There are many different ways to use a large neglected warehouse, but perhaps the most fitting is to optimize the space for the needs of those living in the immediate area. Inner city suburb Brunswick is full of young passionate creatives who want to stay local. They don't need to travel far for their workout as they have their very own welcoming gym, Urban Athletic headed by Justin Aisman and Enzo Verratti.
It all started in 2004 as a little club offering boxing, martial arts and strength conditioning training for competitive and recreational athletes. They occupied the back-warehouse area of a café for the last ten years, but last month moved into a much larger, standalone warehouse around the corner, which the previous tenants had simply used for storage. Located next to the bike path close to Brunswick train station, Justin and Co. have spent the last 3 months transforming what is now an incredible wide-open space. “It suits what we do”, Justin explains.
“The open layout enables us to maximize our floor space and available area to train and give everyone plenty of room to move around and have fun."
"The high warehouse ceiling is great and it has environmental advantages too. The natural light from the roof windows is amazing and helps us to save energy, as does the large roller door which we will open up in the warmer months for airflow. This way we don't have to use air con."
Often, those looking to get fit, are put off by the sometimes-daunting image gyms have, a place full of mirrors and TV monitors with super polished people in rows of running machines wearing headphones. You won’t find that here, in fact you won’t find one running machine.
"The focus is on individually training people to find a workout that suits them and fun small group classes with your fellow neighbours."
Boxing can be taught to young and old. Weight training needn’t just be for body builders. The family at Urban Athletic proves anyone can have a go, and try, with friendly encouragement. The gym certainly see’s all shapes and sizes, which Justin believes is a true representation of the open and diverse range of people living in the area.
“Brunswick has an amazing, progressive and vibrant community."
"It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of this and give back to such wonderful people. Almost all our members are locals, and it has been fantastic to watch people make new connections through the gym. Coming to work feels more like catching up with friends”.
Familiar faces and a beautiful open space to train, it’s certainly offering a great thing for those lucky enough to live nearby. Going in for a Monday night circuit session has never been more appealing.
For more information visit:
28 Wilkinson St, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia
Words by Netta Justice & photography by Sarah Caust