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"Talk about perseverance and tenacity. Lattany gives no less than 100% at each class. It’s been a pleasure getting to know her over the last few months. She makes motherhood look easy and fun. (I mean it is fun most of the time! ) Big shout out to Lattany for making 20+ classes in our summer challenge - way to go! Making time for self-care! You rock!" -Shannon, Franchise Owner

"Lattany and Michaela are an absolute blast to have in class! Lattany's dedication to making each and every class is incredible, and her ability to get in that hour of self care while keeping her daughter smiling is awesome!! Love that she is apart of our village!" -Kara, Fit4Mom Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My family consists of me (Lattany), my husband (Matt), daughter (Michaela, 1.5yo) and two golden retrievers (Liesel and Ellie). Both my husband and I are from right here in Northern VA!

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

Haha, my first Fit4Mom class was the Mother's Day 2022 event which was very cold and rainy! I was impressed that so many people turned out with their little ones despite the nasty weather. Honestly, that attitude and the fact that they still held the class in spite of the weather is a lot of what made me want to be a part of Fit4Mom! There are often reasons and excuses not to workout or do whatever else needs to be done, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it anyway. I want other moms in my life that have that same perspective.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

My favorite class format right now is Stroller Strides because Michaela is at the age where she loves learning the songs and the hand motions. She is always singing "if all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops" and "Wheels on the Bus" and so many other songs she learned from Stroller Strides!

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

My background is in child psychology, specifically trauma, and I now work full-time for an education company. I work predominantly evening/night hours so that my husband and I can alternate childcare. I'm thankful to work for an international company that affords me the opportunity to work full time while also being with my daughter most of her waking hours! Who needs to sleep.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Coffee, podcasts, and running.

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Clean my house and then go on a date with my husband! Probably to Alamo Drafthouse for a movie + dinner + drinks.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has made me realize how very fast time moves. Not only because I see how quickly my daughter is growing (and she is!), but because I see how fast she learns new things and how many new things she can pick up in even just one day. It makes me want to commit more of my energy to growing and getting better at things -- learning new words, skills, hobbies, learning about a new topic, etc.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

Oh gosh. I attended a gathering of some people I had worked and researched with during my academic career when Michaela was about 10 months old. It was the first time I had seen them since she was born and I was anxious to prove that I was balancing my career and motherhood just fine. I didn't have a babysitter, so I attended with Michaela in a baby carrier on my back and handed her animal crackers to munch on when she got fussy. Eventually, she was done with that, so I took off the carrier, held her while I finished visiting with everyone, then returned home. When my husband got home, he asked why the back of my black shirt was absolutely covered in smushed and smeared food, including three WHOLE animal crackers still stuck to the back of my shirt with slobber. I was mortified! So much for looking like I had it all together!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

When I was pregnant, someone said to me, "Before I had kids, I thought parenting was about understanding and controlling their emotions. But I've learned that it's really about learning to control and understand my own emotions." I have thought back to that so many times. I often find that my 1.5 year old's emotions are understandable -- she's throwing a fit in the store because she didn't get a nap and she needed one and because she's 1! But it's MY emotion of frustration or embarrassment that I need to understand and control before I can be much help with hers.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

I love to brag on Fit4Mom! I tell everyone to come for the friendships, the workout is a bonus. :) I love running and the gym but especially post-pandemic, adult friendships seem more complicated than ever and throwing kids in the mix can make it feel impossible. Fit4Mom allows me to meet new people WHILE exercising WHILE doing something fun with my toddler. Multi-tasking at its finest!

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"Alison’s dedication to self-care is awe inspiring. She been to almost every program we offer - stroller or solo! (I think Run Club is still on the horizon). And I love it when we arrive to class wearing the same shoes same great taste! Alison, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the last few years. Thank you for your continued participation and eagerness to connect in our community." -Shannon Slayer, Fit4Mom Franchise Owner

"Alison is so positive and the ultimate mama- color coordinated and when her kids aren't with her in class she still turns out with the toy trucks & planes to share with others. Her grace in inspiring and I enjoy her uplifting energetic smile" -Genevieve, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Alison is ALWAYS so cheerful! It doesn't matter what else is going on - she has a smile on her face & a positive attitude I always look forward to seeing her at Stroller Strides because she helps me be in a better mood just by being around her!" -Jessica K., Playgroup Captain

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

It's me, my husband Ernesto, daughter Juliette (February 2013) and son Alessandro (July 2019). Ernesto and I are from Miami, Florida (Ernesto originally from Cuba) and we moved to Northern Virginia about 15 years ago.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first class was in September 2019 at Springfield Towne Center (STC) when Alessandro was just 5 or 6 weeks old! I was eager to get out of the house and exercise with my new baby. He did great and slept through the whole class!

