Dilemma: A mom wants to work out, but doesn’t have childcare available, or doesn’t want to pay for or use childcare while she’s at the gym. She wants to simply bring her baby along while she works out, but not feel out of place, even if she needs to take a nursing break during class.
Solution? Fit Mommies, a series of exercise classes designed with pre-natal and post-partum moms in mind, where the little ones are welcome to come along!
In spring of 2013, Amber Fowler and her friend started a class called “Fit Mommies” at her friend’s studio. Amber had twin baby girls, but still wanted to be able to work out, and include her daughters in her activities. They started with two locations, and multiple classes a week with a couple of instructors. Over time, instructors changed, and even substituted for Amber while she was pregnant with her son.
Now Amber is the mother of three, and owner and sole instructor for Fit Mommies. Her girls are two-and-a-half years old and her son is 8 months. Two mornings a week, you can find Amber leading a group of moms in a fun group fitness class at Bella Forza Fitness.
“They can come here and everybody’s in the same boat – you know, if somebody starts crying, or somebody needs a diaper change, it’s a comfortable atmosphere to be in with their kids,” said Amber. “I like that I can provide that.”
While the mommies work out in varying strength and cardio circuits, little ones play on blankets or mats on the floor, sit in strollers, sleep in car seats, or run around the room and play with each other. During the warm season, class meets at a nearby park once a week. They do walking and jogging intervals with strollers, then circuits using resistance bands, benches, and mats.
Some exercises include the children as well – babies can be great weights to add to some exercises, and they usually enjoy mommy holding, lifting, and playing with them.
Amber’s favorite part of Fit Mommies is providing an example for her children, but she also loves the camaraderie among the mommies. She has met many wonderful women through Fit Mommies.
One of those wonderful Fit Mommies is Mandy, who has a 7-month-old daughter and is a big fan of the classes: “I absolutely LOVE Fit Mommies! I love that I am able to get a good workout in, and my daughter gets to interact with other kids.
I truly feel stronger now than I ever have before, thanks to Amber’s amazing classes! Amber makes the class so welcoming. I have never felt judged or intimidated. In addition, I am a first time Mom and have received wonderful advice and tips from the other Moms.”
There is definitely a very supportive and welcoming atmosphere in Fit Mommies. Moms can enjoy a social community for themselves and their children while also taking care of and strengthening their bodies. No sitter required! Moms get a great workout in, and tips for teething at the same time.
“Mommy and me” fitness classes are a growing trend across the country, so if you’re not in the Cincinnati area to experience Fit Mommies yourself, check your local gyms, YMCAs, and community rec centers for parent-friendly classes or facilities with childcare on site.