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As a mom you sometimes see those other moms whom you're in awe of. You know them. They keep their cool when things get crazy. They do things like rock a triple stroller with their toddler son and newborn twins. That's Carolyn Drum. I'm in awe of her. So are so many of our moms. She was nominated to be the September, 2017 Mom of the Month. We are also all in awe of her oldest son Teddy. He rides propped up like a boss on that triple stroller. Read more about this awesome mom and her growing brood of boys.

Name: Carolyn Drum

Age: 33

Hometown: Naperville, IL

Family: Husband, Jonathan, married 7 and 1/2 years Teddy, age 3 James, 4 months (older twin by 2 minutes) Benjamin , 4 months

Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, BS in Mechanical Engineering

Career: "Now that I'm a mom I work as a part-time Program Manager for John Deere. Before kids I worked as a Design Engineer for John Deere Construction and then Program Manager for John...

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I loved my Facebook feed in the last few weeks. I scrolled and scrolled through pictures of smiling little ones holding signs or chalkboards. Some were a little apprehensive of the new year, but smiling. I love fall. I love the fresh start of a new school year. While the carefree days of summer may be fun, I long for the return of the routine to reset us.

Behind every little face, there is a mom who gets a fresh start too. For us at FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh we begin our fall schedule and have new class offerings. Last Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, I laced up my sneakers at 5:30 am for the first run of Run Club. After a beach weekend with friends to celebrate the end of summer I needed to jump back into my workouts with two feet. (Or put one foot in front of the other, you know what I mean.) We run a 10k together in November. I love seeing how much running stamina our moms gain in eight weeks.

Sunday night I joined our Body Back moms for photos and measurements before the session officially begins Monday. I took photos of moms holding a sign that read "Fall 2017...

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Moms are some soft-hearted, generous folks. This, I know for sure. Over the past 7 years I've seen our moms donate money, pajamas, books, diapers, canned goods, toys and their time to local charities. We even have a robust Meal Train program to support our moms who have babies or medical issues. When there is a need, moms rush in to fill it. This is a beautiful picture of community and I'm proud to be raising my children in the heart of it. To top it off, there is joy and deep satisfaction in the giving ... maybe even more than in the receiving!

This week we're coming together to #Sweat4Texas with a community HIIT class for moms (aka Body Back) at the North Hills Farmers Market on Saturday, 9/9 at 8am. Class is free with a suggested donation of $10. You can bring cash, checks, or make a donation at...

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I kept trying to keep my kids babies. I kept thinking they'd stay little, but alas, they are off to preschool and busy with homework in First Grade. Babies don't keep and kids are tough to keep up with. So, Friday will be my last Stroller Strides class on the regular schedule for awhile. I'm sad. I love being a Stroller Strides Instructor. It's good because I can focus on my new role as a Body Back Instructor, but it's still hard. I'll be around to fill in as a sub for Stroller Strides, but it still feels like a chapter closing for me.

In celebration I asked our moms for some of their favorite Stroller Strides moments, the nice things and the funny things that make change hard. Here are some:

  • "The ducks that sneak up on us as we stretch at Pullen Park."
  • "Getting coffee at Starbucks at North Hills after class."
  • "The 'Question of the Day' being 'Who's your celebrity crush?'"
  • "When your son yells 'Wall!' and points to the wall after he catches you taking a quick break from a wall sit."
  • "Deciding to potty train my toddler at 38 weeks...
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You may have seen this little girl for a long time in our Village. Her eyes sparkle when she lets loose her great laugh. This is Julia, She's our Instructor Elaine's oldest daughter. The thing is, she's not so little anymore. Wednesday was her last Stroller Strides class before Kindergarten begins next week.

Our focus is often on our moms. We want every mom to not only get a great workout, but feel the love and support from our Village. We celebrate our moms' victories and soothe them after defeats. Babies grab our attention too. We celebrate their arrivals, oogle their cuteness and quickly try to dry their tears.

This post is about the big kids. They are often the unsung heroes of our village. You know them. They're the age 5 and up crowd.

Their chubby legs and drooly smiles peeking out of strollers have been replaced by lanky limbs and loose teeth. They only come to Stroller Strides every so often to relive a little of their past, or because mom made them because she needs a workout. Many of them have been coming to class since they were tiny babies. Their...

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We run with strollers. We run without strollers. We run together. We run on our own. We run to improve our times. We run to race. Sometimes we don't run at all, but walk. Regardless of when we run, every mom has her own ideas about how to make a run better.

We love it when we can share with you tips straight from our moms. So here are some ideas for your runs, from moms who lace up and tackle the streets and trails of Raleigh all the time.

  • "Pick tunes you like that will keep you motivated if you choose to run with headphones. Apps like Spotify will pick songs to match your pace if you program it. Wireless headphones are great! No cord slowing you down!"
  • "Raleigh's Greenways! But, I don't love running them alone except for certain areas."
  • "I like to run neighborhoods where there's not a lot of traffic."
  • "Carry water in this humidity."
  • "Hydrate a lot, hours before so you don't have a very full stomach."
  • "Carry a small golf or hand towel to mop up the sweat."
  • "I love a Flipbelt for holding my phone and car key when...
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This month we can't wait to introduce you to a mom who will get you running this fall and keeps us smiling in Body Back. Read on to find out how "cheesy" Sabrina Day really is.

1. Name- Sabrina Day

2. Age- 36

3. Family- Married to husband Rick for 8 years. They have one son, Owen, age 3.

4. Hometown- Williamsburg, VA

5. Education- Bachelor's degree in Biology from Mary Washington College and a Master's in Nutrition from Meredith College

6. Career- "For the most part I have been a project manager. I started at a Biotech company and my last job before having Owen was at a local food startup (more of a technology company) in Cambridge, MA."

