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Blog

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"Joy’s easygoing personality makes going to Stroller Barre lighthearted and fun while still giving us a challenging workout. Her finger puppets and ribbon wands are a big hit with my Little." – Jessica Rindt, Burke Mom

"Joy leads a fun class and a great workout. Her songs carry us through the class with a smile on our faces!" -Laura Davis, Burke Mom

"Joy is just so much fun. She’s always smiling and in a positive mood, she’s always engaging with the kiddos making sure they’re happy and making sure we get in a great workout!" – Joanna Hicks, Woodbridge Mom

"Joy is one super amazing woman, mother, instructor and friend. Being around her positive energy truly makes you feel uplifted and her Barre classes leave you feeling energized, refreshed and confident. I absolutely love how Joy brings all the smiles and laughter to every occasion with her upbeat, funny and outgoing personality. If you haven't attended one of Joy's Stroller Barre classes, you are missing out! Love you, Joy!" – Candice Agustin, Team Member

"Joy is so warm and welcoming. She always has a great attitude and energy in class. I especially love some of her special routines and songs like the Cupid Shuffle Squat Burn routine and the "This Fit Mom" song set to the tune of "This Old Man". She always makes class fun and a great workout!" – Anna Ransom, Woodbridge Mom

1. Who are the members of your family?

My husband Jackson and son Beckett (15 months)

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

I'm from a small farm town in Ohio (also home to Luke Perry, R.I.P.) and I've lived in NoVa since 2008.

3. Where do you typically teach?

I teach Stroller Barre at Potomac Mills Mall and Abiding Presence/Burke Lake Park and Fit4Baby on rotating Sundays at Shannon's studio.

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

I became a member when Beckett was 3 months old. When our instructor moved (miss you Heather!) I looked into teaching. I led a dance company in college and loved choreographing routines. I also love performing in community theater so thought Barre would be a good fit!

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

It's a toss up because I love entertaining our littles during Stroller Barre and also love mama only time during Fit4Baby. It's fun working out to top 40 songs and I wish I had known about Fit4Baby when I was pregnant!

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

I love seeing mamas push past uncomfortable (as Shannon says) and share smiles and giggles with their littles.

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

My family is my why. I want to stay healthy and strong to hopefully have a long life with them :) I also want Beckett to see a healthy lifestyle in action.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I want to keep taking Body Back as I feel better than ever (literally) and enjoy 100% focusing on me time :)

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

I won a freckle contest (most freckles) at Ocean City, NJ.

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?

Thank you for all the friendships, play dates, hand me down toys, and advice via Our Village Facebook page!

#instructorspotlight #strollerbarre #fit4baby #frecklesareawesome

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Heather Hilton, our fearless weekend warrior instructor is a full-time working mom to son Noah. She has been there to support our working moms and weekend warriors at Potomac Mills and River Mill Park for the past year and a half. Heather and Noah will be making a move next month to Ashburn and we wish them all the best, but we sure will miss you and your bright smile, Heather!

"Heather will definitely be missed! She was always motivational and fun to work out with. Although I'm still a little traumatized from her 42nd birthday workout! We'll miss her so much!" - Janet Piston, Stroller Strides Mama

"Heather is a great Stroller Strides instructor - she knows how to push you past your comfort zone with the perfect level of challenge and encouragement! Her workouts contain a nice mix of fun, competitive stations, and staple workout moves. She’s super welcoming and will definitely be missed!!!" - Jennifer Ward, Stroller Strides Mama

"Heather has been an amazing instructor for us on Saturdays. She always has a smile on her face and makes sure to work us hard, because, for a lot of us on Saturdays, that's our only time we can get to Stroller Strides. She is so kind, caring, and supportive of our needs. And, lastly, has made the reading of "Little Blue Truck" turn into a workout that my husband and I will never forget. Jackson, Ethan, and I thank you for your time and are going to miss seeing you every Saturday." - Kathy Murphy, Stroller Strides Mama

"I first met Heather and her little guy Noah at a Saturday stroller strides class. The thing I remember most is her infectious smile and positivity. She was beyond excited to find a tribe of weekend warrior mamas to hang out with. That was 3 years ago! Two summers ago we had an opportunity to start classes at Occoquan and Heather decided she might enjoy teaching classes there - and indeed she did! She also helped out at Potomac Mills during the winter. Not only was she a fabulous team member but we also became really good friends. I am going to miss her dearly and wish her all the best with her move to Brambleton. (Let’s meet for lunch )" - Shannon link, Franchise Owner

“Heather is great weekend warrior instructor!! Always a fun, and energetic class! I'm going to miss coming to her classes!” - Missy Greely, Stroller Strides Instructor

And what does Heather have to say about Fit4Mom? Read on below.

