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Blog

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"Monica shows up every morning with a smile on her face, a positive attitude, and with enthusiasm to sweat and have fun. She is open and welcoming; always willing to share her experiences and provide guidance. She encourages other mamas, by listening to them, empathizing with their struggles, and reminding them how strong they are. Enthusiastic about nutrition, Monica enjoys discovering healthy recipes. Committed to her wellness, she holds herself accountable by logging her food." - Burke Body Back Instructor, Nina Askvig

"Monica is such a pleasure to have in class! She always gives it her all. When you say push, you can see her pick up the speed. Even at 5am!! She is welcoming to new classmates and always quick with a smile." - Liviya Piccone-Sand, Kingstowne Body Back Instructor

"Monica is a sweet, strong, hard-working mama! She has embraced all that Body Back has to offer—nutrition tracking, meal planning, in-class and at home workouts, all while juggling two precious kiddos. I’m so grateful she gave Fit4Mom a try before baby #2, and that she keeps working hard while encouraging others!" - Megan Schmid, Burke and Lorton Body Back Instructor

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

Myself, my husband (Nick) and our two boys, Emmett (4), and Milo (15 months). I grew up just across the Potomac River, in Rockville, MD. Nick and I have been in NoVA since 2012.

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

When my first baby turned 1, I was desperate to get back in shape. I went on a MRTT run and met Megan Schmid who told me about Body Back. My first Fit4Mom class was a Body Back open house in October 2016, led by Shannon Link and Rebecca Newnum. I remember how nice and welcoming everyone was, the lavender-scented wipes Rebecca gave us for meditation...and thinking I was going to throw up and/or not be able to finish the workout haha. I signed up for a Body Back Transformation session as soon as class ended, and have been hooked ever since!

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

I just finished a Body Back mini session and am signed up for the next one in September. Most weeks, you can find me at Body Back: Mon. and Thurs. in Burke, Tues. and Fri. in Kingstowne, and Sat. in Lorton. I'm waiting for my youngest to drop his morning nap, so we can start going back to the Friday playgroups after Stroller Strides at Burke Lake Park :)

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

Before kids, I was a full-time graphic designer for a real estate company. When my first son was born in 2015, I went out on my own and since then I've been working part-time, as a freelance graphic designer.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

Coffee, traveling, and mani/pedis

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

Go out for dinner/drinks with my husband...getting a babysitter is more complicated these days since we had our second!

What has being a mom taught you?

To give up (some) control. Before I had kids, I was definitely a bit of a perfectionist! Having kids made me relax about some of that.

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

The first funny moment that comes to mind is when our oldest son, was just a few months old and we were having lunch with family in DC at a pretty fancy restaurant. My husband took the baby to the bathroom to change his diaper. Of course, there was no changing table and when he realized the diaper was a pretty bad poop blowout situation, he called me in there for help. We were all on the floor of the bathroom (in our nice clothes), we got the diaper off, and while we were taking off the baby's clothes, he peed and threw up at the same time. Meanwhile, we had been in the bathroom so long, the manager was knocking on the door asking us to leave because they were closing and needed to set up for dinner!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

I would say to manage your expectations--how vacations/events/holidays/etc will go, how your kids will react to things, how many things you can get accomplished during naptime, etc.

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

Of course, the workouts are amazing! But for me, it's really the community. It's so great to be able to workout with other moms--there's no judgment, and everyone is so welcoming and supportive. I love being able to get advice from other moms in class, or on the private Facebook page.

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It is hard to believe the school year is right around the corner. Back to school (even preschool!) means busy schedules and less time for grocery shopping and cooking. Take time in August to prepare a freezer stash of ready to go, healthy meals for those busy weeknights. Not sure where to begin? Here are some easy tips:

1. Print out all of your recipes and pick your prep date (you will need a few hours).

2. Label freezer bags and containers you will be using for storage with the recipe name, and additional directions and additional ingredients for when it is time to cook, and the date the meal was made.

3. Make your shopping list. This takes time but be sure to double-check your pantry for items you already have on hand. One tip - If you write down chicken on the list, tally each pound next to the item for each recipe. That way you are sure to get enough for everything you are making. Be sure to account for any recipes you are doubling or tripling.

