Is Stroller Strides (Fit4Mom) Worth Your Time & Money?

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ince you’ve become a mommy, how do you stay fit? What’s your go-to workout of choice? Do you run? Do you workout at home? Are you still trying to figure it all out?

As you can tell by all of the questions, mommy healthy is a very serious topic for me. It’s hard to take care of your kid if you can’t take care of yourself.  If you’re a part of the ‘still trying to figure it all out camp’ and have ever considered Fit4Mom, here’s a review you might find helpful.

Before I begin, this review is NOT a sponsored review of Fit4Mom. Aside for having been previously enrolled and participated in Fit4Mom Ewa Beach for a year; and having recently attended two classes with Fit4Mom Honolulu, I have no affiliation with, nor will I profit monetarily from writing this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my very own.

What is Fit4Mom?

FIT4MOM began as a mom and child fitness class called Stroller Strides. They have since grown up from offering exclusively the Stroller Strides class to offering exercise classes catering to the specific fitness needs of moms through every area of motherhood.

Their current fitness program line-up includes: Fit4Baby– A program designed to help strengthen your body during pregnancy; Stroller Strides– a stroller-based fitness program designed for moms and their little ones; StrollerBarre– stroller-based program that combines pilates, yoga, barr, and ballet that is focused on building strength, muscles, and improving posture; and Body Back– A high-intensity workout that also combines a Meal Plan and DVDs to help moms get their body back after having a baby.

Who is it for?

It is primarily a program focused on the fitness needs of mothers. Though dads are welcomed and encouraged to join in as well.

Where are they located on Oahu?

On Oahu, Fit4Mom has programs at in the following locations:

  • Central Oahu (locations include Central Oahu Regional Park, Hickam Airforce Base, Kapolei Regional Park, Halsey Terrace Community Center, and Mililani District Park)
  • Ewa Beach (locations include Ocean Pointe, The Waterfront at Pu’uloa, and Asing Park)
  • Honolulu (locations include Hunakai Park in Kahala, Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, Honolulu Zoo, and Haha’ione Neighborhood Park in Hawaii Kai)
  • Windward Kailua (locations include Kailua Beach Park, Lanikai Park, Kaelepulu Elementary School, and Enchanted Lakes Elementary)

My Personal Experience with Fit4Mom Ewa Beach

I was first introduced to Stroller Strides via my husband. At that time, we lived in Ewa Beach’s Ocean Pointe neighborhood. He came home from a grocery store run one morning and said, “Babe, I just saw a group of moms running with kids in strollers. You should totally check it out. It looks like it’s right up your alley.”  He found out the group’s name was Stroller Strides and they met regularly in our neighborhood.

At the time, I was about 35 weeks pregnant with baby #2, so I wasn’t really expecting to get a deep workout. But, being that I was new to the island, the thought of getting out to walk a bit and meeting local moms with kids in the neighborhood was an enticement I couldn’t resist. So I think I just showed up on a random morning without signing up online. I didn’t know what to expect, but me and my little one and a half year-old appeared, ready to make friends and have a nice workout. I was quickly approached by the instructor, welcomed, given a waiver form to sign, and briefed on what to expect. I learned that the day I chose to ‘pop-up’ wasn’t a typical class day, instead they were doing something call a GetFit Challenge. I jumped right in.

The class consisted of about twelve other moms and their kids. I found the other moms to be very chatty and friendly, which was a relief. I thought the group had a great mix of fitness levels. Pregnant moms, fit moms, and aspiring fit moms. All shapes and sizes.  Some military moms and some local moms. On this this particular day, I learned that class consisted of workouts at three different locations around the neighborhood. There were two groups- runners and walkers. I was a part of the walking crowd and, I’ll admit, I was expecting a slow-pace of walking especially, given my waddling like a penguin, but nope, those mamas were on the move- walking to the next exercise spot! I really enjoyed the class. It was just what I needed.

I think I might have attended 2-3 more classes before baby came and with each class I attended I was hooked. The fitness, the other moms, the encouragement made me feel as if I had found the perfect fitness solution and social group.

About 4-5 months later I returned and hit the ground running (literally) getting my body back into shape. I committed to three days a week M, W, F and quickly began seeing results. I was inspired by the runners and made it one of my goals to be among the fastest moms in the group.  The Ewa Beach Fit4Mom is top-knotch. They don’t play and boy can they run!  You’ll be hard pressed to find another group of moms on the island as sweet, kind, and dedicated to friendship, support, and fitness as that group of women. The instructors are awesome, other mommies were kind and very supportive, and the other kids were friendly and played well together. It was a natural fit for me and my girls and I’m so happy I was able to make great friendships with that group.