"As a single mom working full time, FIT4MOM have me an opportunity to work out without worrying about what to do with my kiddo during the workout. And then I got the opportunity to help other weekend workout moms do the same. Through BodyBack I not only got ahold of my physical health, but my mental health came back into focus at a time when I really needed it (which, really, as a mama, is always) - Heather Hilton

#goodbyesarenofun #workingmama #strollerstrides #weekendwarriors #fit4momlsbwknova

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"I love having Courtney and Declan in class!! She works so hard and is great to chat with after class. Our little guys have fun twinning Thanks for printing our MNO Target scavenger hunt shirts Courtney!" - Joy Robb, Woodbridge Stroller Barre Instructor

"Courtney brings a smile to my face every class. She goes above and beyond when it comes to helping other momma’s. She has a strong, commanding presence that I ADORE I also love her competitive nature, which keeps me laughing during any group events." - Jessica Fischer, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

"Courtney is such a joy to have in class!! I love her effort she puts in every class. She is always there to help a mama in need And her obsession with Harry Potter!!" - Missy Greely, Woodbridge Stroller Strides Instructor

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

Chris (husband) Declan (5 months). I am originally from Pittsburgh, PA.

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

My first Fit4Mom class was right before Christmas. I remember how welcoming everyone was and what a great workout it was.

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

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Potomac Mills.

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

Before having Declan I was a Special Education Teacher in an Autism Self Contained Room.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Spending time with my family, traveling and reading.

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

Sleep!

What has being a mom taught you?

To go with the flow. Not everything can be planned.

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

Declan hasn’t been sleeping the best. One night I woke up (I think I was actually sleep walking for a a few minutes). I woke Chris up and said “what am I supposed to do with him”. Then I just walked out of the bedroom. I realized what I had said and I was laughing so hard I was crying as I feed Declan.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

It’s rough at times but well worth it !

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

My favorite thing about Fit4Mom is the community and friendships.

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“Sarah’s husband has been deployed for months and she still gets to class ~3x a week. I know she spends some time in the gym too and has been reaching all kinds of PRs there. She’s a great mom, finds time to take care of herself, and works part-time as well. She’s always upbeat and has a smile on her face, and is super motivating for other moms!” – Kayla Lyon, Springfield Instructor

“Sarah is always a great inspiration to have in class! She has such positive energy, you know you’ve hit the Stroller Strides lottery when your stroller is parked next to hers! Her husband is currently deployed and she’s along with two small kiddos, but you would never know it from her positive attitude! We were so fortunate she looked up Our Village and joined us after moving here last year!” – Stephanie Curl, Springfield Instructor

“Sarah is a great participant in class and inspiring as a mother. She joined our Lee District crew in the middle of the summer with Cal coming any day and she was sweating it out with us every day. With 2 little boys and a deployed husband, she makes it look easy when we all know it’s a daily struggle. Plus did you see her pull up video?! Amazing!! Sarah is friendly, easy to chat with, and a pleasure to have in class and be in class with.” – Candace Prabhakar, Springfield Instructor

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

My husband Brian, 3 year old Teddy, 6 month old Cal, our dog Kona, and me. I was born in Boston and grew up mostly in Vermont but have lived in nine states!

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

My first Fit4Mom class was in San Antonio, Texas a little over three years ago— Teddy was six weeks old and I was desperate to get out of the house. My first class with this franchise was last July— I had just moved here, was 7 months pregnant, had to borrow a stroller, and went to totally the wrong place in Lee District Park but eventually found the class! Afterward, there was a playdate at the splash pad and Teddy snuck out, past the lifeguards, to the playground and caused me more than a few minutes of panic.

