In the coming weeks I will be sharing my experience with Fit4Mom’s Body Back program, but while I eagerly wait for these classes to get started I want to share why I am so enthusiastic about the Fit4Mom program and what Lindsay Gilvin’s Stroller Strides program has offered the Lexington mom community over the last three years.
Backing up: October 2013, Savannah, GA. Heading to the beach with my 4 month old and husband. Approaching a gorgeous Savannah park as we leave our condo. I spot something foreign. Something awesome. Something I was desperately missing in my life. I shriek and briefly contemplate ditching my husband and the beach to run from my car and join what lied ahead. There before me were a dozen or so grown women (20, 30, and 40 somethings) doing full field sprints. Legs running so fast, sweat pouring down, these women were getting it like they were in the middle of two-a-days at the beginning of soccer season. Except they clearly were not part of any soccer team I had ever seen because at the base of their sprint camp were a couple dozen strollers patiently waiting. These were moms, and obviously geniuses that figured out how to rock their workout with babies in tow.
At that moment I had only been back to work for two months. I was loving every bit of mom life but one thing was painfully absent in my life: post-partum fitness. Pre-baby I ran up until I was 8 months pregnant. New mom and back at work: not a chance I was going to spend another minute past 5:30 away from my tiny person. Working mom meant *POOF* lights out for solo workouts and league sports.
But a troop of mamas working out with tiny little baby partners? Now that was an idea I wanted to run with. I became obsessed with this idea. It was everything my mom-life was missing… but there was one minor problem. This group was nowhere to be found in my hometown.
I did not abandon my husband nor the beach that day to join those ripped Savannah mothers, but after a quick google search, I did become their number one fan from afar. When I returned home I started sharing what I saw with every mother, mom-to-be and mom’s group that I knew. I obsessed over how I could start a similar group but I wanted no part in taking on the responsibility of being an instructor (I prefer to be the person who drops a plank as soon as they hear there is 3 seconds left). I called churches looking for a space. I told colleagues in meetings. I asked every fit mama I knew if they would take turns coordinating Pinterest workouts. I had a vision, but one thing was missing. Someone with actual fitness know-how to lead this group.
Fast forward to November. I get a phone call from someone at that I had met with two days earlier. Of course I told him about this concept, the women I saw on my trip, and how bad we (I?) needed a similar group in Lexington. As unbelievable fate and good fortune would have it, two days later soon-to-be Fit4Mom owner Lindsay Gilvin called this same person to share her plan to start exactly this type of group in Lexington, KY mere minutes from my home. Within days Lindsay and I were sitting in a room together. She said everything I wanted to hear. She had years of experience as a fitness instructor, a master’s degree in Kinesiology, and she was dead set on brining Stroller Strides to Lexington.
I told her I would do whatever I could to support this program but there was one detail that had me on edge. Lindsay reassured me she was open to offering classes for working moms, but she was also honest. At that time Fit4Mom programs in other cities had rarely (never?) successfully launched an evening class for working moms. I was discouraged to hear this but also determined to do whatever it took to help make Stroller Strides a success. My sanity and health depended on it.
In April 2014 the time had come. We met for our first Stroller Strides class and as much as I had been wanting it, I felt a lot of apprehension that first week about making such a long-term commitment. It meant I had to prepare dinners in advance, pack a change of clothes, get to work 30 minutes earlier to leave 30 minutes early, and make it across town by 5:30. It felt daunting to even think about and honestly, had I not committed to Lindsay I probably would have made excuses each week to put off joining.
It only took me a week though to adjust to my new routine (about as long as it took for the soreness to wear off). The results were remarkable. Within just a few months I could feel so much strength in my legs I could honestly say it was the best shape I had been in over a decade. My son and I have also made scores of new friends (which was honestly something I never anticipated but surely the best part of the group). There are days when I go full throttle for the entire workout and there are days I come just to walk and talk and go at a slower pace. And thankfully, over the years the morning and evening classes have continued to grow with dedicated moms who feel the same desperation for a workout that does not require time away from their little one.
Each week over the last three years we have welcomed new mamas to our community. I am always impressed by the women who take the first step to join this group because I remember how hard it felt when I joined (and on that day everyone was new). At this point Stroller Strides is a habit for me but initially it took some extra energy and effort to commit to the new routine. I can also imagine how difficult it must be to walk towards the unknowns of an established group, as doubts dance around, discouraging mothers from taking that first step.
“I won’t know anyone.”
“I want to get in better shape before I start.”
“We don’t have time for anything else.”
“My kid does not like being in the stroller.”
I hear you, ladies! And I want to assure you whether you are the ultimate decathalete or have never done a squat in your life, whether you stay at home or work 10 days a week, we have a place for you. Whether you are heading to a Body Back class or starting with Stroller Strides, we will welcome you, we will support you, we will never judge you, and we will totally bribe your kid into enjoying their stroller while you take a few minutes for you. If you have been thinking that Fit4Mom is something you want to be a part of, please do yourself a favor and come join us!