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Our Corner

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The alarm clock buzzed next to my head, rattling me from another sleepless night of waking every four hours to feed a new baby. I plodded to the coffee pot and settled back into bed with an over-sized coffee cup and my Stroller Strides workout in hand, preparing for the class I would teach in a couple hours. After dressing myself and two little boys, feeding one and nursing the other, we left the house to head to class. The temperature couldn’t have been more than 25 degrees, and snow crunched beneath my feet as I carried two over-dressed, marshmallow children to the car. I drove to Stroller Strides extra slowly to make sure the car wouldn’t slide on the snow packed streets. At 9:00a.m. sharp, I was standing in a huge volleyball gym with a toddler belted in, snacks in hand, and a 7 week old snoozing comfortably in the stroller. After several minutes, I realized the boys and I were the only ones who had dared leave a cozy house on such a frigid day. Rather than drive home and melt under a sea of blankets, I stayed and completed the workout I had prepared for the morning.

I remember that morning vividly because it was the day I realized that exercise had truly become part of my routine, and part of my LIFE. As a franchise owner and fitness instructor for Fit4Mom, I never had an opportunity to make excuses NOT to exercise. I had to be at class, whether it was freezing cold, if I hadn’t sleep the night before, if I had slight food poisoning, or if I woke up with a headache. On that cold February morning, I realized that fitness was more to me than just my job. If I was already there, why wouldn’t I workout? It was my hour to take care of my body, which would allow me to feel energetic and fantastic throughout the rest of the day. You may be thinking about your own excuse for not exercising, and thinking, “this woman is nuts”, but after three years of experience in “motherhood and fitness”, I can guarantee you that I have experienced (and had to overcome) every excuse in the book. Let me break down the most common ones for you:

1.) “I don’t have time”: If you are a full-time working mom, I totally hear you, and honestly, that will be a huge, continuous struggle. However, Fit4Mom Charlotte has recently added an evening class, as well as occasional Saturday classes for YOUR benefit. Since it’s recommended to fit in 3-5 days of exercise per week, try doing a quick, cardio intense workout before work, or a 30-minute jog with your stroller when you get home. Your kiddo will be delighted to get outside, and you get a bit of exercise in, too! If you don’t have time to exercise and you are not a working mom, my only suggestion is to lighten up on your schedule. Fitness has to be a priority to you, or it will never be accomplished. No one can make you value fitness except for you.

2.) “My child won’t stay in the stroller”: Yes he will. I have the most spirited, headstrong little guy on the planet, and I totally feel you. Some workouts consist of me gently pushing my stroller 10 feet away so that he can shout his frustrations at the nearest tree for five minutes, but we have never left a class early because of this. I often tell my boys that I get one hour per day for me, and the rest of the day they get to run around and play. At the end of the day, I am the boss and they don’t make the rules. If your child suckers you into letting him out of the stroller before the hour is up, he will think he can get away with that every time, and will work every trick in the book until he gets his way, every.single.time. Just take a deep breath and endure the tantrum for a while; he will eventually realize that you mean business, even if it takes a month.

3.) “I don’t want to drive so far just to exercise”: Why not? I have developed a system that works for my family, which includes interactive “talk” time on the 30 minute drive to Stroller Barre, where we ask each other questions and talk about all sorts of weird kid stuff. On the way home, they know I have “phone time” where I get to catch up with an old friend for 30 minutes while the littlest guy takes a snooze, and my 3 year old tells stories to his cars. You can find your own system, but sometimes car time is actually pretty great. I had a member in Colorado who used to drive down from the mountains just to get to class for nearly 3 YEARS. She was dedicated to being a fit woman, and she chose to do Stroller Strides (rather than joining a gym in the mountains) so that she could set a positive example for her daughter.

4.) “I am far too exhausted to exercise”: We are living the most exhausting time of life. We all know those days well—the ones where we barely make it out of bed, and wish we could drink coffee intravenously. You think, “I could go to Stroller Strides today. OR I could sit on the couch and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for the next hour.” The days that I love what I do the MOST, are the ones where I show up to class a tired mess. Because….I leave feeling transformed. Truly. I dare you to try it. If you feel exhausted, try doing a quick workout, even if it is just 100 jumping jacks and 100 squats. You will feel ten times better immediately.

Moms, I know that there is so very much on your plate right now. I know that some days you feel like you are in survival mode. I know that fitness is probably the last thing on your to-do list. However, I also want you to feel great about yourself- inside and outside. I want you to get the full benefit of consistent exercise. You can do it!!! I am not athletically inclined, by nature. I am actually a turd at every sport. Even if you feel like you are just not a “fitness person”, give it a go!! No one looks good doing a burpee, I promise. Exercise will instill a discipline in you that will pour into every other area of your life. Set your exercise schedule for next week and don’t let any excuses get in your way! You can do it.

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When my husband Lewis and I discussed the possibilities of getting pregnant, the things that filled our minds and discussions revolved around finances, sacrifice of our "DINK" lifestyle (double income no kids), nursery layouts, and all stuff baby. Never once did I stop and ponder the changes that a baby would bring to our friend base and identity.

Nine months of pregnancy were filled with the joy of every kick, doctor appointments, saving money, and pure joy. We couldn't WAIT to welcome Bennett into the world. I worried as most do about the kind of Mommy I would be and whether or not to work or stay at home. But otherwise, my eyes were set on the prize and with baby showers and congratulations around every corner; I never once pondered how life as a Mom would be much different other than having Bennett with us.

Shortly before Bennett was born, we made a huge decision. That decision was for me to quit my full-time job in the corporate world and be a stay at home Mom. This was something I had dreamed and prayed for my whole life...and it was finally going to come true at the age of 28. We knew corners would be cut and sacrifices made, but being home raising our little boy made all of that easy.

