About Just Believe Fit

Our little home down the side laneway at 4 Gooch St, Thornbury is the culmination of a dream to create a place where people can exercise without pressure or fear of judgement. A place where everyone is welcome to progress at a pace that is right for them and not defined by external expectation. Originally running out of a ballet studio in Northcote we knew that to reach more people with our unique offerings we had find a space that had the scope to truly reflect our vision.  In January 2018, we found the Back Room of the old Camelia Reception Centre in Thornbury and with the support of our neighbours AWF set about creating a real 'home' for our JBFit family. In December 2018 we took over the lease on the rear of 4 Gooch St and with our new neighbours, Pointe Nation Adult Ballet School have set about consolidating our identity in Thornbury. We love being part of the thriving community that also brings people from surrounding Preston, Brunswick, Fitzroy and Fairfield into our fold.

This beautiful historic building which dates back to early 1900 s has many stories to tell.  It carries the hallmarks of other buildings in the area such as Northcote PS. We love its quirkiness and embrace the cracks and uneven surfaces. Like us, as it ages, it gathers experience and if you are willing to take the time to be still and quiet it will whisper wisdom into your soul. Its high domed ceilings and freshly painted walls create the perfect backdrop for a stunning art installation by Northcote local artist. Liliana Barbieri. 155 handcrafted butterflies adorn the walls sweeping upwards and flying individually and as a group to embody the title 'They believed they could ... and so they did".

Accepting all that this unique building has to offer marries perfectly with our vision is to provide a warm welcoming environment where you can let go of the outside world.  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.

Read on to find out more about our talented and dedicated staff and what skills they bring to our shared table.



internal photo of pilates and yoga studio Thornbury
thornbury pilates studio front view

Founder and Director Marisa Lawlor

Marisa loves to draw upon all disciplines in helping people understand the way their bodies move and empowering them to take control of their personal well being. A highly experienced Secondary School English and Literature teacher and Fitness Instructor, Marisa has a passion for helping others delight in moving with freedom and awareness, understanding their bodies and simply feeling good! These days she gets to have fun with words and bodies! With over 30 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, Marisa also adapts her teaching for online and onsite delivery in the workplace with the understanding that if we feel well, we work well too.

From an early age, Marisa in classical ballet to Advanced level and has her Associate teaching certificate with ISTD (Cecchetti method). After a move into Contemporary dance in her early 20’s, she gained 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 and Australia. As an adjunct to her dance training, Marisa also holds certification as a Group Fitness and Gym Instructor, Pilates Mat 1&2 and Pre & Post Natal Pilates Instructor, Barre Attack, Strechfit, Les Mills Body Balance, Body Jam and Body Pump Instructor.

Find out more about Marisa by reading this instructor spotlight

Marisa Lawlor and butterflies at Thornbury Pilates, Barre and Yoga studio

Our Staff


Suze Male

Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Studio Administration

Suze Male believes yoga is key to mind and body wellness, allowing us to discover our true selves and connect to everyone else in a positive way. She discovered yoga’s power to provide a pervading sense of calm in life in 2000, but it was only when dealing with the death of her mum that it became more central to her life. A search for a healing retreat led to teacher training with iFlow Yoga. She has also completed 300-hour training at the Association for Yoga and Meditation in India. She has a passion for yoga as therapy and feels privileged to be a conduit for others to discover the life-enhancing and healing benefits.
Find out more about Suze by reading this instructor spotlight.


Cat Lane

Vinyasa, Restorative Yoga
Initially drawn to yoga when seeking respite from intense bouts of anxiety, Cat completed her first teacher training in the Hatha Yoga tradition at the Mindful Yoga Academy in Spain in 2014. 
Since then Cat has completed further study in Trauma Informed Yoga practices, Spinal Health, as well as a Certificate III in Thai Yoga Massage, and now considers movement a lifelong contemplative practice.
Cat's teaching style is compassionate and inclusive with a central focus on anatomically informed movement practices that inspire curiosity, and are emotionally supportive.
Every class is designed to help create space and invitation for an energetically balanced practice of self care, offering the opportunity to develop a more embodied experience from which to live your life both on and off the mat.
Find out more about Cat by reading this instructor spotlight.

Margarita Gallego

Vinyasa, Yin Yoga and Tibetan Sound Healing

Margarita has been a student of yoga for some 15 years but admits falling out of the practice at times of compounded stress or injuries in the past. What she loves about yoga is that it always brings her back to her strength, on so many levels. She acknowledges the mind body connection. In 2014, Margarita suffered a debilitating attack of MS. She slowly recovered her mobility through a combination of physiotherapy and pilates then weight training and yoga. Every detail of her previous lifestyle was rearranged into one of wellness. With gratitude for her illness and much new found knowledge of the human body, Margarita embraced a commitment to yoga. Now a Les Leventhal trained teacher of Vinyasa Yoga she comes to us with the experience of having led classes of all levels in Dubai and Bali. “I love opening people up to the possibilities of magic on the mat. Sometimes it’s physical and other times it’s emotional or spiritual. Sometimes it’s ever so subtle – but there’s a shift in a blockage of energy and it is always magical!”


