About Us

Our Story

Our little home down the side laneway at 4 Gooch St, Thornbury was the culmination of a dream to create a place where people can exercise without pressure or fear of judgement. A place where everyone was welcome to progress at a pace that was right for them and not defined by external expectation. We built an incredibly strong and vibrant tribe bonded by shared values.

Sadly, Covid took its toll and at the end of 2022, after three years of lockdowns and disruption we made the very difficult decision to close the studio.

What did we learn in the process?

A real community transcends the bricks and mortar of the building that houses it.

Just Believe Fit is now thriving studio free!

Our wonderful participants have continued to take classes with us online, in their workplaces, in Northcote’s Johnson Park and at a variety of pop up venues around our local hood.

We loved our time at our quirky Thornbury studio and greatly miss the divine butterfly installation by Northcote local artist Liliana Barbieri

One hundred and fifty five handcrafted butterflies are now flying individually in the homes of our loyal participants and reminding their keepers of the fun times we shared together.

Our vision remains to provide a warm welcoming environment where you can let go of the outside world. 

And that can happen in any of our varied locations.

We invite you to come and take time to do just that; to nurture the best version of you, whatever that might be, on any given day.

Founder and Director Marisa Lawlor

A body is for life, not just a 12-week challenge!

Marisa Lawlor has a passion for helping people learn how to connect with their bodies and become friends for life. She wants them to move with freedom and awareness and to exercise because it feels great and is fun.

From an early age, Marisa trained in Cecchetti method classical ballet to Advanced level and has her Associate teaching certificate.  Whilst studying Arts at Melbourne University, she joined Guild Dance Theatre and added contemporary dance to her list of movement passions.  She undertook a Graduate Diploma in Dance and Movement in Education to add scope to her B Arts and Dip Ed in English and Humanities (Melbourne University). This opened up the opportunity to teach senior school level dance in both London (1991 -1993) and Australia (1994-1996).  In 1994, Marisa’s interests in physical health and wellness led her to further study and to gain certification as a Group Fitness and Gym Instructor. She also has qualifications in Pilates Mat 1&2 and Pre & Post Natal Pilates, Barre Attack, StretchFit, Les Mills Body Balance, Body Jam and Body Pump.

Marisa draws upon all of her training to help people discover the joy of movement and empower them to take control of their personal wellbeing. A highly experienced secondary school English and literature teacher as well as a fitness instructor, Marisa gets to blend both worlds and has fun in classes playing with body-focussed ‘language’. With over 40 years of experience facilitating dance and fitness classes for a vast range of participants, Marisa’s teaching is now focused on the multiple health benefits of Pilates, Barre, Yoga and functional fitness. Keeping her content as applicable to real life as possible, she also adapts her teaching for online and onsite delivery in the workplace with the understanding that if we feel well, we work well too.


Our Team


suze MALE




cat lane




dimi phisa