Once Bennett was born, I was almost immediately thrown into the depths of post-partum depression. I second guessed myself at every moment and truly felt incapable of being a good Mom. Part of my anxiety and depression came from knowing and internalizing that my entire life and my identity since entering the working world was turned upside down. I had very few Mommy friends who stayed home. Days at home were tiring and sad for me without any adult interaction. I missed my work friends and my other friends who worked 9-5.

A few months in, a friend in Atlanta mentioned that I should check out Stroller Strides because one was in my area. I debated being able to work out and be a Mom at the same time. She assured me that some of her best friends, years later, were Moms and babies she met through this outlet. Hesitantly, I went to a class, invited my one Mommy friend, and instantly clicked with Heather (owner/operator). I met lots of Moms who were in the same position I was in. Working women turned stay at home Moms.

A few months in, my depression medications were working. But, it was more than that. I had found a group of Mommies and babies that Bennett and I worked out with twice a week. Beyond that, I had formed so many new friendships and play dates multiple times a week kept all of us sane, feeling a part of something more than just the four walls of our houses, and truly, a community had been made.

Now, 13.5 months after I was questioning if I would ever enjoy staying at home or if I would always be lonely, our lives are filled with laughter, crying, new milestones, and celebrations on a weekly basis. Recently, we celebrated Bennett's first birthday with 61 people. After the party, I realized that everyone at that party was from Stroller Strides other than a handful of people. If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what will.

Thanks to Stroller Strides, Bennett and I have thrived and are loving life with our friends and still go every Tuesday and Thursday to work out and "play out". Without this amazing environment, I am positive we wouldn't have such a fantastic support system. So if you are on the fence about trying out classes free for a week, I would say don't walk but run to the next class! Bennett and I can't wait to meet you and welcome you into our "family"!

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Happy It’s-No-Longer-New-Years-Resolution-Month! Ok so maybe that does not quite have the flow to it that I was going for, but you get the point. It’s February. It is no longer the “New Year, New You” corny-catchphrase month where you literally dissect your life into bits and pieces and over analyze what you could and should be doing better as a mom/wife/friend/human being. Ah, February, the month of love and chocolate.

Wait, chocolate?

Ugh…new years resolutions out-da-windowwww!

But, let’s get serious. February is a cold, often dreary month where the real work begins on those so-called resolutions. I have never written down any resolutions—ever-- but the guilt of constantly knowing what I want to work on bores a hole in my mind for each month that passes where I don’t make some effort to improve my body and soul.

Here at Fit4Mom, we try not to focus on a laundry list of resolutions that add to our already burdensome mommy load. We have kids for goodness’ sake! We don’t have time for guilt. We have time for fun. At least, that is what you are going to tell yourself from this point forward.

This month, I challenge you mommies to step out of your little (or giant) box of guilt about who you are, what your body has become, and why it isn’t perfect, and relax. Have a little Dove chocolate heart with pride, and get out and Stroller Stride!

Our fitness programs will allow you to throw that greasy hair up into a ponytail, tie on your sneakers and forget the days of judgment at the gym. You’ll lose yourself in the middle of bicep curls to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus” and realize instantly how much more important your journey is as a mom who feels good about herself on the inside, and just happens to look darn fine because she works out.

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Hi Mamas!! First, I want to say Congratulations!! If you are reading this blog, you are making the first step toward your journey of strength for motherhood!! And when I say strength, I mean physical and mental strength!!!

I am a mom to a 3 year old son who is the love of my life!!! I have been blessed beyond belief to have this amazing human being in my life!! He has become my side kick and I wouldn’t have it any other way!! But with that being said, being a wife, stepmother, and a stay at home working mom is sometimes completely overwhelming!!! There is so much to learn about being a mom and babies don’t come with manuals!! I am learning every day. Sometimes I feel such accomplishment and feel that I have this Mom thing down pat and other days I feel like I make one mistake after the other. Some days I just want one hour by myself…even if involves a trip to the dreaded grocery store. Then I get that hour and I find myself with that empty feeling that I am missing something and I am!! I find myself thinking about my son while I am supposed to be enjoying some “me” time. I am constantly trying to find the “perfect” balance, if there is such a thing.

There is a lot that I did not know when I became a Mom. One is that Mommy Guilt is very REAL and two that putting yourself first is of upmost importance!! !! I know what you are thinking, how selfish?!? I know from experience that when you have children and a husband, you typically put yourself last, which is the biggest mistake that I have made as a mom. It took a health scare for me to wake up and realize that in order to take care of everyone else; I have to be healthy and strong physically and mentally! And, this is why I started Fit4Mom to make sure that there is a place for other Moms to be FIT FOR MOTHERHOOD!! A place where they feel that they can have some “me” time without the guilt of leaving their baby behind. So, I ask all of you to join me in the challenge to put yourself first so that you can be at your very best. If you are healthy and happy, then it is pretty safe to say that your family will be too!!

We are all in this together!! It is true, it takes a village! Honestly, I have been rewarded much more than I ever imagined when I decided to start this business!! I have met so many amazing ladies! I have watched friendships form that are true, strong and hopefully lifelong. I have seen babies turn into toddlers. I have seen moms get into the best shape of their lives. I have heard so many amazing stories that each of our Moms bring to the table. I have seen women come together to help others in the time of need. I have seen first time moms become confident. I have seen seasoned Moms learn from new moms. I have seen children learn to count, say their ABCs, sing songs and imitate our exercises. I have seen tears and I have seen laughter. And I have seen a group of kick butt women come together to support one another without judging! In my opinion, there is no better place to come to be healthy and happy. I love our village!

This is my time to put myself first……….for my family!!! Are you ready to put yourself first?