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

I usually go to Stroller Strides/Stroller Barre at Springfield Mall on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and can’t wait to be back at Lee District Park when it warms up!

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

I’m a freelance science writer— before having kids I wrote for mainstream magazines, newspapers, and websites, covering mostly medicine and health. I talk to researchers and try to explain what they do and find to the average person. I had articles in publications like the Huffington Post, LA Times, and Science. Since having kids, I found the speedy deadlines at many of these publications tough to meet, so I work for a handful of big universities and medical schools, writing press releases or alumni magazine articles when a scientist discovers something.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Reading, craft beer, and traveling (especially to National Parks!)

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

Oh my gosh, I’m trying to be better about self-care and doing things for myself, so I am going to not say I’d just catch up on work, which is probably the truth. In an ideal world, I’d get a massage and then just sit and read a book somewhere quiet.

What has being a mom taught you?

It’s given me a whole new respect for my own parents, and definitely made me more patient and more flexible when it comes to rolling with the punches.

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

There are so many! One embarrassing moment was near the beginning of Teddy’s first year at preschool in Texas— I hadn’t paid very much attention to the calendar they handed out, and showed up at his school after a frantic morning of getting ready only to discover it was closed that day for some kind of inservice! The director of the school (who didn’t really know me or realize that I was a clueless parent) saw me in the parking lot and came over and asked if I needed anything.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Remember to have fun with your kids sometimes— get dirty in the mud or wet in the rain or make a big mess without worrying about cleaning it up (until later). Getting to act like a kid again yourself makes all the stressful parts of parenting more worth it.

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

The other moms! It’s so much more than an exercise class and I don’t think a lot of people know that before they join— I especially love the playdates that give us an excuse to check out kid places in the area since we’re relatively new here.

#militaryfamily #fit4momlsbwknova #pullupgoals #motivatingmom

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"Brittany is a great playgroup captain! She is SO welcoming to everyone and was one of the first people to start chatting with me last summer when I came to my first class. She always offers to help other mamas out in all sorts of ways, and comes prepared with activities and treat that all the kids love!" - Sarah Benson, Springfield/Lee District Mama

"Brittany is such a sweetheart! I love that she is always willing to step in and help out when the kiddos get fussy during class, so the mommas can continue their workout Her playgroup ideas are always fun and creative, and she's always prepared with plenty of yummy snacks and toys! I've really enjoyed getting to know her over the past year." - Christie Wood, Springfield/Lee District Mama

"Brittany is such a joy to be around! She has the most creative ideas when it comes to playgroup, and she always seems to be prepared for the unexpected! In addition, she never forgets anything!! She always has plenty of snacks to go around! She is such an awesome asset!! We have loved getting to know her over the past year and we love attending her playgroups!" - Andi Lyons Schmiedebusch, Springfield/Lee District Mama

"I love that every week we get the opportunity to enjoy a well organized gathering of mommies and littles. Sometimes we forget that those events don't just appear out of thin air. Brittany does a wonderful job! We never have to lift a finger" - Sam Matthews, Springfield Mama

1. Who are the members of your family?

Husband Todd, stepson Tyler (10), daughter Makenzie (3), and our dog Lexi (7).

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

I grew up in a small town right outside of Charlottesville, VA named Louisa. I ended up in northern, VA about eight years ago.

3. Which location(s) do you typically attend class?

I can be found at Stroller Strides on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I try to attend Body Back classes in Kingstowne and/or Lorton as well.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became a PGC for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa.

After my daughter was born I was really frustrated with how any activity involving children was expensive. So, I was fully invested in finding “free” things to do with my child that yielded the same outcomes--exercise, socialization, coordination, manners, new experiences...etc.. When I came across a free Stroller Strides class I instantly thought ‘nope’ because to me, it didn't seem to expose my daughter to any of those things. A few days later, still contemplating, I had the thought of ‘well, It's only for an hour, maybe I'll try it.’ so, I attended Stroller Strides, which happened to be on a day they had playgroup after class. I quickly learned that I completely judged Fit4Mom before I had even experienced it firsthand. My daughter was exposed to all of the things I was looking for during class and afterwards at playgroup... and I also got in a workout! After months of only attending ‘free activities’ I had finally found something worth investing in- ‘US’ not just for Makenzie or myself, but something we both benefited from in so many ways! I knew I had to become more involved, which is why I became Play Group Captain!