4. Grocery shop (duh!). Decide if there are items that are better to buy in bulk and shop accordingly.

5. Prep. Make sure you have everything you need and get started! You can prep everything for all meals at once, or go one meal at a time.

6. Bag it up and freeze. It is best to lay zip locks flat so they can stack on one another in the freezer.

Chicken Teriyaki Dump Meal (easy to double/triple)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package frozen stir fry veggies or cut up veggies
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger root, grated

Add all the ingredients to a gallon-size freezer bag. Make sure to eliminate any air, seal tight before freezing, and store laying flat.

The night before you plan to cook it, place the bag in the fridge to thaw. Then, on the day of, dump the ingredients in your slow cooker, and cook on low for six hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork. Remove the chicken, and shred. If you want to thicken the sauce, add a mixture of one tablespoon cornstarch and one-fourth cup water. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, and stir it into the sauce.

Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, or a side salad.

#freezermeals #mealprep #backtoschool

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"Anna is always such a joy to be around! She is always so focused and pushes herself to the max, working out 5 days a week doing both BodyBack and Stroller Strides She always seems like she is CRUSHING it at doing this hard job called motherhood: doing cloth diapers, making own baby food, hanging clothes outside to dry! You name it, she does it! I love having her in class." - Jessica Fischer, Woodbridge Playgroup Captain

“Anna is a wonderful mother! She is a warrior mama, doing Stroller Strides and Body Back though out the week!! She always has a positive outlook on life. And always supports mom's around her!”- Missy Greely, Stroller Strides and Body Back Instructor

“Anna always has a smile and encouragement for other mamas! She gives 100% in various classes and is a great example for Roy!” - Joy Robb, Stroller Barre Instructor

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

My family includes my husband, Tim, our 10-month old son, Roy, and our two dogs, Sophie and Obi Wan. I am originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas (Woo Pig Sooie!!) and my husband and I have lived in Northern VA for almost three years.

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

My first Fit4Mom class was at Potomac Mills Mall in October 2018 when I was about 8 weeks postpartum. I remember feeling very welcomed by Joy Robb, Missy Greeley, and all the mamas. I also remember it being a great workout! It was so nice to be out of the house, working out, and surrounded by strong moms in the same phase of life as me! I was hooked!

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

I did a Body Back Transformation session this Spring and I loved it! You can find me at Body Back classes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at Lorton Link Family Fitness and Stroller Strides on Wednesday and Friday at Potomac Mills Mall.

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

Currently, I work as a remote assistant for an amazing florist, Rose of Sharon Floral Designs, based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I worked as the design/shop assistant there before we moved to NOVA and my boss has been super awesome and flexible now that I’m a stay at home mom to Roy.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

I love a good workout, ice cream, and being with my family.

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

I’d go on a date with my husband. Leisurely dinner with drinks, a comedy show or symphony concert, and ice cream on the way home of course!

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me not to set such unrealistic expectations for myself. I tend to have a very long to-do list and high expectations of all I’ll get done in a day. Most days go by in a blur; before I know it, it’s 10PM and nothing is crossed off the list. Roy is teaching me to put my to-do list aside and embrace the simple joys - watching butterflies, the feeling of grass on bare feet, the patter of rain on the window. I’m learning that enjoying those things and teaching Roy that it’s good to enjoy those things is plenty to get “done” in a day. Also, I’ve learned that there is no greater gift to a mom than nap time!!

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

I can’t think of anything too embarrassing, but I’ll share one of my favorite things. As I’m sure most of us have experienced when you go out in public, people love to “oooh and ahhh” over your cute baby. We have a local Giant grocery store that we go to weekly and we always go to the same cashier’s line. Her name is Jewel. She is a grandmotherly type and she loves Roy! The first time they met, Roy smiled at her like he doesn’t smile at most. She asked what his name is and I told her, “Roy.” And she lit up and gushed about how that was her daddy’s name and how she knew it was her daddy smiling down at her from heaven through my baby boy. Roy loves Jewel and always gives her the biggest smiles every week. We call her his “Giant girlfriend.”

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

Find your community and lean in! It’s so easy to isolate yourself and feel very lonely in motherhood. Put yourself out there, find a mom group/exercise class/storytime, and go to that first event. We need each other and there’s someone(s!) out there that needs your friendship and camaraderie on this wild ride called motherhood!