7. What brought you to FIT4MOM?- "I had heard of FIT4MOM and was familiar with some of the classes but my first workout with the group was Running Club in the Fall of 2015. The main thing that drew me to this particular coached run was that everyone else was also a mom....

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I’ve decided to train for a half marathon this fall. To some people, this may not seem like any big whoop, but to me, 13.1 miles is sort of scary.

What am I worried about? In short, a lot. I’m definitely not the quickest runner. I tire easily, and I am pretty sure that I am going to require more pee breaks than the other mamas in my crew. My stomach clenches when I see our prescribed training schedule because I’m not quite sure I will have the time or the chutzpah to make it through my midweek runs. I’d say that I am in it for the free t-shirt, but honestly, I don't even like that performance-y sweat-wicking fabric that they make race shirts in.

No, I am running for other reasons, both easy and hard to explain. I think part of why I’m running is because I like gold stars, and I want to feel the accomplishment of a job well-done. A bigger part of me is running because I just want to, gosh darnit. As a mother, I am continually in service to my family. Most of what I do, I do with overwhelming gratitude. But still, the call to do something for myself is one that I have...

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Yep, yep, here at FIT4MOM we're the local and national experts on prenatal and post natal fitness. Humble brag? Nah. Truth. But sometimes we have to take a break from the serious business of restoring our core to it's pre-baby glory (haha) to laugh, cry, commiserate and celebrate the things that only another mother will understand. Last week we had a little fun on social media that we thought we'd share.

Our Facebook moms had 24 hrs to share a hashtag from phrase that they, as mothers, say all the time. We give you the results of "Not Your Mama's...

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This week we have guest blogger. Dr. Amy Moore, our favorite Physical Therapist known as "Mommy PT" is here! This post was originally posted on her site and we're so excited to share solutions for this all too common problem here!

“I peed on myself during barre class. Thank God it was just a little sprinkle but man, I was mortified.”

Guess what ladies? You aren’t alone. One in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of involuntary urinary leakage¹. While leaking is crazy common, it’s definitely not normal. You were potty-trained back in the day so why is this problem popping into your life again? Why are you peeing when you laugh, sneeze, cough, lift, run, jump and basically, MOVE? Goodbye sexy panties, hello panty liners and disposable briefs for the rest of your life…

Stop!!! Kick those worries to the curb, my fellow gf’s! Contrary to what the media and adult diaper industry wants you to believe, there’s help. But first, let’s “myth bust”...

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Hey, Ladies! It's Azure, you may have seen me in class with the orange Double BOB Stroller and 3 crazy boys. Some of you may not know that in addition to being an avid Stroller Strider, I'm also an Occupational Therapist. While I'm taking a little break from striding I'm starting a business with my friend and fellow OT, Miel Binford.

Skill-by-Skill is offering group occupational therapy services to preschool age kids in order to cut costs and provide fun and effective therapeutic intervention. Our focus is fine motor, sensory and social skill training for children with or without therapeutic needs.

Sensory processing is the way the nervous system receives and interprets information to produce motor and behavioral responses. Sensory processing has become an area of difficulty for many children and there are some great activities you can do to support the sensory system as your child develops. Sensory play promotes attention, self-regulation, connects neural pathways, and can improve sleep!

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Is there anything better than fresh peaches in the summer?! I mean, besides getting quality time with our kiddos out of school and family vacations, of course...

This recipe is the perfect summertime dessert, so easy, so quick, AND it's inexpensive. Try our favorite summer fruit on the grill, and your next BBQ is sure to be a hit for both littles and adults!

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 peaches (use 1/2 peach per person as your shopping list/prep guide)
  • ground cinnamon
  • optional, coconut sugar
  • optional, fresh mint, chopped finely
  • Chosen Foods coconut or avocado oil

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat BBQ to 350-400 degrees F
  2. Wash peaches and cut them in half, removing the pits and stems
  3. Use sprayable coconut or avocado oil and spray insides of peaches until evenly and lightly coated
  4. Sprinkle each top of peach (the flat inside not the furry outside that you just sprayed) with ground cinnamon and coconut sugar
  5. Set...
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic strawberries, washed & sliced
  • 1 cup organic blueberries, washed & left whole
  • Optional: ice
  • A water pitcher for serving

Directions:

  1. Add water to pitcher
  2. Add berries
  3. Add ice
  4. Serve and enjoy!
  5. Optional garnish: mint

Repost from blog.fit4mom.com/berry-easy-4th-of-july-fruit-recipes

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This week we have a guest blogger! We welcome Carrie Banks, a CAPPA certified postpartum doula. This post was originally on Emerald Doulas.

Editor's Note and Trigger Warning: The following blog post is a very personal account of a mother's experience with a Perinatal Mood Disorder, written by Emerald Doula Carrie Banks. This post may be triggering for some, and includes descriptions of her physical and emotional symptoms, as well as her path to recovery. If you are currently experiencing a PMAD, please reach out for support either by contacting us for resources and help, or by contacting your care provider.

The anxiety felt like a big, cold snake coiled in my core—just beneath my ribcage. It never left, but sometimes it would writhe. When I had an acute panic attack, I couldn’t breathe; my hands would go numb, and I could not stop the tears falling from my wide eyes down my unmoving face.

I...

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Headed out on a vacation (or, if you take your kids with you, a "family trip")? Use this quick body-weight-only HIIT routine to squeeze in a workout wherever you are!

