Ok, my first week of Body Back is behind me and it isn't quite what I was expecting it to be.
Here's what I expected: two workouts a week with a group of moms who, like me, wanted to work hard to get their bodies back to a place that we maybe haven't seen in a while. Having arms that were more toned, having bellies that didn't jiggle when we jumped, having the energy and stamina to make it through the day, what ever that day looked like.
Here's what I didn't expect: the immediate sisterhood that comes from a small group of women who are going through this journey with me, every single step of the way. The online and social support that we are giving each other every day via Facebook groups, texting and the sweat sessions that are our workouts. The personal shoutouts, the confidence building, the meal planning ideas, the motivation to try a new workout video because you actually want to since the other women said they really liked working out to it, too.
I also didn't expect the discipline required to stick to the meal planning and healthy (and thankfully) tasty recipes FIT4MOM provides. This part caught me off guard. It's not terrible that I am asked to do these things, don't get me wrong. I just really thought we'd workout together, get some recipes to try if we wanted and yeah, that was it. Strict meal planning and food journaling are not things I am well versed in at all. For the majority of my life, I have been lucky enough to be able to eat almost whatever I want. Then my mid 30's hit and my metabolism has become like the fabled tortoise. I didn't know it a year ago, I didn't know it 6 months ago and I didn't know it 3 weeks ago, but I know it now. I needed this push (ok, shove) into being aware of what I'm cooking and making a healthy plan and sticking to it. I need to be held accountable by my Body Back team for what I'm eating and the choices I'm making for myself.
Here's what I'm excited about: this transformation journey that I have set out on will be one that I'm never going to regret. The team support is something I didn't know I needed so badly. The kick-butt workouts will do their job and give me my body back. This doesn't mean I'm hoping to look like I did when I was 20. That's never going to happen; I've had 2 children. What it does mean is that I will take my body back during these classes. I will learn to treat my body well and treat it often with food that makes me feel and look good. I will enjoy my time working out and see it as a time for me to find my strength, my soul, find me again.
This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time for me. Body Back is everything I didn't know I was looking for. I'm excited for these next 7 weeks.
This month, we are honored to have Robin Riley as our Mom of the Month! Robin is one of the strongest moms we know and anybody who does a class with her knows what an inspiration she is to always push yourself to do your best. She has a huge smile, positive attitude and welcoming spirit. We absolutely love having you in our village, Robin!
Enjoy learning more about this amazing mom of the month!
-Hometown: I grew up in Central Illinois in a very small town just north of Springfield, called Athens. I have lived in the Chicagoland area for the last 15 years.
-Fit4Mom Member since: September 2017
-Members of your Family: My husband Aaron who is a police officer and our 3 boys, Liam (8), Landon (6), Hunter (3)
-Current/Previous Career: I have worked at Rush Copley for the past 13 years as a Pathologists’ Assistant. I am responsible for the gross examination and dissection of anatomic pathology specimens as well as assisting with postmortem examinations.
-How did you find Fit4Mom? I discovered Fit4Mom as I sat across the street eating donuts from My Sisters Lil’ donut shoppe and drinking coffee from the Village Grind with my kids and husband over the summer. It was an awakening to finally make a change and get back on track with my fitness. I immediately looked into it, gave Lisa a call and started the fall Transformation classes. One of the best decisions I have made.
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? Through Fit4Mom, I have formed new friendships, found a village of fun & supportive moms and most importantly, found time for myself. I am so grateful for Fit4Mom because it has helped me get healthier in both mind & body, which in turn has made me a better wife and mother.
-What was your childhood ambition? To swim in the Olympics! I started swimming at a very young age. I loved being in the pool and I loved competing.
-What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood is a never ending adventure where you get to watch your children grow and learn new things as they transform into independent amazing little humans! Motherhood is leading by example, learning new things, always listening, laughing out loud, loving unconditionally, and living in the moment!