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

It’s hard to pick one thing! I love everything about Fit4Mom! If I had to choose just one, I’d say the community of strong moms. Everyone is welcoming, genuine, understanding, and accepting. There’s no apologizing for running late or not being more put together. You can come just as you are and feel like you belong. If you’re thinking about joining, do it! It’s worth every penny. You get to invest in yourself through exercise, model healthy habits to your kids, get out of the house, converse with adults, and there are awesome events and mom’s night outs. Joining Fit4Mom is easily the best thing I’ve done for myself and my family since becoming a mom.

#motivatingMOMofthemonth #Fit4MomLSBWKNova #bodyback #strollerstrides

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“Candace is an awesome instructor, always filled with energy & great ideas! She always has new fun games to add to our workouts. She is so welcoming to all mamas & always has on a smile!” – Katherine Sandusky, Stroller Strides Mama

“I always appreciate Candace's creativity and willingness to try new things. She provides a great workout! Thanks, Candace!” – Che’ Jones, Stroller Strides Mama

"Candace always makes sure BOTH kids & Mommas have fun during her classes! She makes sure all feel welcome & is great at answering any questions - Fit4Mom related or even general Momma questions." - Jessica Moody Khatib, Stroller Strides Mama

1. Who are the members of your family? My husband, Pete, our son Lucas who is 18 months old, and my fur babies Cocoa and Rocky.

2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa? I’ve been around this area my whole life, I grew up in Southern Maryland. I moved to NoVa for a couple years in my early twenties, then back to MD for a few years and now have been here for the past 6 years.

3. Where do you typically teach? I teach Stroller Strides at Lee District on Wednesdays, Kingstowne on Thursdays and Springfield Town Center on Fridays. I also teach Fit4Baby once or twice a month.

4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom LSBW NoVa. I joined as a member when Lucas was 3.5 months old, it saved us! As he got older and more on a routine, I started wanting to do more with my time, but still be home with him. Shannon posted about opportunities and originally, I reached out with the thought of an admin role, but poof I became an Instructor instead! A few months later I started the Client Relations role too.

5. What is your favorite thing to teach? Everything! Fit4Baby is great to chat with expecting moms, hear how they are doing and how excited they get for their first baby. I’ve met so many amazing moms through Stroller Strides, I love being able to see them every week plus creating class plans to keep them on their toes!

6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor? I really like trying to think of new games and stations to keep my classes fun, but I would have to say the BEST thing is really seeing the moms connect and getting to know each other.

7. What is your WHY? Why do you keep doing what you do? Fit4Mom really helped me when I joined as a member, making me realize I wasn’t alone on this motherhood journey and that everything I felt and was going through was normal. Being a part of that for other moms is a great feeling!

8. What is one of your current wellness goals? Just to be more health conscious in general. We go to class almost every day, but it can’t end there, being healthy physically and mentally has to be an ongoing effort.

9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you? I’m pretty much an open book, not too many secrets here. I hate roller coasters, at least twice when I was younger, they had to stop the ride because I was screaming so loud!

10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know? Try to take advantage of everything there is to offer with F4M – classes, MNO’s, playgroups, field trips, FB page – it’s all helped me to be a better mother.

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Anyone else feel like they are always in the kitchen? Between grocery shopping, planning, chopping, meal prep, cooking, and making sure everyone is fed a somewhat healthy meal 3+ times a day is EXHAUSTING! Freezer meals are a huge help in taking the guesswork out of meals. Not sure where to get started on freezer meals? Read on to get a rundown of how to begin and a new recipe. And stay tuned for a freezer meal of the month to start popping up on the blog!

Part I:

I joined a freezer meal swap nine months ago and a big part of the mom stress melted away.

One of the moms in the village organized it. We keep it simple—once a month, we meet at her house, bring the kids, our frozen meals, and maybe someone brings a bottle of wine to share. The older kids play outside, the little kids play inside, moms chat. Some months, people might drop off meals in advance if they can’t attend, or leave the kids at home for a breather, or just swap and run. We’re flexible. As long as we get our monthly rations of sanity in, we’re good.

