Meet The Locals: Ann Charleston From Movement Republic

With its unique approach to working out, Movement Republic was always different.

While her studio in Pyrmont has closed its doors after eight years, Ann and her team of movement mentors have taken their unique and inspirational approach to ‘working out’ into the parks and homes of Pyrmont and surrounds. They will also be broadcasting their message to the world through soon-to-be-launched Movement Republic TV.

We chat with Ann about embracing change, and why keeping fit and staying positive is more important than ever.

Hi Ann, how long have you lived in Pyrmont and what do you love about it?

I have been living and working in Pyrmont for the last 15 years. I like that it has one of the highest density populations in Australia, and incredible diversity. I love exploring the little nooks and crannies, the foreshore, the harbour walks and the headland area. It’s all so accessible, a little bit of nature right on the side of the biggest city in Australia.

Like many sectors, fitness has been hit hard by COVID 19 restrictions, is that why you had to close the studio?

Our building was sold and of course, there was COVID, so we had to make a difficult decision. We were deeply sad to say goodbye to that beautiful building but we had no guarantee that we would be able to keep operating under the new owners and rolling lockdowns. So, we wanted to ensure that our clients had a super clear path and that they would be looked after. Movement Republic is still thriving just not in the traditional guise.

For a lot of businesses right now it’s a collision of calamities. For us, it has offered the bandwidth to really explore what we have always wanted to do, and take our movement practice to the world, not just in Pyrmont. We call it our Blue Sky Growth Plan.

So how have you kept Movement Republic alive during lockdown?

Adaptation is our catch cry. The studio was only one element of our business, and our classes were always small and incredibly intimate. Since closing, we have continued to offer this personalised experience, through private and semi-private sessions, birthday parties and movement on demand.

Our movement mentors will come to anyone’s home or workplace within 20km of Sydney CBD in accordance with lockdown regulations. We have also offered outdoor classes around the foreshore and Pirrama Park – the sandstone blocks are great for parkour and the nets are good for clients who like climbing.

What was your inspiration for creating Movement Republic, and how does it differ from a more traditional approach to fitness?

Fitness is a $2.5 billion industry in Australia, that preys on the most vulnerable and I thought, there’s got to be an alternative. Gyms motivate the already motivated, only about 25 to 30% of the population go to gyms and they are doing about 15 – 20 movements. The experience is deeply focused on the aesthetic and we don’t believe that focusing on how you look is a very high purpose or a healthy goal. Rather than dumbing your body down we are all obliged to reclaim our human movement potential. It’s hard to do that in a gym which is filled with comparisons, competition and disempowerment.

If you elevate your own goals, you elevate the goals of those around you, as well as your community. We offer an incredibly bespoke experience and create an environment where people can try, fail and grow which requires a lot of love and support. And when it’s all driven by mentorship and hope, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. The conversation changes from attaining very limited goals, to experiencing higher purpose and capability.

How important is it to make time for fitness?

Human Movement is essential! The modern world has conspired to keep us sedentary to the point where there’s little resilience anymore. So, you have human bodies and minds that are less capable, less powerful, not challenged, and have no sense of curiosity, risk management, problem solving or decision making.

We believe igniting our human soft skills, and combining them with movement will combat many physical and mental health issues, and restore our human interconnectedness and our vibrant communities, which we all need to live well.

If you are present and you are doing something the body loves, such as complex tasks and skills that require imagination, you enter a deeper sense of engagement. It’s about being open to all possibilities and potential, and converting your life into a perpetual series of little wins and successes.

What is your background?

I was always active, innovative and autodidactic by nature. I don’t have a background in fitness – apart from a personal training course – and I think that’s been one of our greatest strengths. I was walking when I was nine months old. I grew up in the country and was lucky enough to live a life deeply rooted in nature and human movement. We grew our own food, and I was climbing trees and on the back of a pony at four years old.

I have also done a lot of trekking including Annapurna Base camp, Machu Picchu and Mount Kilimanjaro. I have done a lot of stuff that embraces innovation, adaptation, change and the precious gift that is life. I am passionate about it.

So, what next for Movement Republic?

We have wonderful plans to continue in the physical world and have also embraced wholeheartedly the online world. We are aiming at launching Movement Republic TV in the next six months, and hope that we can continue to contribute to people’s lives and help them draw out their movement potential because in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

Thanks so much for chatting today Ann, you are an inspiration. Any final tips for someone who wants to get more fit and healthy?

Set yourself up for tiny wins every day. The conversation shouldn’t begin with lofty goals that aren’t yours, but with the tiny behavioural changes that happen every day that put you in a state of positivity and hope. If you feel like you are achieving these little things several times a day every day, it will add up to an incredible sense of power, capability and confidence that no one can take away from you because you’ve done it.

Thank you for the opportunity to share what we are all about.

Our pleasure! To learn more about Movement Republic, go to the website, Facebook, Instagram. Or call Ann for a chat on 0488 888 328.

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