivated me to complete my Master's in Clinical Exercise Physiology. I now have experience working with individuals with numerours different health conditions.

I am motivated to continually progress my knowledge and skills so that I can provide people with a better quality of life. Here at NextStep, I am given the perfect platform to provide an evidence based approach to every NextStep client to achieve their health and fitness goals.


Masters in Clinical Exercise Physiology (University of Auckland)

Bachelor of Science, Sport and Exercise Science with Honours (University of Otago)

Fun Facts

  • I am a Newcastle United Fan

  • I was an actor in the NZ movie 'The dark horse'

  • I walked from Auckland to Whangarei in 40 hours for charity

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