Some meals are Costco meatballs and sauce with a side of frozen rice and frozen broccoli. Some meals are casserole-style. Some meals are “you clearly had too much time on your hands this weekend and went all out”-style. Anything that can be stuck in the oven directly, dumped in the crockpot, or better yet, cooked from frozen in the instant pot, are all right in my book. (But really, the meatballs are my favorite…)

Everyone makes 6-8 family portions of the same recipe. Then, everyone gets one each of what each person brought. Voila, meal planning is done. You get to try out a variety of flavors, maybe something you would never cook before but surprisingly, something the whole family loves. It helps you stay out of a culinary rut and, most of all, erases that mental load you’ve been carrying around, the struggle of making healthy meal plans vs throwing mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and pizza at the kids every night.

Here are our rules:

Everyone makes a freezer meal of their choice. Bring 1 meal for everyone who signs up for the swap. Your meal has to be labeled with what it is and cooking directions. Each meal should cost no more than $15 and that includes the storage container. Each meal should feed between 4-6 people and be a complete meal (contains a protein/vegetable/starch...). Some meals might require a salad on the side, there is no need to bring the salad, just bring the freezer part and make a note that a salad would go great with it. Meals can either be cooked in a Crock Pot, oven, OR stovetop. Meals can be pre-made and simply need to be reheated. Meals need to be stored in a freezer safe storage.

Just google “freezer meals” and you’ll find a billion websites with free recipes. Here’s just an example of one I’ve used. I like it because it has breakfast recipes, too! (see below)

https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/freezer-meal-recipes/

TL; DR—If you’re the “oh dangit it’s 5 pm and the kids are *this close* to a hangry meltdown” kind of person like me, you gotta join or organize a freezer meal swap.

If you would be interested to join us in the North Springfield area, email me at jbezos@cox.net!

Part II:

Speaking of breakfast freezer meals…

English muffins. Making bread can be an intimidating task. I get it. But this recipe requires only the teensiest bit of time and effort on your part. There’s no kneading, no over- or under-proving the dough. There is a range of acceptable rising time and it’s easy to fit into your schedule. Basically what I did yesterday:

10 min to mix the dough around 4 pm

(let rise 4-5 hours)

5 min to scoop out spoonfuls into vaguely round dollops onto a cookie sheet around 9 pm

(let rise 12-42 hours)

The next morning (or even the next!) heat up a griddle and cook those suckers in about 20 min.

Actually, I think they only rose about 10 hours overnight and they were still perfect.

Impress your friends and family! I’m never buying English muffins again. This time I took it a step further and cooked up some eggs and bacon and made sandwiches to stick in the freezer for a quick breakfast later.

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/04/no-knead-english-muffins-recipe.html

· YIELD: Makes twelve 3 1/2–inch muffins

· ACTIVE TIME:20 minutes

· TOTAL TIME:16 to 30 hours

· RATED:

Ingredients

· 10 ounces bread flour (2 cups; 285g)

· 5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup; 140g) (see note)

· 2 3/4 teaspoons (11g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as much by volume

· 1 1/4 teaspoons (4g) instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)

· 12 ounces cold milk (1 1/2 cups; 340g), any percentage will do (see note)

· 3 1/2 ounces honey (1/4 cup; 100g)

· 1 large egg white, cold

· 5 ounces fine cornmeal (1 cup; 145g), for dusting

· Roughly 1 ounce bacon fat, unsalted butter, or oil (2 tablespoons; 30g), for griddling

Directions

Make the Dough and Let Rise: In a large bowl, mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, and yeast together until well combined. Add milk, honey, and egg white, stirring with a flexible spatula until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled, 4 to 5 hours at 70°F (21°C). (The timing is flexible depending on your schedule.)

For the Second Rise: Thickly cover a rimmed aluminum baking sheet with an even layer of cornmeal. With a large spoon, dollop out twelve 2 2/3–ounce (75g) portions of dough; it's perfectly fine to do this by eye. If you'd like, pinch the irregular blobs here and there to tidy their shape. Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.

To Griddle and Serve: Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F (160°C) or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When it's sizzling-hot, add half the butter and melt; griddle muffins until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a square-end spatula and griddle as before. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by working your thumbs around the edges to pull them open a little at a time. Toast before serving and store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge) (or even longer in the freezer).

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There is so much to do in the area to celebrate the Fourth of July! Here is a round-up of some of our family friendly favorites if you are brave enough to venture out for the festivities!

