When I first heard of Stroller Strides, I thought “Oh, how cute, a group of moms chit-chatting about babies while doing some stroller lunges.” However, when I actually joined one of their workouts I spent an hour huffing and puffing and adjusting my new cute-but-worthless-sports-bra while trying to keep up. It was by far the hardest and yet most satisfying workout I had ever done. After one class, I was hooked.
I had my baby in February last year and was antsy to work out afterwards. Surprisingly, I didn’t really care about losing the baby weight, I just missed the adrenaline rush that you get post workout (and I needed to get out of the house!). I had a bit of a complicated journey to pregnancy and was really limited in regards to exercise. At my 6 week post-baby checkup, I was given the green light to start back up again, and I literally signed up for a Stroller Strides class the next week. Again, I was hilariously naive as to what I was getting into, but I was really excited. It seemed like a perfect solution to wanting to work out but not wanting to lose time with my baby. I mean, it is nice to have a solo workout (or run) once and a while, but negotiating regular workouts with an infant is time consuming. I couldn’t imagine working a 9-5 and then stopping at the gym afterwards. I knew that would never work for me, as there was no way I was going to miss putting my baby to bed for the sake of a workout, no matter how badly I missed the adrenaline rush.
The Stroller Strides classes are super challenging and the instructors are all pre- and post-natal certified fitness trainers, so they offer specific modifications if you need them. Make no mistake – these instructors are not there to chit chat or stroll through the park! They want to give you the best workout possible in a short amount of time and will push you to do more than you thought you were capable of. I have yet to go to a single class where I don’t hear something along the lines of, “You’re a mom; you can do anything!” Or, “It’s only 20 more seconds. Push through it! You can do anything for 20 seconds!” Strollers Strides = working out with a less terrifying Jillian Michaels. There are no breaks; you may want to scream “NO!” when you’re pushed to do another set, and in the end, you will be on the ground and exhausted, but you will feel so awesome and proud of yourself for finishing!
Over the last 10 months I have done Stroller Strides workouts pretty regularly (twice a week on average), and last December I added the Stroller Barre class (a clever adaptation of the uber popular barre classes you see everywhere) once a week. On my own, I also try to jog a few miles once a week and do a pilates or yoga class occasionally. At the risk of sounding like one of those bad infomercials, I am in the best shape of my life and have lost more weight than I gained while pregnant. I feel amazing, even when I only get a few hours sleep and haven’t had the luxury of washing my hair in a few days. The endorphins from working out keep me sane and help me put things into perspective. Who knew clarity could come from working out, even when you’re exhausted and stressed? I never started this to lose “x” number of lbs, or to be a size 4 (that’s not in the cards for me with my midwestern roots). I did it to be healthy and to set an example for my daughter. She may not always love sitting in a stroller and watching me huff and puff through another round of burpees (so. many. burpees.), but she is seeing me work hard, persevere, and dare I say…actually enjoy working out?!
The camaraderie that comes from working out with other moms is awesome. I am, to put it bluntly, painfully awkward at times and making new mom friends can be intimidating. It’s like dating, only with sippy cups and cereal puffs being thrown at your face! Being a part of this group has forced me to open up and put myself out there. I am so glad that I have because these women are genuinely some of the coolest and most helpful people I’ve ever met. So yes, we do chit-chat and share stories and advice. We talk about everything from recipes, to teething, to nursing. But, we also share a connection that runs deeper than those topics, and we have learned to learn on and help each other through the crazy, hard, and overwhelming world which we now know comes as part of being a parent.
If you’re thinking about working out and don’t want to give up time with your kiddos, Stroller Strides offers a wealth of class options. They are located in various places across the valley, Monday-Friday, and they offer both daytime and evening sessions. Stroller Barre is offered once a week; you can join for a 6 week session or buy a pack of classes. Stroller Strides also has a run club and specialized bootcamps, including a complete “body back” program that includes an online chat board for additional support, weekly personal and fitness goal setting, and nutritional guidance. There’s a great signup special coming up next month where you can share the registration fee if you sign up with a friend. The membership for Stroller Strides is less than what most people pay for a gym and you get structured, smart, challenging classes that vary every week. As you can see, it is a versatile and customizable fitness program, and if you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend it!
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