The Motivation Behind Mōtiv

By Jacqueline Knox – July 1, 2021
Jessica Oswald

Breaking off of a fitness franchise to create their own, eight women are taking the boutique workout scene by storm. 

While their studios have stayed in the same locations as they were when part of the other franchise, the women have rebranded to align with the new idea, purpose and mission behind Mōtiv Fitness. 

“I would say it’s all because of the pandemic,” Jenny Lindemann, owner of Mōtiv Fitness’ Austin studio, says. “Before, we were part of a franchise, and we each owned our own individual studio. Everybody was pretty much just trucking along on our own before the pandemic, and there was not a lot of collaboration or interaction amongst the studio owners. When the pandemic hit, we all came together to see how we could work together and navigate something that we had never experienced before.”

Realizing that they all shared the common goal of running a client-focused fitness studio, these eight women of different ages, cities and backgrounds came together to create Mōtiv Fitness. The women behind Mōtiv are Jennifer Harkins (West University & Tanglewood), Brianne Murphy (Boerne), Jenny Lindemann (Austin), Leslie Nelson (co-owner of Memorial), Gelena Scally (The Woodlands), Haley Green (co-owner of Memorial), Megan Hohenberger (Midland) and Andrea O’Connor (Sioux Falls, South Dakota). 

A group of eight independently owned studios across the Lone Star State and South Dakota, the brand focuses on the individual client and their unique fitness goals. The Austin studio is located at 809 S Lamar Blvd Suite K, Austin, TX 78704.

“We really wanted a brand that reflected our energy,” Brianne Murphy says. “A brand that is vibrant — that is not focused on weight loss and your appearance, but on being stronger and achieving your goals.”

With methods rooted in pilates, barre and yoga, Mōtiv encourages functional movement. Most of their classes include lower weights, high repetition and longer movements that all work to increase strength. The classes differ among the studios, but Mōtiv Austin offers cycle, barre, dance cardio and rebound, which is a trampoline class. 

Throughout the rebranding process, the group of women worked with Batch Creative, a marketing company that helped them create the name of their company. 

“It was that question that we ask ourselves or we need to be asking ourselves more: What motivates you?” Murphy says. “People come to us for different reasons, and their motives are all different. It’s about asking our clients those questions. Why are you here? How can we help you achieve that? To keep that motivation front and center, so our clients know why we do this. That’s just all the things for us.”

While building this business, the eight women have become closer than ever. Murphy adds that her fellow business owners are now her family since they have been through so much together. 

“The thing that just blows me away about this group is we listen to each other and we respect one another,” Lindemann says. “It’s not cliquey or catty. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. We are all there to lift each other up and we extend grace when one person is having a moment.”

Lindemann, a mother to two daughters and two sons, says she loves how this endeavor has allowed her kids to see their mom accomplish something hard.

“About to be 46, I am the oldest of the group,” Lindemann explains. “None of us in this group are just out of college or starting out in our careers. It takes courage to start over when you are getting a little bit older. I feel like we are living proof that if you want it, and you persevere and believe in yourself and have faith, extend grace, seek good in others and try to serve others, then you can do anything.”

In May, the group got together in Austin to connect in person. During that time, they took a photo, which has become the face of their brand and an inspiration to their clients. 

“The response from some of our clients here in Austin was incredible when they saw that picture,” Lindemann said. “It was almost like I could feel that they were proud to come to the studio where these women got together and did this. I felt really proud to be able to represent that for them.”

For all eight studios, everything is focused on their clients. As the studios are located all over, each has different clientele. Keeping the clients at the forefront of their minds, each of the owners work to cater to their clients’ goals and want to make everyone feel welcome in the studio. 

“Come as you are,” Lindemann says. “If your clothes have a hole in them, that’s okay. You don’t need to get dressed up to come to our studio. We accept you the way you are and we want everyone to feel welcomed, important and without judgment. It doesn’t matter how you identify, how much the outfit you’re wearing is, if you’re good in class or if you have never been to a fitness class. None of that matters because we are here to help you on your individual journey.”

Andrea Sumber, a 44-year-old mom of two, felt this welcoming atmosphere when she first came to the studio. 

“They were just really down to earth, welcoming people,” Sumber says. “I hadn’t done spin in years, and they were very patient with me, helping me get my shoes on and such.”

Additionally, the clients are as supportive of the instructors and rest of the staff. Mōtiv Austin instructor Leigh Anne Spencer recalls how encouraging the community was when she came back to teaching after having her son. 

“I didn’t feel the most amazing, but the community was so supportive,” Spencer says. “People would show up and they were just so excited to take class and share energy. It was so good for my personal fitness journey post-baby.” 

Lindemann comments that when she thinks about the purpose of her studio and the other seven Mōtiv studios, she thinks of what she can do to help her clients achieve their goals. 

“Our studio celebrates our clients and their fitness journey, [which] is so unique to every person,” Lindemann says. “I want to serve them where they need it.”

For Lindemann, this starts with her staff. She strongly believes that Mōtiv cannot serve anyone until her staff is taken care of. She does her best to be a servant leader to her staff so they can in turn serve the Austin community. 

“I’m not here because I’ve written a book on fitness,” Lindemann said. “I’m not here because I’m this super business woman. I’m here just because I want to make people’s lives better. I feel like the reason I am here and maybe the legacy that I have to leave is that I just want to serve others.”


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