We are thrilled to announce Leslie Ungson as our April Mom of the Month! Hard-working, spunky, and determined, Leslie has been a Body Back client since the start of this year. She took a very brave step and signed up for the program on her own- never having met the instructor or her classmates. On the first night of our physical assessments, she struggled and barely got through the exercises. By the end of our 8-week session, she not only ROCKED her assessments straight through, she did it with confidence, strength and a room full of new friends. Her determination, willingness to try something new, and desire to be the very BEST version of herself is an inspiration to Our Village. Not only is she back for a second round of Body Back, she continues to push herself outside her comfort zone and has joined our new FIT4MOM Running Club! Congratulations, Leslie, we are so proud of you!
What Happened when I Couldn’t Say No to Running
After a particularly tough time in my life (pre-kids), I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. I made a vow to myself: I could not say no to anything, unless it would harm myself or others.
A broad and somewhat ridiculous vow, I know, but it helped me in a huge way: I could not make excuses when it came to trying new things and experiences.
The proverbial push really came to shove when my friend Kristy (perhaps preying on my vow, perhaps not) asked me to train and do Philadelphia’s 2008 Broad Street Run with her. It was a 10-mile race, I’d have plenty of time to prepare, and we could do it together. I would (most likely) not harm myself or others in the process.
I knew what my answer had to be. I had to keep the vow to myself. But there was one problem: I was NOT a runner.
The “Not a Runner” Gives it a Try
I was an exerciser at the time—fitness classes, workout videos, etc. I was relatively fit. But other than the occasional hated jaunt on the...more
This month I tested out a couple different versions of one of my husband’s favorite foods, meatloaf.
He’s a good sport about all my Body Back inspired dinners, but every so often he likes to have something a little more like the foods he ate growing up.
Meatloaf is one of those classic American meals. It’s tasty and kids tend to like it. The problem, though, is that many meatloaf recipes are formulated for high fat meats. You could swap out the high fat ground beef for low fat ground turkey, but that usually results in dry and flavorless dish.
I started with a recipe from Ellie Krieger (she’s a nutritionist and cookbook author, I highly recommend her recipes), and then made a few changes to get to a meatloaf my kids and husband would all love.
You can use turkey, beef, or bison to prepare this meal. It works with meat that has a fat content from 10% to 4%. Here it is…
3/4 cup oats (regular or quick-cooking)
We are so excited to announce our latest Mom of the Month - Sally Belter! Sally started attending Stroller Strides in Glen Ellyn in October of 2015 with her daughter Ellie. No matter what is going on in her life - Sally always has a smile on. She is welcoming and friendly to all of the moms in classes. She truly lights up a room! Recently Sally joined our Lombard Body Back session. She gives 110% at her workouts and has goals of being a healthy example for her daughter. We're so glad you found us Sally!
For those of you that know me well, know that I am on Facebook A LOT! I post class pictures, class updates, pictures of my family, and more.
I know so many of us are on Facebook, so it is an easy “one stop shop” to update everyone on what’s going on with Our Village. I also think it is useful for sharing updates with far away friends and family.
But one thing most people don’t talk about with Facebook is how much time it takes. Sure, a quick scroll through your newsfeed can take just a minute. But what are you missing when you do that?
That’s why I gave up Facebook this week. My family took our first vacation of just the 4 of us. We went to Orlando for a week of sunshine and fun!
I have often heard of people talking about “taking a break” from social media; Lisa Druxman talks about it a lot. But this is the first time I've taken the challenge and done it. On Tuesday, I deleted the app from my phone and haven’t logged in since.
At first I noticed myself kind of itching for it. I would unlock my phone and quickly realize I had no idea why I was...more
Since my husband and I are both from the great state of New Jersey, I have a lot of mommy friends that live there. Last week, one of my friends from NJ came to visit her husband’s family, who just happen to live in this area (a happy coincidence). She’s a member of the FIT4MOM franchise where she lives, so she came to one of our classes here.
I enjoyed having her visit so much! It was fun to introduce an “old” mommy friend to the “new” mommy friends I’ve made since living here.
