By Nicole Letts
Intimidation is not a word or a concept that entrepreneur Molly Mathis finds daunting. On the contrary, intimidation is what keeps Mathis in business. Mathis is the mastermind behind Mojo Active Adventures, a boutique adventure travel company that helps women change their feelings of intimidation about fitness, travel, friendship – you name it – to feelings of empowerment. Mojo Active Adventures achieves that empowerment through outdoor excursions and fitness-focused trips for the female adventure seeker. "We take the intimidation factor out of the equation by offering a safe, supportive and fun environment in which to sample new outdoor activities," Mathis says.
Through her business model, explorers embark on personalized trips organized by Mathis herself. "I personally plan each trip to ensure it meets our extremely high standards. By working closely with experts in each destination, we leverage local knowledge to ensure our guests have special access to the best activities." With Mathis' attention to detail, extensive knowledge in the field and her own empowered attitude, each trip is better than the last. Mojo Adventure participants have gone rappelling, white-water rafting, zip lining and more across the globe.
Before you say, "I could never do something like that," consider that Mathis was once in your very shoes. She spent years working a regular 9-to-5 as an advertising executive. When she stepped away from the advertising world to have her two kids, Mathis experienced the common desire to lose the weight that hangs around after pregnancy. That was when something clicked. Instead of being intimidated at the thought of hitting the gym, Mathis dove in headfirst. She explains, "I started working out with a trainer, began incorporating more strength work and variety into my fitness routine and connected with an awesome group of ladies. It eventually inspired me to get my training certification." Her kids are now ages 12 and 15, and Mathis, 43, is an ISSA certified trainer. She has specialties in boot camp instruction, speed and agility coaching and youth conditioning. She also teaches indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports. Now she guides other women to finding their own fitness activities that excite and inspire them. According to Mathis, Mojo Active Adventures seeks "active adult women who have a basic level of fitness and have a desire to get off the treadmill and try new things." So there's no prior experience needed to try an adventurous trip like this – all you need is the guts to do it.
When organizing her trips, Mathis focuses on destinations that truly go off of the beaten path. She says, "We look for that perfect blend of activities that offer a unique combination of physical and mental challenges with plenty of 'wow' factor." Trips planned for 2015 include San Juan, Puerto Rico as well as Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each trip aims to take wanderers on explorations they've never experienced before. "The caving adventure in Puerto Rico, for example, is ranked among National Geographic's Top 50 Journeys of a Lifetime. You simply have to take a ride into the rainforest to get to something like that," Mathis asserts. In essence, it's that first-time, exhilarating experience trip after trip that helps the Mojo Adventure participants stay excited about fitness. But of course, it's not just the thrills that make Mojo tours a must-have experience; it's equally about taking time to relax. "These trips are not about roughing it," Mathis assures. "We stay at nice places and enjoy well-earned rewards like spa services and wine tastings." The cost, which varies based on each trip's length and locale, covers all those extras up front to ensure a fun time for everyone.
Mathis has her sights set on Iceland for 2016, but next on the horizon for Mojo Active Adventures is helping expand their participants' fitness opportunities when the trips are over. "We are looking into enhancing some of our partnerships with area retailers and outfitters by offering 'Mini-Mojo' events in and around the Atlanta area. If someone learns, for example, that they really enjoy stand-up paddleboarding on a full-length trip, they have a path to explore that further when they get back home."
And that home portion is key since, of course, every workout can't be a trip through the rainforest. Mathis knows that an exciting, healthy getaway is only the beginning of a lifestyle of fitness, which she herself maintains. "When it comes to working out, I'm always mixing things up to keep it fun and get the best results." And while she doesn't stick to a diet regimen, Mathis does say that it's important to be cognizant of what's fueling your body. "I do believe in keeping it simple with basic, whole foods. As a trainer, I tell clients that 80 percent of success has to do with what you put in your mouth. Don't get me wrong, though – I'm all about healthy indulgences too."
When asked how she stays motivated, Mathis explains, "Honestly, it's a part of who I am. For sure, there are days when I'm feeling less than motivated or struggling to make it happen. However, find activities you love to do, surround yourself with others who share your interests and encourage you, and just make it a non-negotiable part of your day."
Another non-negotiable for Mathis: appreciating how far she's come and what she's built. Mathis acknowledges, "Starting this business has honestly been more fun than I could have imagined. To have the opportunity to meet so many incredible women, have an impact on their overall well-being and help create lasting memories and experiences is an unbelievable feeling." And those positive feelings are what make Molly Mathis and Mojo Active Adventures so successful; they spill over and give other women confidence, support and a whole lot of mojo.