12 Years, From Dive Bars to Global Connections

12 Years, From Dive Bars to Global Connections

It was my movement studio's 12th birthday on April 16, 2024. We started way back in 2012 at a dive bar on the north side of Melbourne, Australia. We were the first to do many amazing things and some might say we paved the way for many who hated the constructs of a regular gym. Back then, there was no alternative to a gym, especially.

We kicked things off inspired by head coach Sabina's sister Lisa, who had already gone rogue after a year of experience at a well-known women's gym franchise. Sab would head over to Lisa's place several times a week, where it all started in the backyard. Lisa, as creative then as she is now, would set up obstacle courses up and down her driveway, through the front door of her house, into the living room, out to the backyard and onto other physical challenges like hula hooping or chest presses.

There was a staunch gang of us that would meet up and look forward to what was happening each week. Word caught on, and soon enough Sab packed her 'venga bus' (a late '90s Ford Laser) with friends from Preston, Norhtcote, Carlton, Collingwood - all the way to Lisa's place. It wasn't until a few friends got in Sab's ear about starting something similar on the northside. Press on a few years later, Lisa gave Sab her blessing, saying, "Off ya go." Of course, Lisa made running stuff look easy.

Sab soon found it really challenging to fill a dive bar full of folks who loved alt-rock, punk and metal. Especially mid April, remembering closing the big metal double doors to keep the breeze out. It was like a wind tunnel straight into the mock front desk Sab fashioned out of an old '70s whisky bar that happened to be in the front of the venue. We'd hook up the stage lights and soundtrack on the ipod, and it was on. Three nights a week, we launched, then got wind of a boxing venue up the road. Of course, Sab jumped at the chance to expand into boxing.

Since those early days, Sab has tried everything: running her own massive venue, retail area, simultaneously running up to 5 various venues over one night in different parts of Melbourne. From bars, breweries and clubs to dance studios, right through to council community halls, we had the north side covered from Collingwood to Kingsbury. The passion to run stuff was undeniable, where she dabbled over in the west too!

A few years later, the idea to evolve from "women's fitness" was inevitable. Sab wasn't getting any younger and Endometriosis was keeping her in big time. There was a need to keep things going, but how? "I don't want people to think they have to be fit to join, or a woman!" said Sab. Her body was letting her down and all she wanted was to move without feeling pressured or giving the impression that she runs a "fitness thing" and can't even do a forward fold or a sit-up some days. The pressure mounted not only with her body screaming in pain, but her mind was wailing. That's when the mental stress and anxiety kicked in. If she couldn't move, her mental would begin to fail. It was like a vicious cycle.

Then when COVID lockdowns kicked in, they kicked in hard for Sab. The pain and inability to move regularly was a downhill slope. That's where Lisa jumps back in to save the day. She committed to running a few classes online for her crew, jumping on Zoom. That meant if Sab was having a rough day, she could leave her camera off. But over time and regular attendance, Sab got the courage to jump online too. Building a makeshift booking system and a bunch of workarounds with plugins, the new online platform started. But knowing what Sab is like, she missed her boxing/martial arts and went on a hunt for another trainer that had the guts to be online too.

Introducing Sara, a martial artist from New York State. Sab found her online, on good old Instagram, they got chatting and to this day, Sara shares her classes with Sab's platform. Of course, Sab didn't stop with Sara, reaching out to previous Coach April when she was in Melbourne teaching for Sab back in the day. Before you knew it, Sab had a swag of amazing coaches lined up.
Haley from New Hampshire, Margy jumped on board from Melbourne after a short stint out of lockdown. Margy dropped a gold nugget in front of Sab over a pint, that she did Highland Dancing for over 15 years. Introducing Demoness, from Harrisburg and Jo from the UK, a great example of staying in touch. Jo taught for Sab in real life years ago out in the Yarra Valley, and they kept in touch, and now Jo joins us regularly to teach. We have SJ from Edinburgh, Scotland, another gem Sab found chatting on Instagram.

There's more to cover. Yogi Crystal from Boston and Larissa of Corse Pose (Montana), joining us more regularly this year. Not to mention Sab's favourite Tai Chi/Yogi Jenny not from the block, Jenny from Lititz (and sometimes Keith jumps in for Tai Chi to Lo-Fi hip hop). Way back in the day, in those early dive bar days, Sab met Nat, 'pink hair Nat' to most. She went off and got her cert, so she is now teaching from various parts of the globe. Then there's Rach, our most recent local coach, joining us from Northside Melbourne. Rach's passion for strength is undeniable and we're stoked that she recently became certified too. There's Lisa and ST, joining us from Melbourne's Eastern Burbs. New additions to the squad, Av and Abbey - Yogi's you'll fall in love with.
Then there's Kiko, she featured in our first-ever promo video, filmed at the dive bar, a boxing video that sure is still kicking around YouTube somewhere. Now bringing us her brand of Power Up!

Over all the years, there have been so many technological changes, but we might have to save that for another blog. Anyway, in a nutshell, after we've tried to compact a bit about where it all started and where we are now, you can imagine there's a massive gap in the middle, but that's okay, we're gonna focus on the now and our plans going forward.

Sab had her laparoscopy during one of the lockdown breaks and yep, as she suspected, it was endo. Compounding that with perimenopause and living too far from the city to make any efforts to have a reunion, even though it's strongly on the cards.

You know where to find us, we're online, we're not 'still' online, we are online! It's not just a fad; in fact, it makes perfect sense for many crew members who need online convenience and flexibility in their lives. Sab only wishes there was more of her to go around, coaching various sessions herself and recently completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training.
It's only perfect timing that suggests Sab will be introducing a few new classes, not just to coincide with the 12th anniversary but the completion of her training. Endo-EASE, Pelvic [FLOOR] and Power Pose Yoga are being built as we type. Sab is ready for the next phase of introducing classes on how we feel, without feeling pressured and knowing herself just how much having a chronic illness /disease can be. Encouraging all those to join, knowing joining the class can be the hardest part. Sab urges you to just join, and the rest will follow. See yas online soon!

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