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"What books are ya'll reading right now?" I posed that question to the moms in my Stroller Strides class this week after posting it on the Facebook page. I got some fun answers. Some bleary-eyed moms of newborns laughed and said, "Reading!?" Toddler moms chimed in with a chuckle, "Um, 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar?" I have to admit that I am currently reading "Junie B. Jones" to my six year-old and I read a Paw Patrol book to my three year-old nearly everyday.

Of course we love reading books to our children, but what about us? What are we as moms reading for us? Need some ideas for summer reading? Here are recommendations from our moms and instructors for you. You'll notice some repeats. Anyone is welcome to borrow my copy of "Big Little Lies."

  • "Serious, life-changing, thought-provoking novel? 'Americanah'

    Lighter? Funny? Still great? 'The Rosie Project.'"

  • "I just started reading 'Girls' Weekend' by Cara Sue Achterberg. It's about three moms who are friends and they plan a weekend...

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It's June! Wow, summer already! We're in the second half of the year. It is now entirely acceptable to use Santa as a threat. June also means we at FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh have started our summer schedule. This mostly means we move 10:00 a.m. Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre classes up to 9:30 a.m.

That is of course because of the heat. Warm weather and humidity are part of life in the summer, especially in central North Carolina, but we really try to make sure you still get great workouts in the summer months.

Here are tips and tricks from our Instructor Team to keep you cool:

  • "Put the kids in their bathing suits before coming to class at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Let them run in the little fountains after class. They'll love it! I bring beach towels and a change of clothes for the car. They play so hard they'll fall asleep on the way home, usually. Don't forget Crocs or other water shoes because the water is over gravel."
  • "Clip fan for stroller."
  • "1/2 gallon jug of water that I put in the freezer an hour before...
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At one point during the last eight weeks I was sweaty and my foot hurt. I thought surely my toes were going to light on fire and burn through my new running shoes. I was heading up another hill during our FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh Running Club. I thought, "I'm just not a runner. I don't think I'll do this again. I'll do the race and then I'm done."

My coworker and Running Club instructor Elaine, sent me the purchase order the month before with a note that said, "Just do it Amy. Just sign up." I told my husband that I wanted to train to run a 10k. I was running a lot in our neighborhood last spring and summer but I had never had any formal run training nor had I ever run a timed race. Of course he was wonderfully supportive and for two months we juggled kids between his workout and Running Club.

Elaine alternated training sites between the North Carolina Museum of Art and Kiwanis Park. I loved Tuesdays at Kiwanis Park because it was luxuriously flat and shaded. I learned flat paths and shade can be described as "luxurious" because they are luxuries for runners. While...

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Not too long ago, I was engaged in a long text conversation with a good friend. As always, we worked our way into a discussion of exercise and weight loss and the conversation quickly grew into numbers talk. She threw out her current weight and told me how she can’t seem to get past that number despite her intense running regime.

Since she was so quick to tell me her weight, I started spouting off some numbers of my own. I was shocked to realize that we both had been playing this numbers game for a long, long time. Both of us at 40+ years old could articulate our exact weights on the day we graduated high school, the day we got married, 6 months after we delivered our first babies…and so on. And learning that I had a kindred spirit in this madness was both comforting and sad at the same time.

The luxury of worrying about your weight each day is a problem reserved for people who probably aren’t thinking about much more serious problems, like survival. No one has to tell me this is a first world problem of the royal kind. Still, the fact that I’ve spent the past 30+...

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I guess I forgot to grab the “How-To” manual at the hospital that stated all the do’s and don’ts of motherhood, or actually just the right’s and wrong’s that this little tribe of know-it-all moms put in place for us new moms to follow.

I was born Ashley Ryan “Blunt” Pierce married a Thorsen, but “Blunt” never left my name or personality. Fault me for being honest at times but that’s exactly what I will be. I am finding it somewhat difficult as a new mom to be “nice blunt” as opposed to “not nice blunt” when someone gives me their unsolicited parenting advice.

It must be a rite of passage. At least one time during motherhood, a mother’s skill about how they are raising their children is analyzed. To these “SNOM’s” I will call them, it seems we’re just not cutting the mustard. “SNOM” is my own term for snobby moms, and boy, are they are out there. A couple of times since being a new mom these situations have come up and I am still figuring out the best way to direct my tongue that for years has been full of sarcasm, wit and jokes.

Just the other day... (we will...

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Moms, have you noticed an uptick in your emails from FIT4MOM in recent days? Maybe they went to your spam filter? Your "Promotions" filter in Gmail, perhaps? Don't ignore them this time! (Don't kid us, we know you can't get to all the emails. Ha!) We'd love it if you did, but we totally understand if some go unread. Someday we'll all have empty inboxes and have a glass of wine to celebrate.

Don't miss the emails marked "Month of Mama." Seriously, there is some amazing stuff in there.

What is "Month of Mama?" Glad you asked. It's a national initiative by FIT4MOM going on all over the country this month. This is a full 30 Day Wellness Guide created for busy moms by busy moms. Why May? Because it's the month of Mother's Day! It's YOUR month, girl! You deserve to take care of you and maybe get some free goodies along the way.

When you sign up for FREE you get the following:

  • An easy to follow NUTRITION & RECIPE GUIDE courtesy of...
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This is a FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh first! For Mom of the Month we're featuring two amazing Body Back moms and they're in the same family! You'll find new mom, Durya sweating it out in the early mornings for her second Body Back session. She rocked it in her first session this winter and inspired her mother-in-law to join us! Dalal keeps us laughing in the mid-morning session this spring. A proud grandma, she always has a cute grandbaby picture to show off! They live in the same house and can support each other this whole journey. Read on to find out more about how two generations are coming together to get fit!

Name- Durya Chaudhary

Age- 30

Hometown- Born in Europe and moved all around. Lived in California and now Raleigh.