It also got me thinking: my “old” and “new” mom friends both play equal but different parts in my life. And in honor of SHARE THE LOVE week last month, I’d like to give them some kudos.
“Old” Mommy Friends: They Know Me and Love Me Anyway
By “old” mommy friends, I mean those that knew me pre-kid. This includes a few friends I’ve had since middle and high school, my core group of college friends, and those friends I’ve made through my husband (both through our time abroad, and his friends and friends’ wives that I’ve stolen for myself). Because we’ve moved...more
Welcome to February's Healthy Dinner blog!
Earlier this month, I posted a Question of the Week in our Village Facebook Group about soups and stews. Everyone shared their recipes. I tallied up the 'likes' and votes on our favorites and Erica's Coconut Curry Lentil soup won. The original recipe comes from vegangela.com, but I made a few small changes.
This recipe was awesome! So quick and easy to get started, minimal clean up, and at least one of my kids loved it. It's a great emergency weeknight meal, too, since all of the ingredients keep well in the pantry or freezer.
Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp of fresh ginger, minced
2 tbsp of ketchup
2 tbsp of curry powder
1/2 tsp of hot red pepper flakes
4 cups of unsalted vegetable broth
1/2 can of coconut milk (or more, to taste)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1.5 cups of dry red lentils
1 bag of frozen chopped kale (if...more
Meet our new instructor Emily Kurtz! Emily will be teaching our Body Back BOOST classes on Monday nights at Saturday mornings! Check out her schedule here.
Tell us something we don't know about you: I have an amazing memory recall on insignificant details of pop culture. If you need to know what happened on an episode of 90210 in 1995, I'm your girl. Too bad I can't use those powers for good!
Favorite exercise: My favorites are the ones that I dread going in to, but feel AWESOME when they are done. Think mountain climbers, push-ups, or anything with a paper plate!
Proudest moment as a mom: Seeing my 4 year old hold my 19 month old's hand to help him walk up the stairs. My heart broke in to about a million pieces.
Favorite tv show: The only shows I watch in real time are The Bachelor and Scandal- I never miss an episode. I am also a Friends buff, love How I Met Your...more
We are so excited to honor Ashley Grice as our MOM Of the Month! Ashley has been a member of our Village since summer of 2015 when she began attending Stroller Strides with her two adorable sons, Caleb and Daniel. Her warm smile, compassionate heart, and passion for health & wellness instantly connected her to our other moms. Now we can't imagine our classes without her!
Since joining our Stroller Strides group, she has also started taking Stroller Barre and Body Back BOOST. We are SO proud of how hard she works in class and her dedication to her own health! Congratulations, Ashley!
Welcome back to our Healthy Dinners blog! I'm lightening things up this month, since so many of us are committing to better nutrition in the new year. Our menu is Creole Salmon Cakes with Not-Really-Remoulade Sauce.
I'm a big fan of salmon cakes. They're quick, easy, and versatile. I made Creole cakes for this blog, but I'll include a couple variations for different flavor combos at the end of the post.
Full disclosure: this is not my kids' favorite meal. But hey, plain cheese pizza isn't my favorite meal, either. Sometimes we all have to eat what other people like.
Prep and cooking is pretty quick, especially if you use the shortcuts I include. It takes about 35 minutes, start to finish, and it doesn't generate a whole lot of mess, either.
Recipe: Creole Salmon Cakes
For the Salmon cakes:
15 ounces of canned salmon
2 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbs paprika
1/8 - 1/4 tsp...more
What Stroller Fitness Classes are Really Like: A Comparison of My Expectations vs. Reality
If you’ve never tried a Stroller Strides or Stroller Barre class, you might be wondering what it’s like.
If you’re like me before I joined FIT4MOM, it’s probably not what you’d expect. Here’s a little comparison of what I thought stroller fitness would be, versus what it actually has been for me.
Expectation #1: I envisioned a “workout” that included walking around leisurely with other moms.
Reality: Totally different.
I knew that this kind of stroller fitness wasn’t “leisurely” by Station 1 of my first Stroller Strides class, about 6 weeks postpartum. I could definitely tailor the workout to my out of shape fitness level at the time (the instructors give plenty of modifications), but these classes are no joke!
