All in the Family: Meet the Johnsons

Meet the Johnsons: (from left) Kristen, Paula, Chris and Matt. Besides living a healthy lifestyle, the family helps run On Target Living.

The Johnsons may be the area’s fittest family. While Chris (father) and Matt (son) run On Target Living, a company that focuses on health and wellness through speaking engagements, health programs, books and one-on-training, Kirsten (daughter) is a registered dietitian for Meijer. Paula (mother), works for Swift Collins and Smith, but is the family’s culinary teacher. They all understand what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. And each of them, makes sure to be as fit as possible.

Healthy & Fit Magazine asked the family for the secrets to their success. Here’s what they said.

How do you like working with each other?

  • Matt: I have always valued family run businesses. The cool thing about working with my Dad is we tend to have the same morals, values and vision which makes everything a whole lot easier. I think if you can find balance with business and family there is no better partnership in the world. There is something about having your Dad as your boss that is really great.
  • Chris: I never really thought about having my kids get involved with On Target Living. I was just excited to have my own business and keep my passion alive. As On Target Living began to grow who better to enter the business than Kristen and Matt (my kids). I wanted both of my kids to come into the business only if this was their desire and passion, not because their dad wanted them to join the business!

Do you share the same philosophy when it come to health?

  • Matt: I think we all have the same beliefs from growing up together. It makes being around each other so easy. Health & Fitness is not what we do for a living but is what we live and breathe every day. Being healthy & fit doesn’t have to be complicated- go back to the basics, start slowly, eat whole foods, move your body, and get your R & R.
  • Chris: We have always been a physically active family, working out, skiing, running, tennis, golf, I grew up playing many sports and my kids also had a love for sports and being physically active. We also have a love for food, eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep.

What is your individual background with health? Education? Etc.?

  • Matt: I have a degree from Grand Valley State University in Corporate Wellness and Entrepreneurship. Although, I would have to say that the best education I have ever received came from living with my parents.
  • Chris: I have a undergraduate degree in business and a masters degree in exercise physiology. I have been in the health & fitness industry for over 30 years, have multiple certifications and am a faculty member for A4M training health practitioners and physicians. Owner and founder of On Target Living a Health and Fitness company located in Bath, Michigan.

Is it hard to stay as fit/healthy as your dad/mom/brother/sister?

  • Matt: I don’t think we ever look at it that way. We all have different goals and strengths and we all try to help each other. My dad is the most disciplined, my mom is the best cook, Kristen is the most positive, and I have the best six-pack.
  • Chris: My entire family is very competitive in work and in play. Whether it is a game of chess, cards, croquet, tennis, golf, my entire family is very competitive with each other. I guess I got this from my dad, the apple does not fall too far from the tree!

Are there ever any rivalries?

  • Matt: There is always a little healthy competition. My sister and I have always had twin rivalries and we can’t help competing at most everything we do. My Mom just wants us all to play together. There is no competing with her home cooking. However, I absolutely love beating my Dad at Golf.
  • Kristen: There is always a little healthy competition. My brother and I have always had our twin rivalries and we can’t help competing at most everything we do. There is no competing with my Mom’s home cooking or my dad’s awesome dance moves.

If you had to describe your family using one word, what would it be? Why?

  • Matt: Vitality…we all have the juice that people want. I find people lack juice and that is what makes life fun.
  • Kristen: Balanced. Not only do we all have a career in health & fitness but it is something we live every day. I think the combination of this is truly amazing.

Are there times you struggle to stay fit? Do you feel you have extra pressure because your last name is Johnson?

  • Matt: There is definitely pressure to talk the talk and walk the walk. But I love practicing what I preach! It’s not a strict diet or regimen that I practice but just a way of living that is all I have ever known. Plus, I realize that living this way makes me feel my absolute best and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Kristen: I wouldn’t say that it is a struggle because it is such an “ingrained” way of living at this point. I definitely had my own challenges growing up and living with my “health freak” of a Dad but I would have to say I wouldn’t change my life one bit. Once I moved away from home and experienced the “dorm food” I realized just how powerful food could be. I knew the lifestyle I grew up living was something I wanted to live and do forever.
  • Chris: As I get older I try to keep my body weight within 3-5 pounds of my target weight (170 lbs). I am a real believer of the 80/20 rule—I never feel like I am giving up anything, I truly enjoy the foods I eat, moving my body daily and planning some down time. I never look at staying healthy and fit as pressure, it is just of habits that you build over time.

What hope do you have for the future and the future of the Johnson business?

  • Matt: We want to educate the American Population how to be healthy. I want the On Target Living message in Schools, Colleges, Employers, Doctor’s Offices and on the news. We don’t teach rocket science we teach a lifestyle that gives you the knowledge and tools to feel your best.
  • Chris: Keep growing the On Target Living brand, sharing the love and knowledge of health and fitness to more and more people in the United States and around the world!

What is your goal along with that hope?

  • Matt: Healthcare is a huge buzz word…the American people spend 17-18% of the Gross Domestic Product on Healthcare the next highest country is 12-13%. If we are looking for a budget cut we need to look at educating our population on how to prevent disease and be healthy. That is our hope and our goal is to keep spreading the message.
  • Chris: We as a nation have to start changing our beliefs towards health! We have an amazing sickcare system in the United States. You get into a car accident, have a baby or need some type of surgical procedure—we are the best in the world! But most of our sickness is directly related to a poor lifestyle. We have to change our beliefs that the real answer begins by investing in prevention!

What’s the one piece of advice you like to give people when they ask for help?

  • Matt: Find your Why and watch the magic happen! Your why is your emotional connection to change. Bottom line- your why has to be bigger than your but.

What is your “why?”

  • Matt: I want to live to 120 and have fun doing it. I want to spread the message of “OTL” for a longtime. My Grandpa Johnson was one of the most important people in my life. He gave so much love, knowledge, and humor to everyone around him and could have given so much more if he had his health. He didn’t know what feeling his best was like because he never found his why until it was too late. I know there are thousands of people out there that feel the same way about their grandparents and parents or even someone that has been instrumental in their life. Help these special people find their why for living. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
  • Kristen: I want to teach people that they can live a life full of fun, flavor, and health! You truly don’t have to give up anything to live healthy. Simply, make small changes, form habits, and improve the quality of your foods. Focusing on the quality vs. quantity of foods helps you to not stress over calories and enjoy everything you eat. I want to teach everyone that healthy & happy can go together!
  • Chris: I love being active, I want to have great ‘juice” for my family and profession. I feel like I am just getting started in the second half of my life and want to make a difference in the world we live in.
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