Family- Married 2 1/2 years to husband Alaa, an Operations Manager for a sneaker company. They have a one year-old daughter.

Education- Graduate of UCLA and formerly a teacher who taught 4th through 8th grades.

Name- Dalal...

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Oh, hey. Wow. It feels good to be back here. I've had a lot of life going on . Like, A LOT of life. Everyone in my house had the flu, including me. Like, full-blown Influenza. It was awful. Then my husband and I traveled out of town to check on an ailing relative. You know, life.

All of this life was not conducive to my workouts or frankly, healthy eating. Raise your hand if you ate too many chocolate eggs on Sunday! I feel like Easter is the new Halloween, but that's a post for another day. Anyway, I was so anxious to get back to workouts and healthy eating.

I got off the plane at 11:30 pm Friday night and was heading to Running Club by 8:30 Saturday morning. I got over the hill from the parking lot at North Carolina Museum of Art and saw Elaine with the runners, warming up and preparing to start. I looked to the right and saw Cindi with the Body Back girls beginning class and I lost it. I cried. All that life came out in tears. I was so happy to be back with my people. I was so glad to be in workout clothes.

My first workout back after two weeks wasn't all...

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We're drowning in Children's Motrin over here. No, it's not the flu. We got tested for all the strains of Influenza not covered by the shot I forced my kids to get back in the fall. It's not strep, so Amoxicillin won't do the job. Nope. It's a waiting game.

Friday I admonished my six year-old for not playing nicer with the other "big kids" after Stroller Strides. I didn't understand why she was clingy and anti-social. When we got home she fell asleep and I took her temperature. 100.6.

If you want to feel better about your parenting, just hang out with me. My poor baby. Four days later and she's still warm, clingy and anti-social.

I had to get another Instructor to cover my Stroller Strides class today. I had to get a workout in. I hate missing class. I REALLY hate missing a Monday. I'm also doing Boost 2.0. That's a group of us Body Back alumnae who are chatting on Facebook and trying to make sure we're all on track as we continue Body Back Boost classes. It's nowhere near the fantastic intensity of a Body Back session, but it's a nice little reminder of good...

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We're so excited to have a crop of fabulous new Instructors! This new Instructor is so dedicated to fitness, she brings her husband to Stroller Strides for Saturday class too! Welcome Ohio native and pregnant mama, Brooke Olexa to the FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh Instructor Team! Here's more about Brooke:

Age- 29

Family- Brooke has been married to her husband Mark for almost four years. He's a Regional Manager for an orthodontics sales company, They have their daughter Meredith, age 1. A second daughter is due June 8. She has the same due date as Meredith!

Hometown- Dayton, Ohio

Education- "For undergrad I went to Ohio University and was a Business Major; I got my Masters in Education from The University of Southern California."

Career- "I use to teach 8th grade Social Studies, but then switched to home schooling for a family (twin boys) and have been doing that part time for the past 3 years. I also tutor all levels in reading and math."

...

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Someone asked me what I do and I explained that I'm a fitness instructor for FIT4MOM and I teach Stroller Strides. Their reply was, "Oh, like a 'Mommy and Me' class. How fun for you! That's neat."

Ew. That felt patronizing.

"Mommy and Me?" I mean, technically, yes for Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre we are a class where you can workout with your child, but the "Mommy and Me" label makes me think of 1990's big-banged ladies in denim maternity jumpers singing nursery rhymes. (Please don't ask me how many different Google searches I did to find an image similar to the one in my mind. I found no worthy pictures.) Somehow the phrase lessens what we do and doesn't show us as modern mothers in 2017 who are striving to improve fitness levels.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive and let me be clear, I'm not knocking anything entitled "Mommy and Me," but we're more.

Let me tell you what I see in the Stroller Strides classes I teach and the Body Back classes I attend. I see "mommies" getting out of the house for the first time. I see them shaking off the...

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I've heard someone say of this month's Mom of the Month, "She IS FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh!" This month we feature a veteran and one of the true hearts of our village. Also, it should be noted that if you need information on great deals on Lilly Pulitzer, or details on the best table centerpiece for your dinner party, Nora Bray is your girl.

I'm teasing her of course. Read on to find out how Nora is so much more than monograms.

Family: Husband John works in software, they've been married 12 years. Cooper is 8, a second grader. Jack is 3 1/2.

Hometown: "I was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, but we moved to Durham when I was 10."

Education: BA in English and Writing with a Minor in Journalism from East Carolina University

Career: "I was a gourmet food and confection broker. That's why I don't eat chocolate. People are like 'Do you eat chocolate all the time?' and I'm like, 'No. I sat in an office with chocolate.'"

...

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We're so excited to be growing our Instructor Team this year! This month we're introducing you to our newest Body Back instructor, Jessica Martin! This North Carolina native and Tar Heel alumna is expecting her second baby and helping more mamas stay fit. Welcome Jessica! Read more about her:

Age- 30!

Family- My husbands name is Brad & we will have been married for 9 years this July. He is an Engineer. Connor, my son just turned 4 at the end of January. He's never met a stranger or been afraid to break into dance in the middle of a group. I'm due with our second child on Aug 6th, 2017. I didn't workout at all when pregnant with Connor so I'm excited to stay active during this pregnancy!

Education- Graduated from the University of North Carolina! Go Tar Heels!

Hometown- Goldsboro NC. However my dad was in the military so we moved around some. Got to spend 6 years living in Japan!

Career- Before I choose to stay at home with Connor I worked with BREC which is the...