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I still go to the same Stroller Strides / Stroller Barre class where it all started at STC! Other days I'll do a virtual or in-person Boost class at Lorton Station. If the weather cooperates, I also love the Strides class at Burke Lake Park! Finally, once in a while I'll pack up both kids and we'll go to the Saturday morning class at STC!

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

Up until last year I was doing web, marketing, and project management for an association in Old Town.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

My kids, crafting, going to the park on a beautiful day!

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Get a hair cut and color, take a nap, maybe go shopping. Can I do all that in 4 hours??!!

What has being a mom taught you?

Pick your battles!

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

I can think of a few! First one that comes to mind was when Juliette was maybe 11 months old. We had taken her shopping with us and were getting ready to leave. We took her out of the stroller and she had diarrhea all up and down her back! We carried her back in the store to change her and she was screaming at the top of her lungs. I was desperately trying to change her quickly and a very kind older lady came over and started jingling her keys to try to entertain and distract her! Turns out, Juliette had a HORRIBLE stomach bug and we got it too. It was probably the sickest she's ever been! We still talk about it to this day. There's also the time that I fell down stairs at her 3rd birthday party and cracked a bone in my toe! I was in a boot for 6 weeks.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Something my dad used to tell me - "Don't wish your life away". Meaning, enjoy and make the best of what you have and focus on today. Because time flys by too quickly!

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

I have done FIT4MOM in all stages - on maternity leave, while working, while not working, with 1 kid on tow, and with 2 kids in tow! There's something for everyone! I always have the On Demand library and virtual options to pick from if I can't make it to a class in person. I love that It's not about the numbers - moms come in all shapes and sizes, and you can move at your own pace and comfort level and still get a great workout that works for YOU! I also love the fact that Alessandro has been able to make friends, learn how to share (he and his buddy Benny are famous for their truck exchanges!) and learn his colors and some counting!

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"JC is my spirit animal. She always brings light and laughter to classes. This fierce mama is a prime example of a hard-working woman. JC shows her children what self-care looks like. I admire her tenacity, even during hectic times."-Shannon Link,Fit4Mom Franchise Owner

"JC is a mom on fire! I love having her at my classes. She is always very energetic, empowering and gives a 100% during work outs. I am very happy she is part of our united in motherhood village" -Aneta Loftus, Fit4Mom Instructor

"JC is a ray of sunshine! She has the best smile that radiates joy and kindness. She motivates me in class by working hard and keeping it fun! She is super mom and is always prepared. For example, grabbing old towels from her van to wipe off the wet playground equipment. I’m so happy she’s joined our village!"

-Alicia Chiapusia, Fit4Mom Instructor

"JC brings energy and motivation every time she's at class. She's so friendly and kind! She's easy to talk with and has a warm and welcoming energy that puts everyone at ease. She always makes me smile!" -Laura Davis, Fit4Mom Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

I am originally from Buffalo, NY. I left for college in AZ, entered the Army and moved all over for eight years before landing here in VA. My mom, dad and sister still live in Buffalo, and my brother ended up here in VA.

My husband, Matt, recently retired from the Army. I have three older stepkiddos-Madeline-16, Gavin-14 and Delaney-12. Leo is my first bio-kid, and is almost 3.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

The thing I most remembered about my first Fit4Mom class is that I waited too long!! I first found Fit4Mom online, but then kept running into moms who were members and raved about it. That's what made me finally flip the switch. And now I feel like I have a community wherever I go.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I am a regular at Burke Lake. I love exercising outside-sun, rain, snow....and that's the Burke Lake crew. I am also hooked on S360! It's exactly what I need to push my routine a little bit further each week. It leaves me a hot, sweaty mess and sometimes that's exactly what I need to feel strong!

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

My current job is stay at home mom. I wish that was an option on forms, instead of employed or unemployed. It's the hardest job I've ever had-requiring more engagement, energy and creativity than I've ever had to use. I really struggled when I left the workforce with conflicting feelings around my personal worth, and now I fully embrace the phase I'm in as the right one for me and have found joy and satisfaction.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

I'm taking guitar lessons and I am in LOVE with it!

