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My wife and I were looking for a friendly, family oriented MMA classes for our son (10) and daughter (12). They love martial arts and have been doing it for years, in an after school program (TKD). Well, after looking around, we joined Gracie PAC MMA. Let me tell you, this place is perfect. Their staff and coaches are incredible; friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and experience on everything MMA. Professor Cris Rodriguez is great with kids, amazing teacher. We are extremely happy with Gracie MMA, their staff is great, they are very organize and their curriculum (bjj, muay thai, kick boxing, etc....) has everything we were looking for. Great place for the entire family.

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Come train with the BEST! This is NOT your normal after school karate class. We were amazed at the amount of technique even the youngest students pick up after just a few classes. Coach Cris is awesome with the kids. She expects more then just good fighting from them. She stays involved with how they are doing in school and at home, giving her students the incentive to be the best at everything they do.

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I have been looking for a great exercise program to get involved in and finally found it here. I have learned so much in the two months I have been here and can't wait to continue to get stronger. Love This place!! Coach Cris is the best at making me not want to give up.

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PAC MMA is fitness for the whole family. Kids programs, adult classes and even the best woman's fitness and self defense around, this is the place to go. Make your family a part of the PAC family.

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Best place ever! My daughter attends the after school program there and she loves it. I just started taking the kickboxing class & it's the best class I have ever taken. Everyone there is awesome.

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I can't say enough about how much I love this place! My son is learning so much and he LOVES going to class. There's something so rewarding in watching your child learn and grow so quickly :) Coach Chris, Coach Dan and Coach Rich have all been amazing! I couldn't ask for a better environment for my son. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and so much of yourself - we truly appreciate it!

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Heard thru word of mouth. Then checked it out and noticed great character in their students and the attentive staff. The coach had noticeable rapport with the kids in the class. My daughter loved it. She can't wait to get back. She even cleaned her room! Huge plus.

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Gracie PAC MMA has been one of, if not the best, mixed martial arts gym I have been a part of. The kids program/instruction is second to none, and offers world class BJJ instruction for adults as well as one of the most promising striking programs in the US, Bang Muay Thai. Countless kids and adults have competed at the highest level under the GPAC banner, with even more discovering what martial arts can do for them. Whether you want to compete or get in great shape, this facility has the program for you

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Our family has been coming to Gracie PAC Tampa for nearly two years. We began sending our son first. Our main goals were for him to experience the physical and mental benefits derived from regular physical exercise. Instantly we realized how special this place is, and how amazing Coach Cris is with the kids, as well as adults. She is fair but firm, and as she commands respect, she encourages these kids to rise to their full potential, also providing valuable discussions on character, sportsmanship, and leadership, as part of her curriculum.

My husband takes some of the adult jiu jitsu and kickboxing classes, from which he has benefitted greatly, and I truly enjoy being a member of the ladies' bootcamp group. These ladies represent a wide range of fitness levels and ages. Each class, we all get together to kick butt, do our best, and encourage each other in a true team environment. I never leave this class disappointed.
Gracie PAC Tampa MMA - best place EVER for your anyone in your family to train at.

Lynzie Johnston reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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Well it's about time I write a review! My boys joined Gracie PAC as little Ninjas about 4 months ago. They absolutely love it! Professor Cris is an amazing teacher! She's very enthusiastic about teaching and she is very patient. My boys love going to class. They are 4 &7 . They never want to miss a class. They have learned so much and continue to learn with each class. They love earning strips on their belt. This is a really great positive atmosphere for kids and families. I'm very satisfied with our experience.

Jesse James Maldonado reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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I took Jiu Jitsu a few years back at another facility and decided to give this one a try. I took my first lesson last night and could not believe the content. Very structured and professional. Easy to learn and everyone was eager to assist me being the new guy. Other places teach you a couple of moves. Each involving many steps and you still won't understand it. Garcia PAC teaches you a technique and teaches you other techniques that involve some of the same steps. It made me confident that if I try something and am not able to secure the submission, then I can roll into another technique just as easy and It gives you options and makes you think. I liked that approach rather than what I was given in the past. A+ school and is 100% legit. I am confident this time around I will take it all the way with my training. When you find a place like this you take advantage of the opportunity to train there.

Meghann Thacker reviewed Gracie PAC MMA
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We love it at Gracie PAC! They focus on fitness, strength, form, and most importantly they work hard every lesson to help teach my children how to effectively defend themselves against bullies and other attacks. It's easy to see this group of educators clearly loves kids and have a passion for sharing their vast knowledge with their students! Best MMA in the Bay for kids!

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I took my first class tonight. As soon as you enter, you are greeted by smiling faces who are just as excited to have you there as you are to be there. The coaches there were phenomenal. They were so incredibly encouraging and patient, it was a breeze picking it up because there was no pressure. Great job at creating such an inviting atmosphere.

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8 Ways to Start & Keep The Family Exercising Together

Craig and Dawn Reese have made an important modification to the one-car garage of their suburban Washington house: They’ve covered the floor with a layer of plywood and thick black mats. “That’s to cushion the blow when we drop our weights,” Craig, 44, says.

The space is crowded with workout equipment. There’s a rowing machine, a ski machine and a power rack, to name a few pieces, and a tall heater for the colder months. Resistance bands hang on the wall. The couple has 100-pound sandbags and kettlebells up to 70 pounds; Craig estimates that they’ve got 600 pounds in plate weights, too. The elaborate setup is a testament to the priority fitness takes in their family.

