Friday, January 18, 2013

Workout for Mom & Baby

Danielle Phillips, the owner of my local Stroller Strides franchise asked me to write something about my experience in Stroller Strides for her so I figured I'd post it here too for my own readers. I know a lot of women who are pregnant or just having babies and being that it's the beginning of the new year, it's the perfect time to talk about exercise. It can seem like a daunting task as a new mom- getting back into shape. I know for me, my own body felt alien to me after having a baby. I felt gross and I didn't even know where to begin because I was never a gym rat before.

I never liked exercise. It was a necessary evil. But even in the times I was "more" into it, I still wasn't really INTO it. It was more that at those times I was being exercise consistent, I was only worried about the numbers on the scale. I hated going to the gym. I could never keep track of my locker lock, I didn't really know what I was doing even when taught, and it was just such a huge chunk of my time. If I wanted to be involved in working out at the gym, I wouldn't really have time for much else.

I have had a treadmill in whatever home I was in for years. Sometimes it was a clothes hanger and sometimes I was on it every day. But I'd be watching the time the entire duration of my "walk" and I'd NEED to have something on tv that could hold my attention. Even then, I'd still only go as fast as I could still clearly hear the tv. So that would be at an incline of around three, and going about 3.6 mph- TOPS.

I walked on the treadmill while I was pregnant. I also walked around my town at night with my local friend Megan. That was it. After I gave birth, it was winter so I only really walked around the mall. By spring I was ready to do something more. I hated my post-baby body. Everything seemed...moved around. I joined a "stroller exercise" class but I think it only met once a week for six weeks and it really didn't do much for me. The teacher talked more than she taught anything and once a week was not enough to make a dent in my fat reduction.

I saw an ad somewhere for the grand opening of Stroller Strides that was going to be held at Riverside Square Mall. I thought I might as well check it out because it was also like big party. I'd been spending all my time in the malls anyway so I figured if it wasn't good I'd just walk around there. There were tons of moms there! I couldn't believe how many people showed up. It was a whole social thing AND a great workout. I signed up that day.

I can't express how Stroller Strides changed my life. I bought an unlimited monthly membership and started coming as many days as I could get there. At first it was only offered 3x a week so I did those. Then Danielle, the instructor, added Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at Garden State Plaza so I started going to those sessions too. After a few months I was looking the best I ever had. I had SO much trouble losing all the pregnancy weight in the six months prior to joining Stroller Strides. I couldn't get into a groove & I had no one to exercise with on a consistent basis. With this class, I was able to meet new moms where even if my core group of mom friends weren't there, I still always had people to talk to and walk around with after class. I felt like I was getting out, accomplishing something good, and showing my son that taking care of my body is important. He was with me on this whole journey. He even learned all the Top 40 dance music we heard in class.

I was desperate to stay in this class as long as I could. I knew other moms who were starting to let their kids out of the stroller to walk around. Not me! My son didn't even know that was an option because I wanted to be able to stay in the class with him staying put in the stroller. He liked it and I found an exercise regimen that was disciplined, fun, and actually giving me the results I was looking for in a program. It helped keep me motivated with my food too. I was eating better because I didn't want all my hard work in class to be for nothing.

Stroller Strides was my morning "home" until my son hit a little over two and a half years old. He was going to school three days a week and he just didn't want to sit in the stroller anymore. All my friends had sort of moved on or were having second babies and not ready to come back to class. It was just my time to move on too. I actually didn't even have a formal "last class" because I never really accepted that my time was over. I thought I'd make it back for a class here and there- maybe change over to a passbook class arrangement where I wasn't paying monthly anymore but on a pass basis. It never happened. I went back to work, my child was in school, and I had no baby to take in a stroller. When that happens, you know it's time to go to the next level.

I'll always be thankful for my time in Stroller Strides. It helped me make mom friends and kept both my son and I social, motivated, and active. We had a lot of laughs while we did a lot of reps. I learned how to use resistance bands, I tried some Zumba moves, and most of all, I learned that if you have fifteen minutes, you can turn anywhere into a fitness area. I got a point to start from and a way to achieve fitness goals without feeling like I didn't know what to do and without getting bored. It's something I'd highly recommend to any new mom looking to get back in shape and have some adult social interaction at the same time.

Link to Bergen Stroller Strides info:

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