5. What is one of your favorite playgroup activities?

Definitely making sensory water bottles. I loved watching the kids fill their bottles with things they loved. when they were done the kids would stare at their bottle for minutes watching the objects float around. It's so cool to see how captivating it is to them.

6. What is the BEST thing about being a PGC?

I get to plan all the activities for birthdays, baby showers and holidays. I love Pinterest and the Dollar Store, so having a group of kids to plan things for just fulfills all my Pinterest desires! (And they're kids, so if you do have a Pinterest fail, they don't even care 😂)

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

My why is my daughter. If It continues to be something she enjoys and grows from, I will be there!

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I am a big believer in getting outside and breathing in the fresh air. We are trying to spend at least thirty minutes outdoors a day (on really cold days this includes walking to and from the car etc.. Because its technically still breathing in fresh air👌)

Also, I recently became certified in ‘Kidding Around Yoga’ (If you haven't heard of it, Google it! It's SO much fun.) So I am trying to practice some type of yoga every day with my kids!

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?

It's embarrassing, but I Iove Taylor swift. 😒🤷🏼‍♀️

#playgroupcaptain #Fit4MomLSBWKNova #KAYoga #pinterestfun #tswift

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Photo above: Emily McCrory (middle) pictured with her daughters Ryann (2) and Devynn (1). The only pockets in this picture are rear pockets and a miniature pocket inside of the fake Jean pocket...on the pink jeggings of the baby.

Dear women’s clothing:

There’s something you need to know... I’ve been putting up with it for a long time now, but I’m at a point in my life now where I really don’t care what you or anyone else thinks. If you don’t have pockets...you’re useless to me. There’s kids in the picture now... and they want my phone. Sitting on it... is not an acceptable solution. Tucking it into the couch...wastes 20 minutes of my “free time” while I’m attempting to fish it back out. Putting it away... means my husband is furious that he couldn’t reach me when he needed to know what’s for dinner. Bras... ARE NOT POCKETS! Stop making me stoop to this level! Plus, my kid is up in there every few hours anyway, so that defeats the purpose immediately.

Put pockets in my clothes. And not those miniature pockets that can only hold a Polly Pocket circa 1999. (WTF are those interior Jean pockets even for??? One key? Who carries around one lonely key? I know I’d certainly lose it immediately...unless I had a miniature Jean pocket inside my Jean pocket! Men...)

Give me a pocket that I can fit my whole hand in... and (is it even possible) wiggle my fingers! I want my whole phone to fit in there... not just the home button. And be generous... no exterior article of clothing is off limits. Dresses? Brilliant. Shirt? You betcha! Leggings? I hope the lady who came up with that idea is swimming in dough.

With that being said, if a pocket is useless, I’m not using it. No self-respecting female is putting anything in the boob pocket of her button-down. I’m not the designer here so don’t expect me to do your job for you... but as long as over-sized clothing is in style, there’s no reason to make a shirt the size of a tent that can’t hold anything!!

I don’t think this is too much to ask. I mean, men never had to and I wouldn’t be surprised to find a pocket in a pair of boxer briefs. I know we have purses and diaper bags and Fanny packs and clutches, but if you’re worried about the money, having a pocket is not going to stop us from buying more bags!

I have no leverage here. I can’t threaten to stop wearing clothes because let’s be honest, that’s not a win for me (I’m cold in most of the clothes I wear anyway) and it’s most definitely a win for a few too many of the men out there too. So I have a proposition for you. I could be wrong, but I think it’s sensible. Ready? If you put pockets in women's’ clothes...decent-sized, functional, stylish pockets...I will...(wait for it...).... BUY THEM!

That’s all.

Sincerely (tired of living in unnecessary inconvenience),

Emily

PS - At the wise age of three, my niece was convinced that pants with pockets were “boy pants.” Check out your local toddler section...she’s not wrong. Pass this pocket memo onto your friends in the kids’ department...no reason why girl moms should have to miss out on the beautiful sound of a rock collection clanging around in the washing machine. K, thanks bye!