Fit4Mom LSBWKNova – Join us for a Free Family Class to start off your holiday with us at Fit4Mom. Register here https://fit4mom-lortonspringfield.pike13.com/e/102660615

Mt. Vernon An American Celebration – all day event including daytime fireworks and birthday cake!

More Information: https://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/calendar/events/an-american-celebration/

Fairfax City - A Hometown Celebration

Parade, 10-12

Evening show/children’s activities, 6:30-9pm

Fireworks – 9:30pm

More Information: https://www.fairfaxva.gov/government/parks-recreation/special-events/independence-day-celebration

Washington, DC Fourth of July Celebration

Parade, 11:45am-2pm

A Capitol Fourth, 8-9:30pm (Hosted by Uncle Jesse himself, John Stamos!)

Fireworks, 9:07pm

More Information: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalmall4th/things-to-do.htm

Manassas – Celebrate America, 3-10pm

Bike decorating contest, concessions, fireworks and more!

More Information: http://visitmanassas.org/event/celebrate-america-2/

Manassas Park 4th of July at Signal Hill Park

Food trucks and fireworks

More Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1153246748192037/

Missing out on the Fourth festivities but need your fireworks fill? The Old Town Alexandria Birthday celebration on July 13th is another fun way to celebrate!

https://www.alexandriava.gov/recreation/info/default.aspx?id=104804

#fourthofjuly #fourthfestivities #fit4momlsbwknova

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"Robin’s positive personality and energy makers her an amazing run club coach. Having her support and motivation, I’ve been able to get back to my pre-pregnancy running pace much quicker than I ever thought. I now look forward to waking up early on Sunday Mornings!" - Heather Groth, Run Club and Stroller Strides Mama

“Robin is an awesome run club coach! She is so motivating- so positive and enthusiastic. I really look forward to spending Sunday mornings with her and Missy!” - Jen Conrad, Run Club and Body Back Mama

"Robin is a wonderful Run Club coach, she is very patient and works with all level runners. She is very energetic makes run club so much fun!"- Missy Greely, Run Club Coach

"Robin is an amazing coach! She loves running and shares her enthusiasm with all of us. She is motivating and makes being in Run Club so rewarding!" - Becky Krispin, Team Member and Run Club Mama

1. Who are the members of your family?

I am married to Matt and we have two children. Noah will be 5 next week and Abigail will be 3 in August.

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

I am originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL. When I was 17, I moved to Santa Barbara, CA to attend college and lived there for 14 years. Then, we moved to Ann Arbor, MI for one year while my husband completed his Master’s degree and finally, we landed in NoVa. We have lived in NoVa for six years and plan to stay.

3. Where do you typically teach?

Run Club meets at a different location every week so you can find me anywhere from Occoquan to Springfield. You can also find me subbing for Shannon’s Tuesday and Friday night Body Back classes at Link Family Fitness.

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

Four years ago, I met Shannon at an open house at Lorton Station when my son was only 9 months old. I was sleep deprived and out of shape, but after the class, I had so much more energy. Everyone I met was so nice and I knew that joining this village was something that I needed. I was hooked. Shannon approached me about being an instructor when I was pregnant with Abigail, but I was not ready. When Abigail was about a year old, Shannon asked me if I would consider coaching Run Club and I jumped on board. I have always loved running and I wanted to help give back to the village that gave me so much. I enjoyed teaching so much that I decided to get certified to become a Stroller Strides instructor and a Body Back coach.

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

I love something about teaching every class. At Stroller Strides, I love watching all the moms interact with their babies. I love the process of designing classes around all the fun children’s songs. At Run Club and Body Back, I love seeing mom’s push themselves and meet their goals.

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

I love to see moms accomplish something that they never thought possible whether it is running their first race or meeting their pushup goal.

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

I truly believe that maternal mental health is important at all stages of parenthood. It is important to take care of your body with healthy food and exercise and be part of a village that is supportive. Fit4Mom provides a safe place for moms to take care of themselves and I like to be part of facilitating this process.

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I am trying to focus on strength training. I love cardio exercises like running and plyometrics, but if I do not make strength training part of my routine, I tend to be more prone to injury.

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

I was a beach lifeguard for 7 summers when I lived in CA.