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More than two years ago I was on my way to Stroller Strides. I was still in my house at this point, You moms understand where I was at. It was that point where we were almost ready to get in the car, but not quite. I still needed to grab snacks, and shoes. I think I had the stroller in the car at the time, but I'm not sure.

I'd love to have a more exciting story of how I broke my foot, like I was totally killing it doing some traveling burpees in class or during some hard core box jumps along the ledge of the North Hills fountain. Maybe I broke my foot while jogging with the stroller and kicked a vicious dog away from my children.

No. No, I broke my foot getting ready for Stroller Strides after rolling my ankle when I missed a step walking down the steps into my garage. It hurt. Yeah. No Stroller Strides for three months. Even when I got back into it, I still wasn't all back. It took a long time to go full-out all the time. Running hurt where I had the break. My ankles were weak from the tendon tear.

I still wanted to workout. I needed to get strength back. I...

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Wednesday it was raining and cold. I couldn't find my 3 year-old son's Thomas the Tank Engine rain coat. I dropped off my daughter, chilly and wet. I turned out of her school, wipers on high, and headed to teach a midweek Stroller Strides class. I navigated soggy traffic and glanced in the rear view mirror to see that my son had fallen asleep.

It wasn't long after that I heard the unmistakable sound of crunching metal and glass. I slammed on my breaks and swerved to avoid a Honda Civic that had just bounced off of a pickup truck. It was seconds. So fast. I ended up on the curb, next to the vehicles involved in the crash, safe and untouched, but shaken. I hopped out to help the girl in the car who was not hurt, but really upset. After talking with the police officer who thankfully got to the scene very quickly, I let the girl have my umbrella, explained I had to hurry to teach a fitness class, and the officer helped watch traffic as I backed up and got back on the road.

It was still raining and I was shaking as I drove. I realized that if I hadn't swerved the car...

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My three year-old son came into the living room the other day and proudly announced "I do skotts, Mama! See!" That's when he proceeded to bend his knees while bouncing his Pull-Up covered rear end in the air. I chuckled when I realized he was trying to do squats. I said, "Good job, buddy! You crushed those squats!"

I hear his renditions of "Ring Around The Rosy," "Itsy Bitsy Spider," and "Wheels on the Bus" all the time. Of course I would. Those are popular children's songs. But, it's different. My son sings them because he hears those beloved songs at Stroller Strides. He hears his mother breathlessly shout "ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!" at a line of other moms doing bicep curls. He has learned that mommy almost always sings "The Ants Go Marching" while doing walking lunges. I've wondered if the primary way he'll remember these childhood favorites is not from library story time, but from his mother's workouts. One of our moms told me her kids sing "The Stretching Song" every night before bed. It's part of their lives too. They are listening and watching.

My kids see me...

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You'll find our January, 2017 Mom of the Month with a huge smile and a ready laugh at Body Back. This mother of three and Pennsylvania native gets up early and works out hard. Lori Philbin, we're so glad you're part of our village and we're so proud of all you've accomplished during your Body Back journey! Here's more about Lori:

Age: 42

Family: Married 12 years to husband John, a network engineer, Natalie (age 8), Jack (age 6), James (age 1 1/2)

Education: BA in English from Villanova University

Job: Part-time Marketing Consultant working from home

What brought you to FIT4MOM? "I was just really in a slump. I felt sluggish and sad and unhappy with my weight and my health and everything. I just needed to do something more drastic than I had ever done."

How many Body Back sessions have you done? "This is my fourth full session now!" (She started in April, 2016)

Tell us about your Body Back results? "So far I've lost 20...

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I loved being pregnant. Both times. Okay, the first trimester brings its challenges and when I made it past 40 weeks I thought I was going to lose my mind, but overall I liked it.

I see pregnant moms in Stroller Strides now and I'm all at once thrilled for them and jealous of them too. Thrilled because I know the excitement and joy that awaits them and jealous because I didn't get to do Stroller Strides when I was pregnant.

Yeah, I know. I'm a Stroller Strides instructor who didn't workout when she was pregnant. Nope. Not once. I walked the dog a lot and curb galloped to induce labor. (We do not endorse curb galloping. It didn't work, anyways.) I was very busy working full time when I was pregnant both times and didn't make it a priority to seek out classes like FIT4BABY. When a mom announces to us that she's pregnant the first thing that comes out of my mouth is "Congratulations! Oh my gosh, are you gonna do FIT4BABY?!"

Moms who suddenly stop going to Body Back because they're pregnant tell me they...

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Resolutions. Does anyone really like resolving to do anything? It feels so obligatory. In class this week we discussed goals instead. I asked our moms. "What are your goals, both fitness and non-fitness goals in 2017?" Don't call them resolutions! So here they are, in the words of our moms.

2017 Goals of FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh Moms:

"To stick with it!"

"To eat whole and eat cleaner."

"To not argue with my husband."

"More yoga. More patience."

"To do three pull-ups."

"Date night once per month."

"Add yoga to my weekly workout routine."

"Carry a book and read it in place of checking my phone whenever I'm waiting somewhere."

"Potty training! My son. Not me. I'm all set."

"Workout six days a week and one of those days is yoga!"

"I'm not going to say lose weight because when I say it, it's harder! (laughs) So, I'm going to say that I plan to eat better and continue my workouts."

"Eat less sugar!"

"Try to get into pre-baby clothes."

"I'm going to do what my husband said to me on...

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My new favorite thing is walking up to class and seeing not just a fleet of jogging strollers, but a cluster of ponytails with matching headbands. This year we had the privilege of giving our FIT4MOM moms headbands to wear to classes.

I like seeing the bands get sweaty. I like seeing our moms have to take them off to adjust them because we just did a long series of burpees. I like that the kids see them and beg to have one too. Mostly, I love seeing us united with the colorful FIT4MOM logo. It's a symbol of our common goal of living a healthy life as mothers.

