FIT4MOM Stroller Strides Instructor Interview

When my neighbor first suggested I join her Stroller Strides group, I chuckled. My preconceived notion was that it would be a group of power walking mamas, talking as we pushed our strollers. I was SO wrong. Stroller Strides has become a whole lifestyle change for me.

The mama community of our group has been just wonderful, the instructors are fantastic, and the classes are truly a challenge. We run while pushing our strollers, do stairs, use resistance bands, and target our abs, glutes, arms, and back. I love that Elizabeth, while still a baby, is seeing her mama (and other women) work up a sweat every day. All of us participating mamas come from all walks of life and are all different shapes and sizes. Our children are able to see us working out and bettering ourselves, which, I believe, is instrumental in helping them to develop healthy habits too.

The FIT4MOM values are to help mamas achieve their ultimate potential, both physically and emotionally, offer support and education for mamas, inspire mamas to reach optimal health and well being, and to inspire our children to emulate their mamas and make fitness a part of their lives.

I was able to interview Carrie Gommel, FIT4MOM North Coast franchise owner and instructor.

Do you have any tips for mamas looking to get back in shape?

First off, don’t come up with some grandiose plan of hitting the gym or class EVERY day. Most days are a circus act and we’re lucky just to get out the door! If a mama has not exercised prior, start slow and build up gradually. Plan the week out and start with, say, two days per week. Then maintain consistency in the routine and work towards increasing the number of days, length of time, and intensity of the workout. Most of all, BE FLEXIBLE! Some days the kiddos will not want to cooperate and that’s okay! As you begin to fall into a new routine, so too will they learn to adapt to it. Don’t let these hurdles derail time you need to keep fit – and sane! Lastly, realize that our bodies change SO MUCH during pregnancy and many mamas who were all-star athletes before pregnancy even find themselves to have lost a significant amount of strength, muscle tone, and muscle control. Don’t sweat it and don’t have such high expectations of when you should have it all back. Again, start small with the goals then adjust and aspire to do more once those have been achieved.

Why is Stroller Strides an ideal way for moms to make friends and get fit?

I firmly believe that we offer something for mamas that is unparalleled in the fitness world. I don’t know what’s better – the workout or the incredible support group that comes with it! What’s especially great about it is that you get to bring your little one. No getting called out of the gym after two minutes on the elliptical… no signing the baby over to someone they’ve never met… no snot sharing sessions between kids in daycare. Now, to some it can be a little overwhelming, feeling they have to tend to baby during the workout, but that’s what the instructor is for. This is someone you know; someone who’s listened and cares about your birth story and struggles and achievements in life; someone who adores your kiddos! Let us take care of the bubbles and the singing and the entertainment while you sweat, sculpt, and strengthen. What’s more is that we are mamas of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. So mama can be a complete novice or a marathoner! No matter where they are mentally or physically, mamas WILL receive support, encouragement AND an incredible workout from Stroller Strides.

Do you suggest that pregnant mamas work out too?

ABSOLUTELY! One of the many myths of exercise and pregnancy is that you shouldn’t workout during pregnancy if you were not previously engaged in an exercise program prior to becoming pregnant. The truth of the matter is that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states a healthy woman may continue with her regular exercise regimen or begin a new program during pregnancy with physician approval. American Congress of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise daily and ACSM recommends five or more days per week. Regular activity and staying fit can help to reduce many maternal aches and pains, increase energy during pregnancy, and may speed the labor, delivery and recovery process. So get out there!

Are there differences in pre- and post-natal exercise regimens?

Wouldn’t you know? There really isn’t a difference between the two! With a few exceptions, you can participate in any sport and exercise regimen while pregnant that you did before. Just listen to your body and be smart! Avoid contact sports and exercises with risk of falling. Non-weight bearing exercise is likely to be more comfortable as the body morphs into something it’s never before experienced. We have lots of mamas who are pregnant with baby number two who still attend Stroller Strides classes and perform all the exercises. We always offer low impact alternative to every exercise so mama still works the essential muscle groups of that particular movement, but keeping within her perceived rate of exertion (RPE). Many mamas are inclined to cut back exercising as they get closer to their due date, when in reality they should remain consistent and simply lower the intensity of the activity. It’s important to continue at a similar RPE throughout the pregnancy.

What types of classes does your franchise offer?

We offer three different programs geared specifically toward mamas within the North Coast franchise:

Stroller Strides: this class provides a head to toe workout that mamas can do with their babies. Classes include power walking/running and intervals of strength and body toning exercises using exercise tubing, the stroller, and the environment. It is a great workout for any level of exerciser! Our instructors weave songs and activities into the routine designed to entertain and engage baby, while mamas are led through a series of exercises specific to her role as mama.

Fit4Baby/Stroller Barre: this combo class strengthens the body for all the changes it will experience during pregnancy. This class format incorporates movements from Pilates, ballet and barre methods to provide a unique and effective workout for the pre- and post-natal mama. This class is perfect for pregnant mommies-to-be as well as veteran mamas looking to get a low impact, yet high intensity body sculpting workout.

Body Back: this is an eight-week, fitness and nutrition program for moms of any age. It includes before and after fitness assessments, meal plan, food journal, workout DVDs, online support and two workouts per week with a specially trained instructor. This program is designed to build strength, increase endurance and muscle tone and reduce fat. This results based workout program is child-free MOMMY TIME!

Does FIT4MOM also offer individual training?

YES! Any mama who is interested in one-on-one mentoring, personal training, etc. may schedule an initial goal setting appointment where a personal plan will be devised to help Mama achieve those goals.

Can any mama become a FIT4MOM instructor?

YES! Any mom can become an instructor, but they must be sponsored by a franchisee. Typically, a mama who is interested would contact the franchisee to determine if there is an opening or need for instructors. A franchisee might also reach out to the community to seek potential new instructors. I will point out that our instructors across the nation are mamas of ALL ages! You don’t have to be pushing a stroller to be an instructor. There is a certification class they must attend and then a “probationary” period (for lack of a better term) before they are eligible to teach a regularly scheduled class. I, myself, am always on the search for new talent to open more locations or even on a sub basis!

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Stroller Strides has been a wonderful addition to Elizabeth and my daily routine. I am in the best shape I’ve been in since I was 20, have made lifelong mama friends, and most importantly my daughter is seeing me love my body!

2 Responses to FIT4MOM Stroller Strides Instructor Interview

  1. This looks like it would be right up my alley. I wish there was one in my area!

  2. Pingback: Ask the Mamas: Working out with Kids Mama Say What?! | Mama Say What?!

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