⭐ Team Spotlight ⭐
Get to know our amazing Franchisee, SHANNON LINK!
We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at FIT4MOM LSBWK NoVa, and we want you to get to know a little more about our fearless leader. So for January, we'll put the spotlight on Shannon Link, Franchisee, Fit4Mom LSBWK NoVa.
Read on to get to know more about Shannon and her journey with FIT4MOM.
1. Who are the members of your family?
Myself, my hubby, Jeff, my oldest, Chelsea (I can’t believe I have a 26 year old!) and our little Julia (she’ll be FIVE in February!).
2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in NoVa?
My story began in Kaiserslautern Germany in 1972! I was born and raised there. I decided to stay until adulthood and then moved away after 31 years to Wales, UK with my second husband. Fortunately, that marriage didn’t work out either (it’s a long story) so I up and moved to Chesapeake, VA in 2007 with Chelsea (my then 15 year old) – new beginnings all over again! That is where I met Jeff in 2009. I got married (again!) and we moved around on his military orders. We decided to have a child together in our late ages of 40(me) & 50(him) – that’s how little Miss Julia came about <3
3. Where do you typically teach?
Well, that’s easy…………EVERYWHERE!!!!! My regular schedule includes teaching Body Back in Woodbridge & Lorton, but I also teach Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre at each location at least once a month so I can meet ALL THE MOMS!
4. Tell us your story about how/why you became the franchisee for Fit4Mom LSBWK NoVa.
As you already know I decided ‘late’ in life to have another child, and let me tell you, THINGS HAVE CHANGED SO, SO, SO MUCH IN 21 YEARS!
All of my friends had college age kiddos and they couldn’t relate to what I was going through being a new mom all over again. They didn’t care about sleep deprivation, nursing (leaky boobs), pelvic floor issues, stinky diapers and all the other GLORIOUS things that us ‘new’ moms have to deal with on a daily basis.
In my first six weeks at home, I felt alone, I felt depressed, I felt like I had maybe made the wrong decision by having a child so late in life, but then it happened … STROLLER STRIDES was recommended to me by a random Facebook acquaintance (a friend that went to High School with my hubs!). She let me know that her niece started her own FIT4MOM franchise in Severn, MD (where we were stationed!). The franchise owner was Lisa Christesen.
In April 2013, when I was cleared to exercise again after six weeks, Lisa CHANGED MY LIFE! I met a wonderful group of moms that knew exactly what I was going through. They welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel human again. I was able to communicate with someone in MY language without ‘goo goo ga ga’ sounds. It was just what I needed to get ME back. I attended EVERY Stroller Strides class three days a week. Listen, I even scheduled all of my appointments around getting to class (Sorry doc, can’t do Monday, Wednesday & Fridays – off limits, that’s when I stride with my tribe!).
After 6 months of striding, I decided to take the plunge and join the Body Back Transformation session – another LIFE CHANGER! In 8 weeks, I found nearly all of ME again: I shed 16 inches and lost 15 pounds. I felt so good about myself, again. A few short months later, my husband decided that 34 years of US NAVY active duty service was enough. He retired and we moved to Lorton, VA to be near his family in June of 2014.
My first thoughts were, ‘OH NO!!! There’s no FIT4MOM. What do I do??????’ Well, Jeff the genius that he is, suggested I open my own franchise…and boy did I jump on that! I began my FIT4MOM franchise journey in August of 2014 on a tiny piece of grass at Lorton Station Town Center. And here I am 3 ½ years later representing my franchise in FIVE cities in NoVa with a team of 17 instructors/playgroup captains/social media moms/event planners/team managers/accounts managers. Thank you, Jeff, for your brilliant idea! #allthemoms – we’re here for you! (P.S. I think Jeff regrets suggesting I own a franchise – it takes up a lot of my time!)
5. What is your favorite thing to teach?
Oh goodness, this is so hard to answer, yet easy at the same time. I really enjoy teaching all classes. I love to teach Body Back because it really puts so much focus on just mom – allowing her to take time for herself and to recharge in order to attack the daily life of motherhood with a positive attitude. Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre are so fun because I get to see all the little wee ones smile and laugh for 60 minutes. I love that the kiddos get so much engagement from their mommies during class and this in turn creates happy mamas! One program however I have never taught before, FIT4BABY pre-natal classes. Pregnant mamas intimidate and scare me, so I leave that to my professional team members to teach!
6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor?
Helping moms feel AWESOME about themselves and allowing them to realize they are more than just MOM! They are powerful. They are important. They are worthy of self-care. They give so much day in and day out, and we get to give back to them at each class and they totally deserve it! Go, Mamas, Go!
7. What is your WHY?
I started this business so I could give moms the same strength and positive feelings that I encountered in 2013 after having Julia. I wanted every mom to benefit from what FIT4MOM offers. Being a franchise owner allowed me to ‘work,’ and allows me have fun and be with my child all at the same time. Having Julia with me at every Stroller Strides class means I enhanced her life by giving her new friendships and a lifestyle to emulate. It’s not just about the workouts. It’s the bonds that are forged and the support that is given by each mom in attendance.
8. What is one of your current wellness goals?
I’m fairly fit physically, however, I have a lot of emotional/psychological goals that I am working on. Really what I am trying to find is some balance, which is funny, because in class I always say ‘you may never find balance as a mom.’ And here I am trying my best to achieve it. So this year what I am going to work on is being PRESENT! I want to be more present in each task at hand; i.e. being mindful when I’m with Julia that she needs ME! Being mindful of when I’m with my husband – he needs me too!
9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you?
Oh my, there are many, so here are a few: I know how to make balloon animals. I am a certified forklift operator. I can stick out my belly so much so that I look pregnant again. I speak and write fluent German. I enjoy singing Karaoke songs. And I love to ride my Harley Davidson! Well, some of those you may already know if you follow me on Facebook! LOL
10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know?
Mamas, each and every one of you deserve to live life to its fullest. Make yourself a priority! Your family needs a strong role model in all aspects of life, including self-care. You want your children to emulate and copy what you do. Always remember no matter what your teaching style, you’re doing a GREAT JOB BEING MOM TO YOUR CHILDREN!
Check back in February for our next team member spotlight.
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