I got my band during Body Back. Amanda gave them to us during meditation. All Body Back classes end with meditation. After an intense HIIT class, those few quiet moments are amazing. Amanda gave each of us our headband while she discussed the gifts in our lives. I was so excited the day I got to give my class their bands. We're just so genuinely excited and thankful for all of them that it was exciting to give them a gift for the holidays.

Imagine my delight when I opened the mail to find another gift...

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Mary Claire is adorable. I love seeing her and her mom, Megan stroll up to my class. Mary Claire is a sweet, toddling one year-old who loves her baby dolls. This was Mary Claire last week during Stroller Strides.

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It's hard to find someone working harder in Body Back than our November, 2016 Mom of the Month! Megan Wood-Tunnel set the goal of being able to wear her wedding ring again after her second baby. She did it after her first 8 week Body Back session and has lost nearly 30 lbs. in the two additional sessions since. We're proud of Megan for all her hard work, but we really love seeing her smile at every workout.

Age: 34

Lives: Raleigh, NC

Family: Husband Matt and Elsie Barrett, 3 1/2 and Silas 20 months

Hometown: Elizabeth City, NC

Education: Bachelor's degree in education from Appalachian State University and a Master's degree from Meredith College

Career: Teacher for ten years

What has been the best part of Body Back? "It's hard to for me to pick one part! (laughs) I think it's just helped me put my life, myself back into focus instead of just focusing on my kids."

...

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There is an intensity the day of Body Back assessments after eight weeks . The room of tired mothers who once questioned what they could do, suddenly seem stronger and more energized. Yes, each is thinner, but more importantly they're stronger. I was honored to join them this past session on their final day for assessments.

For me personally, the final day of assessments in Body Back sessions I have done always meant pushing myself to see how long I could hold plank. The last session I did this spring I held for 5:05 alongside one of my best friends. It was awesome. I couldn't believe what I had done. I found out later another mom in the evening class held plank for 5:06. What!? If I had only held out two more seconds! Ha! I'm kidding.

I chatted with a mom during Stroller Strides last week who had just finished Body Back. She explained how many inches she had dropped in just 8 weeks. She smiled, kind of amazed at what she had done. She's a good sport. I had been picking on her and making her use the higher intensity red bands instead of the green bands in Stroller...

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I had the privilege of lacing up and meeting up with some of our moms at Shelley Lake last week. Elaine led FIT4MOM Running Club. I was thrilled to have my kids at school and my husband back in town so I could breathe in the lake air and feel the pavement beneath me.

When I came up I was so excited to see new faces. A few moms like me came solo. Others had little people strapped in their strollers. It was cool, sunny and everything was as it should be for a good run. I loved that Elaine led us in something I NEVER do before a run. A warm-up.

I know! I know! I should warm up before running. Thank goodness for Elaine. I was worried I couldn't go the distance if I didn't have my headphones in listening to music. That is what keeps me motivated to run.

With so many new faces, I really wanted to know what brought them to Running Club. I chatted with a smiling red haired mom and her adorable new baby daughter. It was Stephanie Orihood with little Maggie. I asked her what inspired her to lace up with us.

She said, "I met one of the other instructors, Cindi....

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If you've seen a smiling, friendly face who adoringly speaks Spanish to her bright-eyed baby boy, then you may have met Beatrice Negrin! She is our October, 2016 Mom of the Month! This Florida native is in one of our current fall Body Back sessions and a Stroller Strides regular.

Age: 33

Family: Husband Luis of two years and their infant son Aaron.

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Residence: Lived in Florida for 3 years.

Education: Bachelor's in Emergency Services Management and Criminal Justice at Florida International University

Career: Wake County, NC District Attorney's Office in the Special Victims Unit

What brought you to Stroller Strides? "I wanted to get back in shape....The fact that we could come here and meet other moms, get to know people. We could have a system, a village."

Favorite Exercise: "Walking lunges"

Least Favorite Exercise: "Burpees"

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I'm always amazed at how adaptable my fellow mothers are. Even the most scheduled and rigid among us, understand we have to just go with it sometimes. Kids are unpredictable. They flip our plans and our lives upside down and we're forced to change on the fly.

As a team of instructors for FIT4MOM, I think we're pretty awesome at doing this too.

We're not a gym .We don't have a brick and mortar location. We are this way by design. The classes and services we provide our moms are flexible to fit them. I love that we workout in different parks and shopping centers in our city. I love that my kids have been to lots of different playgrounds they may not have otherwise been to if we weren't there for Stroller Strides. I love that we run around a lake and do Body Back in a space with cool equipment one day and out among art at our state art museum the next.

In a way, the locations where we meet are part of our village too. You know that white wall where we take "before and after" pictures for Body Back? Yeah, we feel the pain and joy together there. How many...

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I used to joke that if you saw me running, you better run too because something was chasing me. I would say, "Running is the worst! Am I right?!" I complained that running was boring and lonely. As an uber-extrovert I explained that for me to exercise I needed a class. I needed talking, music and motivation. Naturally, Stroller Strides and Body Back are a good fit for me. Lately, something has changed.

I think I might be a runner now.

No, seriously.

Tomorrow I know my husband will be home from a long business trip. He can hang with the kids for a bit. I'll hope for overcast skies and cool air. I'm not sure how it happened exactly, but these days I can't wait for the chance to lace up,

I guess it started during my last session of Body Back. I needed to fit in a workout on the off days. I just started going for runs in my neighborhood. At first I didn't go for that long. I started going further, walking up big hills when I needed to. I went even further, discovering new streets and cul-de-sacs. I found trails and bridges I didn't know were quite...