#fit4momlsbwk #psa #womensclothingfail #girlsneedpocketstoo #girlscollectrocks

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“I still remember when I first met Victoria and her girls almost two years ago at our Mother’s Day class. I knew immediately we would get along! As a fellow mom of two girls, she’s making parenting look easy, and she might be the coolest mom we know with her amazing hair skillz and margarita know-how. It’s not an awesome class without Victoria!” – Jenny Bezos, Burke Playgroup Captain

“Smart, beautiful, funny, strong, kind…these are just a few words to describe Victoria! I nominated Victoria for Mom of the Month because she is truly so inspiring to me and our village. When women support each other, incredible things happen and she is so uplifting and someone you love to be around. I absolutely love working out with you and the friendship we’ve made! Keep being you, girl! Go Tall Latte, go!” – Candice Agustin, Burke Stroller Strides Instructor

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

My family consists of my husband JJ, two daughters, Spencer (3) and Dylan (2), two crazy dogs and myself. We’re soon to add ANOTHER baby girl named Taylor (due June 1). I am a native of this area, born in Fairfax, but I grew up in Springfield.

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

My first Fit4Mom class was the Mother’s day class in May of 2017. I had met Shannon shortly after my first daughter was born and was very interested in the classes, but being a typical first-time mom was too afraid to stray from the strict nap schedule I had set up (something I laugh at now, of course). I was finally convinced to try it out by Monica Lennon. I think it was a perfect class because it was such a beautiful day and because it was a huge class you could feel all the positive energy. You really got a sense of being part of a community.

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

I regularly attend Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays at the Burke location, although I’ve been adding Springfield Mall on Wednesdays recently, as well. I only have done the Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre classes thus far. I think I would like to try Body Back once I stop having all these babies (ha!)

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

I currently stay home full time with my girls. Prior to having kids I was a hair stylist.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Coffee, cooking (kid free), and spending time with my family.

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

I would most definitely be at the spa getting a massage, facial, nails done…basically, whatever I could squeeze in I would get done.

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me that I’m a control freak by nature. That has been my biggest struggle, constantly trying to control tiny humans that don’t care about my agenda. I’ve made a lot of progress but letting go of things I can’t control and having patience are still things I’m constantly trying to work on. Being a mom, particularly to multiple kids, has also taught me how to multitask. I’m amazed when I think about some of the situations, especially emergency type situations, that I’ve been able to handle on my own and live to tell about it.

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

I’ve had so many funny and embarrassing mommy moments, in fact, most stuff doesn’t even phase me anymore. The one that sticks out the most in my mind as being the most embarrassing/funny might be a little TMI. I’m sure most of us have experienced the dreaded first postpartum period. I got pregnant with my second daughter before ever getting one the first time around, so it had been A WHILE since Aunt Flo had been to town. A few months after my second, Dylan, was born, we took a family trip to Target. We were shopping around when all of a sudden I had that familiar feeling. It was totally unexpected and I couldn’t have been more unprepared. I was having flashbacks of 7th grade all over again. Lucky for me we were at Target, the holy grail for everything you could ever need. I got my supplies, including new underwear and after quickly checking out, tried to discreetly head to the bathroom. My firstborn daughter, however, was about to have a meltdown because she wanted to go with me. I just wanted to get in the bathroom as soon as possible so I brought her along. While we were in the bathroom (full of people) Spencer proceeded to give a full narrative about what was happening in our stall. “Mommy, is that blood??!! Why are you bleeding from your butt??! Why are you throwing your underwear away??!” All said at that nice elevated toddler volume, of course. It was so bad.

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

I’m definitely still learning as I go along. Something I would say to other moms though would be to not hesitate to reach out and ask for help at any point if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I found myself at a point after having my second daughter where I was struggling daily emotionally. Aside from obvious postpartum hormones that were playing a factor, my two kids are only 19 months apart and my second was up every 1-3 hours until 15 months. I was totally overwhelmed with a baby who wanted to nurse constantly and a super active toddler running around. I wanted to handle everything myself and had a hard time asking people for help. It is so hard to differentiate the daily stress of having kids and being sleep deprived with having more serious emotional issues going on. I was obviously struggling and constantly on edge at home and after reaching a breaking point, I finally confided in my husband. Looking back I wish I would’ve been much easier on myself and asked for HELP. I also wish I would’ve been more honest about how I was feeling and not ashamed to admit the rage I felt at times towards my kids whom I love more than anything. Being a mom is so hard and I’ve just learned to take it day by day.

