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With the holiday season upon us and winter already here — thanks, Madison! — thoughts are beginning to turn to New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to lose weight, get stronger, or exercise more, wanting to get healthier is never a bad idea.

And although you have great intentions, getting healthier can seem overwhelming if you feel like you have a long way to go. But don’t fret — we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to make tons of changes at once to be successful. In fact, enacting small changes every few days or weekly, and adding upon them, makes the whole process easier to stick to.

Try these 10 simple hacks to get healthier today. Start with one, then pick another to add on next week, and keep going! Before you know it, you’ll be looking at a healthier version of you.

1. Ditch the quick fixes. All of those pills and detox teas promising to help you lose weight fast? They don’t live up to the hype. Throw all of that stuff in the garbage — or better yet, don’t buy it in the first place — and focus your energy elsewhere. We wouldn’t steer you wrong.

2. Swap a sugary (or “artificial sugary”) drink for a glass of water. If you’re a soda/diet soda fiend, try subbing one of these beverages for a glass of water instead. You won’t feel deprived right off the bat, and you’ll be taking steps to better hydration, which is key to optimal digestion, organ health and energy levels.

3. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier. When the kids are in bed and you finally get to relax, you may get sucked into a Netflix binge, reading a good book or scrolling through social media. Although that alone time is so wonderful, try powering down earlier to get some extra zzz’s. Getting enough sleep is crucial to your health and energy levels.

4. Eat an extra serving of vegetables. Even if greens aren’t your favorite thing, try to sneak in just one extra serving of the good stuff into your day. Maybe it’s some spinach in a smoothie, peppers and tomatoes on a sandwich or using lettuce instead of bread on a burger — every little veggie counts.

5. Swap a prepackaged snack for a piece of fruit. Grabbing a bag of chips or a granola bar is oh so easy, but so is a piece of fruit. Sub one for an apple or a banana, making sure you have these healthier options available when hunger strikes.

6. Eat sitting down. Mom lives are busy, busy, busy, but do your best to sit down and eat today. When you do this, you’ll be more mindful of what you’re eating and how much.

7. Have your coffee black. Let’s face it — us mamas need our coffee! Consider dropping your full-fat, sugary creamers for just black coffee as an easy swap that will save you calories — especially if you’re a 2- to 3-cup-a-day person.

8. Meal prep one meal a week. If you’re always figuring out lunch or dinner on the fly, resulting in grabbing something quick and easy like fast food, make a commitment to prepping one healthy meal ahead of time. Check out some of our Crocktober recipes for some easy crockpot meals. Having something ready to go will take the guesswork out of the equation, and if you make a big enough batch, you’ll have plenty of leftovers for another healthy lunch or dinner later in the week.

9. Get in a daily walk. Not only will it do wonders for your mood, walking more throughout your day will help you increase your TDEE, or total daily energy expenditure. Making small, consistent changes in your TDEE will add up to a big burn over time. Wisconsin winters are rough, we know, so consider the mall or the treadmill or track at Harbor Athletic Club if the temps are just too cold.

10. Think Positively. An attitude of gratitude — that’s what we need! When you focus on the good, your mood will be better, you’ll be more likely to embrace each day as a new start, and you’ll have a better overall outlook on life.

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We love singing holiday theme songs at our Stroller Strides classes. Why do we sing at Stroller Strides? The obvious reason is that it helps keep the kids entertained in their stroller- happy kiddo means happy mama, right? But singing also releases oxytocin a feel good hormone in your brain which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Not only in your brain, but in your childs. When your child hears the sound of your voice, it enhances their feelings of trust and bonding- even if they are too young to understand the words. Doesn't that make you want to sing along?

Here are a few of our favorite Halloween songs- sing them with your little ones and let us know how they like them! And if you ever want to sing in good company, where it doesn't matter if you can carry a tune or not, come try out a Stroller Strides class- your first one is always free, click here to register!

Where is Pumpkin- Sung to the tune Where Is Thumbkin

Where is pumpkin, where is pumpkin?

Here I am, here I am.

This one has a happy face. This one has a scary face.

Run away, run away.

I'm a Little Jack o lantern- Sung to the tune I'm a Little Teapot

I'm a little jack o lantern, fat and fine.

They picked me off of the pumpkin vine

Halloween is coming, don't you know!

Just light my candle and watch me glow.

