Today we’d like to introduce you to Clare Schexnyder.
Clare, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I never in a million years thought I’d be running a fitness business. My 17-year television career at CNN was fascinating and challenging and took me all over the world. I worked long hours and barely made it to the gym. I was totally not the fitness type.
When I got pregnant, the correspondent I worked with, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, encouraged me to do a series of stories on newborns. He knew I was clueless about becoming a mom and told me to do reports on things I was curious about when it came to parenthood. One of the stories I did was about losing weight after pregnancy. All the experts told me the best way to lose weight quickly was to work out WITH your baby. You’d be more likely to stick with the routine and wouldn’t need to leave the baby with a caregiver. In 2004 in Atlanta, there were no mom and baby fitness classes, so I flew (seven months pregnant) to different cities to profile some mom and baby exercise programs. I thought the classes were great but never considered teaching one. I was sure I was going to continue working at CNN after I had my baby.
After the birth of my baby in 2005, I had crippling postpartum depression. I didn’t want anything to do with my child, but being a control freak, I didn’t want anyone else to touch him either — a bad, bad situation. After about two months of struggling, my neighbor took me to a new parent support group at DeKalb Medical. I met a lot of moms and dads there, and they called me EVERY day to ask me if I’d like to go for a walk. I wasn’t really interested, but they were a tenacious bunch! The daily walks, friendships (and a little Zoloft) literally saved my life… and the idea for Oh Baby! Fitness was born. I got certified to teach prenatal exercise and found other instructors who were interested in teaching. We came up with a name for the company, and I went to DeKalb Medical and asked if I could teach classes at their hospital wellness center. They said yes, and we were off! We started in June 2005 and by the end of the first year of operations had 20 locations in metro Atlanta!
Now, we are a national company, offering the widest variety of pregnancy and mom & baby exercise classes in the USA. Pregnant women can choose from Pilates, Yoga, Water Aerobics or Toning… after having baby, Moms can come back and do all the same classes (plus Stroller Workout) and their babies are incorporated into the class. It’s a great way for Moms to get fit, bond with their babies and make new friends.
We are also the world’s leader in training instructors in pre/postnatal fitness. We train instructors around the world and across the US how to teach safe pregnancy and mom & baby exercise classes, and how to talk to their clients about the massive changes they experience during the pre/postnatal period and how exercise can help alleviate most common pregnancy complaints.
We also have bestselling exercise apps on iTunes, a blog, and a YouTube exercise video channel.
I’m incredibly proud of all of our accomplishments, but the one thing I hold most dear is that we’ve been able to help women create communities all across the US and around the world. Women call and email all the time thanking me for creating Oh Baby! Fitness. “I met my best friend in a pregnancy aqua class ten years ago.,” is something I hear pretty often. It makes my heart burst with joy. Friendship, safe exercise and feeling confident in motherhood… it’s what it’s all about, and I’m happy to have played a part in making so many Mom’s experiences better.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There have been some bumps along the way and plenty of “what I have gotten myself into” moments, but overall, I think my years at CNN really prepared me to be a good entrepreneur. If I have a question about how to do something, I go find somebody who knows the answers. I interview them and ask a million questions and then ACT on it. Then, I figure out the NEXT thing I want to accomplish and start the process all over again. My journalism degree really helped me in building my business and being confident in talking on the phone and selling my ideas.
If I’ve determined we’re heading in the wrong direction, I never hesitate to act and change course. I think that’s a mistake a lot of business owners make…. they hesitate to change course, if needed.
What were you like growing up?
I always knew I wanted to work in television. I wrote Ted Turner a note when I was 13 years old, that I’d like to work for him at CNN, and I’d pick up trash in the newsroom if he’d let me intern. He wrote me back! And when I was 19, I showed up as an intern and never looked back. It was a marvelous career.
I always enjoyed traveling. My parents infected me with that bug, and I still have it. I love meeting people and seeing new places. I would much rather spend my money on travel than anything else.
As a kid, I had lots of friends and moved easily between all the different groups/cliques in school. I was a connector and always outspoken. Not much has changed!
- Oh Baby! Fitness classes are $60 for a 4-week session, or $15 for a single class.
- Website: www.ohbabyfitness.com
- Phone: 888-264-1782
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ohbabyfitness/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ohbabyfitnessUSA/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ohbabyfitness
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/oh-baby-fitness-atlanta-3
Oh Baby! Fitness