Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moms Getting Fit??? (article I wrote for Yummy Mummy)

Can a mother really find time to get healthy & fit with a kid on each hip? If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have agreed with most of you and said “NO”.

I worked professionally as a dancer in Vancouver and Toronto until I was 25. I never had to worry about my weight and I had a body that could have been an anatomy lesson... but I never really appreciated that until I had children... then it was gone (I thought). I could still feel the stomach muscles... somewhere, but now they were split to the sides and hidden under layers of extra skin, and yes, extra weight. I bought the stability ball, the weights, the resistance bands, the yoga mat... anything that was going to help me lose the weight. But, they all either gathered dust in the corner of my family room, or became great toys for the kids. The stability ball was actually a great way to get my 2nd daughter to sleep... but not used very often for exercising. Even with all the paraphernalia, it was impossible to find time to exercise as a mother! How was I ever suppose to lose the weight and feel comfortable leaving the house ever again??? To top it off, my abdominal muscles had split pretty badly during my first pregnancy and no one could tell me what to due to correct it.

Near the end of my maternity leave with my first daughter, I finally decided to take some courses and learn more about my split abdominal muscles for myself. After my maternity leave, as many mothers do, I decided to make a career change and I became a personal trainer. I managed to correct my muscle split and return to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Once I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to study more about pre & post natal fitness and I began teaching Baby & Me Fitness classes. With this pregnancy I was better educated and I was able to keep in great shape. I continued to train, workout and instruct right up to the end of my 8th month. The entire pregnancy was more enjoyable and I had more energy and less discomfort. I was also able to enjoy the comfort of a drug-free home birth.

I felt that there was a huge void in the fitness industry – there were no easy and affordable options for a new mom to workout and keep her infant or young toddler close by. As a result, I have opened Beaches Fitness – a private, personal training studio geared towards mothers. There is an attached playroom for kids and younger infants are kept safe and entertained while mom achieves her goals. I offer a flexible schedule and discounted rates for new moms. I find there are so many women that have a hard time loosing the weight and they do not have the support system they need to take care of themselves. We are so busy taking care of our kids and the households, we forget to put aside 3 hours of the week and get fit! Not only is this important for our health, but for our self-esteem and emotional well-being.

Now, I am not saying that I have the body I had in my early 20's... but I am proud of my body and I truly feel like a Yummy Mummy.

Stroller Fitness - How good of a workout can it be?

Looking for a great workout that you can bring your baby along to? Wondering if you can actually get results with a Stroller Fitness class? Well, the answer to that, really depends on which class you are taking. I have taken classes in the past that were not so great, and I have taken classes that have kicked my butt! I started teaching Stroller Fitness classes 4 years ago when my first daughter was just over a year old. I have learned a lot over the past 4 seasons and have designed a class that is both fun & social as well as a great full-body workout. I am even more excited for this coming season as I have new idea's and I am ready to get outdoors again!

Most Stroller Fitness classes are only offered to moms with children 16 months and under. I have always kept my classes open to kids of all ages. There are so many moms out there with toddlers that want to continue to workout with their children. There are also a lot of moms out there with more than one kid... what about them? My rule is that as long as you are happy and getting in a workout, I am happy. I do my best to help all the moms get in a great workout while keeping the kidlets entertained.

For the past 4 summers, I have brought my kids with me to all my classes. Last year, by the time Friday would roll around, my girls would be sick of the classes and be begging to not go. So, this year I have signed them up for some camps and some time at the cottage with Grandma and Grandpa. They will still be with me every 3rd week, but at least they will have a few weeks off in between to keep us all sane. This is going to be a very different experience for all of us. I am so use to having my girls with me for these classes... dragging them and all their entertainment for the morning in the wagon as we haul our butts across Queen St. E... a long 45 minute walk each direction some days. Ok, so that part I will not miss so much.

My Stroller Fitness class has evolved to a full body workout with cardio bursts between in order to maximize the calorie burn. We use fitness loops, resistance bands, benches, hills, and our own body weight for the exercises. It is amazing how great of a workout you can get with so little equipment. I do not expect my moms to bring their own weights, like a lot of the other classes... really, they have enough to worry about and I can not imagine adding another 10 lbs to my stroller when my girls were younger. No fancy stroller is required. I do not have the moms running laps... although I may be introducing an extra cardio "add-on" for those interested... but, for those interested, they can get the fancy stroller. I actually did the class with the wagon most of the time last summer.

So, if you are interested in checking out a Stroller Fitness class this year, check out for more information. I will be updating the website soon with a full summer schedule and pricing.

Good luck and enjoy the beautiful weather... when it gets here...