5 Little Witches- Sung to the tune 5 Little Ducks

5 little witches went flying one day

Up in the sky and far away

The mommy witch cackled for her babies in black

and only 4 little witches came flying back....

... Keep counting down to no little witches.

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This is my FAVORITE crockpot recipe that was shared by one of my Body Back mamas years ago, I make it at least twice a month! It is very versatile and feeds my family for at least 2 meals. It freezes really well too. Let us know if you have a favorite way to use this recipe!

2 lbs. chicken breast

1 c. chicken broth

1 t. oregano

1/2 garlic powder

1/2 onion powder

Combine everything in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3- I also use frozen chicken breast often so just add a little cooking time. Once chicken is cooked use forks to shred.

Family favorite ways to serve:

- Add BBQ sauce to make BBQ chicken sandwiches or wraps

- Add hot sauce, shredded carrots and celery and blue cheese to make Buffalo Chicken sandwiches (my husbands fave)

- Add to soups (check out another Crockpot soup recipe here)

- Taco Tuesday- set chicken out and a variety of toppings for everyone to make their own tacos. The meat doesn't have much mexican flavor, so add salsa if you'd like.

Moms Night Out

When was the last time YOU got to be crafty mamas? I am all about the crafts for my kiddos, I've got back up pipe cleaners, puff balls and glue on hand at all times- I mean who can resist that dollar bins.... but I've been so wrapped up in the kids crafts, I forgot that guess what.. I actually love crafting! But I don't necessarily have the time to prep everything and come up with a plan- lord knows a trip to Michael's can easily take me two hours (anyone else get distracted there?!?!) .

Enter Rebecca from B Happy Crafts! We hosted our October Moms Night last night, and it was a BLAST. You could either make a pumpkin, a ghost or a turkey string art on a light or dark finish. Rebecca did all of the leg work for us! She came with the projects prepped and all of the supplies ready. All we had to do was show up and get to work. We hammered the nails in the boards, which was great for a little stress relief :) And then we got to work stringing- there were tons of colors of thread to choose from and you could totally customize your technique and color scheme. I feel like I was able to tap in to my creative juices and I found that the stringing was really relaxing. It was so fun to see how everyone's projects took on their own style.

Be sure to check out B Happy Crafts if you like crafting but not the prep work! I've gotten a few other projects from Rebecca and they have all turned out so well, and she is just the best. Check out all of our pics on our Facebook page.

Let's Get Crafty was so much fun, we decided to do it again next month with a Holiday Light Craft at Home Depot. We'd love for you to join us! Click here for details.

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This recipe is brought to your by our prenatal yoga instructor Katie Peterman. It's a great vegetarian option that is full of protein and fiber- and economical!

1 c. dried black beans, rinsed

2 large carrots chopped

1 med green pepper chopped

1 15oz can diced tomatoes

1/4 c. quinoa

4 c. water

1 1/2 T. chili powder

1 t. salt

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Test the beans for doneness after 6 hours and if they need longer, continue heating for 30 min- 1 hour. Serve hot and top with your choice of greek yogurt, salsa, chopped avocado or green onions. Yum!

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I made these Crockpot Sloppy Joes last night and they were amazing! I thought I would have enough leftovers for dinner tonight but they were ALL GONE! My kids were all part of the clean plate club- woot woot! Score one for team mom.

1 1/2 lbs ground beef or turkey

1 red or orange pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. ketchup

8 oz. tomato sauce

2 T. brown sugar

1 t. yellow mustard

2 T. worcestershire sauce

1/2 t. onion powder

1/2 t. garlic powder

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the meat and saute until meat is cooked through. Place the meat mixture in the crockpot and combine remaining ingredients, stirring well. Cook on low 4 hours.

I made this as a crockpot meal because I needed a fast dinner on the table come 5:00 when we got home from after school activities before I had to run out the door to class. You could easily make this as a regular skillet meal if you have more prep time in the evening.

Served with baked beans and a side salad.

Yum!

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It's Crocktober! Fall is for soup, crockpots and sweaters as far as I am concerned. This month we will be sharing some of our favorite Crockpot Recipes with you. To start us off, my Crockpot Dump Soup!

Ok yes really, it's called Dump Soup...because you just dump everything in and go.

I swung by Trader Joe's last night when I dropped my daughter off at swim practice nearby (tell me I'm not the only one excited when life brings me near TJ's) and grabbed some of my favorites to help out and make prep even easier.

