Moms on the Run: ‘Fitness, Fun & Friendship!’



“Fitness is a growing category in the Franchise 500 list because it is a growing industry! Furthermore, both group fitness and high-intensity interval training, our methods of operation, are staying at the top of the fitness trends list for many years in a row with no signs of slowing down. Moms on the Run was named in 2019 to Entrepreneur’s List of the Top 100 Franchises Under $50K, and has also been rated highly by Franchise Grade for our low-risk investment.”

Karissa Johnson, the Founder, and CEO of ‘Moms on the Run’ began her expedition in 2008 in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. More precisely, her organization is on a mission to inspire and transform women through a healthy lifestyle which contains the elements of fitness, fun, and friendship. As of now, they have 51 franchise locations running in nine states across the U.S. Karissa’s fitness franchise system offers a unique part-time business model for busy women. Leveraging on a structured fitness program designed to meet the needs of all women with diverse fitness levels and age brackets, they help their customers get in shape while making friends and having the time of their life at the same time.

Their signature offering is a ‘learn-to-run 5K’ training, which is their proprietary run/walk interval program led by certified coaches. It includes strength and flexibility training along with raising awareness in their customers by sharing information and knowledge on the subject. In addition to this, they offer intermediate and advance run training designed by Olympian Carrie Tollefson, various fitness class formats favoring the season, and nutrition programs. To dial up the fun, they also organize lifestyle challenges and ladies’ nights out. “What we do best,” Karissa says, “is pack a comprehensive workout of cardio, strength and flexibility training all in one hour while providing women a healthy social outlet at the same time.”

“We hear over and over that women join Moms on the Run to get fit, and stay because not only are they achieving their fitness goals, but they’ve developed a strong camaraderie with their teammates as well.”

Growing up, Karissa always had a passion for running and fitness following which she pursued a B.S. degree in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from the University of Minnesota. Along the way, she managed to add personal training, group fitness and nutrition certifications to her portfolio. However, after she got married and started a family, Karissa found herself struggling to manage her own fitness routine. Having 3 children below the age of 5, most of her time was dedicated to taking care of them. Refusing to compromise with her fitness any longer, Johnson came to a brilliant resolution. She offered a fitness class in a local park for moms and their babies. As simple as it may sound, it changed the course of her career, because eventually, those women expressed a desire to train for their first 5K race, and that’s how ‘Moms on the Run’ was born.

When Moms on the Run began, it was just a single class in one small town. It quickly became a huge success and Karissa started noticing members were driving up to an hour to get there. Realizing how great the need was, she began offering classes in other cities as well. But as it turned out, she could no longer manage the workload herself and yet didn’t want to see the potential she was seeing go to waste. Ultimately, she decided that she had to start franchising. Since then, the number of training programs and a variety of fitness classes offered has increased. “The impact of social media and the ability for our members, coaches and franchise owners to share their inspiring stories has quickly fueled our growth,” shares Karissa. “A part-time business model is attractive to our core audience of women and moms and is unique in the fitness space.”

Purpose, Progress and Pay-off

Moms on the Run believes that healthy moms make healthy families. Their teamwork mentality has built each franchise location into a team, and within that team is a group of women who become like a family. Karissa says, “We hear over and over that women join Moms on the Run to get fit, and stay because not only are they achieving their fitness goals, but they’ve developed a strong camaraderie with their teammates as well.” Offering an excellent opportunity to build a profitable part-time business while impacting lives in the community, their team is always prepared to guide a new franchisee in creating a profitable program that lets them do what they love while making a meaningful difference. Karissa further shares, “We offer a vast array of resources to our franchisees, both via technology and our staff. We provide ongoing training, certification support for coaches and franchise owners, marketing resources both print and online, a personalized website and customer registration system, technology systems which include e-newsletter templates, social media, and intranet; and corporate staff roles including a franchise onboarding specialist, franchise support coordinator, and performance business coach to help our business owners reach their goals.”

Moms on the Run attract women who desire to play big roles in connecting women in their communities. However, as the owner Karissa explains, more than that is needed. “We are looking for women who are role models for fit living, who love to run and who enjoy encouraging others. Women who join our team are excited about either directly coaching or being involved behind the scenes, creating a network of like-minded fit mamas. Our women are passionate about Moms on the Run! We expect our franchise owners to also be passionate about business, and be actively engaging in the marketing tactics it takes to build success at their locations. We require 10k liquid capital at the onset to cover the start-up costs and ensure marketing success as the unit gets up and running.”

As CEO, she admires the uniform sense of teamwork and community at every level of her organization. But what inspires her the most is the way they are redefining the next generation of families in terms of health and wellness. Speaking of the future, Karissa has a clear plan of action on how to proceed. She tells Aspioneer, “Moms on the Run will continue to grow in its communities as we look for new ways to reach women and make a difference. As far as expansion, we are looking to get into new areas of the U.S. and our goal is to be at 100 units by 2025. We are growing conservatively so that we can continue to prioritize customer service and franchisee support.”

In the end, let’s look at what some of her members have to say about their engagement:

“Moms on the Run made me a runner, an activity that will continue the rest of my life. I became a member of a group of loving and supportive women, who have all become a huge part of my life. I am forever grateful that I took this huge step into the unknown!”– Cathy, 59, White Bear Lake, MN

“Moms on the Run has changed my entire way of thinking. I am now accountable for my health. I make sure I take time out of my day to work out, even if it’s 30 minutes, and I’ve found awesome support from the wonderful friends I’ve made. I cannot thank Moms on the Run enough for the friendships and new routine it’s helped me establish. I am now 65 pounds less! Yahoo!”-Melissa, 36, Cottage Grove, MN

“I joined as a way to get out of the house and lose some baby weight after having four kids in five years. Wow, did I get so much more! Friendship, joy, laughter, strength, and confidence! I’ve found a passion I never dreamed of having. Moms on the Run has changed my life and I cannot describe how thankful I am! Our coaches are amazing and we are truly blessed by them!”– JoKasta, 35, Eau Claire, WI

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