The other women in class curled dumbbells as they lunged. But Lindsay Macaleer put down her weights and instead gently rocked her double stroller to soothe her 2-year-old and 10-week-old sons.
“I just want them to be quiet, so I’m modifying my workout,” whispered the Arlington, Va., resident.
For Macaleer that workout is three days a week taking a Stroller Strides class, which combines high-intensity aerobics and strength-building moves.
The workouts are available through Fit4Mom, which was known as Stroller Strides until this summer. The 12-year-old program, founded in San Diego and now at 275 franchises across the country and has gradually expanded to incorporate prenatal fitness classes for moms without their kids in tow.
So it was time for a name that better reflected that breadth, said Susan King Glosby, Fit4Mom’s vice president of operations. “We’re about strength for motherhood and being fit regardless of what age your kids are,” she said.
“It is open to any person taking care of the baby: Grandma, Dad, nanny or some type of parent caregiver,” said Ashleigh Drost, owner and instructor of the Everett and Mukilteo Fit4Mom, formerly called Stroller Strides.
“Throughout the class they are interacting with the baby, singing songs, educating them with different themes, colors, shapes and letters,” Drost said.
The 60-minute stroller-based fitness program includes cardio- strength and stretching.
“The focus is on all types of exercise that relate to motherhood: bending over, picking up a weight, working the back strength, core strength,” Drost said.
“It’s a chance for moms to get out of the house. A lot of new moms don’t want to leave their little ones and feel guilty about doing something for themselves,” she said.
After class, there are informal coffee, story time and play sessions.
“It’s a way to meet other moms, to hang out and really connect,” Drost said.
The fitness industry, despite being propped up by millions of women trying to lose that baby weight, hasn’t been particularly inviting to moms.
Child care often isn’t available at gyms, and even where it is, kids usually have to be at least 6 months old to be accepted.
“No one wants to wait six months to exercise,” said Jennifer Lungren, who has welcomed plenty of new moms to her Fit4Mom Arlington-Alexandria franchise in Virginia over the past decade.
Traditional gym settings can be especially intimidating for new moms dealing with unfamiliar body issues.
Virginia fitness instructor Kathy Corbey recognized the need for an alternative way to work out when she gained more than 70 pounds with her first baby.
“Moms always call and ask, ‘What if my baby cries?’ It’s Mommy Bootcamp. It’s expected,” Corbey said. “No one is going to judge you or give you a dirty look.”
They might, however, pass over a snack.
Singing kiddie hits, playing peekaboo and encouraging the children to count along with the reps holds off the inevitable meltdowns.
Moms rave that these techniques also help engage the kids, so they’re learning during class too.
WHERE: Location of the classes varies by month. Locations include:
- Forest Park, 802 E. Mukilteo Blvd., Everett.
- Thornton Sullivan Park, 11405 Silver Lake Road, Everett.
- Mill Creek Town Center, Mill Creek.
- Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo.
Links to locations:
WHEN: Many sessions are in the morning.
COST: A monthly membership is $55. There are also five, 10 and 20 class passes available and military discounts.
For more information: