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 worked with North Hills to make arrangements for our location and have Relay Foods and b.good restaurant have booths with healthy samples for our moms after a good workout. Of course, there were goodies for the sweet, grubby little hands reaching over the table after the kids were let out of their strollers.
Elaine and I worked to plan a class that would give our moms a great, full-body workout, stay within the theme of "Wet and Wild," and stay in the space of the amphitheater. We didn't want to venture too far away because of the construction.
We have the privilege of sharing ideas with FIT4MOM franchises around the country. We got some great ideas from them while also incorporating some of our own Stroller Strides genius. Missy provided her speaker for music. (If you were in the class, I know you're thinking, "There was music?" Ha! Yeah, I'll get to that.)
Here's how we planned out the class:
Station 1: Sharks & Minnows and Step-Up's (On the field at the stage end of the field by the steps)
Moms park strollers along the edge of the field, facing away from the stage so they can watch the moms. One mom “the shark” starts at mid field. Minnows sprint across the field. If the minnow gets tagged, they become jellyfish and must hold a plié squat, trying to tag more minnows without moving from their spot.
Moms then turn the kids to face the stage/steps. Moms move down to the steps for step-ups. Sing "ABC's of Stepups"
Station 2: Tabata Starfish and Mermaids (On sidewalk by the apartments near Flour Power etc.)
Tabata with Starfish (Star Jumps) and Mermaids (ski mogul jumps- shoulders stay square to the front, but your feet turn side to side as you jump) Playing “Under the Sea” from Little Mermaid. Continue Tabata through the song. Jacks and modified Jacks can be a low-modification for Star Jumps. Lunges can be a low-modification for Mermaid Jumps.
Next, moms hold squat and plie squat with arm circles holding water balloons. Do circles, reverse circle, up and down (palms down), up and down (palms up), forward/back (thumbs up), forward/back (thumbs down), hold out and pulse plié.
Station 3: The Wave and Shark Attack (On the Chuy's side of the field.)
Moms are in a circle in plank position with strollers in a wider circle around the moms. One mom starts doing pushups, then the mom to her right, then the mom to the right of that until it goes all the way around. Instructor calls out different exercises each time the circle completes. Pushups, Mountain Climbers , Burpees.
Next, each mom gets a band and clusters in the center of the circle, standing on the band. Each mom walks, singing the "Jaws" theme (duh nuh, duh nuh....) before yelling "Shark Attack!" and tickling the kids. Alternate sides.
Station 4: "I'm a Little Sea Animal..." with bands (on the sidewalk near the gravel parking lot, opposite the apartments.)
Each mom takes a turn coming up with a color and ocean animal. The song is sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.
"I'm a little brown starfish,
Brown starfish, brown starfish
I'm a little brown starfish
Who lives under the sea!"
(Other examples: blue seahorse, purple octopus etc. We agreed to bring a bucket of ocean toys for each mom to grab.)
Change exercise after singing each verse 2x's through (biceps, triceps, upright rows, lifts, pulses etc.)
Moms partner up. Passing beach balls doing Russian Twists, then sit-ups passing the ball over head.
One of the things we have to do as instructors is change things on the fly based on how the class is going. Often we have to alter because of our environment. I stepped out of the car and caught Elaine's eye across the field. I could only see her. I certainly couldn't call out to her. She just pointed to the parking deck under construction behind me. I looked up at the crane above my head. I could only hear the clangs and beeps of bulldozers and the hammering of nails. We had to laugh. Elaine said, "We're gonna have to yell." No kidding.
We just went with it, made it work and had fun. We yelled. It helped when Elaine and I divided the class into two groups. We changed things up as we went along. I had to watch as Elaine moved her group from station to station so we could keep the same pace through all four stations. That meant I added an exercise to Station 1 at the last second and moved an exercise from Station 3 to Station 4 at the last minute to help us with timing. When it came to the Tabata at Station 2 I just timed it on my phone and yelled versus listening to music and having timed Tabata beeps because....What music? What beeps? Ha!
All in all it went great even though one mom told me that it looked like I was just mouthing words during the warm-up because all she could hear was construction. Elaine joked, "If we can't hear Amy's voice over this, we can't hear anything." I had to laugh. I am nothing if not loud.
The post-Stroller Strides water balloons lasted all of 90 seconds when the kids got to them. It was still fun. My kids got to get wet in the fountains. They were happy. Thanks for joining us and just going with it as we got "wet and wild."