I love running, although it's been a while since I've done any long ones.

And coffee. I love coffee. A lot of coffee.

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm........ALL OF IT!!!!

What has being a mom taught you?

SLOW DOWN!!! Patience. And to be gentle to myself. I mean, if Leo dumps milk all over, I tell him it's ok to make a mistake and I tell the older kiddos making mistakes is part of growth and learning. But then if I make one, I beat myself up?? I'm learning to see myself the way I see them-imperfect and amazing.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

Jeez. I mean, anyone who's met Leo knows there is a lot to choose from. He's a walking chaos bomb. I mean, as I'm typing this he's running around with an Elf on a Shelf. Anyone know where he got that-it's JULY!? Who knows?

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Nope. Nowadays, I seek wisdom way more than I offer it. Most days I'm pretty sure I'm messing it up and it seems like everyone else has it way more together. Maybe that's it-you don't have to figure it all out on your own. Everyone has something to offer, so if you're stuck in a situation you just can't figure out-reach out. Bet you're not the only one.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

Do it! It's not just about the "FIT". The community will help you on your roughest days and celebrate you on your best. And your kids will love it!

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"Amanda has been an awesome motivator to Manassas! I am so thankful for her energy and how she is always motivated to try new things! She works hard in each class and is always encouraging to all of the moms! She is talking to everyone before and after class." --Cressalyn Anane, Fit4Mom Playgroup Captain

"Amanda brings a lightness and energy to every class. She comes ready to work hard and never gives up - and she never misses a class if she can help it! I enjoy all of the insight Amanda brings to our conversations - she definitely embodies the Fit4Mom Community in Motherhood mentality, and it’s so much fun to watch our kids play together" --Andee May, Fit4Mom Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My family consists of myself, my husband Chad, our 2 and a half year old son Alexander and our two cats Diesel and Leonard. I am originally from eastern Pennsylvania and my husband is from California. Together we have lived in New York, Connecticut, South Carolina, and now Virginia.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first class was Stroller Strides in July 2021. I remember being very worried since I had not worked out in years. However, everyone was very supportive and helpful and I truly felt like a part of the community from the beginning.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

I like to attend Stroller Strides and I also do virtual classes like Body Ignite and Core.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I am a stay at home mom but also do contract work for a database website and deliver for Seasonal Roots. Before becoming a SAHM I worked as a scientist in both pharmaceutical and academic laboratories.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Three of my favorite things are pumpkins, reading, and going on outings with my family.

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

I would go to dinner with my husband and enjoy a nice meal and some good wine.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me that you will say things you never thought you would such as, “Broccoli doesn’t belong in the lamp."

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

Recently Alexander misplaced two dinosaur toys within only a few minutes. My husband and I looked all over for them everyday. The dinos were missing for about a month until I finally stumbled upon them shoved behind books on Alexander’s shelf. I was glad to have found them because I know if my son did, I would never have known the location and it would have bothered me.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Take it day by day and make sure you take some time for yourself even if it's just 30 minutes playing Animal Crossing.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

Joining FIT4MOM has given me more confidence. Confidence to work out and also to meet other moms. If you are on the fence about joining, just come for a free class and try it out. You may just find yourself amazed with what you get out of it.

Looking for something fun to do with the whole family on the weekend? Here are a few events we're looking forward to (click the name for more info!)

Asian Festival on Main

May 15, 2022

12 pm - 6 pm

Fairfax

Free admission

Food, craft, education, performances

KidsFest Spring Fair

May 21, 2022

11 am - 5 pm

Manassas Museum

Free admission–games and bounce house extra

Crafts, games, inflatable, food, entertainment

River Fest and Craft Show

June 4-5, 2022

10 am - 5 pm

Occoquan

Free admission

Crafts, food, concerts, river activities

Taste of Springfield

June 4, 2022

12 pm - 5 pm

Springfield Town Center

Free admission

Food and entertainment

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"Jessica is an amazing mom and friend! She is a strong mama, dedicating herself to Run Club, cross training, and rock wall climbing. She is brave enough to take on new running challenges like relay races, trail running, and longer distances AND she leads others in growing themselves, too. She has brought several new moms into our community, which shows that she truly cares about others. Most importantly, she’s committed to being the best mom and spouse that she can be for her family. We love having Jessica and all the positivity that she brings into our lives!" --Megan Schmid, Run Club Coach

