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The founder of AWF

Posted by ReBelle Blogger on

Blogger/ Editor - ReBelle Girl
Photos - The Doc, Dr Strange

Sabina Turner is the head honcho and founder of Alternative Women’s Fitness. After years of disenchantment with other gyms, Sabina had the idea for a place where rockin’ girls could hang out, get fit and have a sweet time. Four years ago AWF was born, and Sabina has never looked back.

“I came up with the idea when I seriously got sick of such poo music being played when I worked out,” says Sabina. “Even the music at my sisters group fitness didn’t mesh with me, but I knew I wasn’t the only one that wanted to work out to mad heavy tunes.”

That’s not the only point of difference between AWF and other fitness establishments. “I hate gyms and the atmosphere they generate,” says Sabina. “The idea of running on a treadmill so I could go home after, down a bowl of pasta and neck a bottle of red was my life, I hated it.”

AWF began to emerge when Sabina was approaching local artists for tracks to play at her sister’s skipping class. “The local acts were stoked that I approached them, one of the main gals that was thrilled was Phoebe, from heavy Melbourne act Heaven the Axe,” Sabina says. “She fully supported the concept from the word go, and features as the fierce character on all our paraphernalia.”

Since then AWF has continued to grow on an epic scale. 2016 saw AWF celebrate their fourth anniversary, which coincided with the Thornbury HQ opening its doors. “Landing our own venue on our anniversary in April this year was so sweet!” says Sabina. “We now have a proper home!

AWF not only provides an environment that’s different to other gyms, it also fosters a serious sense of community. Sabina grew up playing team sports, and wanted to create a place that fortified a similar kind of mate-ship. “I missed that feeling of turning up to a game and all ya’ mates were there too!” Sabina explains. “I knew others would thrive on the interaction, encouragement and having fun with others.”

According to Sabina, there are more factors within AWF which make it so special. “Just the vibe of the thing,” laughs Sabina. “The people it attracts, I put some pretty fierce marketing ideas out there and the peeps we get in return is the aim. Whether they find us through friends, socials or Googling, somehow they’re attracted to what we’re offering. I thrive on gut instinct, and taking risks. I think people respond well to the way I throw stuff out there.”

One example of this is AWF’s ferocious mantra - We are not a F#cking gym. However, this doesn’t mean AWF skimp out on providing first-class fitness. “Our amazing trainers specialise in their fields. They’re experts, pros, or just legends at what they do.”

“The lack of women given opportunities to dominate in their field drives me,” explains Sabina. “Also the lack of opportunities for women to thrive in a safe environment fuels me. Personally hunting for stuff and not being able to find it hurts, and so it’s always a risk to pop on sessions that no one knows about. I also try to steer clear of fads and crap that might be on at the local gym. I love giving freedom to the trainers to design their own sessions. This way we have points of difference and unique elements that people really like. I love giving our trainers a platform to share their passion and I love being able to give participants amazing sessions to join, everyone thrives.”

Recently AWF has been kicking some new and exciting goals, including the opening of Thornbury HQ and releasing a bad-arse play-wear collaboration with Melbourne designer Dr. Strange. According to Sabina, there’s no sign of slowing down yet. “Expansion has happened through perseverance, persistence, not giving up and trust in my gut that it will work and it will grow, so that more people can enjoy the ideas, fun and fitness.”

“Collaboration is a natural progression,” says Sabina. “I’ve met so many amazing people through AWF. I also know that as a grown up it’s really hard to meet nice, cool friends. We offer a place where you can come and hang with like-minded people and do that.”

In terms of what’s next, Sabina explains Firstly, we need to get through this winter, last year was awful and way too cold for too long. My job is to think of cool ways to keep people motivated and excited about leaving the house during the whole year.  I’m planning heaps of new session ideas and workshops to get people excited. They’re not always fitness sessions either, so many ideas!”

To sum it all up, Sabina reckons there’s one song that truly encapsulates what AWF is all about, “Protest and Survive by Discharge. I protest the norm, take risks and try to keep AWF alive!”


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