As we all know, having a baby does a real number on your figure. Some lucky ladies seem to drop their baby weight instantly and be rocking those skinny jeans weeks after baby is born. But usually the weight loss is a little more gradual—nine months on, nine months off tends to be true.

After my daughter was born, I dropped most of my baby weight pretty effortlessly (although I did breastfeed, which helped). However, the last 10 pounds required a little more effort. Also, I noticed that even though I was slimming down, I had a serious lack of muscle tone. After polling my other friends who recently had babies, I realized I was not in the minority. Time and again I heard friends say, “I’m fine with the number on the scale, but not how I look in a bathing suit.”

Pre-baby, I made it to the gym almost daily. Unfortunately, this was no longer a possibility for me as a stay-at-home mom. So I looked for other options.

First, I tried walking. This was great for a while. We walked all over the place all the time. Then winter came. Unwilling to be a “mall walker,” I tried a baby and me yoga class, where I ended up chasing my baby as she crawled all over the yoga studio and I didn’t do much yoga.

Finally I heard about the perfect solution—Stroller Strides. A friend had mentioned it to me right after my daughter was born, but it wasn’t until my baby was seven or eight months old that I was ready to give it a try.

Here’s a little background info on Stroller Strides from it’s site:

 “Stroller Strides is the country’s largest stroller fitness program for moms offering pre and post-natal fitness classes for every stage of motherhood. We offer Fit4Baby, our prenatal class, Stroller Strides, our new mommy class and Body Back, our results-based class for moms at any stage. Each location is individually owned and managed.”

The concept of Stroller Strides is simple: Your baby stays in the stroller (a jogging stroller is nice, but not necessary) while you are led through a boot-camp style workout by a leader (who is also a mom).

Classes are mom-friendly in a few ways:
• Your baby is with you the whole hour-long workout.

• You can stop and hit the sidelines at any time to nurse or change your baby.

• The workout is tailored to moms of different fitness levels. For each cardio burst, the leader gives different options for your level of fitness (pregnant moms with a child already participate often as well).

• You have the opportunity to meet and socialize with other moms who have babies around the same age. Our Stroller Strides has a play group after class once a week and a mom’s night out every few weeks!

• There are many options for signing up/payment. You can pay a monthly membership, buy a 10-pack of classes or just drop in and pay for an individual class whenever you have time to come.

• Classes at my location in Chicago are indoors during the fall and winter months and move outside in the spring and summer. However, if the weather is bad, the class goes back inside (this varies region to region).

• Workout routines incorporate baby, too. For example, while doing arm workouts with a tension band, you may sing “The Wheels on the Bus” to your baby. Or you may find yourself doing pushups as you recite the ABCs!

• The class setting is motivational: You see a mommy next to you running while you’re walking … it makes you want to step it up to at least a slow jog!

I know what you’re thinking: How good of a workout is it? It’s just as good if not better than any class I’ve ever taken! Here’s why:

  • A Proper Warm-Up: True confession—I don’t warm up when I go to the gym by myself. At Stroller Strides, we alwasy do a five-minute warm-up where we stand in a circle doing leg kicks, torso twists and other light activities while we introduce ourselves and our babies.
  • LOTS of Cardio: Running and short cardio bursts like jumping jacks and “tickle drills” (sprints that end in tickling baby) keep my heart rate up the whole hour-long class.
  • Strength Training: Between all the cardio, we do countless squats, planks and muscle-building exercises with the tension band. (Note: Once again, this is tailored to each mom’s fitness level. You have two bands of different tension to choose from). I can actually see and feel the definition in my arms again!
  • Variety: In the four months I’ve been attending Stroller Strides (three times a week), every class has been different. Although the overall rhythm of the class is the same, we’re always doing something new to keep it interesting!
  • Stretching/Ab Work: I’m also guilty of not stretching at the end of my workout when I’m on my own. At Stroller Strides, the last 10 minutes of class are devoted to working your abs and stretching out those arms and legs you just worked so hard! As an added bonus, babies can come out of the stroller during stretching and do a little stretching of their own!

There are also two other classes under the Stroller Strides umbrella: Fit4Baby and Body Back. Fit4Baby is a program designed to strengthen the body for all the changes you experience during pregnancy. It includes cardio, strength, flexibility and balance. Like Stroller Strides, it is for moms of all fitness levels (this class is for mom only though, any older siblings stay home with dad or babysitter!).

Body Back is Stroller Strides’ newest program. It’s a results-based program designed for mom to get her pre-pregnancy body back. With high-intensity workouts, online coaching, a meal plan and workout DVDs, Body Back is a great way to feel like yourself again!

Visit strollerstrides.com to find a location near you—there are more than 1,200 locations in 44 states!

Are you a fitness guru interested in starting your own Stroller Strides franchise?  Click here for information on how to do it! Be your own boss and love what you do!