-What is your favorite exercise? I love the HIIT workouts at Fit4Mom. It’s a lot of fun! I love anything that challenges me.
-What is your proudest moment? Becoming a Boy Mom x 3.
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Going to concerts with my husband, watching Greys Anatomy, and shopping for everything Farmhouse!
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? My husband would say that I am strong, independent, organized & the best Mom to our boys.
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I have never been to Disney and hope that some day I can experience the magic with my husband and our 3 boys.
Get to know one of our awesome Instructors, Kit Alvear!
We have an amazing, dedicated and talented team of moms here at Fit4Mom OPSY and we want you to get to know a little more about each one of them! Today we our spotlighting Stroller Strides, Body Back and Fit4Baby instructor Kit Alvear!
Enjoy learning more about Kit!
1. Who are the members of your family? Jason, Eleanor (2.5 years old) & Henry (8 months)
2. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in OPSY? I grew up in Westmont, IL (attended high school in Downers Grove and college in Lisle). We moved to the Joliet/Plainfield area in July 2016.
3. What do you do for our FIT4MOM OPSY village? I am currently teaching a little bit of everything: Fit4Baby, Stroller Strides & Body Back. I also organize the Meal Trains for the mamas in Our Village who may need a few weeks of cooked meals to make their lives easier after baby arrives or post-surgery.
4. Tell us your story about how/why you became an instructor for Fit4Mom OPSY? I have always had FOMO (fear of missing out), so once I found out how much I loved F4M, I knew I had to be an instructor to know what was going on behind the scenes. The job has turned more into a passion and so I have continued to add different classes to my teaching schedule.
5. What are your favorite memories from instructing? I have so many memories from teaching over the past year and a half! I think my favorite memory thus far has to be watching Eleanor mimic the workout routines she learned to certain songs in Stroller Strides, for the first time. I love seeing a 2 year old do wall sit with such enthusiasm!
6. What is the BEST thing about being an instructor? Hearing a mom tell me that she feels stronger, or is fitting into her clothes better, is the BEST thing, and it inspires me to continue teaching. I am so proud of each one of these ladies and honored that they continue to come to me to help them through their health journeys.
7. Why do you keep doing what you do? Going to teach a class is my reason to get out of the house (even on days when it’s been a tough morning)! I love connecting with the moms and relating to the difficulties of motherhood.
8. What is one of your current wellness goals? I’m signing up for a couple 5ks this spring & hope to get back to running more often.
9. What is a fun fact that many may not know about you? I use to work in a brewery, have brewed beer & will gladly talk about all things beer if you let me!
10. Anything else you'd like Our Village to know? My door is always open! I am here for all of the mamas in Our Village – whether you need a shoulder to cry on, want to vent about anything & everything, or if you need a companion to day drink mimosas – don’t ever be afraid to ask me for something!
Kit, thank you so much for your dedication to our village! We are so lucky to have you!
March 2, 2018
Meet our March Mom of the Month - Megan Pedersen! Megan has been a member of Our Village since March 2016. Hard working, inspiring and determined, Megan has been killing it at both Body Back and Stroller Strides classes. Her beautiful smile and passion for wellness is contagious and we cannot imagine Our Village without her. Congrats, Megan!
-Hometown: Grant Park, IL but Plainfield since 2003
-Fit4Mom Member since: March 2016
-Members of your Family: Husband Elliot, daughter Amesley 26 months and one due Sept 6.
-Current/Previous Career: currently a Certified Veterinary Technician since 2006
-How did you find Fit4Mom? Facebook :)
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? It has really been a life saver to find other women in the same stage of life.
-What was your childhood ambition? To work with animals!
-What does motherhood mean to you? It’s the best thing I’ve done in life!
-What is your favorite exercise? Arm strength and core
-What is your proudest moment? Graduating from vet tech school, giving birth and surviving the first year :)
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Visiting my brother and sister in law in Colorado, doing outdoor activities, craft breweries and restaurants.