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

My favorite part about Fit4Mom is that I can work out with my kids. Exercising is a huge stress reliever for me and it makes it so easy to just throw them in the car and go get a great hour workout in. A very close second thing that I love that its such a supportive community for my girls and me. At the Burke location, most of the moms stay after each class and socialize while the kids play together. Being able to regularly talk to women who can relate to the joys and struggles of being a mom is invaluable. I would tell someone thinking about joining to just try one class and I’m sure they will be hooked!

#fit4mom #fit4momlsbwk #momofthemonth #strollerstridesmama #exercise #stressreliever

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Get to know our fearless leader and Franchise Owner, Shannon Link! Shannon has been a franchise owner for over 4 years and continues to bring moms from all over NoVa together. She has created the village we all love! This month, we’ll put the spotlight on Shannon. When she isn’t doing all of the behind the scenes of running a business, you can find her teaching Body Back (and more!) throughout the week.

“I am so glad I got into the Body Back program. I know I am stronger and more at ease because of this program! Shannon as a Body Back instructor really makes you want to bring you’re a game! I love the energy that she puts into her workouts and I never leave without breaking a hard sweat! Thank you for all the encouragement and pushing me past my ‘limits.’” – Brittnay Watson, Team Member and Stroller Strides/Body Back Mama

“I love going to Shannon’s Body Back classes. Whether it’s a quick chat before class, an extra verbal push while we are doing burpees, or a passage she reads during meditation, she is always encouraging you to be your best.” -Diane Rumberger, Body Back Mama

“Shannon’s energy is unreal. She’s always so positive and upbeat and no one really knows how she does it. Her workouts are always intense but in a great way, and her personality and energy make it so you don’t really realize how hard you’re working while you’re in it. She’s built an amazing community that has brought us all together and impacted so many of us in the very best ways.” – Kayla Lyon, Team Member and Stroller Strides Mama

“I love that Shannon keeps it real. She’s a working mom who has kids and a husband who need her, just like the rest of us. So she understands. BUT that doesn’t keep her from encouraging and pushing you to be a better you. She has challenged me to raise my expectations of myself, and I already know that I’ll come out of Body Back a new woman because of her.” -Ashley Varga, Body Back Mama

“I’ve known Shannon for nearly four years and she has truly changed my life. Shannon possesses the qualities of all great motivators. She’s hard-working, honest, passionate, inspiring, and has amazing energy. She makes you want to work really hard and bare your soul. I always leave her Body Back classes feeling like a million bucks!” – Robin Houlahan, Team Member and Stroller Strides/Body Back Mama

What is your WHY?

I wish for every mom to have a place to just BE and to feel supported on this crazy ride called motherhood. Nearly six years ago Stroller Strides literally saved my life. The feeling of isolation and depression vanished – that is why I have to share my love of FIT4MOM to every mom crossing my path. Moms need to know that they are not ‘just’ a mom, they too need to be heard, valued and respected for all the change and hard work they do every day. Solidarity – it takes a village!

What do you love most about being a franchise owner?

I absolutely love seeing all the friendships that get forged and blossom throughout the years for both moms and the kiddos. Never in a million years did I imagine doing this type of a ‘job’ – can’t really call it a job because I love it so much. I mean, I get to mingle, provide support, hold babies, drink coffee, have lunch dates, have play dates, enjoy good company at Mom’s Night Outs and field trips, I get to meet so many awesome local business owners that I partner with (without them I wouldn’t be able to do this!), my team members are absolutely phenomenal (they hold it all together in our crazy large franchise!) and of course I do kind of like to tell people what to do…………………….just kidding, well, no I’m not…. 😉

What is your favorite song and exercise combo to sing at Stroller Strides?

