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

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 wellbeing. A very experienced secondary school 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! 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, Stretching, Barre and Yoga.

From an early age, Marisa trained 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

Just Believe Fit Studio for Marisa

Our Staff


Suze Male

Vinyasa, Yin Yoga , Yoga Therapy, 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!”

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Abby knight

Barre and DanceFit

Abby grew up in Detroit, Michigan, USA where she fell in love with dance. Abby started dancing from the young age of two years old, and continued dancing competitively all through high school. Abby attended The University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, on scholarship for dance, then later transferred to Western Michigan University where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. While at Western Michigan, Abby was a part of the Western Michigan Dance Team where she was a two-time All-American Dancer, 2017 ‘Top Bronco Dancer’, and part of the WMU nationals’ team. After University Abby decided to continue her passion for fitness and dance by receiving her barre certification. Abby fell in love with teaching barre and developed a true passion with providing clients an overall body workout. Since recently relocating to Australia, Abby wants to continue spreading her knowledge of dance, fitness, and barre training while here. Abby is so excited to be joining the Just Believe Fit team and ready to share her passion with you all.
Find out more about Abby by reading this instructor spotlight.


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!

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.

Sessional Staff


Phoebe Malone

Vinyasa Yoga

Phoebe is currently on maternity leave and will return later in 2020.

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.


Elliott Provis


Elliott Provis is a Reformer Pilates, Matwork Pilates, and Barre instructor. Elliott has obtained a Certificate IV in Reformer and Matwork Pilates from Breathe Education, and is also a certified Barre Attack instructor. Elliott maintains a keen interest in classical ballet, and occasionally a Yoga practice. Drawing from this broad array of movement exercises, Elliott focusses on helping others to cultivate fitness with rhythm. Elliott is also graduate of the Bachelor of Environments (Majoring in Urban Planning) and Masters of Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne. He is currently working towards completing a law degree.
Find out more about Elliott by reading this instructor spotlight.


Paul Bourke

Qigong and Fitness

Paul Bourke is a certified Fitness coach and Qigong Instructor with a strong background as a physical theatre performer teacher and director, Paul specialises in coaching and researching movement and fitness practice’s which are sustainable and improve each clients strength, flexibility, functionality, fitness and quality of life.

Paul has a certificate 4 in fitness a Master Functional Trainer Certification, level 2 Qigong instructor certification as well as trainer certificates in GMB, Animal Flow, Metafit and Original Strength

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.

Belinda profile

Belinda Firmstone

Vinyasa, Oki Do and Restorative Yoga

Belinda uses movement as a means of reconnecting back to her inner truth. She undertook her Radiant Light Yoga teacher training in 2012. After this year of immersion into all things bhakti, she followed up this 500 hour course with a 350 hour one in Oki Do YogaThese courses complemented each other well, allowing her to integrate an understanding of meridians into her yoga practice and teaching. She wasn’t done yet though; the yoga love affair leading her to San Francisco to study Restorative Yoga with Judith Hanson Lasater. She studied Levels 1 and 2 in Restorative Yoga and then went on to assist her on two occasions – most recently in Iceland.  

She grew up in Sydney and has since lived in Albury and Queensland. She moved to Melbourne at the start of 2019 in order to study Dance at Transit Dance in Brunswick. She loves to incorporate the transitions and pathways offered through her study of Dance. 

Her most recent yoga studies were with Tara Judelle, exploring her embodied flow work. This reminded her of the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone on a regular basis. Growth happens when we stretch ourselves literally and metaphorically. Looking forward to sharing a stretch with you soon.  


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