Hey there! I am Alison and I have been working out with Fit4Mom Ashburn since November 2014. I’m here to share my journey with exercise and how my family has been impacted by Fit4Mom Ashburn.
First, I should give you a little background on my experiences with exercise. As a kid and through high school I was very athletic; I swam, played soccer and ran track. I never really thought about sports as being exercise. They were just fun/competitive activities that I enjoyed doing. When I went to college, I played one season of club soccer for my school and that was it. I was more interested in the other aspects of college (no, not studying) than I was continuing my athletic “career”. Unfortunately, I had no concept of the value of exercise, and the results of that were apparent by the increase of my jeans size in the many years to follow.
Right after college I joined a gym near my job. Over the next 8 years, I would intermittently work out at various gyms. I would go to the gym off and on for all of those 8 years. My time at the gym taught me a couple of things:
1) I really like to exercise in the mornings. The earlier the better for me!
2) I really like participating in group exercise classes.
Although I enjoyed what the gym had to offer me, I was really good at finding excuses to skip my workout. I needed to catch up on sleep (if it was in the morning), I was too tired from work (if it was in the afternoon), I needed to do work or housework (if it was on the weekend). I seemed to work harder at making excuses than I did actually, you know, working out.
Fast forward to August 2013-May 2014 when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had heard and read that while pregnant it was safe to exercise as much as you did prior to being pregnant. Since my level of exercise had been fairly inconsistent, I was pretty lax about it while I was pregnant. For one thing, I started having trouble sleeping about half way through my pregnancy, which meant I didn’t want to wake up early to go to the gym (a.k.a. I wouldn’t be going at all). Secondly, I got really swollen around 30 weeks and was told to limit my activity outside of my daily activity at work.
Fast forward again to November 2014 when my daughter was 6 months old. I had Mondays off from work and I was getting a little bored of just walking around the neighborhood as exercise. I used an app that would give me a daily update on milestones and other things that might be happening with my daughter at her particular age. Around November 2014, on one particular day, the app suggested I check out a mom’s group. It listed Stroller Strides as a suggested group to check out. I looked up Stroller Strides on the internet and found out that it is a class offered through FIT4MOM that is a “stroller-based fitness program designed for moms that focuses on a total body workout and incorporates power walking, strength, toning, songs and activities.” That sounded right up my alley. I was getting a lot of walking in, but I was missing the strength training that I would get from the gym. I decided to try out a free class and then I was hooked!
I did Stroller Strides exclusively (Mondays, Saturdays, and the occasional school holiday/snow day) from November-June. Over the summer I went as much as possible since I had more free time. I absolutely love the classes and so does my daughter! She gets a real kick out of us doing burpees, which happens quite frequently! She also loves the playgroup afterwards. Back when I first started, my daughter was barely crawling. There were a lot of other older kids (1-2 years old) who were walking and running already. She wanted to run with them so much!! Now, she can get out on the playground with the best of them! Not only did my daughter get a lot out of the Stroller Strides classes, but so did I. I got great exercise, but I also got to chat with other moms who were in my same stage or beyond. I got to learn from them and share stories with them. I feel like I’ve made some friends through this group!
At the end of August 2015, I decided I needed to ramp up my exercise routine. Stroller Strides is a fabulous workout, but I wanted to add some more intensity. Around the same time, I thought I would try out another class offered by FIT4MOM called Body Back. Yes, the name says it all, this class is intended for moms who would like to get their “body back” from before they were pregnant. This class is a mom only class (a.k.a. no kids/strollers involved) and it’s a HIIT class (High Intensity Interval Training). Each session runs for 8 weeks, 2 HIIT classes per week. It also involves writing in a food journal, baseline assessments, etc. I signed up for a 7-class pass that would allow me to attend 7 classes since my husband was going to be out of town a bunch that September and October and I would have to miss a lot of classes anyway. The session I chose to attend met from 5:30-6:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When I got home from my first class my husband said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this sweaty after working out.” This class was the real deal! I fell in love instantly!! When the next session started in late October, I joined right away. After I finished my first full session, I made some great gains (lost 8 pounds, lost 3 inches in my waist and 4 inches in my hips, can do a 1:21 minute plank, etc.). The women I worked out with were so motivating and my instructor was always such a great cheerleader!
Since I started working out with FIT4MOM Ashburn I have learned that I really need and want to work out with a group of people who I can talk with and commiserate with. I always knew I liked working out in a group, but at the gym I didn’t actually know anyone. I would just show up if I felt like it, but if I didn’t show up no one would know. Now, I have to sign up to attend class and if I don’t show up, then people I know in real life will wonder where I am. That alone is motivating to get me to the classes. In addition, the classes are so varied and fun that I would never actually want to miss a class. I always look forward to days when I get to attend either Stroller Strides or Body Back. I truly love it!
Another benefit I’ve gained from my experience with FIT4MOM Ashburn is making friendships outside of our exercise classes. I joined a second book club that was started by one of my Stroller Strides friends; I did a Turkey Trot, the Cherry Blossom 10 miler and a Mother’s Day 5K with some of my Body Back friends. My daughter and I have even met up for play dates with some of my friends from Stroller Strides!
My husband and I made a plan to make healthy life changes after our daughter was born and FIT4MOM Ashburn has played a big part in that for me. My daughter is 2 years old now and I know that she picks up on our healthy habits. She will do pushups with us and thinks that every time we leave the house we are going to “run run”. I hope that I can instill a value of exercise in my daughter so that she can lead a healthy life as well.