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? Megan's best qualities - she has: An inspiring drive toward accomplishment; A selfless compassion towards those in need; And excellent husband finding abilities ;) among many more awesome qualities.
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us:I met my husband when I did a police ride along and I was a volunteer member of the Plainfield Emergency Management Agency for 8 years.
February 1, 2018
We are excited to introduce Katie Worek as our February Mom of the Month! Katie is a dedicated Body Back member and has reaped so many amazing benefits from adding strength exercises from Body Back classes into her cardio routine. She is an awesome person who is a wonderful example of health, strength and a positive attitude to other mamas. We are so happy you found Our Village, Katie! Congratulations!
-Fit4Mom Member since: July 2017
-Members of your Family: Brad (husband), Olivia (4), Avery (2)
-Current/Previous Career: Financial Controller
-How did you find Fit4Mom? Kellie Schumacher is my best friend and has been a member since Lisa started the Oswego location. She talked me into signing up and I'm soooo glad that I did!
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? I was a runner before starting Fit4Mom and never realized all the other benefits I could reap from adding some strength exercises into my routine. I'm the strongest I've ever been in my life and it makes me feel so good about myself.
-What was your childhood ambition? To be a mom. :)
-What does motherhood mean to you? It's every second of everyday. I'm a mom before I'm anything else and my kids are always on my mind. Its so very fulfilling and I'm so blessed to be able to raise these kiddos. All that being said; it's also so very tiring and has taught me countless lessons in patience, kindness and not sweating the small stuff.
-What is your favorite exercise? I love core especially lateral bends, in & outs and monkeys.
-What is your proudest moment? When my girls were born
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Working out, Girls night out, going to a fun new restaurant.
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? -Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I actually asked him this recently. :) I get things done that I say I will do and I'm a great mom. Something that might surprise people/weird personality quirk- I'm very particular about the sheets on my bed and cannot handle when my husband has the sheets pulled out from under the bottom of the mattress.
We are so excited to introduce Ashley Kooima as our January Mom of the Month! Ashley is a dedicated Stroller Strides attendee, where her adorable son Holden always warms our hearts with his smiles. Ashley is always an uplifting and encouraging mama that we love to see in class. She has a huge smile, positive attitude and welcoming spirit. We are so happy that you found Our Village, Ashley! Congratulations!
-Hometown: Bolingbrook, IL
-Fit4Mom Member since: 2016
-Members of your Family: Ben, myself, Holden (who will be two on January 22nd), and our two cats: Van and Scout. My husband named Van after the shoe brand when he was a teenager, and I named Scout after a character in a book. Holden is also named after a character in a book (or an automotive company in Australia, if you ask my husband).
-Current/Previous Career: Kindergarten Teacher
-How did you find Fit4Mom? I believe I found you guys on Facebook.
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? Oh, boy. Fit4mom has been absolutely vital to our family. Up until a couple months ago, Fit4Mom was a great place to go workout, go to play dates, and talk to other moms. That changed drastically in November when I developed severe anxiety, and I mean crippling anxiety, as an adverse side effect from a medication I took. I was struggling to put it lightly. I started going to stroller strides every day, committed to the monthly membership, and fit4mom quickly became my greatest tool to combat it. It was a dark time in my life, and going to stroller strides and talking to other moms, changed my course. I honestly, can’t begin to express my gratitude for fit4mom and my instructors: Kit, Heather, Kelly, and Julie. Thank you guys so much!
-What was your childhood ambition? Since before I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.
-What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood to me, has been the most amazing, yet challenging roles I’ve ever taken on. It’s forced me to stop rushing, embrace the craziness, and to just go with the flow. I love looking at the world through Holden’s eyes, and laughing with him over nonsensical things. He’s taught me so much about myself and pushes me constantly to be a better, more patient, and fun mom.
-What is your favorite exercise? Child’s pose. Oh, did you mean like ‘real exercise’? I love anything that strengthens my arms and core, since those are my weakest muscle groups.