Oh, how I love teaching Stroller Strides. Seeing all the mamas belt out the songs which in turn makes the babies smile is PRICELESS…………………….the one I love the best is ‘Way up high in the Apple tree’ – mamas start out with standing mountain climbers as if they were climbing a tree, then they hold a plie squat and shake their arms like shaking the tree, and then the arms make a swish movement and rub their bellies for ‘mmmmmmmmmm, good!’ --- you might need a video to accompany this! 😉

What is one thing being a business owner has taught you about yourself?

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. It takes lots of blood, sweat, and tears to get through the roller coaster of emotions. The best thing it has taught me is that I can ask for help and that help isn’t a sign of weakness, it just means that a team of passionate and giving people can do so much more together. It has taught me that I am not alone. (thank you team!)

What do you do for self-care and how do you find the time with your busy schedule?

This might sound corny to most of you, but teaching classes are taking care of me as well. I get physical movement, I get inspired by all the wonderful women in my class, I get to connect with them, they make me feel good and make me smile – that is such a great feeling. I don’t see it as ‘work’ – it’s a form of self-care. On top of that I like to get pedicures (I mean – foot/leg massage in a massage chair!), I go out to lunch BY MYSELF to give me time to reflect and just BE, I get in sporadic full body massages, I take nice long hot showers after everyone else is already asleep & I get together with friends to laugh and have fun. It isn’t easy to find the time – that’s for sure. I actually have to write it in my calendar as an appointment to ensure it gets done!

What is one of your favorite FIT4MOM classes to teach?

Stroller Strides hands down – I mean, who doesn’t love seeing the mamas interact with their babies while sweating AND singing?! However, I hardly teach it anymore due to timing AND I have an amazing team of mamas that are better at it than I am (I’m getting up there in age!) <3 so I suppose I’ll have to say Body Back ----- I get to see women transform right in front of my eyes, week after week – seeing the smiles and confidence grow is quite breathtaking.

What is a fun fact that most of our moms wouldn’t know about you?

I’m a certified forklift operator, I can operate a concrete demolition breaker, I can build walls out of cement and cinderblocks …………… I used to flip homes in Europe for 12 years (and live in them at the same time! I do not recommend that to anyone!)

What is one of your hopes for the franchise in 2019?

My biggest hope is to get the word out to local hospitals, OB/GYN offices, women’s care centers, pediatricians and doctors about our programs. Moms need a village and we are just that – a village of mothers that have open arms to take in even more moms – the love we have is endless. I’d like to see every mom come to at least ONE CLASS so they can see that we are more than just a ‘workout’ – what we offer cannot be provided anywhere else. #AllTheMoms #Fit4MomLSBWKNoVa --- and I might want to open a few more locations … stay tuned! 2019 is going to be AWESOME!!!!!

#Fit4MomLSBWKNova #franchiseowner #fearlessleader #strength #energy #businessowner

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Just add water (bottles) and mix

Here’s a recipe for feeling isolated: Move across the country, have a new baby, and then have your husband leave for a long deployment, all within a few months time span.

But here’s an ingredient that changes the whole recipe: Fit4Mom

Last July, my Army doctor husband and I moved from Texas to Virginia with a toddler and a seven-months-pregnant belly. Less than eight weeks later, my second son was born. And nine weeks after that, my husband left for a many-months deployment to Afghanistan. I was alone with two young kids in a place that had just barely become our new home.

For me, staying busy—sometimes really, insanely busy—is my coping method for just about everything. But being in a new place can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying busy with an infant and a toddler. It can take months (or, dare I say, years?) to make friends and discover the lay of the land in a new community. I was seriously worried I would become a hermit when my husband left (or at least, a hermit with two kids who has to occasionally leave the house for Target essentials).

But here’s where I lucked out.

At our last duty station in San Antonio, I had the incredible fortune to discover Fit4Mom and Stroller Strides. For nearly three years, my life revolved around Monday, Wednesday and Friday workouts with an amazing group of moms. We commiserated over kids that wouldn’t sleep, watched in amazement as our babies grew, and pushed our bodies to be stronger.

I didn’t think every Fit4Mom community could possibly be as amazing and supportive but figured I had nothing to lose by checking out my new local Fit4Mom when we arrived in Virginia (like, literally, a few days after we arrived, when we were living out of a hotel).

