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Franchisee Spotlight: Michelle Cain

This month, FIT4MOM corporate featured me in their franchisee spotlight! Here's my story:

"I never in a million years thought I would be a fitness instructor. As a child, I was very active in dance and gymnastics, but, as an adult, working out was something I did reluctantly to keep in shape. I enjoyed going to the occasional group exercise class (especially if it meant I could socialize!), but working out by myself felt like a chore. When I got pregnant, I immediately stopped exercising regularly. Not only did I feel tired, crappy and unmotivated, but I wasn't sure what kind of exercise I could practice safely. I was dying for a Fit4Baby-type class to help me, but I didn't know such a class existed. As I progressed in my pregnancy, I tried my best to stay moderately fit with yoga, walking and the occasional baby boot camp DVD, but it wasn't enough. I gained more weight than necessary which caused a lot of aches and pains and a much more miserable pregnancy than I expected.

Once my son was born, I was determined to lose the weight and get my strength back, but I had no idea how to fit in exercise with this new life strapped to my body 24/7. Then I discovered Stroller Strides on a mommy blog. It was the solution to all my workout problems! I was beyond excited to learn about these amazing stroller classes and immediately bummed when I learned there weren't any classes in Washington, D.C. My D.C. neighborhood, Capitol Hill, is bursting at the seams with young families. I knew the moms in my neighborhood needed these classes just as much as I did.

I started reading up on FIT4MOM during my maternity leave and was sold on the franchise before I even attended my first class. Not only would owning a franchise allow me to go back to my dreaded government attorney job part-time and possibly (hopefully!) eventually quit for good, but I knew FIT4MOM's classes would get my butt out of the house to meet other moms. I also thought FIT4MOM would be an awesome complement to my healthy food blog, Healthy Recipe Ecstasy. For the past few years, I've spent so much time creating, eating, photographing (and eating some more) healthy recipes for my food blog, that I let the fitness aspect of being healthy take a back seat. With FIT4MOM, I could inspire moms to lead a more complete healthy lifestyle.

After doing some initial research and making a completely impulsive, sleep-deprived decision that I was going to start a business with a three month old, I finally went to my first Stroller Strides class. I'm super lucky that I live only a 20-minute drive from Jennifer Lundgren's franchise in Arlington-Alexandria, VA. I was so inspired by Jennifer and the other mamas at class that I decided then and there to buy a franchise in D.C.

It was exhilarating and scary to take such a big risk at such a vulnerable time in my life. I was especially scared to teach classes - teaching fitness classes was so outside my wheelhouse that it made my anxiety levels jump sky high. But, then, something unexpected happened. I taught my first class and LOVED IT. More importantly, the moms enjoyed class and thought I was a great instructor. It was the most amazing feeling to know that these mamas felt inspired by my workouts. I went from wanting to hire staff to teach all my classes to feeling like I was giving away a baby every time I had to hand over a class to an instructor because I had too much on my plate. Teaching isn't just fun. It holds me accountable. I cannot tell you how many mornings I would have lazed about the house, if I wasn't expected to show up and teach a class. No matter how few hours of sleep I get or what kind of mood I'm in before class, I always feel better after teaching.

With the franchise, the food blog, the part-time attorney job, and the job of "mom", I often feel like I have 15 jobs and I'm in over my head. My mom friends are always asking me how I balance it all. And, the truth is, I don't. Sometimes we get takeout because I started an oven fire (true story), sometimes my husband feels neglected, sometimes I don't sleep enough, sometimes I forget that I have a food blog for a month, and sometimes my son shows up to playgroup with yogurt still smeared all over his face from breakfast. And pretty much all the time I feel like I'm not doing enough when I know I'm probably doing too much. What I'm realizing is that, as a mom and a business owner and a million other things, I am in a constant state of "trying." Some days I'll try and win and some days I'll try and fail. But, as long as I keep trying, I feel like I'm living. That's what I want to teach my moms - as long as they keep trying to make it to class, trying to do that burpee and trying to be the best mom that they can be, that's all that matters."

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