Ingredients:

- Mirepoix mix from TJ's (or onions, carrots and celery if you want to chop your own)

- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

- 1 c. frozen peppers (again, use fresh if you want)

- 1 box chicken broth

- 2 c. water

- 3 chicken thighs and 1 chicken breast (the rest I put in the freezer for my next soup day)

- 1 t. italian seasoning

- 2 cloves of garlic

- salt and pepper to taste

- 1 14 oz can your favorite beans (I used Great Northern)

- 1 c. chopped fresh spinach

Put all ingredients except the beans and spinach in your Crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Pull out the chicken and shred it up and return it to the crock pot. Stir in the beans and spinach and heat for 10 more minutes. Done! How easy is that, and I have leftovers for lunch all week. Hurray!

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Our Get Fit Challenge is gearing up to start on Sunday and time is running out to sign up. Here are our top 5 reasons to join the Get Fit Challenge:

1- ACCOUNTABILITY- from your coach and fellow mamas

2- Support in a SAFE place of fellow mamas- we get it and we SEE YOU because we ARE YOU- the support of other mamas who are on this journey ride along side you

3- To celebrate non-scale related victories- you are worth more than that number on the scale, set yourself free and let's celebrate your successes

4- To make time for yourself- we've all been on the airplane where they say to secure your mask first... it's time to take that advice to heart and actually DO IT

5- To see what you are capable of- We tell our children all of the time that they can achieve anything they set their mind to... are you ready to find out if that is true for YOU as well? Join us.

Raedy to find out more and commit to YOU for the next 6 weeks? Click here.

Run Club

Our fall Run Club is gearing up to start on September 14th. You might be thinking, why do I need to join a Run Club? Here are our Top 10 Reasons to train with the FIT4MOM Run Club for a 5k.

10- Running improves your mood and what better time to do it then when the sky turns to permanent gray.

9- Running relieves stress. Life as a mom is stressful... amiright? And the holidays are coming which means added stress. Be proactive in your plan to manage it!

8- Running improves your quality of sleep, something we all need.

7- A 5k is a great distance to meet your goals quickly- set yourself up for success!

6- Meet OTHER MOMS with similar fitness and training goals, in a safe place where it doesn't matter if you slept in your workout clothes.

5- Running increases bone density while strengthening your heart and lungs.

4- Swag bag for the race. Who doesn’t like free stuff? 😉

3- Running through the Olin Park Holiday lights- SO FUN!

2- Bucket List ✔️

1- Giving yourself a little time for YOU.

Register ASAP to secure your spot! Click Here for more info.

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We have been having so much fun this summer with all of our playdates! Last week we visited our friends at Harbor Athletic Club for playtime at the outdoor pool and a demo Tugboats class.

*** RAVE REVIEWS *** from all of the mamas.

The Tugboats class is a class for children age 6 months to 3 years, with their caregiver, designed to acclimate them to the water. The class is offered in the indoor WARM Salt Water pool at Harbor, there were no shivering babies here! The babies blew bubbles, splashed and got used to different types of stimulation in the water. The moms learned different techniques to help the babies develop swimming skills and sang songs to interact with their little ones. The instructor Kathy was AMAZING.

If you are interested in checking out the Harbor Swim School here is a link to more information, the fall schedule will be posted soon and enrollment begins August 15th; https://www.harborathletic.com/programs/swim-lessons/

We will get another one on the schedule soon for sure. A HUGE Thank You to our friends at Harbor Athletic Club for hosting us!

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We have loved working with Tri4Schools this summer and we are in countdown mode at my house to the race this weekend! When I say that this race is one of the highlights of our summer, I 100% mean it, we have been talking about it ALL. YEAR. We will be cheering on 2 of my kiddos this weekend and hope to see lots of familiar faces as well.

We are sharing this blog post (with permission of course) that was originally posted on Madison Moms Blog here for tips if it's your child's first Triathlon....or if you are like me and totally can't remember from last year :)

Come see FIT4MOM at Packet Pick Up on Friday at Harbor Wellness Studios and get a glitter tattoo!

- Jackie Dorris

"Now that Spring has finally made its appearance here in Madison, we are getting SO EXCITED about all the wonderful events happening over the next few months. Some of our favorite ways to stay active as a family are to take long walks, bike rides and of course, cool off at the swimming pool! What better way to combine these activities than sign your child up for a triathlon?!

Tri 4 Schools is a local nonprofit organization that raises money for local schools through several triathlons throughout the spring and summer – in fact, 100% of race entry fees are given to local schools! For more information about how the funds are divided, visit http://www.tri4schools.org/about-us/how-we-work/.