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Our September 2016 Mom of the Month is always going hard at Stroller Strides with a cute, smiley baby in tow. Meet Raleigh resident Alex Roth and sweet little Liam! Read on to learn more about this native Floridian and die-hard Florida State Seminoles fan!

Children: Liam, <1

Age: 25

Job: Office Manager and Dispatcher for a delivery company

Hometown: Boca Raton, FL

Favorite Exercise: Get-to-Know-You Wall Sit "I like burpees now!" (Give Alex an award for that answer!)

Least Favorite Exercise: Squat with leg lift

What brought you to Stroller Strides? "I wanted to get back into shape after having Liam. Not only for physical reasons but mental health. Exercising has always made me feel good. I looked on MeetUp and saw that there was something I could do WITH Liam and I was like, 'Wow! That's awesome!'"

What are your fitness goals? "Just being healthier. Obviously losing weight would be nice, but...

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I was reflecting on my FIT4MOM life the other day. No reason, really. Maybe it's because I had just spent part of a Sunday afternoon meeting with our instructor team who I adore working with and am always in awe of when I take their classes. As we discussed the upcoming fall season we talked about the new shirts we're offering this month.

These are not the great FIT4MOM tank tops, of which I have nearly a dozen. No, these shirts are tiny and colorful. I saw them and they made me smile. "Mom's Workout Buddy."

I've been taking or teaching Stroller Strides for 2 1/2 years now. Every class has had a constant. He has big hazel eyes and wild brown curls, almost as wild as he is. My son Henry has been going to Stroller Strides since he was three months-old. Feeling the wind on his face as I run is his favorite. I hear the pounding of my feet on the pavement between his squeals of "Go, Mommy, go!" He thinks nothing of his mother holding a squat in front of him, singing a nursery rhyme song and tickling his feet. He knows the words to "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "The Ants Go...

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Last week we had our moms answer "You know you're a Body Backer when...." Well, this week we couldn't leave out a huge part of our FIT4MOM village. Our Stroller Strides moms filled in the blanks.

"You know you're a Stroller Strider when..."

Your stroller NEVER comes out of the car.

When your child thinks the words to the "Alphabet Song" are "A-B-C-D-E-F-G...step up on the step with me!"

Your child can count backwards from 20 before entering preschool.

When your kiddo meets his new teacher for the first time and shows her his squat.

When you can say you've bear crawled across the mall with your butt in the air.

When you're always talking about it and naturally assume every mother knows what it is.

Your child thinks all horses were once camels

Singing Bingo requires a wall sit

Every time you go to the grocery store, you're sweaty.

When it takes you six hours to shower after your workout but only 5 minutes...

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It's well known that doing a session of Body Back changes you. I'm not just talking about the amazing physical transformations that we've seen among our moms in all their before and after pictures. It's not just that. Body Back often changes participants' fitness outlook, routines and relationships with food. So I asked our moms this week to fill in the blank.

"You know you're a Body Backer when..." Here are the answers:

"When a wall sit is a rest."

"When you challenge your husband to a burpee contest and you DOMINATE!"

"You find yourself lecturing your parents, friends, and anyone you eat with about eating real food and cutting out the processed 'low fat' and 'lite' foods they think are helping them lose weight."

"When you roll down the window in the car and use the air to dry your sweaty hair."

"Halfway through the 5:30am class you realize your shirt is on inside out because you put it on in the closet in the dark trying not to wake anyone up and you don't even turn it right side in because the burpee you are currently...

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The coolest babies come to Stroller Strides. If you've seen a super cool baby wearing shades in class while her hard working mama gets a great workout, then you've likely met our August, 2016 Mom of the Month! We're excited to have Pennsylvania native Lindsey Conley and her daughter Charlie join us!

Family: Lindsey has been married to her husband Zack for 2 1/2 years. They have a newborn daughter, Charlie and live in Raleigh.

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Education: Bachelor's degree in English from Clarion University and Master's degree in Education from California University of Pennsylvania.

Career: 4th grade teacher in Raleigh for 2 1/2 years before staying home with Charlie.

What brought you to Stroller Strides? "I thought being a Stay At Home Mom would be really awesome but I got bored after four weeks. I had to get out of the house."

What is your favorite thing about Stroller Strides? "I like having to be accountable for my...

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Unless you've been living under a rock, a very cool rock, then you know we've been in quite the heat wave for what feels like forever here in the Triangle area. It's really only been like two weeks, but every evening your instructor team ends up sending texts to each other that go something like this:

Instructor: "Hey, so another heat advisory tomorrow. What do you think about moving class inside?"

Missy: "I think that's a good idea, let's get the word out."

We also send these kind of texts when there are storms in the forecast. I have nightmares about lightning strikes on the field while I have a class of moms and kids at Buffaloe Rd. Park. There have been times when we didn't move class for rain and I pulled up to a location to teach in a downpour. I'll never forget one mom parking next to me during monsoon-like rain. We cracked the windows and shouted to each other, "Okay, so we'll rain check this class!" Literally, rain check.

If I could bottle up the weather as it is in late April or early October, I would. I would make it 70 degrees and sunny with...

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When I get the question "What is FIT4MOM?" The short answer usually includes a quick description of Stroller Strides and some words about Body Back. Those are the programs we're most known for, right? That's what it's about.

Yes, but there's more. I scrolled through my Facebook last weekend and couldn't stop grinning at some of my FIT4MOM friends soaking wet and smiling by the lake. I saw faces that I see nearly every week at Stroller Strides. I saw faces that have gotten really sweaty at Body Back. It was cool to see them in a different workout environment.