This made me very happy. I was glad to find a place where I could get a fun but challenging workout with my daughter in tow.
Expectation #2: My kid would have...more
If you’re not part of the FIT4MOM Glen Ellyn/Wheaton/Lombard family, now is the time to join!
We’re running a special on registration: it’s just $20.16 until 1/15/16 (a $70 value). It includes the two workout bands you’ll need for classes and a welcome bag.
Haven’t tried a class yet?
You’ve got 10 chances to try a free one before the registration deal ends! Contact Lesley Lehman to schedule your free class, and if you like it, she’ll set you up with the registration discount deal.
Want to work out with your kids?
Welcome to the Our Village's Healthy Dinners blog series! I'm Caroline Colley and I'll be your host for this culinary adventure. Each month I'll cook a new recipe and use My Fitness Pal to break down the nutritional facts. Then I'll feed it to my husband and 3 year old twins, and report back to you on the results. Happy cooking!
December's Healthy Dinner: Sausage and Sweet Potato Bake
This recipe is basically a hug on a plate. It's a delicious and healthy meal that kids of all ages love. My mom made this for us when I was growing up and now I'm making it for my family. That's 7 kids eating this meal over 30 years without a single complaint! Tess even does a happy dance in the kitchen when she finds out we're having it.
Prep and Cooking:
This meal is so easy to prepare! It took me about 20 minutes to get it in the oven, then it bakes for 50-60 minutes. That's great if you're a little tired after lots of holiday celebrating. Here's the recipe...
Sausage and Sweet Potato...more
Please join us in congratulating our December Mom of the Month, Emily! Emily has been sweating, singing and smiling in Stroller Strides since July 2014. Mom to 2 year old Ellie, we love Emily's amazing energy, positivity and hard work. We are even more excited to have Emily in all our Strides classes these days as she is expecting Baby #2 in April. Emily has used our classes to stay fit, keep in touch with mom friends, and help that little peanut grow stronger and healthier through exercise. We are so proud of her and her commitment to healthy living. Her beautiful smile and passion for wellness is contagious and we can't imagine our Village without her. Congrats, Emily!
My daughter is a newly minted toddler—she just turned 15 months. But I’ve got some (limited) broader experience with toddlers thanks to my friends at Stroller Strides. And let me tell you something: I think they have this whole “life” thing down pat.
Sure, they may need help putting shoes on or going to the bathroom. Sure, they may throw tantrums over having to wear clothes. But when it comes to what matters—enjoying life—they are top notch.
Here are four ways I am going to try to be more like a toddler this holiday season.
1) I will slow down when I can. It always seems like the more that you have to do in any given day, the slower a toddler tends to be. If you would like to be out of the house by 9am to run some errands before lunch, they will miraculously sleep two hours later than they normally do and savor that banana at breakfast when they normally inhale it. When this happens in my house, I get impatient and antsy. And then I look at my daughter—smiling and enjoying her breakfast. I will seek the same enjoyment, even when the...more
Powerful, strong, fun loving, and carefree are the words that come to mind when we think of Megan Millner! Megan just finished up our fall 2015 session of Body Back. She lost over 12 pounds in our program. She is always smiling! Her attitude towards life and motherhood is so much fun. She has fulfilled her childhood ambition too. We are so thankful to have you in Our Village Megan!
Kindness: Do Unto Yourself as You Would Do Unto Others
I’ve noticed something over the past year since I’ve had my daughter: my closest mom friends are way nicer to me than they are to themselves. And I’m included in that group. I’m way nicer to others than I am to myself.
Here’s a silly example.
One Friday afternoon in August, I locked myself out of my house while my daughter was napping. I was so angry at myself for being careless—my inner dialog was full of curses and insults about my own stupidity. Thankfully, I had my phone. I called my husband and he left work to come rescue me. That left me with about 15 minutes to stew. To pass the time, I texted my friends (and my Mom) about how stupid I was.
