When Marci Terris and Katie Bryan first met in Chicago several years ago, there weren’t a lot of options for staying fit.
The moms concocted a plan, donning their workout gear and heading out on what they dubbed “sporty mom walks,” to get moving and stay healthy.
When the two reconnected after their families both moved to Camden County, that idea turned into a plan to bring Fit4Mom, a program that began in San Diego in 2001, to their new home.
After months of training and planning, they officially launched with Stroller Strides, one of Fit4Mom’s programs, in Cherry Hill, with eight moms working out at Challenge Grove Park, doing everything from stretches to squats in the perfect spring air in a preview of what’s to come through the spring and summer.
It’s their way of bringing a love of fitness to local women, the two women said, but it’s also more than just that.
“To be able to bring moms together is something we really, really wanted to do,” Bryan said.
“A lot of moms lose a sense of purpose and a sense of community, because when you’re home with the kinds, you’re by yourself a lot.”
And with pressure on moms to do more and make every sacrifice for their kids, the women said it’s a chance to find a little personal time.
“Moms don’t take time for themselves,” Terris said. “It’s a great opportunity for like-minded moms to get together, spend an hour on themselves but still entertain and engage the baby and not feel like they’re being selfish. This allows for it all to happen at the same time—that’s what I love about this program.”
Cherry Hill councilwoman Susan Shin Angulo, who was on hand to inaugurate the program, tied it to Mayor Chuck Cahn’s wellness initiative, and praised the pair for giving moms a way to find time to be fit.
“As a first-time mom, it’s so hard to juggle everything,” she said. “This is so important.”
While looking good and getting healthy are major motivators, Bryan and Terris both said it’s also important to set an example for their kids.
“If you are exercising in front of your child, you’re being an example to them—showing them it’s important to be healthy, to be outside and not glued to a video game, to be active,” Bryan said. “Just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you can’t be fit and awesome.”
Their goals are lofty, too, with both women saying they want to reach as many moms in the area as possible.
“I want an army of fit moms behind me,” Terris said. “I know they’re out there.”
Workouts are all at Challenge Grove Park off Brace Road, with plans to get a backup indoor space for when the weather turns bad. Classes run Monday, Tuesday and Thursday through the end of this month, with a full schedule and more information at cherryhill.fit4mom.com.
Officially, they serve Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Haddonfield and Collingswood, but Bryan and Terris said they’ll welcome anyone from the area who wants to get in shape.
They’re also planning a 5K running program, which will start next month and run for 12 weeks, designed to get new runners prepped to run a race at the end of July.