"Jessica is a ray of sunshine! She’s so welcoming and encouraging at Run Club. I’ve loved watching her running journey the last couple of years and can’t wait to cheer her on for her first marathon this year! Jessica you are inspiring!!" --Alicia Chiapusio, Fit4Mom Instructor

"When I first joined run club in 2020, I was nervous. I hadn't run in some time and I was worried about begin able to power through 8 weeks of running. Jessica was super welcoming right from the get go and has been such a great running buddy and confidante during our many runs. Whenever I need an extra push, I know Jessica will be there. She's funny, warm, inspiring, and such a rockstar on the trail. I'll be there cheering her on as she finishes her first marathon this year! Jessica, I'm so glad I met you; keep up the amazing work!" --Michelle Vanek, Run Club Participant

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

Husband Roger

Clairissa (5)

Owen (3)

I am originally from Illinois, spent half my childhood in Arizona where I met my husband. We have lived in Alexandria, VA for the last 7 years.

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

I took a Fit4Baby class back in 2018 when I was pregnant with Owen. The ending meditation was so peaceful and rounded out the activity, leaving my mind calm and relaxed.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

Run Club! In 2019 I joined my first Run Club session and its been a part of my life since! I love the community it brings together! I leave every meetup feeling empowered and ready to take on the day. It's been said that if you know me I'll end up talking you into running and joining Run Club.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

I am a Global Talent Acquisition Recruiter for Microsoft. I have been a recruiter for the past 7 years, I truly enjoy helping hiring leaders hire great people to grow their business/team and helping candidates find new opportunities, develop their careers and change their lives!

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Run Club

My puppies (Lilly & Maximus)

Hanging out with friends and family

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Depends on the day...could range from taking a nap, reading a book, date in the park, or dining out. Over the last few years my favorite kid-free time on a beautiful day has been picking up food and then finding a park to picnic with my husband.

What has being a mom taught you?

The saying "The days are long but the years are short" never rang so true until I had kids. I am often reminding myself to slow down and just live in the moment. It's the little things I value most and the smile is always worth taking the time. Whether it be stopping the car as we drive home past a big hill we can roll down or going out for ice cream.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing moment so far?

My daughter started to tell jokes--she came home from school a few months back and got my husband good. He walked right into it without realizing it until it was over.

Clairissa: "What is your name"

Roger: "Daddy"

Clairissa: "What's this" (Pointing to her nose)

Roger: "Nose"

Clairissa: " What's in my hands"

Roger: "Nothing"

Clairissa: Laughing... "Daddy knows nothing"

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Give yourself grace. Someone once told me that even when I feel like I am failing at being a mom it means that I am trying my best. Some days are better than others but in the end we all try our best and that's what counts.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

Community! Not only does it promote your physical wellbeing, it positively impacts your mental health. It doesn't matter what fitness level you're at; this group will meet you where you are in life's journey today!

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1. Who are the members of your family?

Myself, Kurt (hubs), Grayson (5.5), Conor (2.5)

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

Originally from Va Beach area and have lived in NoVa almost 10 years

3. How did you find FIT4MOM SouthWest NoVa?

Quick google search after having my first child. Like many mamas, I was looking for something to get out of the house and back into a fitness routine.

4. Where and what do you typically teach?

Stroller Strides @ STC and KSC

Stroller Barre @ STC

5. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom SouthWest NoVa.

I was a faithful class attendee for about a year before I decided to take the plunge and become an instructor. I've always loved group fitness and used to teach Zumba (fun fact) so had some experience with the instructing aspect. I knew being an instructor would keep me coming to class and being an active part of our village!

6. What is your favorite thing to teach?

That's tough, but I have to say Barre- love the burn.

7. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

Helping mamas feel strong and take care of themselves for 1 hour. Also getting cute baby smiles is a plus.

8. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

Instructing energizes me! I love seeing the mamas taking care of themselves, trying something new, and pushing just a little bit more.

9. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I'm a lover of all things cardio, but I'm trying to make it a point to incorporate 1-2 strength-focused workouts in each week.

10. Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

Hmm, I don't think so. I can teach a class on the fly, if that counts :)

11. What is your most used item for your workouts?

Definitely the bands

12. Anything else you'd like Our Mama tribe to know?

I'm going to miss this Village! It has been a huge part of mine, Grayson's, and Conor's life for the last 5 years. This chapter ending is bittersweet.

