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There’s a phenomenon that’s taken over the local mommy landscape stride by stride. That’s Stroller Strides, of course, and other entire workouts just for mothers and mothers-to-be. Fit4Mom, a nationwide following, has four franchises spanning the DFW Metroplex. On any given morning, expecting women and young mothers are doing sprints,squats and stroller treks, and not just to fit into that favorite black dress. “We train muscles mothers need every day,” said Jennifer Ludlam, business manager and lead instructor for the Flower Mound/Frisco Fit4Mom franchise. “Pushing, pulling, bending and twisting.” They’re not any old workouts, either. They’re focused and regimented, for some franchises and participants a daily grind. Prenatal and postpartum specialists lead the movements, with classes individualized to particular stages of pregnancy and motherhood. Started about a decade ago in San Diego, Fit4Mom franchises operate in Arlington, Bedford, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Southlake and throughout Denton and Collin counties. Stroller Strides meets four mornings a week at Stonebridge Ranch Beach and Tennis Club, and thrice weekly at Star Creek in Allen. There are two spots in Prosper, including a fairly new class, Stroller Barre, a unique blend of ballet, Pilates, barre, yoga and stroller-based exercises are “designed to help moms build strength and muscle tone and improve posture,” said Leslie Cuevas, who brought Fit4Mom to the area almost eight years ago. A former professional ballerina created the class, which incorporates pre- and postnatal training. There are plans to add Stroller Barre at Tucker Hill in McKinney in coming months. Body Back, the newest program in Collin County, is a results-based workout for moms who want their pre-baby form. Targeted, high-intensity workouts “help women unlock their personal possibilities in an inspiring and powerful environment” with fellow, likeminded moms", Cuevas said. Cardio, strength training, core exercises and stretching complete the workouts. For motherly participants, their young, strollerridden spectators watch as they break a grueling sweat. The program worked Cuevas out of postpartum depression; she credits the outlet and camaraderie for busting her out of a new-mom slump. While still in California, she found Stroller Strides and decided to open her own franchise upon moving to McKinney. “It’s a fitness program specifically for moms,” Cuevas said. “It’s a great way for moms to meet other moms in the same season of life they are in. It takes a village to raise kids, and our Fit4Mom program definitely offers a fabulous village of moms.” Smaller classes meet Wednesday mornings in the parking lot at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, where Fit4Mom is spreading its reach. Franchises are popping up almost yearly throughout the area. Ludlam agreed that it “takes a village mentality” and said the program strengthens women physically and emotionally so they’re “the best they can be” for their families. “We’re going after the whole mom,” she said, “not just so they can fit back into that bikini.” That means exercises that really push the core, a workout designed for more than washboard abs. Fit4Baby classes cater to a pregnant woman’s body, each ending with meditation and reflection to further connect her with her unborn child. The prenatal program is where women “start feeling joy about their pregnancy and the amazing journey their bodies are on,” Cuevas said. It’s a strenuous journey making its way into every city in DFW. Word has caught on that there are workouts specifically for pregnant women and recent mothers. Many are joining the phenomenon, stroller stride by stroller stride. “If you get a healthy mom, you get a healthy family,” Ludlam said. “And you get a healthy community.”
■ CHRIS BEATTIE, firstname.lastname@example.org