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

Before staying home with my two children, I taught high school and middle school history and English. In August, I will return to teaching high school English and will step down as a Fit4Mom instructor. It has been a wonderful experience to be both an instructor and client with Fit4Mom and I will truly miss being part of this wonderful community. I’m hoping to return as a client once I get settled into my new routine.

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"Amy is amazing! No matter what’s going on in her life she’s committed to coming to class and giving 200% every single time. She always has a kind word to say, she is super motivating, and she does an awesome job keeping the energy high in class. When I first started teaching, she was so kind as to offer words of encouragement about how the class went. I will never forget how gratifying it was to have a long time client take time out of her day to message telling you she loved class, or meditation, or whatever. That is just the type of mama she is, handling her own (and rocking it) and looking out for others as well." - Liviya Piccione-Sand, Body Back Instructor

"Amy is a Rockstar! She works hard and is sure to take time for herself each week, despite having 3 kids (including a set of twins!) and an intense job. She has little time for herself, yet makes sure that her health is a top priority. On top of that, she is truly one of the kindest people I know. She is always motivating others, shows up and gives 110%, and has a great sense of humor. I love having her in class each week!" - Jenna Parkhurst, Body Back Instructor

" ‘Do we have any weights heavier than 10lbs?’ This is what Amy asked me at a recent Body Back class. Thinking back to Amy’s very first class in January 2018, she told me she didn’t think she could do 20 reps with those 10lb weights. Look at you now, Amy! I am so proud of how hard you have worked. Your strength and more important your confidence is at an all time high! You always prioritize time for your health but also enjoy life and have mastered that balance. I love seeing you in class and seeing your determination as you push yourself a little past comfortable! We are so lucky to have have you as part of our village! But don’t worry, I’ll have those 15lb weights for you next class;)." - Krista Long, Body Back Instructor

"Amy is one of the most determined women that I have ever met. She is my superhero mom. Nearly 5 years of being a client, I have seen her go through many phases, changes, and struggles and has ended them all in success! She makes it all look so easy. Being a mom of three littles under the age of five is quite the task. With little Mr. Z she was a first-time mom, and oh, by the way, also working on her PhD. I was so proud of her once she graduated. Over the last year, I have seen her make the most positive transformation of all. Body Back has given her so much confidence, strength, and empowerment to help her realize what she is made of! I’m so grateful to have her in my life." - Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

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

My family includes my husband, Matthew, my 4.5-year-old son, Zachary, and my twins, Max and Madison (Maddie), who are almost 2.5. We also live with our amazing au pair, Maxmiliana, who is originally from Brazil. I am originally from Long Island, NY, and much of my family still lives up there. I’ll always consider myself a New Yorker, even though we’ve lived in Northern Virginia for 13 years now.

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

My first Fit4Mom class was all the way back in January 2015 when Zachary was about 9 weeks old. It was when Shannon had just started her franchise a few months prior, so we were a small group doing Stroller Strides at Melina’s Dancing Garden in Lorton. I was desperate to work out and get back in shape and also to connect with other moms. I remember thinking that the moms seemed so friendly and had clearly formed some great friendships already, and I desperately wanted to be a part of that community. I remember that Shannon talked with me at Great Harvest after class and was so welcoming and kind, and the rest is history!

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

I began doing Body Back when the twins were about 1, and I never looked back! I adore Body Back and try to sneak in as many classes a week as I can. You can almost always find me at the Kingstowne My Gym location on Tuesday and Friday mornings (shout out to my #crazymorningcrew) and Wednesday evenings, and I also try to go to the Saturday morning Lorton class as much as I can.

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

I am the Director of Curriculum and Product Development for a small educational publishing company. I work 25-30 hours a week and am blessed to work from home. We create curriculum and other materials to teach beginning and struggling readers how to read. Although it is often stressful, it is amazing to have a flexible work schedule, and I try to balance work with the kids’ activities as much as I can.

What are 3 of your favorite things?

I love good coffee, a good workout, and the beach!

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

I would probably take a marathon nap, and then watch one of my favorite shows while sipping a hot cup of coffee (or maybe a glass of wine) and eating a treat!

What has being a mom taught you?

Being a mom has taught me so much about patience and about letting things go. Letting go of things has never been easy for me, but when we had three under three, I realized that I just couldn’t hang onto and stress about every single thing. I still struggle with this notion, but I try so hard to focus on the good things and remember that no mom is perfect, but every mom is perfect for her children.