We’ve since moved into town and driving to Ewa for a fitness group just isn’t going to happen. As much as I would love to do it.

My Personal Experience with Fit4Mom Honolulu

Since relocating from Ewa Beach to Honolulu proper, I’ve tried out Fit4Mom Honolulu two times. I’ll admit, coming from the Ewa group, I had very high expectations and was disappointed with my first visit, not so much with my second visit though.

My first interaction with Fit4Mom Honolulu was attending a Saturday morning class located at the Honolulu Zoo. I was excited to attend this class as it was such an awesome and cool concept to me, especially since we have an annual pass to the zoo. Sadly though, I was disappointed with my workout because of the super relaxed in-stroller policy.  At one point I accidentally kicked a child (it wasn’t hard, but it made me more cautious about fully and mentally committing to the workout) as I didn’t want to hurt someone’s kid. Also, Saturdays are a popular day for attending the zoo, so although the concept of working out in the zoo near animals for your kids to watch sounds appealing, the narrow paths make for awkward foot traffic and congestion for zoo-goers and Fit4mom participants. It felt a bit strange doing lunges while zoo-goers were attempting to enjoy the animal displays.

I wish I could say I enjoyed the entire workout, but sadly, I didn’t finish it. I lost my motivation after the tenth time my three year-old asked me why she couldn’t get out the stroller and play like all of the other kids. I just gave up, called it quits, and spent the remainder of the class at the zoo playground letting my kids play and run around. It was a bummer.

Not all is lost with the Honolulu group though. I enjoyed meeting with and chatting with the other mommies. Seems like a nice group of mommies to get to know and meet with regularly.  They are a friendly bunch and very open to inviting random mommies at the zoo to join in and check them out. They are also very good with with follow-up. In fact, it was a follow-up email sent to me from the Honolulu Zoo class instructor, that encouraged me to give it another try on another day, which I did and enjoyed much better!

The second class I attended was held on a Monday and was with a smaller group (three other mommies + kids, the instructor, and myself) and the workout was great. This class was located in Waikiki and I enjoyed exercising by the ocean, running next to the beach, and chatting with the other mommies. I definitely plan to check out their other locations, class times, some of their mommy socials, and commit to at least two classes a week once my sweet potato is born. (Though, I’ve gotta work out how I’m gonna do it with three kiddos…. hmmmmmmmm got any ideas?)

Here’s What I Love About Fit4Mom:

  • It’s not a bunch of gossiping overweight moms casually walking their kids in jogging strollers. If you want chatty chatty gossip while barely breaking a sweat, don’t join Fit4Mom. It’s not for you.
  • The work outs. They have two levels of workouts. You leave feeling like you definitely got your money’s worth. You feel good. The rest of the day is a piece of cake now that your workout is out of the way.
  • The social opportunities with other mommies
  • Instant playgroups with other kids.
  • Nap time Inducement (that alone is worth it’s weight in GOLD!)
  • Encouragement & Non-Judgmental Environment.
  • Variety in workouts.

Here’s What I Don’t Like About Fit4Mom.

It’s a franchise, so there is supposed to be brand consistency, however, not all franchises are created equally. It’s unfortunate, as I would imagine every franchise values brand consistency. This is a big bummer and something I think Fit4Mom headquarters should really focus on, as it can really hurt overall their branding and quality. They should survey current and past members regularly to understand how they can improve and how franchisees are doing. This measure alone will improve the consistency of their brand. Or here’s another idea, hire secret shoppers. I’ll happily travel the country visiting different Fit4Mom locations, workout with my kiddos and score them!

Thus, if you’re looking to join a Fit4Mom group, you have to find the right fit for you. I just happened to have joined a kick@ss one with very high standards. For instance, the one in Ewa Beach is very safety-oriented. It’s a large and active group, so they really enforce the policy of kid in stroller for safety, until the workout has ended.  The one in town held at the zoo however, isn’t so strict. The relaxed free roaming vibe can be appealing to some moms, but for those who really value their time working out, kids out of the stroller and running around is a major headache and distraction. When you’re paying your money and dedicating time, you want to get maximum bang for your buck. The Honolulu Zoo class seemed more like a playgroup with exercise included. And of course, there’s ‘me too’ factor with your kids which cannot be ignored.

My Fitness Background

As for my fitness background, I consider myself an athlete, though, I haven’t been a part of an actual athletic team since high school. It was organized sport in middle and high school though, which helped me love group fitness.