-What is your proudest moment? My proudest moment was graduating from college. I know that sounds cheesy, but I worked three jobs to get through it, and it was tough.
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? I love crafting, reading, and organizing. My house is a disaster majority of the time, but every single item has a place and a label.
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say?Ben said that I’m “compassionate” and “giving”.
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us:I went to Africa in college to help child refugees, and a month after I got back to the States, I developed a condition called Cold Induced Urticaria, which is essentially a fancy way of saying that I get hives from the cold. Ironically, my hives are way worse on days when it’s raining. I think because of the cold water staying on the skin? Regardless, it’s a lot less severe than it was initially, but it still gets me out of shoveling and going to outdoor festivities.
This month we are honored to have Gail as our Mom of the Month. Gail is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet and helps make everyone feel welcome when they walk into class. Gail has been an inspiration to many other ladies in Body Back and we are so lucky to have her! Enjoy learning more about Gail!
Me? December Mom of the Month for Fit4Mom OPSY? You must be kidding!
We built our dream house in Plainfield 14 years ago when our two daughters were in college. You might recognize my daughter Amy in this picture; she convinced me to start BB in the Fall of 2016. I worked in school libraries for 18 years before retiring to watch my first grandson, who is now in Kindergarten.
I’ve been married for 40 years, have two beautiful daughters, two incredible sons-in-law and three adorable grandchildren. How blessed am I?
I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who had a yoga mat in her Jeep. Before BB, I would have thought a Russian twist was a drink I’d like to try. Honestly, I didn’t know what a plank was and would have been embarrassed by a burpee. I have learned so much from Brianne who has given me tools for a healthier life. My favorite exercise is a donkey kick with weights.
Answers to your questions:
-What was your childhood ambition? My childhood ambition was to be a teacher, but only because they have a lot of paper. I still have an obsession with paper (www.etsy/shop/afounddimepaperie.com).
-What does motherhood mean to you? I know I am preaching to the choir when I say our legacy will be motherhood. Could it be any more important today? Imagine how different the news would be if all mothers were doing their jobs.
-What is your proudest moment? A compliment from a really smart professor about my writing when we ran into her at a garden shop.
-What are three of your favorite things? Besides my family, my three favorite things are: wine, wine, paper.
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? My husband thinks I “make everything beautiful” (Sleepless in Seattle), knows I’m the one “getting this all down on paper” and appreciates that I’m a devoted Mom/Grandmother.
Thanks, Fit4Mom! Happy Holidays and be strong, Mommas. -Gail
November 1, 2017
-Hometown: Plainfield, IL
-Fit4Mom Member since: January 2015
-Members of your Family: Me, my husband Vince, and our sons Vincent (3) and Camden (3 months)
-Current/Previous Career: I previously worked as a mother/baby nurse. I currently stay at home with my boys.
-How did you find Fit4Mom? We had just moved from Chicago back to Plainfield and I wanted to find something to do since we were stuck inside a lot during the winter. I wanted to workout, but bring him with, or find some kind of mom/baby class to keep us busy. I found Fit4Mom after a Google search!
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? I initially joined Fit4Mom for the purpose of working out and feeling good again after having my first baby. I had no idea that I needed a "mom village". But I quickly realized how wonderful it was for us to have a support system of awesome moms and kids. I love starting my day off with a great workout and being able to socialize after class, while the kids get a chance to play together and socialize as well. It has given us something to look forward to during the week, and it has kept my fitness on track. I have grown close to many wonderful moms in our village that have inspired and helped me through my motherhood journey.
-What was your childhood ambition? To read books and play barbies all day. I still read lots of books, but my barbies have changed to superheroes :)
-What does motherhood mean to you? I could describe motherhood in a million ways, but it is truly an amazing, unpredictable adventure. It is the most challenging, rewarding, and beautiful journey, and I have never felt so fufilled (and exhausted)!