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If you've seen a mom at Stroller Strides with a beautiful, long blond ponytail and an adorable new baby, it's probably our July Mom of the Month! Meet Florida native, Kristin Grit and her daughter Isabelle!

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I made a point to get to Stroller Barre this week. I like to vary my workouts through each week. I try to get to Stroller Strides even when I'm not teaching and to a couple Body Back classes because of my HIIT happiness. I also run on the weekends in my neighborhood.

A lot of moms ask us, "What makes Stroller Barre different from Stroller Strides?"

They are very similar for sure, but there are key differences. If you've been to a barre class before, you kind of get the idea. If you have been to Stroller Strides, you have an even better idea. Stroller Strides is a total body workout that incorporates power walking, strength, toning, oh, and singing songs you thought you had forgotten to your kids. Stroller Barre does all of those things with a unique blend of ballet, Pilates, barre and yoga. Moms build strength, add muscle tone and improve posture. The woman who created Stroller Barre is a former professional ballerina. Dance for the win!

FIT4MOM states, "Postpartum...

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I had a conversation with a mom last week after Stroller Strides that went something like this:

Me: "You've really been working hard in class. You're doing great. Have you thought about doing Body Back?"

Her: "I just don't think I could keep up. You guys work hard."

Me (smiling): "Well, none of us could keep up in the beginning. Trust me! We had to work at it."

Later I really thought about how I used to be in Body Back classes and what I can do now. It's been 1 1/2 years, 3 full 8-week sessions and many Boost classes. I'm a Body Back veteran and may or may not be a card carrying, flag flying HIIT addict at this point. (HIIT means "High Intensity Interval Training." "Boost" refers to our Body Back Boost program. Moms who are "boosting" or have bought a Body Back Boost pass can drop in to any Body Back classes after completing the 8-week program.)

Scroll back up to the top and take a look at the pictures from my Body Back journey...

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I lathered up my kids with sunscreen and let them wear their swim suits to class last week. Confused and fascinated, they asked a million questions as I pulled up to North Hills Midtown Park instead of the Commons where we usually meet for class. "Mommy, why are we here?" "Can we get in that water?!" they shrieked while pointing at the small fountains around the amphitheater stage. My two year-old son just pointed and squealed at the crane and multiple bulldozers at the construction sites around where our class was to be held.

Last week we had the privilege of hosting a special free Stroller Strides class with a "Wet and Wild" theme. An event like this is so exciting for us as instructors. We get to host new moms who want to try Stroller Strides, we see moms who maybe haven't been to class in awhile and all our incredible regular moms who make our jobs so fun. It's great energy. It's always an exciting class to have these special events. Behind the scenes work goes into it before warm-up begins.

Missy is our owner, an instructor and an all around fearless leader. She...

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This month's Mom of the Month is a three year Fit4Mom veteran. She's been attending Stroller Strides classes since her three year-old daughter Lillian was just a few months old. Lillian has grown up right in front of us, always making us smile with her sweet songs and smiles. (More of Lillian's singing to come.)

More about Erin:

Age: 32

Hometown: Goldsboro, NC

Significant other: Married four years to her husband Robert

Kids: Lillian, age 3, Baby Sappah 2 is due in September! (Take your best guess. Boy or girl? They aren't finding out!)

Smarts: Bachelor's degree in Accounting from UNC Wilmington, Masters in business from NC State

Job: Part-time accounting for RJS Contracting, which she owns with Robert

What keeps you coming back to Stroller Strides? "I think it's just the group of moms I've become friends with and also it's a good workout. I don't have to leave her in child care. She likes it! She...

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Everyone loves a free mommy-and-me activity since (let's be honest) you just never know how it will go over and want to be able to try a new thing risk-free or be able to scoot out at a moments notice without having wasted your $! Here are our favorite local free mommy & me activities...

1. The library! Story times abound at our local libraries here in Wake County but be sure to check the schedule online before you go. Some popular ones require a ticket (first come, first served) and they take breaks for a few weeks throughout the year. Our favorites are at North Regional and Cameron Village Libraries!

2. The Parks! Our local parks systems provide a plentiful and diverse selection of free places to explore. We have destination parks (like Pullen Park) and parks with walking trails (like Shelley Lake Park) and pocket parks (that means they're small and have no bathrooms or off-street parking- like Roanoke Park). We even have a gorgeous public Rose Garden that is an ideal spot (May-Sept) for picnics, photos and...

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Have you heard about our transformative 8-week Body Back program? Lose lbs and inches and gain strength, endurance and muscle tone... and a whole batch of new mom friends! This brave mama (pictured on this blog post) just finished her first 8-week session and we think her results are downright inspiring!

You can read more about our program here and register for an upcoming session and get YOUR Body Back!

Questions? Email missycurrin@fit4mom.com

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Hello all- I'm your local FIT4MOM Midtown Raleigh franchisee and I'm pleased to share my Body Back journey with you. I'm hoping my story and photos will help you make the decision to take your own journey!

In November 2013, another Instructor, Cindi, and I went to Body Back Instructor training with a tentative plan in place for the New Year- she would teach the classes and I would be the administrator for the program. We started training with our fitness assessments and I quickly realized that I was way more out of shape than I thought. I was 10 lbs from my goal weight, couldn't even do one full push-up and quickly came to the end of myself during the 3 Body Back workouts that we did that day. And by that I mean- I thought I might throw up or cry and very nearly did. Okay- so I might have cried a little. I decided then and there to be IN the first session of Body Back that we offered.

Despite lots of childcare challenges and general busyness associated with fulfilling all of my roles: wife, mother, FIT4MOM Franchisee...

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