No Small Thing Video Contest Winner Melodee Meyer Brings Fitness & Family Together

Jul 18, 2017 | Member Spotlight

Melodee MeyerWhen you think “martial arts,” you probably picture an epic fight scene that we so often see in the movies, with kicks, jabs and violence. That’s what Melodee Meyer pictured, too. But as she became more involved and educated about the sport, she was surprised and inspired by its non-violent, character-based nature. It’s what led her to launch Martial Arts Family Fitness, which she has grown into a successful business rooted in community, self-improvement and giving back.

In her winning No Small Thing contest video, Melodee says, “Giving back is the one thing that makes a business worth building and a life worth living.” It’s also the underlying value that has driven her business to grow and flourish over the last 15 years. When she opened Martial Arts Family Fitness in Santa Barbara with her husband and two sons, the odds were against her—she had no collateral or references, carried debt from a previous business and faced competition from 26 other fitness businesses within a 5-mile radius. But Melodee had a vision that would set them apart from other training centers. “It was against all logic, but we were focusing on families,” she says. “We were a family, we loved families and wanted to create a place where the family could train and be together.”

Her community-based approach worked and has attracted families of all ages and generations (some as young as 3 years old) to participate in classes together. Beyond creating a community of clients within her business, Melodee also recognizes the importance of reaching out to the larger community to give back. Over the years, her business has helped to coordinate various community service events, including their annual  Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, which delivered more than 250 turkey dinner baskets to families in need last year. She also hosts charity fundraisers such as “Pinktober” for breast cancer  awareness where clients can participate in special workouts and contribute to the cause.

“You get to do two things: build community within and make the community at large a benefactor of that love and appreciation,” Melodee says. “You’ll find people training next to each other who wouldn’t normally meet each other because they come from different backgrounds or groups. They would never cross paths, but then they’re locking arms and going into the community with a common goal.”

While Melodee has been a member of the NAWBO Santa Barbara chapter for under a year, she already appreciates the immense support and inspiration she’s received so far. “As a business owner, it can be isolating. You have to be a model for your staff, customers and in the community. There are not always a lot of others who can support you,” she says. “I was thrilled to find an organization of women who understand and who are committed to each other’s success. I felt so compelled to be a part of it.”

Although she was surprised to learn that she was selected as this year’s No Small Thing video contest winner, Melodee says she hopes it inspires others to give back within their own communities. “Sometimes we don’t realize what a benefit it would be to our business and our community if we took time to focus on that more,” she says. “The thought that I might be able to help others with that idea was more to the point. If others could see (the video), they could think of ways to do that, too.”


Melodee’s Tips For How to Stay Fit While Traveling This Summer


“Eating clean and healthy while traveling isn’t as hard as you think.

1. Plan ahead. Don’t leave it to chance where/what you eat.

2. Drink more water than usual.  Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger.

3. Eat for energy instead of entertainment and focus on how you want to feel after you eat (not just before). “


“Fitness challenges are actually time management challenges. You can get fit and stay fit by managing your time a little better. Most of us tend to put ourselves last. Plan your exercise in advance and stay as active as possible. No gym at your hotel? Use the stairs or go for a good walk. Your body will be glad you did!”

Watch Melodee’s winning video



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