It started a few years ago, when Dawn decided to get into shape while Craig, an officer in the Marine Corps, was deployed. “I was always thin, but I couldn’t run up the street,” Dawn, 46, says. “I would go into the gym and be intimidated.” She hired a personal trainer, which ignited a passion for fitness, and when Craig returned, she began going to CrossFit with him.

Their enthusiasm for CrossFit made an impression on their children: Jylian, now 16, and Weston, now 13, saw the commitment and energy their parents were putting into working out — and the positive results — and wanted to join.

Dawn and Craig began accumulating gym equipment and exercise certifications. Dawn is an ACE-certified personal trainer and youth fitness specialist, and Craig has certifications in USA Weightlifting and the Marine Corps’ High-Intensity Interval Training program, to name a few. The family works out together in their garage, and the kids visit the CrossFit gym with their parents when they aren’t busy with school and sports. “It’s important that we’re out there, doing these things together, as a family,” Dawn says.

Experts say it’s important that kids get in the habit of exercising. Research indicates that parents’ activity level and encouragement play vital roles in determining how physically active their kids are.

Want to foster your own culture of family fitness? Here are eight tips to help (having a gym at home isn’t required).

1. Just get moving.

“It is so hard to get started — especially when you have kids,” Dawn says. Something as simple as getting off the couch and going outside together as a family is a great way to get the ball rolling, says Andrew Shniderman, personal trainer and owner of Fit First Academy, which offers classes and one-on-one training for D.C.-area youths. “Go for a 10 minute walk together,” he says. “Spend some time doing something where you are moving.”

2. Be enthusiastic — and sincere — about exercise.

If you don’t enjoy weightlifting, don’t expect your clan to suddenly be thrilled about pumping iron. “Kids can sense when you’re faking it,” Shniderman warns. “Find something that you yourself want to do.” If you bring true excitement to an activity, the whole family will pick up on that. In the same vein, Shniderman says, try to keep your entire workout engaging and high energy, whether it lasts 15 minutes or an hour.

3. Make a plan and stick with it.

Every Sunday, Dawn gathers her family and maps out their schedule for their week. “We plan when we’re going to work out, who’s picking up kids here, who’s dropping them off there, what time their sports end, who’s starting meals,” Dawn says. “Planning is everything.”

Consistency and commitment are important, too. “Don’t use anything that pops up in your day as an excuse to not work out,” Dawn says. “I’ll hear, ‘Oh, I have a dentist appointment, I can’t go to the gym.’ Well, why can’t you go before the appointment or after it?” Finding a routine that works for your family may not be easy, Dawn says. “But once you find what works, you’ll keep going.”

4. Consider an app or a fitness tracker.

Recent research shows families that use fitness trackers that incorporate elements such as points or levels — otherwise known as “gamification” — are more likely to achieve their fitness goals than those who do not.

In a 2017 study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University followed adults from 94 families who engaged in a game to track their steps for 12 weeks, with a 12-week follow-up. The study’s big takeaway: Adding a social game component to their exercise technology “significantly increased physical activity among families.” Digital exercise tracking comes with the bonus of being able to easily see the stats on your progress, too, which helps you celebrate the achievements.

5. Find a family-friendly gym.

Gyms can provide an array of opportunities for families to work out together, according to Robin Hedrick, director of community health for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, which offer an extensive lineup of group exercise classes for families, including yoga, boot camps and dance classes.

“It doesn’t matter what you choose to do,” Hedrick said in an email. “It is important for children to see their parents exercising or ‘playing’ with them.” Shop around to find the right gym, Dawn advises, and visit at the same times you’ll be working out, so you get a good sense of the atmosphere.

6. Try an event that isn’t timed.

Signing up for an untimed family event, such as a Volksmarch or a bike tour, can help take the pressure off performance and keep the focus on a shared activity. Or consider Tough Mudder, held across the United States and other countries. It’s a muddy obstacle course series that was originally developed in 2010 for adults. The goal was to create an experience that encourages teamwork over competition, Tough Mudder chief executive Kyle McLaughlin says.

The event morphed into a “fitness festival” atmosphere when participants started bringing their families, he says. So about five years ago, the organization introduced the Mini Mudder, a scaled-down version for kids ages 5 to 12, held on a quarter-mile loop. While parents and kids don’t compete together, siblings can. Tough Mudder’s ethos is a good thing for families to keep in mind: “It’s not about time or places and being first,” McLaughlin says. “It’s about doing stuff together.”

7. Don’t push your kids too hard.

When your kids give you “the look,” it’s time to switch it up, Shniderman says. “A child is not like an adult. Adults know their limits and they need somebody to break their limits,” he says. “Kids are completely different.” Keep it from becoming a negative experience.

And remember, you’re parents, not coaches. “Sometimes teenagers get really frustrated when they can’t master a skill, and they want to give up,” Dawn says. “That’s when I turn Mom back on. I tell them, ‘It’s OK it didn’t work out the first time, we have to keep trying.’ Especially with CrossFit, it’s a lifetime of learning the skills.”

8. Get creative with your workouts.

A little bit of imagination can go a long way. Shniderman points to a bear crawl as an example: “It’s not a bear crawl anymore,” he says. “It’s a ‘magic spider walk.’ I say, ‘You’re not on the floor, you’re on a web. The only thing that can stick to this web are your magic hands and magic feet.’ Now the kids are more bought in. They don’t want to get stuck on the spider web. Same goal, just a different way to execute it.”

Shniderman says he spends hours thinking up creative games involving exercise. “I never say, ‘Here’s my book of workouts and games, I’m done!’” he says. “The way kids interact with workouts changes from week to week and from year to year.” Just keeping exercise fun and fresh, whether it’s new games, different workout moves or changing goals, will go a long way toward establishing a family that works out together — and enjoys it.