My first two years of college, I was a part of the Army National Guard and during basic training I was the fittest female in my company. I’ve always liked fitness and have excelled in it. I like group exercise. I like intense, fun, and competitive fitness. I’m not a gym person. I’m not certified as a personal trainer, nutrition expert, nor do I have a degree in Sports Science or any other fancy titles to establish my credibility as a fitness expert, because I don’t claim to be.

I’m simply an athletic mommy who loves to move and work out my body, stay fit, look good, feel good, and have fun while doing it.

In college I didn’t play sports as I would have liked, so I pretty much stayed fit by running and going to the on-campus gym. I hardly ever cooked and lived off of Cosi’s salads and Jamaican beef patties and cocoa bread purchased from the street vendors on my college campus.

In Tokyo, I splurged and joined a luxury gym, had a personal trainer, and worked out about four times a week before work. It was probably the best and most luxurious gym I’ve ever been to. Oh Esforta! Pretty much did that for several years, and kept my membership during and after my 1st pregnancy until we returned to the USA. I was soooo spoiled in Tokyo. Oh, the money I spent!

At one point in Tokyo I tried Crossfit and I HATED Crossfit. For so many reasons. As of today, I’ve tried Crossfit twice.  Once in Tokyo and once here on Oahu. I’m not really a Crossfit person. It’s kind of cultish. And, I hate how much weigh-lifting and squatting they do. It’s not my style of exercise at all.  I’m don’t like competing with guys three times my size doing the same workouts at me. Plus, I’m not a bulky female. I’m petite and lean. Crossfit seems to have an abundance of women who are physically strong but whose body type I don’t desire. Plus, they don’t do enough cardio. Also, and this is BIG, as a mother you’d be hard-pressed to find an instructor knowledgeable about guiding a mother’s body through postpartum workouts to strengthen you core. (DANGEROUS!)

Overall, Fit4Mom is a great option for mothers. The price, convenience, social environment for moms and kids can’t be beat. Though, you have to shop around to different groups to find the right match for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Takara Bullock

Takara is a wife, mother-of-three, and owner of FIT4MOM Honolulu Owner who has lived in Hawaii for seven years. Before Hawaii, she resided in Japan for six years where she researched as a Fulbright Fellow and later worked as a headhunter recruiting talent in the tech industry. Fun Little Ohana is all about 'momming' in Hawaii. Subscribe to our weekly email for the latest happenings on the island.

8 Comments

    • Hi Sofia! I’m happy to hear you’ve found this helpful. I was a bit hesitant to write it, but decided to go ahead and publish because other moms might find it helpful. Thanks for the confirmation!

    • Thanks Jeannnie! I really miss the Ewa Group, but I am going to try my best to make the Honolulu group work. Might just have to get that triple 🙂

  1. Hi Takara
    Thank you for your honest review of FIT4MOM. While there may be differences from location to location, I am confident that all of our franchisees are dedicated to giving women the strength for motherhood. I’m sure that all of our franchisees would warmly receive your suggestions if there is something more or different that you desire. We hope that you and your followers continue to create a village for fellow moms. We believe in you!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment. No doubt, Fit4Mom is awesome for moms looking to stay fit and connect with other mommies. And sure, I’m certain all of your franchisees are ‘dedicated to giving women the strength for motherhood’ too. My issue is, you never know what you’re gonna get, location to location. Which is a bummer, because I love telling other moms who might live in other cities all about it and to check it out. I was fortunate to have found an awesome group on-island that I can’t attend due to distance; and the groups close to me now can’t hold a candle to my previous group. So now, my go-to fitness choice for over a year is pretty much up in the air again and I’m looking at other options. This really sucks. Brand consistency is particularly in Hawaii is lacking. That’s the point I’m making.

  2. This was really helpful. I like your blog a lot; I’ve gotten a lot of great ideas and am scouring all the well-written reviews and event heads-ups. I never heard of Fit4Mom and am now going to try the Windward group for a summer activity. I’m a teacher and have a seven-month-old, and am looking for things to do with him during my summer break!

    If you know anything about the windward Fit4Mom group, I’d love to hear about it. If not, thanks so much for this helpful blog!

    • Hi Alexandra! Thanks for stopping by Fun Little Ohana! I’m happy to hear you’ve found helpful information here.

      Fit4Mom Central Oahu is run by Jill Natividad who is also the owner of the Ewa Beach Fit4mom. She rocks! Seriously, this lady is probably the sweetest, most supportive, and genuine woman you’ll meet (and FIT too!). She recently purchase Fit4Mom Central Oahu. Please tell her you heard about Fit4Mom via Takara’s blog :).

      I’d love to hear all about your experience, feel free to post a comment here again to share or email me at takara@funlittleohana.com

      Have a lovely summer!

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