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

When the twins were a few months old and I was pumping breastmilk like a maniac all day, every day, I had a very embarrassing (and gross!) experience. I had a big bag of pumped milk, maybe 8 oz. – it was in one of those breastmilk storage zip-top bags. I had it in my hand and was going to put it in the fridge, and then all of a sudden, it was gone. I looked EVERYWHERE for that darn bag for days, and I could not find it! A few days later, while I was heading someplace in the car, I realized my purse was wet. Turns out, I had shoved the milk into my purse for some reason, and it had spilled allllllll over everything. I definitely cried over the spilled (and smelly!!) milk that day!

Any words of wisdom for other moms?

My biggest recommendation, especially for new moms, is to get out of the house when your kids are young. Things can be so monotonous and stressful when you’re stuck inside, but if you can get them out into the sunshine, the mall, the library, or a Stroller Strides class, it will make all of you feel so much better. Whenever my kids are totally nuts and I feel like I’m about to explode, I try to think of someplace to go and something to do, even if it’s just a quick walk outside. It’s good for you and for them!

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

My favorite thing about Fit4Mom is that there is something for every stage of motherhood. My Fit4Mom journey began with Stroller Strides, but now Body Back gives me what I need to keep myself healthy and strong. No matter which program works best for your lifestyle, you have a great community of other Fit4Mom moms who are there to share the journey with you. I would tell a mom who is thinking about joining to absolutely try it. It will give her a reason to get out of the house and a chance to connect with other moms, and it will likely be the beginning of some long-lasting friendships. Getting out the door is the hardest part; once you’re there, it’s easy!

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Goodbyes are never easy, especially when they mean sending someone an ocean away. To know Stephanie was a true gift. Her kindness, generosity, and genuine love for all the moms will be missed!

"I’ll miss the great enthusiasm Stephanie always brings to her classes. She’s awesome with the kiddos, being sure to acknowledge all of them with smiles and tickles. I’ll also miss her how genuine she is with everyone." – Candace Prabhaker, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Stephanie is one of my favorite instructors! She's friendly and welcoming. For me, her workouts are just challenging enough and I always looked forward to attending her classes. I will miss her dearly!" – Amy Rosner, Stroller Strides Mama

"Stephanie is super creative with classes and she’s always got something new up her sleeve for us and the kiddos. She keeps us working hard and engaged and the kids happy." – Kayla Lyon, Fit4Mom Instructor

"Stephanie is a great instructor and so much fun to be around. Her great workouts and positive energy will be missed." – Kylie Powell, Stroller Strides Mama

"Stephanie is a fearless instructor! The variety of workouts she brings is greatly appreciated. Love how engaging she is with the nuggets and how encouraging she is for the mamas. Plus, her positive attitude is so contagious! You see her smile and know it's going to be a great class. Thank you, Stephanie! You will be missed." – Che’ Jones, Stroller Strides Mama

"We were so lucky to have Stephanie on our team this past year. When she first came to us with her two little guys she had no idea how much she would fall in love with FIT4MOM. She had tried several other workout groups and ours one her heart! We've been so blessed to watch Hayden and WIlliam grow up with all of their Stroller Strides buddies. We are sad to see Stephanie and her family leave, yet duty calls and her husband has orders to Italy! We wish her well and hope to keep in touch via social media throughout their time there. And maybe, just maybe, they'll end up back here - a woman can wish, right?!?!? Good luck girl - you are truly amazing!" – Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

And what has Fit4Mom meant to Stephanie?

"I have had the hardest time trying to summarize all the things I love about Fit4Mom and this village of amazing mamas! My youngest, William, was just a couple months old when I rolled our stroller into my first Stroller Strides class. I had no idea at the time how much my life (as well as my boys') was about to change for the better that day. We had been living in NOVA for about a year at that point and I could not wait to leave. Then, I found this group of women who like to work out together and so much more. I have made lifelong mama friends and have watched my boys grow up next to their friends. Seeing all the little babies and kids grow and learn together has been one of my favorite parts. Not many know this, but I have lost over 50lbs since I was pregnant. I owe that all to this amazing and supportive group of ladies! The scale may read a little less, but my heart is so much bigger! I will miss these mamas and kiddos so much! Ciao!" - Stephanie Curl, Instructor