Danielle Bonett

Strength and Body Conditioning

'If you love what you do your energy will be contagious'! Known as the pocket rocket, Danielle started her love of movement in Classical ballet and dance until her early Twenties where the natural progression was to hit the Aerobic stage and Gym Floor with a Diploma of Fitness. Along side her Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics Danielle has shared her professional life with 30 years experience as an Orthotist and 28 years in the fitness Industry. She is currently completing her Cert 4 in Personal Training.

With a history of being a Triathlon Coach, Swim Coach and Indoor Cycle Coach, her love of fitness has never diminished just taken many different directions over the years. One of her passions are her Sensational Seniors which she has developed programs for after suffering from a virus induced brain and spine injury. This taught her different rehabilitation techniques, the tenacity and resilience to achieve her goals, be the best she can be and to use these qualities in her programs. She is also involved in the Roll Back the Clock Program with Bowls Australia.

Over the past 4 years, Danielle has changed her mindset to Strength Training and High Intensity Interval Training (though she is often seen dancing between her sets with her head phones on). A strong and stable body is her focus both in her own training and the classes she runs. She firmly believes that age is but a number and at 50 she is stronger than she has ever been.

Her motto is, 'If you always train the same your body will never change'. 



Dimi Phisa

Pilates , Fitness and Stretch

Dimi has been formally teaching Pilates since 2003. Trained in Pilates Mat level 1&2, Pilates Props, Pilates Reformer, Pilates on the Swiss Ball

As a trained dancer, Dimi understands the desire to be strong, flexible and enjoy the way your body and mind respond to each other. Teaching Pilates at three gyms across Melbourne, as well as running a successful Pilates personal training business, Dimi loves to create interesting, fun, challenging sequences that keep her clients motivated for more. Movement, technique and breath are the three cornerstones to her Pilates philosophy.
Find out more about Dimi by reading this instructor spotlight.

Barre classes with Lauren Jimmieson Thornbruy

Lauren Jimmieson


Lauren Jimmieson is a professional dancer, theatre performer and qualified barre fitness instructor. Lauren attained her Fitness Australia certification by training with Aleenta Barre’s master trainer. As a passionate instructor, Lauren is inspired by her hardworking clients to combine her love of dance with barre to produce fun, high energy and motivational classes and atmosphere. Lauren has a Bachelor of Musical Theatre and her flair and vivaciousness shines through in her approach. When Lauren isn’t getting your booty burning in the studio, she works as a Captain Starlight for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Sometimes, she also works in educational theatre and entertainment for kids. She’s also an experienced choreographer and dance captain. When she lands the big gigs, she gets to tour nationally and internationally in musicals! Lauren has a passion for wellness, fitness and artistry of movement. She’ll guide and support you and be sure to work you hard and make you laugh along the way too!


Phoebe Malone

Vinyasa Yoga

Phoebe Malone completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification at Radiantly Alive in Bali with Daniel Aaron in 2016 and has been teaching at Just Believe Fit since that time.

Phoebe sees yoga as a training ground to practice life in. It is a safe place for grounding and nurturing and ultimately for self inquiry.

For 12 years she has been a Prosthetist and Orthotist and her passion for anatomy, alignment and biomechanics is illustrated through her love of yoga. She is excited to share her passion of yoga with others and to assist them to find inner peace, balance and harmony.
Find out more about Phoebe by reading this instructor spotlight.

Hannah Peel Pilates Teacher at Just Believe Fit Thornbury

Hannah Peel


Hannah recently completed her training with Breathe Education in Mat and Reformer Pilates. For Hannah, Pilates opened up a whole new world of movement with a mindset focused not on ‘How do I look?’ but rather, ‘How do I feel?’
Hannah believes movement should be a priority in our lives and when things get too busy, all you need is space on the floor and you’re ready to change your day for the better. 
Concentrating on core values; joy in movement, joy in community, and joy in oneself, Hannah hopes you will leave her class feeling more joyful, strong, and balanced than when you arrived.

Jemma King Pilates

Jemma King


Preston local, Jemma King discovered Pilates after sustaining a back injury in 2017. She attributes being pain free to her ongoing Pilates practice and as such was inspired to share the many benefits of this form of exercise with others. Jemma recently completed her Mat certification as part of the Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction at National Pilates Training and is excited to share her knowledge with people to assist with building strength, injury prevention and mental clarity.
Find out more about Jem by reading this instructor spotlight.

Sessional Staff

Florencia R 
Zumba Instructor

Florencia Rodriguez


Florencia has been teaching Latin dance for more than 13 years and Zumba for 10 years. She currently instructs classes throughout Melbourne at various YMCAs, City of Yarra, City of Melbourne and other health and recreation centres as well as conducting her own private classes. She is passionate about making dance fun and accessible to people of all ages and levels of experience. She is the co-director of Latin Dance Tribe and was the director of two major Latin Dance Festivals. She has taught Zumba and Latin Dance at events including the annual Johnston St Hispanic Fiesta, Byron Latin Fiesta, Portsea Latin Festival and other events across Australia.






Hailing from New Zealand and now living in Melbourne, Temoa has taught dancing for more than 25 years, including hip hop, jazz, contemporary, kids ballet, ballroom, Latin, and a variety of Polynesian dance styles. He has been a Zumba Instructor since 2018. He says he absolutely loves teaching live and virtual dance classes because every class feels like a party!


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