Others Showed Me the Kindness I Didn’t Give to Myself
The first to text back was my Mom. Of course she was kind to me—but she always is! The second to text back was Lizzy, one of my fellow Stroller Strides moms (now an instructor).
She was MUCH easier on me than I was on myself. She shared stories of...more
Lesley Lehman and Erica Spear both attended the FIT4MOM conference in San Diego, CA last month. A lot of people have been asking about their trip, so we thought we’d do a little blog recap.
Lesley and Erica both got to learn a ton of new stuff at the conference from fitness professionals across the country. And they’re going to bring it all back to our Village!
They’ve got new exercises and cardio bursts, new ways to use the band, and of course new songs for Stroller Strides. They also took a TRX Body Back class with lots of new equipment and intense core work. Lesley plans to get certified in TRX next year so she can bring it to our franchise in the future.
They also met plenty of other franchisees and instructors, swapping stories and tips and celebrating our awesome Village. Erica said it crystallized in her mind that our Glen Ellyn / Wheaton / Lombard Village is truly the best—our strong support system, love for each other and our kiddos, and encouragement for one another is unlike anything else she heard about.
Lesley also discovered a cool...more
My Stroller Strides-iversary: 5 Things That Would Happen If I Didn’t Have FIT4MOM
According to Facebook Memories, today (October 20) is the first anniversary of my first-ever Stroller Strides class.
In honor of this occasion, here are 5 things that would happen if I didn’t have FIT4MOM and Our Village in my life.
1) I wouldn’t be able to carry groceries, my daughter, a diaper bag, and the mail into my house at the same time. My arms, shoulders and back are definitely stronger because of flys galore and the Wheels on the Bus curl sequence.
2) I’d spend a lot more money at Target. Thanks to Stroller Strides, my daughter and I are occupied Monday, Wednesday and Friday until lunch time. Then, thanks to our private Facebook group, I can always find someone to meet up with after naps for a playdate. We’re never bored!
3) I’d go stir crazy in the winter. I’m from New Jersey originally, but Chicago winters are brutal. Regular indoor exercise,...more
The Joy of No Judgement
My first event with FIT4MOM was a Mom’s Night Out, before I even became a Mom. We had just moved to Wheaton, and I was 9 months pregnant. I found FIT4MOM on Meetup.com, and decided to try an MNO.
While driving there, I was nervous. If you believe what you read on the Internet, Mom’s groups are havens for cattiness and judgement. (And if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.) Was I wearing the right thing? Would they like me?
We had some drinks and appetizers, played Bocce Ball, and talked. I had a blast. The Moms were friendly, and I felt very welcome (the picture in this post is from that night). But since there were cocktails for everyone else, I wasn’t surprised. Everyone’s friendly when there are cocktails.
Then Things Got Real
My second foray into FIT4MOM came about two months later. I was six weeks postpartum and more tired than I’d ever been in my life. But I wanted to move again, and I wanted contact with the outside world. So I went to Stroller Strides.
I just moved this summer. I’ve actually moved six times since 2007, including twice across an ocean.
And you know what I realized?
I’ve dragged a lot of crap across an ocean. Twice.
Clothes were the main culprit. I had so many clothes. Every time I looked in my closet, I’d get stressed out. I had the same problem many women do—so many clothes, but nothing to wear.
There were clothes that were too big. Clothes that were too small. Clothes that still had tags on them because I saw them for $4.00 at Old Navy and bought them after a temporary lapse in fashion judgment.
But the biggest category were clothes that didn’t look bad, but that didn’t make me feel good, either. There wasn’t anything wrong with them per se, but I didn’t feel like my best self when I wore them (for a variety of reasons).
Why did I do that to myself? Why would I spend energy looking at them in my closet day after day? Why would I drag them across an ocean (twice)?
Brutal but Necessary Bluntness
I decided to do a clothing purge. I...more
"Inspiring, friendly, dedicated, and positive" are what comes to mind when our FIT4MOM village thinks of Jessica. She joined our franchise at our very first grand opening in May of 2014. Jessica had her third baby in December of 2014. As a busy mom of 3 children, Jessica still makes time to workout. She schedules kids classes and programs around Stroller Strides and is a dedicated member of Our Village. She is a light to other moms in class with her beautiful smile. We are so thankful to have you as part of our community Jessica!
