The Harbinger Online

Mojo Madness


When opening the clear door separating MOJO cycling studio from the rest of the Plaza, customers are greeted by the fun, upbeat music blaring from the fitness studio.  Shortly after, they are followed by the strong scent of clean lemon Lysol.

Eyes are then immediately drawn to the huge tangerine-colored bubble reading “MOJO” on the back wall, complete with some teenage girls in front of it snapping a selfie. To top off the trendy vibe, senior and employee Lydia Fries stands behind the front desk smiling and checking people in, while simultaneously slightly dancing around with one of her co-workers.

MOJO is a cycling studio on the plaza that places an emphasis on energizing clients mentally and physically, while also establishing a family-like atmosphere.

Part of MOJO’s brand is to be outgoing and hip, so by hiring younger people, such as Fries, and other senior Maddie Willson, it helps keep that brand alive, owner of MOJO Amanda Rismiller explained.

Through high school employees, MOJO is able to grab the attention of a whole new target audience.

“It’s nice to have people at the front desk who are friendly, that know other people who are coming here, and it’s good to have our younger audience bring in their friends who are younger,” Rismiller said.

Just as Fries and Willson have added a fresh, new look to MOJO, MOJO’s layout in the fitness studio also draws people in with its different look.  Workouts are done in a dark room rimmed with color-changing lights at the top of the ceiling, which softly illuminate the room.  Because it is dark you can’t see other people, making it a judgement free zone.

The group atmosphere and positivity helps push clients and keeps them going throughout the hour-long workout.  The dimly lit room helps clients feel more comfortable and establishes a sense of unity throughout all of the clients taking a class.

“It’s group fitness, so I really enjoy working out with and helping other people,” Willson said. “I like how you can connect with people on fitness, something you are passionate about, or have a goal for.”

When MOJO is running a special deal, like 10 classes for $50, Fries and Willson will send out texts and spread the word.  Also, one time to help advertise MOJO, the girls set up a time for all East students to take a class for a discounted price.

By having high school girls as employees, MOJO is also able to extend their brand of being hip onto social media.  All of the employees go through a rotation of running the MOJO Instagram account, and a couple of weeks ago Willson “took over” their feed.

Willson’s posts ranged from what she loves to do most, such as running, to what she fuels herself with when she workouts, like Luna Bars.  When Willson ran the MOJO account, she incorporated some of her teenage lingo, such as “sun’s out, guns out,” which helped bring a new sense of youth to the account. Most other workers at MOJO are in their twenties. Also, several of her friends started to follow MOJO on Instagram, when they realized it was Maddie running the account.

“Through my posts, I wanted to emphasize that MOJO is not just about burning a ton of calories,” Willson said.  “I also wanted to show that MOJO has made me stronger and helped me with cross country.”

Last spring, Willson was injured, so she wasn’t able to keep up with a ton of mileage for cross country.  However, since she attended MOJO classes regularly, she was able to keep up her endurance and came in first place at the cross country time trials in the fall.

Willson had been a regular at a pop-up studio under UltraMax, and MOJO wanted a familiar face to be running the front desk at their studio.  When Willson needed a substitute one day, she called up Fries, who had also been a frequent visitor at the pop-up studio.

From Fries just beginning as a regular at MOJO’s pop up studio, she has come along way.  She is currently undergoing training in order to become an instructor at MOJO.

To do this, she has to rehearse teaching a class to another instructor, and she will have to compose an hour-long playlist that matches perfectly to the exercises she includes. The different part about teaching at MOJO compared to other workout places is that all exercises involved have to be beat based and consist of exercises that are like dance moves, such as tap-backs, or hovers.

“It can be challenging to be an instructor, because sometimes you’ll think one song will work really well for a certain exercise, but it ends up not working at all,” Fries explained.

As a teenager, Lydia has good music to mix in that get people excited for workouts.  Some of her personal favorites include “Do my Thang” by Miley Cyrus, or Drake songs.

Throughout the past ten months that MOJO has been open, they have created a fresh, family-environment that has been addicting for all clients and has left them wanting more MOJO in their everyday life.

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