We are so excited to sign our kids up for their first triathlons in August, but since we are new to “races”, we wanted to get some expert advice from Tri 4 Schools Executive Director, Katie Hensel.

Here are Katie’s tips for kiddos training for their first Tri 4 Schools triathlon!

  1. Enroll them in our Exercise to Achievement program.

If you attend one of these schools or health facilities in Dane County, we highly encourage you to sign your child up for our eight-week training program. Kids will learn all the basics of triathlon, plus receive swim, bike, and run curriculum. This program includes your entry fee, and the best part – they learn life skills that they can apply to other areas of their lives as well. We have several summer programs with kids training to complete our Sun Prairie or Middleton triathlons!

  1. Select an appropriate race distance

We offer four different distances at our triathlons, and you are welcome to choose ANY distance for your child. If you are having a hard time deciding between two distances, we recommend opting for the shorter distance (if this is their first race), so they can gain confidence and have a positive experience. They can always select the longer distance next time! With so much to think about in triathlon, it’s nice to ease into the sport when possible. We also offer an adaptive triathlon that can be fully customized to meet the needs of your child.

  1. Get them on their bikes early

In Wisconsin, where we can’t ride bikes outdoors year round, it’s good to get on your bike to practice about four weeks in advance. Then, we recommend making this a consistent activity leading up to race day. For older kids, this might be 1-2 times/week, but for our younger athletes who are learning to ride, even a short distance down the block every day is ideal. This will give them some confidence in the hardest part of biking – starting and stopping.

We also recommend getting your child’s bike sized and tuned up – many times a bike that fit last summer is too small the following spring! We love working with DreamBikes for service needs, and they are also available on race day to help with any mechanical needs!

  1. Practice the swim portion

By far, the biggest challenge to a triathlon (kids AND adults) is the swim portion. If you are able to get out to the pool prior to race day, you will be glad you made the effort. Even if you’re able to just see the pool and gauge the distance and layout, it can be a comfort for kids on race day (we see lots of very nervous kids that morning).

My children are both under age six, so we make a point to go out and practice swimming in the pool where the race is held, so they understand what they’ll be asked to do, and the distance.

Remember, short and modified medium course athletes are welcome to use a noodle to help them complete the distance!

  1. Come to our Friday night packet pick-up and course talk

The night prior to our triathlons, we offer an early packet pick-up and two course talks (at 5pm and 5:45pm). These are great ways to get any last-minute questions answered, listen to advice and reminders from our race director, and check a few items checked off your “to do” list! New this year, we’re also offering a cheer & gratitude zone, where families can make posters, grab noisemakers, or write a thank you note for our volunteers. We hope this will add more fun and excitement to counteract any pre-race nerves.

Information on packet pick-up will be sent in your “two weeks out” and race week update emails.

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Have any other questions for Tri 4 Schools that weren’t answered in this post? Feel free to contact Tri 4 Schools directly or check out their Resource Center. Their YouTube channel also has helpful videos to help you and your child have a great race experience.

Hope to see you at the races!

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What do we love? Families coming out on a Sunday morning and having FUN moving their bodies, that's what we love! Yesterday we had our monthly Family Fun Run at Orchid Heights Park in Middleton, WI and it was a BLAST. Sometimes trying new things can be intimidating so we thought we would break down what happens at our FREE Fun Runs in the hopes you join us for the next one on August 18th ;)

  • Anyone and everyone is invited to our Family Fun Runs- we had moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas and aunts on Sunday- love it!
  • We invite kids on foot, bikes, scooters- whatever helps you move we don't care.
  • We warm up all together and get to know one another and then we take it to the starting line.
  • After we say "GO!" everyone takes off at whatever pace is right for them- we have walkers, runners, sprinters (at least at first...kiddos sometimes don't know how to pace themselves...or maybe that's just my little guy).
  • We complete 1-2 miles- we have signs posted at 1/2 mile and a full mile so you turn around at the point that is right for you and then head back to the start. It's not a race, it's about having fun.
  • You complete your run with a high five and the kiddos this last Sunday got a medal from our friends at Tri4Schools- AHHHMAZING!!!
  • We stretch and hangout afterwards, and take lots of pics cuz there is nothing cuter than a pink cheek kid in a sweatband. Check out our Family Fun Run album here!