Name: Caroline, Mom to three year old twins
Stats: 18 pounds and 10.25 inches lost during the session, 26 pounds lost in total
What I Learned: I’m worth it.
Hi Everyone! My name is Caroline, and I have 3 year-old twin balls of energy, Ben and Tess. We've been part of FIT4MOM for just over a year now. This spring I decided to take a step outside my comfort zone and sign up for Body Back.
Before Body Back
I had been working on losing the baby weight for about two years, and just hadn't managed to make any long term progress. I would get serious about my diet, lose a few pounds, and then there would be a stressful event. I'd pack on the pounds again, plus a little more.
I was tired of feeling fat and stress eating. So I did it. I figured that, if nothing else, spending the money would force me to do two extra workouts each week.
Struggling Through the Beginning
I have to be honest. The first week was daunting. The nutrition guide said no sugar or...more
August’s FIT4MOM theme is the Power of Moms. Founder Lisa Druxman wrote a beautiful blog post about it last week (http://fit4mom.com/latest/blog/the-power-of-moms).
This was my favorite part of her post:
“Moms are a catalyst for change. We have the power to teach, inspire and lead. It takes real strength to lift someone up higher, to pull them up after they have fallen down and to hold them up when they are too weak to stand alone. That is the strength of moms. That is the power of moms.”
But I’m going to put a lighthearted spin on this month’s theme.
On good days, I do feel those words she wrote—every bit of them, especially thanks to my FIT4MOM friends.
On bad days, I still try to feel them, but it’s hard! On those days, I try to find a bit of “Mom Power” in the little victories.
On bad days, I swear I feel like a super woman when:
FIT4MOM of Glen Ellyn / Wheaton / Lombard had a blast at the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Station on July 29, 2015. The fire fighters put on their gear, showed us a truck, talked about what to expect during a fire and gave us fire hats to take home! Thank you for hosting us GE Fire Deparment!more
Why I Stride: The Backstory of My Relationship with Exercise
I’m Christina Ousouljoglou, and I’ll be blogging for FIT4MOM about twice per month. I live in Wheaton, IL with my husband and our 11 month old daughter.
I plan to write about fun topics. If you know me, you know that I survive the not-so glamorous moments of motherhood, wifehood, and work with large doses of laughter and light-hearted sarcasm.
But, I want to start with one serious topic. This one’s also a little long, so bear with me.
Why—after nights of broken sleep, cranky early mornings, and crazed schedules—do Moms pack up their kiddos and go to Stroller Strides every week?
For me, it’s two things:
Exercise That’s Fun??
Yeah, I didn’t think it was possible either. My attitude about exercise has been less than stellar over the years....more
Meet our MOM of the month - Stacey Barrow!
"Hard working, inspiring to her daughter, supportive, motivated, and caring" were the words used by the FIT4MOM GE Wheaton instructor team when nominating Stacey. Stacey joined our village in spring of 2015 and has told us many times she wishes she would have found us sooner! She gives 110% to every single class she attends and is such an inspiration to her 2 year old daughter Emmie. While Stacey doesn't drive to class currently, she still makes it to at least 3 classes per week, our weekly playgroup, and our Mom's Nights Out. She is truly an AMAZING mom, friend, and member of our village. We are thankful to have her! Congratulations Stacey!
Hometown: Shotton Colliery, United Kingdom
Family: I have a Grandad called Sam, Mam & Dad called Bill & Janice. My sister is called Samantha is married to Gary and they have 2 beautiful daughters, Leah & Erin. My husband is Ian that I call Barra & our amazing little girl Emmie!
Meet Cassie Amann our MOM of the month!
Cassie was nominated to be our MOM of the month this month by our instructor team for many reasons. Cassie joined our village of moms earlier this year and has been a tremendous inspiration to those around her. While on her maternity leave with her second son, she has been attending Stroller Strides classes in Wheaton and has joined our Body Back program. Cassie gives 110% effort in every single class she attends. She has a positive attitude and always has a smile on her face. We are so thankful she found us! If you haven't met her yet, look for her at a class soon!