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Who are the members of your family?

Husband Jackson, sons Beckett (4) and Aiden (almost 1)

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?

I'm from O-H...I-O (if you're from the Midwest you know the hand motions) and have lived in NoVa since I graduated college.

How did you find FIT4MOM SouthWest NoVa?

Facebook ads kept popping up after I had Beckett and I wish I found out about the group while I was pregnant :)

Where and what do you typically teach?

I teach Body Ignite virtually on Tuesday nights and Stroller Barre on Fridays at Potomac Mills Mall. I've also subbed at most locations and enjoy getting to know our mamas all over.

Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom SouthWest NoVa.

The awesome Woodbridge instructor Heather was moving so I thought Barre would be something fun to incorporate my dancer and cheerleader background. Soon after I got certified in Fit4Baby and really enjoyed those classes.

What is your favorite thing to teach?

Body Ignite because it's a great complement to the rest of our classes/programs.

What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?

I love encouraging our mamas to keep up their self care no matter how tired or late they may be. I love seeing all the mamas push each other and lend a helping hand.

What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do?

I've been teaching over three years because of the incredible community. I'm so happy to see people in person again!

What is one of your current wellness goals?

I'm trying to get more sleep.

Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

Hmmm in high school I discovered I have a "man voice" when I sang "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto" during marching band camp.

What is your most used item for your workouts?

Water bottle

Anything else you'd like Our Mama tribe to know?

Keep being awesome and hope to see you at a class or event soon!

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"Morgan is SUCH a blast to have in class. She works hard while there, running between stations, and is also the first to run to pick up a crying baby to soothe for a new mom. You can also find at least one other baby in class wearing one of Morgan's homemade creations from Cozy Oak. She literally does it all! She is such a positive, fun-loving piece of our village!!" --Kara Ruskin, Instructor

"I'm going to miss Morgan SO much when they move! We met years ago at the Burke Fit4Mom classes when we each had one baby and it's been fun hanging out again now that we each have two. Morgan is a literal lifesaver in class for the instructors. She is so generous with her time - taking a break from her workout to help another mom keep going with hers. Also I can't get enough of the adorable matching clothes from her Etsy shop. Thanks for being awesome Morgan!" --Joy Robb, Instructor

Who are the members of your family and where are you originally from?

My family includes myself, my husband Rob, my daughter Margo (4), my son Griffin (2), and our dog Loki .

When was your first Fit4Mom class and what do you remember about it?

My first Fit4Mom class was a few months after Margo was born in Dec or Jan of 2018. Candice approached me at Burke Lake Park while I was pregnant and I was so excited to start classes! I remember my first class in Burke at AP feeling overwhelmed because Margo was crying the entire time. A kind mom (I think it was Jenny) took my stroller and kept Margo moving in her stroller so I could focus on my exercise. I could cry just remembering how supported I felt. I signed up that day for a membership.

Where can we find you? What is your Fit4Mom routine these days?

After a move to Kansas and back, we are now in Woodbridge. I still love the Burke classes, but I mostly attend the in-person classes at Potomac Mills Mall on M-W-F.

What is your current job? Or what did you do before staying at home (if you don’t currently work outside the home)?

Before becoming a mom, I was a middle school teacher. Currently, I run a small business out of my home sewing children's clothing. It's called Cozy Oak Clothing.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

1. Binging Netflix with a glass of red wine

2. Connecting with friends old and new

3. Outside time in warm weather (parks, playgrounds) with my family

You are given 4 hours of FREE babysitting. What would you do?

Rejoice. Then go get a mani/pedi and take a nap.

What has being a mom taught you?

SO many things.

To slow down and not wish any days away- even the hard ones.

That if you don't have a village you need to find and build your own. Motherhood was never meant to be a solo act!

Kids are our mirrors. They reflect our strengths and the things we need to work on.

What is your funniest or most embarrassing mommy moment so far?

Most embarrassing- Griffin pooping on an airplane when he was young. I was flying solo with both kids and he pooped through the diaper, his outfit, the baby wrap, and my outfit. I'll never fly without a change of clothes again!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Find a village and let them help you! Let them celebrate with you, include you, cry with you, laugh with you, and encourage you.

What is your favorite thing about FIT4MOM? What would you tell someone thinking about joining?

I would tell someone considering FIT4MOM that whether you're looking for amazing workouts, encouraging friends, or playmates for your little ones, FIT4MOM is a one-stop shop! I can't recommend it enough.

