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Pushing the Limit

Babies give mothers the runaround in this fitness class on wheels.

Being a mother, owning a franchise and staying fit can be quite a juggling act, but 32-year-old Kelly Rodgers has found a way to combine it all and still remain standing. In 2001, before Rodgers had her first child, she made a life-changing decision: She chose to quit her job as a personal trainer and become the first StrollerFit franchisee in Texas.

StrollerFit offers fitness classes that focus on postnatal exercises. With babies tucked inside, strollers double as fitness equipment. Mothers alternate jogging and power walking with body-toning exercises. Meanwhile, babies are entertained with routines that involve singing, counting and blowing bubbles. "It's not just a workout for the moms," says Rodgers. "It's also a chance for [moms] to spend time with their kids and show them that exercise is fun."

In the fall of 2002, Rodgers moved with her husband to Lubbock, Texas. Though she ultimately had to sell her Austin location, she couldn't give up the franchise. "It was such a great investment that I just couldn't imagine not doing it in Lubbock," says Rodgers. She purchased a second franchise, which currently offers five 50-minute classes a week conducted in local parks, a mall and a skating rink. Her franchise brings in up to $2,000 a month.

Now that Rodgers is the proud mom of two, StrollerFit's impact on her life is even deeper and more personal. The exercises helped her get through both pregnancies, and some of her best friends are her clients. Says Rodgers, "I need this not just for my business sense and to make money, but for the physical, emotional and social [element] of being a new mom."

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This article was originally published in the March 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Pushing the Limit.

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