What a perfect way to start a Sunday, thank you so much to everyone who joined us! Having FOMO? Our next Family Fun Run is coming up on August 18th at 9:00 am!

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At Moms Night Out this month we celebrated Christmas in July and it was AHHHHmazing. After a wildly popular December event last year, we decided why wait to treat ourselves until December again? We all brought two identical gifts costing $10-12 each (total we spent was $20-24). The requirements for these two items were something that you would use on yourself as a woman/mom. Something you use that makes you feel great, beautiful, happy, caffeinated, sane, well-rested, pampered, etc. The party was all about MOM!! Not allowed were items that are helpful for mom to use on her kids :)

And since it takes a village, we thought we would compile a list of all of our Favorite Things to help out our fellow mamas out there. Without further ado, here are our Favorite Things- July 2019 Edition.

  • Shampoo Bar from Lush Cosmetics from Robyn

    • Why we love it: It comes in this cute little tin and is great for travel because you don’t have to worry about 3 oz rule and it’s good for the environment with no plastic.

  • Batiste Dry Shampoo and American Provenance Natural Deodorant- From Jess S

    • Why we love it- so you can look good, smell good and take FIT4MOM classes that make you feel good. I mean….#accurate

  • 10 headband multipack- From Sara

    • Why we love it- You can cover up roots if they are oily from lack of shower, or it’s been awhile since you have been to the salon #momlife

  • Sisters and I leather earrings- From Jackie

    • Why we love it- When mom life gets crazy and you forget to do laundry so you are wearing the same outfit...again... a fun pair of earrings can change you up in seconds. I can be wearing my workout clothes per usual, but if I throw on a fun pair of earrings, my kids ask me why I’m so dressed up, am I going out?

  • Icebreakers gum, a silicone sponge and meal planning notepad- From Katie

    • Why we love it: According to my dentist, it has xylitol so is great for after lunch when you can’t brush your teeth. In my life with dishes I need a sponge but regular ones are gross, this silicone one is awesome. And finally since doing Body Back I love meal planning! Each week I plan out my meals and grocery list on this cute pad and post it on my fridge so we stay on track.

  • Sip by Swell insulated waterbottle- From Nicole

    • Why we love it: It’s perfect for iced coffee on these summer days! I pack it up and head out to Stroller Strides.

  • Victoria Secret Body Spray and Body Lotion in Bare Vanilla in Bloom- From Rita

    • Why we love it- Vanilla is a yummy scent that makes me feel pampered.

  • Dear Mom Rose cans, Dove Chocolate and a face mask- From Jess O

    • Why we love it- “It’s a mood thing” was the theme of this gift. The Dear Mom mini rose cans are one glass (and how do I not buy it with that name?!). I loved the size of this can because I'm nursing. Some of the other cans out there are two glasses or more which can be too much.

  • Justins dark chocolate peanut butter cup and Starbucks Gift Card- From Cassandra

    • Why we love it- Ummm, dark chocolate, peanut butter and coffee...what else is there to say?

We hope this list gives you some ideas to treat your friend who just had a baby, surprise your bestie just for fun, or treat YOURSELF. Treating yourself and making the others in your life smile doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time.

We do our Moms Nights Out once a month and they are open to anyone and everyone in the Madison area- follow along on our Facebook page or join our email list to stay in the loop! I promise, we are super fun to hang with. #girlgang #momsquad #findyourpeople

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Have you met the amazing organization Tri4Schools? We are so excited to be kicking off a partnership with them this month. Tri 4 Schools is a non-profit devoted to encouraging healthy, active kids and schools in Wisconsin through youth swimming, biking, and running events and programs that support school health and fitness initiatives. Their mission is to provide multi-sport events and programs that empower kids, schools and communities to be healthy and happy.

Our FIT4MOM mission is to help moms achieve their ultimate potential, both physically and emotionally. We will inspire moms to reach optimal health and well being. Healthy moms, mean healthy communities. Does this sound like a perfect partnership or what?!

My children have all been a part of several of the Tri4Schools triathlons (even as young as 3 years old!) and I can not say enough good things about the race- stay tuned for another post about that soon.

To get this partnership started, we would like to introduce you to Katie Hensel, the founder of Tri4Schools. Katie is a mom of two who started Tri4Schools. Check out this post about her journey to her first IronMan and becoming IronKate, which eventually led her to starting this amazing non-profit.

