There are some articles I write that are designed to be purely entertaining while others are intended to be more objective and useful. Then there are some that I imagine could actually be life-changing for some that read it, and that’s 100% how I feel about my featured Madison business today, FIT4MOM.
What is FIT4MOM in Madison, Alabama?
FIT4MOM is a nationwide fitness concept for moms with local franchises in every corner of the country. Madison is fortunate enough to have an explosive group run by franchise owner Rebecca Guntharp, and I was invited to check out a class earlier this week.
I brought my toddler and stroller along and showed up expecting to get in an hour-long workout before hopping back in the car to head home.
What I got out of the morning though exceeded my expectations and had my fingertips yearning to type this story and tell you about how the Madison FIT4MOM group has to be one of the most underrated options out there for moms with littles in our city. I only wish I could go back a few years and have had something like this when I needed it the most (i.e. military wife, a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, brand new to our city in Kansas, etc.)
In case you’re short on time, I’ll cut straight to the chase and sum things up: FIT4MOM meets throughout the week to do an instructor-led workout, and while the mid-morning workouts include kiddos, others meet in the early morning or evening hours and are reserved for just adults. The day-time workouts that include kids often follow up with a craft, storytime, and general hang out time. There is a monthly fee to be a member, though the fee is less than most gyms.
The Madison group just added a brand new location to their weekly schedule out at Phillips Park off Jeff Road in Monrovia. This is where I attended my first class.
I received an email the day before with a waiver to sign and instructions for what to bring: a yoga mat, snacks or toys for my children, and a stroller.
When my daughter and I walked up to the meeting area, we were greeted warmly by Guntharp and a couple other class attendees. I was instantly struck by how prepared Guntharp (the owner and instructor) was for the morning. She had a big FIT4MOM flag on her stroller, a headset to make sure her volume was loud enough to be heard by the group, a bubble machine that delighted my toddler, and a sanitized bag of resistance bands to lend me to use. I felt very comfortable thanks to how much she took me under her wing.
She and a few other attendees did this with a couple of other first-time attendees as well. I was so impressed by how inclusive the group was.
Guntharp politely encouraged members to maintain six feet of distance between each other during the workout, which gave everyone plenty of room to stretch out.
The class was slated to begin at 9:30 a.m., and by 9:29 Guntharp was ready to begin (I am always appreciative of those who are respectful of others’ time.) While stretching, we went around the circle stating our name, who our children were, and answered a playful ice breaker question. This was just one of many ways that this group encourages women to make new friends and get to know each other in a relaxed way.
The workout itself was modifiable for all fitness levels. There were options for runners and walkers and all kinds of ways to make the exercises more or less difficult. The workout itself flew by in the blink of an eye due to constantly changing locations around the park and varying the exercises we were engaged in.
Guntharp is a fantastic leader. After just one class with her, I could tell that she is fulfilling a role that she is so meant to do. She is encouraging, confident, organized, and fun. I loved seeing her lead the group! She led everyone in children’s nursery rhymes to entertain the kids, and her confidence singing with a headset microphone on was awesome!
If you’re worried that your child may not sit through a workout in a stroller, I’m here to tell you that my child threw a bit of a fit at one point, but all was okay. I didn’t bring as much to entertain her as I should have, so I know for next time. Guntharp encouraged me though that while my child’s fussing was surely distracting for me, other moms likely didn’t even notice it.
She shared that most of the kids become used to the routine of coming to class and end up loving it!
As far as the types of strollers other moms had, there were all kinds and brands. There were singles, doubles, and some moms who even wore their children in baby carriers.
The end of the class finished up with some core work and stretching, and then it was time to play!
This group and its leaders have such an eye for detail and making the morning feel special. All of a sudden they had out signs, coffee, books, crafts, and more. Moms and children were free to leave, stay to play on the playground, or hang out under the pavilion for some “get to know you” time with other moms.
Moms were all given an opportunity to introduce themselves and then listen along to a story with their children, participate in an easy craft, and then socialize. I watched as the instructors were so inclusive of all the moms who were there at the playground to play but ended up under the pavilion to see what all the fun was about. I listened as new friendships were made as moms introduced themselves and talked about how long they’d lived in the area, how old their kids were, and more.
I left my first FIT4MOM experience wanting to call a million girlfriends to tell them about this awesome opportunity. Not only is it a great way to get moving physically, but it’s a fantastic way to connect with others in similar seasons of life, get some fresh air, and make new friendships for you and your child(ren).
When asked what Guntharp believes the heart of FIT4MOM is all about, she very quickly said community.
“People find us for the workout, but really it’s the stepping stone to all of this. It gives people an excuse to make friends and instantly know a whole new group of people.”
She continued to share that 70% of the members aren’t native to Madison and moved here within the last few years.
When asked what advice she would give to the mom who wants to come but perhaps feels intimidated to show up to a group setting like this without knowing anyone, Guntharp says that “everyone understands what showing up the first time feels like because we’ve literally all had to do it.”
She continued to say that she knows it can be daunting but that “I like to think that once she arrives, she’ll be able to relate to somebody else pretty quickly.”
Guntharp says that the range of parents who attend is vast. Some are homeschool parents, some are working parents, and some are stay-at-home moms. She also says that moms with kids of all ages are welcome to join. If they’re bigger than “stroller” age, the mom will simply fill out a waiver saying that her child will hang with them and maybe even participate in the exercises!
PHILLIPS PARK FIT4MOM LOCATION GRAND OPENING
The grand opening of the Phillips Park location is Tuesday, April 6th, 2021 and you are invited! Please visit the FIT4MOM Facebook group event page to learn more and register for this free event.
Every recipient will receive a swag bag, free coffee from Rocket City Coffee Company, and much more. This will be a fantastic way to try out a class and get to know the group with no strings attach. Come out and celebrate, get in a sweaty workout, and have some fun with your kids and new friends.
09:30 am – 10:30 am Stroller Strides Workout
10:30 am – 11:00 am Playgroup, Coffee, & Giveaways