My name is Karma and I’m the founder of Karma Fitness – appropriately named… I know.
A bit of background about me:
I’ve always been obsessed with sports. As a child I was ranked in the LTA 18U rankings for tennis, I swam for Middlesex, played rugby & football and boxed locally. Then throw in a daily cycle ride and some long distance running every morning for good measure!
As I got into my late teens, I started weight training and calisthenics. My transformation was from a 69kg lanky skinny guy to a 95kg well built athlete and it took me about 6 years. It was pure dedication on my part and I knew that nothing would stop me from achieving the goals I had set myself. The hardest part at that stage was eating enough food to fuel my training!
Aged 23 I was quite happy with my fitness level and body composition; I was well on my way to achieving my fitness goals. And then it happened - one wrong cliff dive on holiday and I returned to the UK with acute pain, and no feeling or strength from the waist down. I was unable to walk and was rushed to the hospital where an MRI scan revealed that I had badly herniated a disc in my spine which in turn compressed the spinal cord.
Most people will have a “bulging disc” at some point in their life which is usually enough to cause serious pain and nerve damage to go with it. What I had was a disc that was completely herniated with no fluid left in there at all, so there was no natural recovery. I was given the option for surgery – but I had heard horror stories - so I chose to try and resolve it through Traction Therapy (stretching the back out on a very scary machine) three times a week at Harley Street. This helped somewhat, but it wasn’t going to get me back to where I was before the accident.
Matters became worse when I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease. This meant that the issue wasn’t isolated to that one disc and that it would worsen without some serious effort on my part. Firstly, I needed my mobility back so I attended Pilates classes – I remember crawling into my first one! Got onto the mat and thought to myself “this is going to hurt!”
I wasn’t wrong! The mat I was given was actually a yoga mat, around 4mm thick it offered no actual support and any time I moved I was pretty much off the mat. I’m 6ft 2in and I thought it was just me having this issue, but I looked around the class and most people seemed to be partially on the floor and partially on the mat.
To cut a long story short the Pilates combined with a daily swim and a lot of core work allowed me to slowly and steadily build my back strength up. Now I still have 2 herniated discs, but the pain is manageable. It means I can’t do any overhead lifts and I still go and have regular scans to ensure I’m not doing further damage through training.
Fast forward a bit – it’s 2020 and the world has just gone into lockdown. Everyone’s doing a home workout and like most guys, I was pinching my girlfriend’s yoga mat for a quick home weights session! I saw the same issue I did in Pilates class, the mats are made for Yoga, not workouts. They aren’t thick enough, dense enough, wide enough – and to top it all off they’re all designed for hippies from the 80s with Om signs and flower patterns with elephants at the top.
I’ve created the Karma Fitness Workout Mats. They come with the standout “Strong & Flexible” branding and are specifically chosen to stand out with the bold yellow and black design.
They come in 2 widths – a “yoga width” 61cm mat for those with a narrower frame or limited space at home and an “extra wide” one which spans 80cm which I’m sure most people will find more appropriate for their workouts.
They are 10mm thick and made from two layers of TPE material. This is 100% recycled, recyclable and biodegradable. This was a key one for me as most mats are made from PVC which is harmful to the environment or NBR which is the least supportive material you can use!
I custom designed the diamond texture to give superior grip for those HIIT class exercises or when you’re really working up a sweat.
As a team we’re really happy with the final result and it was well worth the time and money we spent with 13 different suppliers trying tirelessly to get the quality we required!
We’ve tested the mats with various focus groups and had nothing but positive feedback from our final products. I’m so confident that our customers will be satisfied with their purchase we’re offering a 30 days money back guarantee. Just don’t return one that’s been chewed up by your dog!
Thank you for reading what must feel like a novel. But this is my story. The next chapter is yours.