Tri4Schools will be joining us at our Family Fun Run on July 21st at 9:00 am to hand out medals to all of the kids afterwards! You can get all the details for this awesome family event on our website.

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It’s been awhile since we’ve introduced you to the face behind the name here at FIT4MOM Madison, so I wanted to take a second to say hello and share a little more about me. I’m Jackie, a mama of 3, and love coffee, animals and all things FIT4MOM. I've been involved with FIT4MOM since 2007- long before our time started here in Madison. Not many of you knew me then, so I thought I’d take you back to that time.

My husband and I met in college, got married in 2002 and enjoyed our twenties together living in Chicago — taking the El to work at the Merchandise Mart, Cubs games and shopping on Michigan Ave and Armitage were my jam. I was the first of all of our friends to get pregnant, and I still remember going to Joe’s on Weed St and freaking out that people were smoking at the bar (remember when people used to do that?!), trying to hide from my friends that I wasn’t drinking with a sparkling water and lime in my hand.

Everything was fine until 28 weeks when I went into pre-term labor. Thankfully, at the time, I didn’t really grasp what that meant (and that isn’t what this post is about, but there is a connection so I want to mention it). I spent 3 scary days at the hospital and the doctors were able to stop the progression. My doctor cleared me to go back to work, but only work, and home straight after. Then it happened again at 32 weeks, so I was put on bed rest until my baby arrived. I sat at home, alone, ate and watched the Real Housewives of Orange County’s first season marathon… so yes, I blame my RH obsession on Maddie 100%. Maddie was born one day shy of full term at 37 weeks but she was tiny tiny tiny —only 5 lbs and 5 oz but otherwise healthy.

Being a new mom rocked my world. Anyone else remember how that first-born child felt? Holy cow, everything is new and uncertain. You have never been so in love, yet so scared at the same time. Anyone? And because I was the first of all of my friends to have kids, and on bedrest for the last month of my pregnancy, at home, by myself, I have never felt so totally alone in my entire life. The isolation was consuming.

Six weeks after Maddie was born, I went back to work. I worked Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays so I had a few days off in the middle of the week. I knew I had to start finding a way to get out of the house and meet people. I was not in a good place mentally. We only had one car, which my husband used to go to work every day, so I had to find something within walking distance from my house. I joined a mommy and me class down the street. We sang, we blew bubbles, we massaged the babies. I would go. And then every day, I would come home and cry because none of the moms would talk to each other. Everything was focused on the babies development and interaction, and I felt like I was invisibly waving in the corner saying “Hello! What about me? I’m the one navigating this whole new world on my own. I’m the one who is so unsure about absolutely everything in my life. Where is my support?”

I bet you were wondering when FIT4MOM was going to come in to this story. Well, I soon realized that this mom and baby class was not for me. I had actually seen Stroller Strides (FIT4MOM) on the Today Show before I had kids and always remembered it because it seemed like such a great concept. You can workout WITH your kid and it looks like it’s fun. So I went online and searched for a Stroller Strides near me. Shockingly there was not one in the city of Chicago. How could that be? There were tons of moms with strollers everywhere I looked — I was TERRIFIED to talk to any of them, but I knew they were out there. When you look for one and one doesn’t come up in your area, a link pops up and said “You could start your own, find out how…”. So I clicked, and the rest as they say, is history. I knew it was a concept that would work in Chicago — I had a business degree with a marketing focus, so I was confident.

But it wasn’t just a business decision for me. As I learned more and more about Stroller Strides, it was the images of the moms that spoke to me. I wanted to BE that mom, that was smiling and happy and confident in her own skin. I didn’t want to be this mom, who I didn’t recognize anymore and who would cry after going to a mom and baby class. When I was pregnant with Maddie we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl , so when she came out, I thought “oh my gosh, I had a DAUGHTER!” I wanted my daughter to grow up and see that women are amazing and can do anything they set their minds to — I wanted to be her ultimate role model.

I quit my job and started a FIT4MOM franchise. I became certified as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer and taught my first class at my grand opening. I owned FIT4MOM Chicago for 9 amazing years and grew it into one of the largest and most successful franchises in the country. My Chicago chapter came to a close when my family relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, in 2015, but that’s when the Madison chapter began. Stay tuned for another blog post about that journey! This one is long enough :)

It has always been my MISSION that no mom would ever feel the way that I felt when I had Maddie — isolated, alone, without a Village. This has always been my driving force. I know what a gift FIT4MOM has to give to women and no mom should be without it.