So I showed up to this new Stroller Strides group, seven months pregnant with a borrowed jogging stroller and a little (or maybe a lot) skeptical of how different they might be from my last Fit4Mom group. And here’s the wonderful thing: They were different in all sorts of ways from the San Antonio Fit4Mom friends I’d said tearful goodbyes to, but still this fantastic welcoming community. So four months later, when my husband was halfway around the world and I was stuck here with a 9 week old and a 3 year old, I wasn’t nearly as alone as I might have been otherwise. In fact, with the high number of military families in Northern Virginia, there are even other moms in the Fit4Mom community with deployed spouses, recently-deployed spouses, or soon-to-be deployed spouses.

In the first weeks of my husband’s deployment, I not only had three or four Stroller Strides classes a week, but also this steady stream of social events keeping me busy— Fit4Mom playdates, birthday parties of Fit4Mom kids, a Fit4Mom “mompreneur” event, and gymnastic classes with Fit4Mom friends. I also had people I barely knew, or had only known for a few weeks or months, sending me messages asking whether I needed anything.

There’s no denying that going through a deployment with young kids is tough, and I’m still in the thick of it, counting down the days until it’s over and I have a helping hand at bedtime again. Maybe the rest of my survival techniques will be another blog post, when I’ve come out the other side. But for now, I’m so thankful that—within weeks of moving to Virginia— this Fit4Mom community became part of my deployment survival recipe.

#Fit4Mom #deployment #community #bandofmothers #militaryspouse #militaryfamily

MOM January_Lisa.png

We are so excited to announce our MOM (Motivating Mom of the Month) for January! Each month we take a moment to honor one of our local FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa Moms for her efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle and for her dedication to the program. This month we honor Lisa Neal from our Woodbridge village!

“I love Lisa’s enthusiasm and friendliness! She gives 100% during class and rocked the Halloween costume contest. She also made Body Back transformation ladies feel beautiful with a complimentary photo shoot!” – Joy Robb, Woodbridge Stroller Barre Instructor

“Lisa is always full of smiles and gives 100% at class. So helpful with other moms at class, and a wonderful photographer!” – Missy Greely, Woodbridge Stroller Strides Instructor

“Lisa is awesome!! She is such an inspiration! For class, she sometimes comes with two kids, sometimes one, but she always does it with a smile. She is selfless and never focuses on herself. Every time you talk to her, she always asks YOU about YOU! She is always so welcoming, compassionate, and sweet.” – Jessica Fischer, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

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

I was born in the Philippines and raised in NoVa. My family includes husband name is Chris, a son, and daughter Aiden (3) and Amaya (9 months).

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

My first class was in June. I remember I was not functional before 11 am (my daughter was 3 months at that time). One of the other moms had a motivational shirt that said “PUSH YOURSELF”, so I was pumped to start my workout. I proceeded to be sore for 2 days after that!

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

Stroller Strides and Barre at Potomac Mills

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

I photographed newborns at the hospital until I decided to become a stay at home mom and pursue photography on my own by creating a home studio.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

I love all things chocolate, shopping and napping when possible.

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

I would love to do a dinner and a movie or reading a good book.

What has being a mom taught you?

Enjoy and treasure the little things. Treasure their little hands, feet, hugs, kisses and even sick snuggles because one day they will say “No! I’m a big boy/girl I don’t need hugs and kisses!

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

My parents and I were at a hotel getting ready for a wedding. My son was sitting on a relatively high bed. All three of us thought that the other was watching him, so down he tumbles onto the floor! He cried and cried and cried! He was inconsolable for a long time. So, I did what parent would do after a long crying spell with no end in sight, I got ready for the wedding before the shuttle bus left without us. Of course, the cleaning lady came while my son was still crying and I was doing my makeup! She probably thought I was the worse mother ever!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

When someone told me they used paper plates when their child was born, I was thinking “Paper plates? What? It’s not that bad!” Baby number two comes along and I hate to say it but paper plate saved my sanity. Things will get done when they get done, whether it’s a day, week, or a month.

#MOMofthemonth #strollerstrides #strollerbarre #Fit4MOMLSBWK #photographer #motivatingmom