#fit4momlsbwknova #instructorgoodbye #militaryfamily #Italyadventure

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"Oh, I will always remember the first time meeting Krista - I was in awe. Two- year old in tow, working out hard even while 5 months pregnant with Abby. She amazed me with her calm demeanor and making motherhood look so effortless. We quickly began discussing team positions, and shortly after, Krista became my play group captain at Springfield Town Center. Every week was a new adventure for the kiddos to explore and express themselves. Once Abby joined her family, Krista made the decision to move up to teaching Stroller Strides, also added Body Back, and most importantly even took on the role of Client Relations Manager - whoa nellie, talk about overload. Oh, did I mention she also has her own side hustle of being a doTerra representative? This woman - I will never know how she kept it all together. I couldn't have run my business without her help on the backside, the side that clients never see. The countless hours of answering emails, following up with people, finding new ways to meet moms, for putting up with me as her boss. Wow, just wow! Over the years it has been a pleasure to have Krista on my team and I thank her every day for everything she gives to the team and village of mamas! THANK YOU KRISTA <3," - Shannon Link, Franchise Owner

"Krista is an amazing Fit4mom instructor! Her classes are super creative (my child loves watching the chaos of the clothespin game), fun, and I always leave feeling like I got a great workout. Her positive energy is contagious and so appreciated on Monday mornings!!" – Jessica Carrillo, Springfield Playgroup Captain

"I always know I’m in for a hard workout when Krista teaches! She is always energetic and pushes us to work hard, I am almost always sore the day after her class and I love it!" – Caitlin Crawford, Stroller Strides Mama

"Krista is a great instructor who pushes you out of your comfort zone, while also recognizing that some days are a struggle, so I love that she always encourages everyone to workout at their level of comfort! I look forward to starting my Monday mornings with her because I know I’m going to get a good workout in that will set the tone for the rest of the week!" – Melissa DAvilar, Stroller Strides and Body Back Mama

1. Who are the members of your family?

My husband, Mike, and daughters, Christine (5y/o) and Abigail (3 y/o).

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

I am from upstate NY (Seneca Falls) but we’re military and have been in NoVa for almost 4 years!

3. Where do you typically teach?

I teach Stroller Strides on Mondays at Springfield Town Center and Body Back at Link Family Fitness in Lorton on the Saturday rotation. You’ll find me subbing in some of the early morning Body Back classes too😊

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

We moved to NoVa in August 2015. I was pregnant with Abby and quickly realized I needed a village. So I joined FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa in December 2015 and loved it! Shannon offered me the position as Playgroup Captain in Springfield a few months later and I was super excited! Then, Abby was born and I just felt so stuck with the baby weight when she was about 10 months. So I decided to do Body Back Transformation. I loved everything about it, so I talked to Shannon about becoming an instructor and here I am 2 years later:)

5. What is your favorite thing to teach?

I love both programs but for different reasons! I love teaching Stroller Strides because of the mom to baby interaction – the smiles, the giggles, and the love. I love teaching Body Back because I get to see how proud moms are when they are working towards their goals, when they do something they couldn’t just a few weeks earlier and when they reach their goals! The best thing is watching that mom’s confidence increase week to week – she walks taller and smiles wider!

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

Leading a group of moms working out together and seeing them encourage one another to keep going! Hearing them cheer one another on and seeing the high 5s. It’s also experiencing the hugs and ‘you’ve got this!’ when we encounter obstacles. I love this community of supportive women all working to be the best version of themselves!

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

I am so thankful that I found this village when we moved to NoVa and I want to give other mom’s that same experience – a safe, non-judgmental space to connect with other moms and get their workout in. And maybe I love when moms tell me they are sore from my classes. HaHa!

8. What is one of your current wellness goals?

I am working on decreasing my run time! I can’t wait for Strides 360 to start up so I can do the speed, agility and quickness drills. Woo Hoo!

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

I was in the Army for over 8 years and I love DIYs!

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

Christine and Abby help me plan my Stroller Strides classes – they love this village just as much as I do!

#strollerststrides #bodyback #findyourvillage #Fit4momlsbwknova #smallbusinessowner #strongmama