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'FIT4MOM' fits baby into workout for busy moms

Some busy moms are using their strollers to sweat it out.

Wiloughby — Tis’ the season to eat: All-out, full-fledged feasts at every turn.

So how to burn the calories? Some busy moms are using their strollers to sweat it out.

"Three...two...one...blast off!," Michaela Stilz shouts the next step of the workout and strollers powered by mammas on a mission push off.

It’s a boot camp of sorts, but it’s babies and bonding time that are key in this battle of the bulge.

Stilz is uniquely qualified to run the new Mentor-Willoughby FIT4MOM, being a mamma of two under 2.

"FIT4MOM is more than just a workout," Stiltz said. "It's actually fun. You're bringing the kids. They're entertained."

"I just absolutely love the idea,” said Natalie Koeth. She and 2-year-old son Connor had just completed the first class at Lost Nation Sports Park.

“It’s like a mommy-and-me class where I can get fitness down and he’s involved."

It’s stroller rolling the kids and burning calories at the same time.

"I'm really ready to get in shape, do it with him and not have to worry about anything else," Koeth added.

Holly Hebebrand of Painesville did the class with her toddler daughter Clare.

"It’s a workout, which for a lot of us is difficult to get out of the house with babies this young," she said.

It’s an hour of kicking it into high gear to kids' favorite songs, sometimes “Baby Shark Song” style even. All the while, moms are moving in ways that more than count as a workout and inevitably make their babies laugh.

Moms take the babies along for the ride through five stations of cardio and strength training, topped off with a core workout.

"We can interact with them for an hour and we have that hour to ourselves too," Hebebrand said.

“It is a real workout," Koeth said. "We sweat. I describe it as mommy boot camp. I’ll be feeling it tonight.

"When I tried it in Twinsburg, I couldn't walk for a week."

Moms have been making stroller strides in FIT4MOM franchises not just in Twinsburg, but Beachwood/Shaker Heights, Hudson and Solon as well.

Stilz brought the franchise to moms in the Mentor-Willoughby area after she and her husband moved back from a brief transplant in Tennessee.

"We moved there and we knew absolutely nobody.," she said. We had no friends. I just had my first baby and was walking through the park with my son one day when I saw this group of moms running by me in strollers. I joined and was there even an instructor and we knew we wanted to bring it back to Willoughby."

She says it’s as much about networking for moms as it is about fitness.

Classes and memberships are flexible, because the mom who runs the classes gets it.

"Sometimes you can’t get out the door," Stilz told us.. My first class I signed up for I didn't even make it to. I was walking out the door and the baby has a blow out in the diaper. It happens! That’s just what it means to be a mom.

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