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Health & Fitness

Stroller Strides class perfect fit for military moms

Published: 12:00PM September 26th, 2013
Stroller Strides class perfect fit for military moms

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Instructor Christina Barnard leads participants through a warmup before the inaugural Stroller Strides class at Powderworks Park in DuPont. The 60-minute workout includes cardio, strength work and toning.

Christina Barnard is an in-shape military mom, on a mission to help other moms with fitness.

Wearing a “Fit Moms Rock” tank-top, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army spouse led a group of about 30 moms with strollers in a Stroller Strides class at the Fit4Mom grand opening at Powderworks Park in DuPont, Sept. 18.

Kim Bauer introduced the Fit4Mom franchise to the greater Olympia area three years ago and soon after opened a location in Lacey. The new DuPont location gives easier access to JBLM families.

“Being that military moms are so transient, moving all the time, they need a safe place to land and what a great way to meet people with the same priorities,” Bauer said.

The stroller-based fitness program is designed for moms to work out while interacting with their children. The 60-minute workout includes cardio conditioning, strength work and toning, all while singing songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle” and the “ABCs” with their kids in strollers.

When Barnard’s family moved to JBLM three years ago, Barnard had two young children and she wanted to meet other moms. She found community and good health in the stroller fitness group.

“The weight came off and I was having fun,” she said.

Barnard believed in the program enough to become a certified instructor. She then pushed for a Fit4Mom location in DuPont, which Bauer had on her radar while she waited patiently for the right instructor. Bauer wanted an instructor with military ties to lead the class and Barnard filled the role.

Fit4Mom offered two free classes during their grand opening week. To start the class the moms and strollers formed a circle to introduce themselves. The majority of the class had JBLM ties and participants found connections in shared hometowns as the group represented 15 states and three countries.

“It gives moms a chance to get off base and meet moms in the area,” Barnard said.

The fitness class incorporated resistance bands, picnic benches and park trails. Children remained in the strollers but helped Mom count repetitions. When a young spectator became fussy, Barnard led the group in a lullaby and blew bubbles to distract the kids while the moms finished their workout.

Barnard’s father served in the Marine Corps, and while she knew he worked out, she never saw it. Barnard’s children are growing up with a fitness lifestyle.

“This just changed my whole opinion on what fitness could be, that it could be fun,” she said. “To my kids fitness is just fitness. It’s not work, it’s fun.”

When Barnard took her first class she couldn’t run a quarter mile without being winded. With the stroller group she made connections with others who enjoy to do more outside of classes, like running. Barnard became involved with local organization wear blue: run to remember for their weekly Saturday runs.

Barnard is also training for her first half-marathon in October.

The fitness instructor said she knows she’s done her job if the moms’ muscles are sore after their first class, because that’s what kept Barnard coming back.