Hometown: Round Lake, IL
Family: My fiance, Josh - 2 sons Myles (7) and Lincoln (4 months), our white boxer, Macey
Current Career: Elementary school teacher
Childhood Ambition: I wanted to be a mommy
Motherhood means to me... It is a selfless love and care for the most important people in my life... and I love every second of it!
Furthest you have been away from home: Australia! I did 6 weeks of student teaching and 4 weeks of...more
Wow! What a fun month in March! FIT4MOM Glen Ellyn / Wheaton / Lombard was very lucky to have a few AMAZING guests this past month.
We had Dr. Phelan from 1-2-3 Magic come and speak to parents at the Lombard Park District about how to create better relationships with your children and encourage positive behavior. Awesome parents night out!
We also had Miss Rhonda from Music Together visit our Stroller Strides class for a free demo class. The children learned new songs, played with instruments, and a parachute!
Thank you to our great partners for visiting us!
Interested in what we have going on this month? Check out the schedule here.more
Meet Megan Colwell our Mom of the Month!
Megan was nominated for many reasons. She is a HUGE inspiration to all of us at FIT4MOM Glen Ellyn / Wheaton / Lombard. She attends a minimum of 3 classes per week. She was our "biggest winner" in Body Back last fall and lost over 16 lbs in the session! She has continued the Body Back program to lose over 30 pounds! She is a kind, gentle, caring mom to Henry and Hudson. If you haven't had a chance to meet Megan yet, you will soon! She plans awesome playgroups for us in Glen Ellyn too!
Hometown: Des Moines, IA
Family: My Mom and Dad still live in Iowa. I have three older sisters and 8 nieces and nephews that also live in Iowa. My husband has a younger brother and a younger sister. His brother lives in North Carolina and his sister is a freshman at the University of Iowa (my alma mater)
Current/Previous Career: Currently I am a Stay at Home Mom to Henry (2) and Hudson (10 months). Before I decided to stay home with my boys I worked in Premium Financing for a company called Imperial Premium Finance. I worked...more
Look no further for a healthy sweet treat to celebrate Valentine's Day! Our lead instructor and resident Chef Miss Erica prepared a delicious recipe for you!
Cacao Coconut Truffles
Recipe by Erica Emme Spear
Yields: 16-20 Truffles
A super satisfying after dinner-treat free of processed sweetener. Protein and nutrient dense, these “truffles” are a perfect alternative to sugar-laden desserts and chocolates. Scoops of green booster food adds an additional nutritious punch!
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw almonds
8 dates, pitted
3 tablespoons coconut butter or coconut cream (not coconut oil)
2 scoops chocolate green powder (optional), such as Delicious Greens 8000 or Amazing Grass Chocolate SuperFood
1 tablespoon powdered unsweetened cacao
Pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons warm water
½ cup raw, unsweetened coconut flakes
Wow! Your amazing body is making a little person. Exercising while you are pregnant has so many benefits. Most important one is that it gets your body ready for the next step, all the heavy lifting you will be doing once your bundle of joy is in your life. The stronger and healthier you are during your pregnancy, the easier it will be during labor, recovery and all the ups and downs that comes with adding a new little person to your life.
Here is a list of why you should start exercising while you are pregnant:
What a FUN playgroup! On Wednesday August 13th the FIT4MOM Glen Ellyn & Wheaton Stroller Strides classes had a combined playgroup at the Glen Ellyn Fire station. We had over 15 Stroller Strides mamas come to our playgroup and a few friends from the Lombard area moms Meetup!
Fire Chief Steve talked to us about fire safety and what to do in an emergency. Fireman Mike dressed up in his gear to show the children what a fireman would look like should they have to come to your house. It was an educational and fun day!
The children were able to sit in the fire truck, ring the bell, dress up in the uniform, and of course get their very own fire hat to take home. Check out the pictures below! If you have pictures you would like to add please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you can join us for a playgroup soon!more