As a fitness enthusiast, I would try just about any kind of workout class. The problem is now that I am a mom, my schedule doesn’t always allow for me to hit the gym at any given time of the day. But I have found that attending a stroller fitness class is my favorite way to work out now that I have a toddler.
Stroller fitness classes are exercise programs that allow moms to bring along their baby while they work up a sweat. The little ones stay in the stroller as moms get to focus on their fitness, having the peace of mind that their child is right within an arm’s reach.
As a new mom, this was something I battled with. As much as I wanted to get a run in, I just didn’t trust anyone besides my husband to stay with my newborn. While I made it work with my home treadmill during nap times, I just wasn’t up for going to the gym. The older my son got, I was able to find a gym with babysitting hours we were both comfortable with. But limited hours means I can’t always make that class I want.
That’s when I found Jersey Stroller Moms, the New Jersey-based workout program that allows moms to get in a great workout, socialize, find mom friends they can relate to, and lead by example when it comes to teaching their children about health and fitness.
“There are so many amazing benefits of this program but the biggest one for me was support from other moms (a community/ tribe),” owner and lead instructor of Jersey Stroller Moms, Jen Boyce said. “And getting back into shape after having a baby but with moms trying to accomplish the same goal.”
It seriously is the fitness group every (Jersey) mama needs to try.
Who is Jersey Stroller Moms?
Jersey Stroller Moms are expecting moms, new moms, toddler moms, and stroller-aged kid moms who have a passion for fitness or have the desire to get fit. They include a combination of fitness enthusiast who often competes in triathlons and other races together, as well as those working out for the first time in years or post-baby.
The program was started by former Freehold resident Jess Hamel in 2014 after moving from Georgia (where her army husband was stationed), where she attended stroller workout classes.
“When she and her husband were transferred back to NJ there wasn’t anything around our area like it,” Boyce said. “So she was missing her workouts and knew she wanted to bring that here to NJ.”
After serving as an instructor, when Boyce learned Hamel was selling the company to move away in November 2017, she knew she just had to take it over. “It only made sense for me to buy it and keep it going,” she said. “It is such a great program and an awesome resource for moms!”
What To Expect From A Class
In general, stroller workout classes are total body workouts that combine strength training with cardio, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and stretching. Boyce said that the workout differs depending on the instructor, but moms can always expect to get that full body workout.
JSM just expanded its program to offer more variety in the class rotation like P90X, kickboxing, yoga, and Pilates.
At Jersey Stroller Moms (JSM), the classes are 60 minutes. It starts with a warm-up, the workout and stretching at the end.
Towards the end of the workout, the kids are encouraged to come out of the strollers and run around, participate and play together. There is often story time, activities and events for the kids.
Sometimes the kids don’t make it through the class without wanting to come out of the stroller. Depending on the class, the toddlers and kids often follow their mamas running, jumping and squatting.
“Toddlers get to a point where they don’t want to sit but are still too young to be out of the stroller for safety reasons,” Boyce said. “We usually will put the strollers next to each other so they can play. Snacks are critical for the kids! We always joke they snack the whole time and we workout!”
Newborns tend to be the easiest since they often sleep through the class. Plus moms don’t need to leave their babies to find a daycare when they workout.
“The bigger kids love coming back on their days off and participating in the classes,” Boyce added.
As a runner, one of the main reasons why I enjoy JSM so much is because it keeps my muscles guessing. I workout muscle groups I tend to ignore like arms or core, which is still essential for running. As a fitness lover, it makes working out fun since there is always something new. I am forced to do exercises I love to hate like burpees and squats and push and challenge myself.
Another reason why all mamas need to check out this program is that at its core it’s really about the workout. Fitness comes first. It’s not a play date or mommy-and-me class. Even though the kids are there, mamas are working out. If the baby or toddler is fussing, the instructor often offers to rock them in the stroller or keep them occupied while mom gets to do that round of exercises.
The high-intensity workouts make mamas work up a serious sweat while the strength training tones and leans. After taking the class for 10 weeks I noticed how much my endurance and strength increases as well as how toned I was getting.
But the mama doesn’t need to start off feeling fit. “The program is suitable for all fitness levels,” Boyce said. “We have modifications for all exercises so everyone does what they feel comfortable with.” This is what makes it great for even pregnant women.
This might mean walking instead of sprinting, jogging a shorter route opposed to the long way or simple squats instead of jump squats. And there is no judgment for needing to go at a mom’s own pace or make that modification. The group is general is extremely welcoming and supportive. “Everyone is on their own fitness journey, we are just here to help them get to where they want to be,” added Boyce.
More Than Just A Fitness Group
But JSM is so much more than a fitness class. Boyce describes it as a community and not just a workout group. “You come and get a great workout but you also get great friends, connections, ideas, advice, help, and most importantly support.”
Oftentimes moms—and kids—become really good friends. Boyce said her daughter’s best friends are all the kids she grew up with at the stroller classes.
“The most rewarding part is seeing all the friendships that are made at JSM between moms and the kids,” Boyce said. “I love hearing people feel great again and are to the size they want to be or they feel stronger or sore after class.”
While the friendship aspect is sweet, the icing on the cake is being a positive role model for our children. The kids watch and mimic their moms—both in the class and at home. It’s the most heartwarming thing to see my son racing around or get on my treadmill. And after attending a few classes, he was squatting along with me and chasing the kids around. As a mom, I want to teach my son to be strong in all sense of the word. I want to show him that he can do anything he puts his mind to. Perseverance, dedication, and belief in oneself are often the lessons learned when embarking on a fitness journey and these are all things I want him to learn. Not to mention the general health and wellness aspect of living a healthy life.
JSM often has events outside of working out for just the moms and for the kids. This includes trips to the aquarium and other play places.
Location And Pricing
The program meets indoors during the colder months, at World Cup in Freehold and Hope Christian School. It recently moved its workouts outdoors at Manalapan Recreation Center and Oak Glen Park in Howell. There are both morning and evening classes, as well as weekend classes.
Jersey Stroller Moms provides monthly memberships, 10 class, 20 class and night class options. There is even a summer teacher pass. Drop in classes for moms who prefer to pay as they go cost just $14.
JSM is currently offering a special for this week’s spring break. This includes 6 classes (now 5) from April 19 to April 26. Get your pass here.
Check out Jersey Stroller Moms for more membership information.