Inner West father of three, Daniel Ucchino is a Body and Mind Coach, who founded The Athletic Buddha in 2016. The Athletic Buddha is located in Concord, and what sets it apart from other gym or fitness studios, is the emphasis they place on two things: family and mental health. Talking with Daniel, it is clear that these reflect his own values and combine perfectly with his passion for sport and fitness. The Athletic Buddha not only offers a free crèche service, Mums & Bubs classes but also provides kid’s fitness-classes and after school care!
After a stint of working in London and Rome, the Ucchino Family, returned home to Sydney and settled in the Inner West, starting The Athletic Buddha months after.
Tell us a little about yourself
I am a father of three – a seven year old son and two daughters aged five and six months old. My wife and I moved back to Australia in 2015 after spending a fantastic few years working in London and Rome, where our son was born.
Sport and fitness have always been my passion and a huge priority in my life, and that passion has turned into a life-long career, which has enabled me to travel and work in different places. Having worked as fitness coach for over 20 years both here and overseas, we decided that we wanted to start a new business venture upon returning to Sydney, and The Athletic Buddha was born in 2016.
When we landed back in Sydney, we immediately felt the pull of the Inner West calling us! My mum and brothers were living here and we felt that it would be the perfect place to raise a family and to base ourselves.
What inspired you to become a body and mind coach?
I wanted to share my knowledge in fitness as well as share some of the tools that I had learned over the years, that could help us to learn and appreciate ourselves more. To help me achieve this goal, I completed a course to become a certified Demartini Institute facilitator and set to work shortly after. At The Athletic Buddha, we believe that everyone has an athlete and a Buddha within and we make it our job to help you discover it.
What makes The Athletic Buddha different from other gyms?
We are a family gym. Everything about us revolves around kids and adults enjoying their fitness training in a fun, clean and supportive environment. We stand by those values and we work very hard to deliver on those promises.
Tell us a bit about the programs and services you offer? (particularly those for mums & children)
We offer a wide range of services for the whole family – from after school fitness programs (after school care), kids birthday parties, kids/youth/teenage fitness programs, school holiday workshops, adult fitness sessions, outdoor bootcamps, yoga, meditation and corporate team building days.
Our kid’s fitness classes run once a week and teens have the option of training four times per week as well as doing Yin Yoga with their parents. Our birthday parties and after school fitness sessions are probably our most unique and specialised programs.
Fitness and sports games to celebrate a child’s birthday are a great way to entertain the kids before they enjoy some food and cake!
Our school holiday programs are also very much about fitness and physical activities; however, we also throw in a little slime making, science experiments, yoga and meditation.
We also remember the parents! We have a 9.30am and 10.30am strength and conditioning class every day where we focus on all areas of the body and cater for all fitness abilities. We also have a free crèche for the kiddies during those time slots as well as Saturday at 8am.
Love the idea of the After School Program – why it is good for children and what can parents expect?
Our after school care service is our most unique program, that up until COVID, was continuous from one term to the next. Now that many parents are working from home, they are requiring this pick-up service less. We have instead pivoted and will soon launch a variation of this service, that is a little shorter and more cost effective for parents who don’t require a 6.30pm pick-up.
We still want to spare the parents the 3pm rush of dodging traffic then finding a parking spot to collect the kids from the crowded school gates and allow them to put in an extra hour of work before the dinner and bedtime routines begin.
Stay tuned for the shorter and more updated version of our after school pick-up options.
What advice would you give someone who has not exercised for a while and may not know how to get back into it?
If you don’t enjoy what you are doing then it won’t last. Find what works for you, then you will look forward to going back and you will be more patient with getting the results. Make your goal to enjoy what you do – and the results will follow.
What has been a positive or silver lining for you from the pandemic (in personal or business life)?
The support we have received from our team and our members. COVID challenged us, but our staff and crew supported us equally as much. There is never a challenge without support.
Favorite places in the Inner West?
Briars Sports Club in Concord with kids and friends. Having a beer in the sun while the kids play and run around with their friends is a perfect way to spend a Sunday!
What/who inspires you? (book, podcast, person?)
Richard Branson and John De Martini for their business and mindset skills. My wife and kids because they are the main reason I keep moving forward, even when I don’t feel like it or it gets hard.
For more information visit The Athletic Buddha website.