Moving to a new city or state can be exciting and challenging. It’s exciting to start fresh, but you’ve also got to find your groove and routine in your new home.

Recently, Matt and Susy C. Marks—founders of U-Jam Fitness—moved from their lifelong home in San Jose, California, to Las Vegas. Why?

“Susy loves gambling,” Matt says with a laugh. “No, I’m kidding. Family. We [now] have our whole family out here.”

The Markses were ready to start a family, and when they considered where they were in their personal and professional lives, they recognized that Las Vegas would be a great opportunity. Matt’s brother lives in Vegas, and it would be a great chance to expand U-Jam in an underdeveloped market.

“When we started thinking about it, it started aligning better,” Matt says. “The entertainment industry is here. A lot of dancers are here.” They decided to move—and brought Susy’s mom with them. Matt’s dad made the move with them, as well.

For the Markses, Vegas is also a chance to push themselves outside their comfort zone. “We just recently learned that we have eight active instructors here in Las Vegas,” Susy says. “We felt this is like starting over and is definitely going to be a challenge but an exciting one, as well.”

We asked the Markses to share how they used fitness to find their groove and sense of place in their new city.

To spend time together

“Susy and I take time out for ourselves,” Matt says. “So almost every morning, we head down and we work out together. We spend time together talking about ideas for U-Jam and our company. We haven’t had or made this much opportunity for us to vibe together to share and create … and it is making a huge difference.”

To release stress

“We release stress by just jumping over to the gym and focusing on working out together, on all different types of formats. We take yoga, cycle, boot camp, Pilates, battle ropes and kettle bell. We’ve been able to use fitness as a means of releasing our stress and connecting together on a hubby and wifey level,” Susy says.

To generate new ideas

“Not only is it just a workout, but we get ideas. We get ideas for marketing. We get ideas from the workout itself, what the instructors say, how they flow. We don’t only work out together, we look at the area, the vibe, the people there,” Matt says.

“We’re constantly paying attention and trying to learn how we can make U-Jam better,” Susy adds.

To build community

“We started right away by doing a St. Paddy’s Day class. That was two weeks after we moved here, and that started the kickoff with more than 100 people in the class, which was awesome. The response was amazing,” Matt says.

“I think first and foremost, we will try to attract them with the music and with the dance and choreography, but then slowly [we will] continue to work with the new instructors that are here to teach them how to build their classes, how to teach their students the culture of U-Jam,” Susy says. “I think it’s going to take some time, but we’re off to a good start.”

Advice for those facing a change

For most of us, change is both thrilling and scary. But often, change is necessary for growth and movement. And, Matt says, when you can learn to adapt to change, that’s where character is built.

“If a higher being or karma or whatever is telling you to change and it keeps guiding you to that change, you may want to take a look at it and do it,” Matt says. “For us, it wasn’t a rut. It was just something we knew we needed. For most, it’s really scary to make a change, but change is imminent for all of us. So if people can adapt to change, that’s where character is really built.”

Of course, there’s not always a “right time” to make change happen, but that’s OK, Susy says.

“Things are never going to be perfect, and there sometimes is no perfect time. Sometimes in order for things to change, we have to change,” Susy says. ”Changes are so important, especially if you’re looking to bring on a new chapter in your life or there’s something that you’re driven to do but you’re so afraid that you might fail.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Z Best Foto