-What is your favorite exercise? Lunges and squats!
-What is your proudest moment? Having my littles :) and pre-kids would have to be finishing nursing school.
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Traveling (or researching future travel), reading, and creating and eating healthy recipes!
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? That I "always try to find the positives in a situation and am an amazing mother to our boys".
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I have been skydiving twice!
October 1, 2017
-Hometown: Grew up in Orland Park and currently resides in Yorkville.
-Fit4Mom Member since: October 2016
-Members of your Family: My husband, Matt, daughters Kaitlyn(2 1/2) and Ashlyn(15mos) and soon to be son, Brycen due end of October.
-Current/Previous Career: Previous career was a financial assistant in Chicago, but now I am a stay at home mom.
-How did you find Fit4Mom? Through my friend. I first tried it out in Geneva and loved the concept of it.
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? It has empowered me to be a better and stronger mom. It gets me motivated in the mornings to leave my house. I love that I am able to workout, even with the kiddos.
-What was your childhood ambition? To work in the fashion industry and become a mother.
-What does motherhood mean to you? Motherhood is truly a remarkable gift and a privilege that I hold very close to my heart. To me, being a mother means to be fearless, to be a positive role model, to be a continuous cheerleader for every milestone my children will experience, to demonstrate the abundance of an unconditional love that has no end and to cherish countless memories that will last forever.
-What is your favorite exercise? I love anything to do with strength training.
-What is your proudest moment? Giving birth to my children. It's definitely a miracle.
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Shopping, fall and wine!!
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? I think he would say that my best qualities are being a mother, the patience I have and the love I have for my children.
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I struggled with this one and can't think of anything good. I would have to say that the most surprising thing about me is that I've never been out of the country except for Canada and Mexico.
September 17, 2017
-Hometown: Elm Grove, WI
-Fit4Mom Member since: May 2017
-Members of your Family: My husband, Tyler, 6 month old, Ruby, and myself :)
-Current/Previous Career: Pediatric Occupational Therapist
-How did you find Fit4Mom? A friend recommended one of the play dates
-What has Fit4Mom done for you (or meant to you)? Fit4Mom has allowed me to meet other mommas and form new friendships. I continue to build my physical and emotional strength at Stroller Strides with the work outs and support.
-What was your childhood ambition? To be a teacher or in some other career that helped people.
-What does motherhood mean to you? A truly wonderful gift with unconditional love.
-What is your favorite exercise? Strengthening exercises.
-What is your proudest moment? Becoming a mom!
-What are three of your favorite things (besides your family)? Trying out new restaurants, any type of craft, and snuggling up to a good movie
-If we asked your partner what they think your best qualities are, what would they say? Loving, nurturing
-Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us: I love to shop. I was an "extreme couponer" before Ruby was born
Fit4 Mom member since: March
Current Career: Medical office administration
How did I find Fit4mom: Shay!
What has it done for me: It has made me stronger physically and mentally. I can do a lot of things that I never thought possible before. It has also given me the opportunity to push myself and really hold myself accountable...things I generally struggled with before Fit4Mom.
Childhood ambition: teacher
What does motherhood mean: It means being a parent and a friend at the same time. I smile every second I look at my girls, but also have to find the balance to keep them safe and teach them things. It also means setting a good example for my children in every way possible, especially through exercise and good eating habits!
Favorite exercise: hmm that's a tough one...I'd have to say russian twists, planks, or wall sits!
Proudest moment: Besides having both of my daughters, I would have to say it would be finding the balance between kids, husband, working full time, and still having the time to do Fit4mom and focus on my health. It's certainly a work in progress, and always will be.
3 favorite things (besides family): Relaxing with a good book and a glass of wine, being outdoors getting exercise, and watching the Cubs!
Best qualities according to my partner: Good mother and caregiver, committed, driven, and energetic.
Something that would surprise you: I don't know how to french braid and I have 2 daughters! Poor girls!!