404 SW 140th Terrace, Suite 30, Newberry, Florida 32669

How We Solved the Problem of Family Time and Exercise at Mat Life

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“Hectic. Busy. Crazy. Exhausting.” These are the words I hear parents use to describe their day-to-day life.

“Understandable. We get it. We can help..” These are the words we use to respond.

My husband Jason has been teaching martial arts and combat sports in Gainesville for more than 20 years. When I joined him full time in the family business two years ago, I was shocked to see first-hand the difficulty of implementing a healthy lifestyle with the daily grind families I encountered experienced. I started asking questions, and the answers that we found completely changed our business and mission.

Where has all the family time gone? Time is the ultimate modern luxury. For families, this resource is an ever-shrinking supply. The New York Post reports that studies show that 60 percent of parents perceive their lives as “hectic,” and families are spending less than 45 minutes per day together during weekdays - less than 45 minutes!

Why aren’t kids and adults moving? According to the CDC, kids and teens under the age of 17 experience less than an hour of physical activity each day. Only 5 percent of adults exercise at least 30 minutes each day. How are we supposed to prevent chronic disease and mental health disorders if we aren’t moving?

How are we handling issues like bullying with almost zero family time? On top of the hectic reality of family life, school age children experience an additional set of stressors, including bullying. More than 1 in 5 children will experience bullying at school. How can children receive the emotional and mental training to exist in a social environment without time with their families?

We may not be able to save the world, but we can sure do our part to make our members’ lives a little bit easier. Ask any martial artist, and they will tell you that our practices can improve every area of your life: physical, mental, emotional -- for any age.

Once we implemented the changes below, we saw amazing results. Creating a family inclusive business gives families workable solutions and in turn created a more cohesive family environment.

  • We expanded our location to include two side-by-side (but separate) classrooms so that all family members could train in an age-appropriate class within a 1-2 hour window. No more driving from activity to activity. The whole family can be in the same place together, even if they are in different classes.
  • We invested in a preschool curriculum for ages 4 and under. No more watered down play time for toddlers. We offer age-appropriate early childhood development that is designed to improve balance, fine motor skills, movement development, social skills, and independence.
  • We committed to offering fitness and energetics training so that family members who were not interested in contact martial arts could have a fun and beneficial option at our facility. From prenatal yoga to fitness kickboxing to Tai Chi, we have a high-quality option for the entire family.
  • We recruited a full-time professional coaching staff that we train in house in elite martial arts and fitness coaching for all ages, which includes training to for bully prevention and emotional self defense.
  • We partnered with Warrior Wellness Collective to provide concierge holistic healthcare in our training locations so that families can conveniently experience acupuncture, massage, counseling, and meal preparation services.

In all of our busy-ness, we believe that time with family is PRICELESS, worthy of honor, and important to prioritize. It shouldn’t be difficult! When visiting our facilities, we always say, “welcome to our fam jam,” and we mean it. We hope that everyone in our community can find ways to spend more time with families, implementing healthy lifestyles, and be well. Happiness is infectious, and we hope the happiness we infuse in our local families lives carries over to the Gainesville community!

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