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Eight weeks have passed since I started the Fit4Mom Body Well winter session. Eight weeks of nutrition, exercise, and wellness challenges completed. Back when I kicked off the program, I wrote about how I joined Body Well to focus on my “self care” in 2022. I often neglect my own self care so I viewed the Body Well program as an opportunity to stay present and mindful to myself and to turn off the ever-turning gears in my head even during the rare free-time I have with two young children. Now that we’ve had our last Body Well exercise class and submitted our final habit tracker review, I am ready to report on my progress.

I mentioned in the beginning of the program how I recruited my family to assist with my journey. My spouse has been extremely flexible in meal planning and preparing our weekly grocery lists to include more unprocessed items and reading the nutrition labels before purchasing. My older child has been preparing his own healthy snacks of fruit and yogurt, and we have even started switching out some of his processed snacks for more nutritious whole-grain options. My baby still woke up several times a night, but he usually remained asleep during my early morning exercise classes. He even participated as my “resistance weight” for some of the recorded fitness sessions when I could not attend the live virtual class.

Before week 1, I was anxious about starting Body Well, especially since I am not a fitness guru. I was concerned about waking up early for exercise classes while on-again, off-again sleep training my baby. I outlined four goals I hoped to accomplish with this program:

  1. Sleeping more soundly during the hours I get sleep (and fingers crossed for my baby to sleep through the night)

  2. Increasing my water intake (I prefer coffee and Diet Coke as my thirst quenchers)

  3. Committing to an overall health lifestyle (a nice perk would be to lose some of the pregnancy baby weight I stored up) and adding more fruit and vegetables to my daily intake (winter seasonal fruit seems so unappetizing and boring so I am looking forward to getting ideas from the other participants)

  4. Connecting to a new group of motivating moms

First, although my baby has not been a great sleeper, I am sleeping more soundly overall through better nutrition, exercise, and relaxation techniques my coaches provided.

Second, I have doubled and even tripled my daily water intake. I have cut back on my Diet Coke habit to once or twice a week, and I replaced my processed coffee creamer with oatmilk to increase my calcium and reduce my sugar.

Third, this is the big one. Every day, I eat a variety of colorful vegetables for both lunch and dinner (and even during this winter, I found some of my favorite fresh and frozen varieties for baking, roasting, and steaming). I started trying new recipes from the Body Well winter guide and from suggestions by the other participants for meals and snacks. Thanks to posts by the other women, I even make my own salad dressing now instead of using store-bought ones. I stocked my pantry with chickpea pasta and exchanged white rice for brown rice and quinoa. I added plant-based protein to my diet which satisfies my hunger more than processed carbs. I increased my fruit intake to at least three varieties daily. I replaced my years-long breakfast routine of box cereal with plain oatmeal, peanut butter (without sugar, salt or added ingredients), and raisins. With all these changes, my chocolate cravings have decreased tremendously. I still need to satisfy my sweet tooth so I munch on a small square of chocolate or a few chocolate chips instead of cookies and ice cream, and then turn to fruit or homemade whole grain snacks for my afternoon and evening snack cravings.

Fourth, I met wonderful women – Body Well participants and coaches – who were supportive cheerleaders motivating me to push myself through challenges, commiserating with me during sickness and tough situations, and celebrating my successes and wins alongside me. These are women whom I can rely on when I need advice or have something to share or want an exercise buddy. I cannot thank the coaches and participants enough for all their encouragement and kindness during these eight weeks.

For qualitative results, I have lost a total of 2.5 inches around my waist and 1 inch around my hips and chest. During week 1, I could complete 15 push-ups on my knees in a minute. Now, I have increased the number of push-ups by 6 reps in a minute. I can also complete about 18 full push-ups per minute which shows in my toned muscles from all those strength intervals. As a postpartum mom within the last year, I have strengthened my pelvic muscles and legs through all the cardio and core moves and have the stamina for 10 more squat jumps per minute than eight weeks ago.

While I am proud (and even relieved) by these results, I have gained confidence in my ability to care for myself physically and mentally and to see firsthand how healthier habits have improved my lifestyle and that of my family. I want to continue to improve my health and maintain the new habits I have developed so I signed up for the spring session of Body Well through Fit4Mom SouthWest NoVa! I am excited for the next phase of my self-care journey, and I hope you will be there too.