Sometimes one of the drawbacks of having kids is finding time for new moms to get back into shape.
However, there is a now an organization in the northwest Georgia offering a solution.
Fit4Mom Chattanooga held its first class at Ringgold’s Jack Mattox Park this past Wednesday morning and nearly 50 moms and moms-to-be - with toddlers in strollers in tow - met to laugh, share stories and most of all, get healthy.
Jackson, Tenn. native Rachel McClellan is the Chattanooga franchise owner. A former collegiate and professional volleyball player, McClellan was an instructor in the Chicago Fit4Mom franchise before moving to the Scenic City with her family about two years ago.
“There wasn’t a Fit4Mom here (at the time),” she said. “It took me a year, but I figured out a way able to buy a franchise with a partner and we launched in Chattanooga on Oct. 22, 2016. We’ve been running classes at Coolidge Park and Imagination Station and Catoosa County contacted us and asked if we wanted to bring our classes to north Georgia. We had about 10 clients already (in this area), so I knew there was a demand.”
McClellan said the company was started up by a mom and fitness professional, who was unable to take her baby to the gym all day while she taught classes.
“So she rounded up a bunch of moms in her neighborhood and started something called Stroller Strides about 16 years ago in California,” McClellan explained.
Today, Fit4Mom now has over 1,500 classes nationwide. They offer programs such as Fit4Baby, which helps women strengthen their bodies during pregnancy. The popular Stroller Strides program is what McClellan calls “high intensity interval training”.
“We warm up and have a little ice breaker to get to know everyone,” she explained. “The kids stay in their strollers and we move around the park and do five (exercise) stations. We like to say it’s a walking class with a running option. We also use resistance bands for a full-body toning workout.
“The kids get to have fun too. We sing to them and entertain them with bubbles and weekly play dates. We also have Moms’ Night Out and Moms on a Mission charity events every quarter.”
McClellan said her goal for her business was to have 20 members within a year. However, Fit4Mom Chattanooga far exceeded that number as they have signed up 80 members in the first 10 months of operation.
“The response from the moms of Chattanooga has been far beyond what I could have imagined,” she added. “But the really cool part about it is that your kids and your babies get to stay with you. They get to see momma being healthy and taking care of herself. Maybe she’s less stressed out on days when she gets to work out and maybe she feels like a better mom by taking care of herself a little bit.”
Catoosa County Parks and Recreation Athletics Director Adam Wilson said having Fit4Mom at Jack Mattox is a win-win situation.
“We want Jack Mattox Park to be utilized more and more, so it’s a great opportunity for people to come out and use the park at times when it’s not being used as much,” he said. “It also gives new moms an opportunity to join a class and network with other new or expectant moms and get back in shape.”
McClellan said that classes would run at Jack Mattox at 9:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday moving forward, adding that the county has offered several indoor locations to use in the case of cold or inclement weather.