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Fitness & Motherhood

I Love Fit4Mom

For the month of February we focus on what we love and care about.  Since having kids I enjoy the Valentine holiday even more.  I love making the cute Pinterest Valentine cards for the kids classmates, putting hearts on their bedroom doors telling them what I love about them and eating heart shaped pancakes for breakfast.  My Valentine holiday sure looks a lot different now then it did while dating my husband or marriage pre-kids but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Valentine’s Day is usually about the people you love; family and friends but it is also a time to think about the other aspects of your life that you love.  I love so many parts of my life, all of them actually!  I have amazing family and friends and a job that I LOVE! I wish all people could say that!

I am the owner of Fit4MomFredericksburg which is a Fit4Mom franchise.  I have owned the franchise for 5 ½ years.  Before purchasing the franchise I was a kindergarten teacher.  I loved teaching but wanted to be home with my kids and when the opportunity of owning Fit4Mom came up I did it!  My mom was listening to a business podcast and heard Lisa Druxman, the founder of Fit4Mom talking. She looked online and found that the Fredericksburg location was currently for sale, seemed like fate!

Within a month I had purchased the franchise and became trained to teach group fitness classes.  Everything was moving so quickly and because I had signed my teaching contract for the next year I went back to teaching for one more year.  I had another instructor teach for my fitness classes during the week and I taught evening and weekend classes.  It was a crazy and busy first year of my business but it was all worth it!

Fast forward to 5 years later and I am teaching Stroller Strides classes in the morning and Body Back classes in the evening. I have had and have some amazing instructors who teach great classes and I am very grateful for!  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fit4Mom it is a fitness group that caters to all moms regardless of their stage of motherhood.  My location offers Stroller Strides and Body Back classes.  Stroller Strides classes are a full body workout that moms bring their little ones to.  We involve the children in classes by singing songs, reading books and blowing bubbles.  Body Back is a boot camp style class that is offered in sessions.  These classes are just for the women, no babies this time but we do offer childcare on site!

Now if you’re wondering why I love my job and Fit4Mom so much here it is;

  • Fit4Mom allows me to bring my children with me to work.  I am able to be with them all day and never miss any of their milestones or activities.  I can also work the business side of Fit4Mom at home during naptime.
  • Attending Fit4Mom classes allows me and the other moms to make new friends.  Being a stay at home mom is hard, you can get lonely and by attending classes you will meet new friends.  Over the last five years I have made so many new lifelong friendships.  The friendships built in classes usually carries over to playdates and our monthly Mom’s Night Outs. It’s so important for moms to have an outlet and Fit4Mom is amazing at embracing all women.
  • Moms’ friendships aren’t the only relationships that are being formed at classes.  The kids attend classes together all week and play after class at our weekly playgroups.  There’s nothing cuter than a whole bunch of little ones who are running around together having a great time.  My kids birthday parties are always full of Fit4Mom kids!
  • The quote, “Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate,” has never been so true.  Our children see us workout daily, that gives them a positive outlook on exercise. They see exercise as fun, something to do with friends and that making healthy choices is a priority. There are not many toddlers that can perform squats, burpees and jumping jacks but the Fit4Mom kids can!  There have been countless times where my children have lunged down store aisles, held plank in the living room and done tricep dips on our front steps. Instead of leaving your children in the gym daycare while you workout your children are right alongside you watching you and seeing you as a positive role model.
  • A perk of teaching Fit4Mom classes throughout the week is that I get to spend my mornings with cute babies and kids.  We have a great time together singing and playing.  Of course there are days when we have some cranky little ones and that is okay too, that just means that I get to hold them!
  • The obvious positive about Fit4Mom is the workout.  Each class that you attend is a full body workout and incorporates so many fun elements that most of the time you don’t even feel like you are working out! 

As you can see Fit4Mom is amazing!  I LOVE every aspect of my job.  I know it sounds corny but when I say I am truly the luckiest woman in the world to do this everyday! I love bringing fitness, friendship and the feeling of community to moms in this area.  I am so thankful that my mom heard that podcast, my life and the life of my family would be so different right now!

For more information on Fit4Mom Fredericksburg please visit Fredericksburg.fit4mom.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

fit4mom

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Pinning Away!

                Normally I am known to everyone as a fitness instructor, teacher, mom, wife, daughter, sister or friend but I am also DIY obsessed!  Just like everyone I am addicted to Pinterest and love filling my boards with creative inspiration.  As much as I love pinning to my boards I love bringing the pins to life even more!  My boards are full of interior decorating, fashion, kid activities and workouts, but the one thing you won’t find on my boards is cooking; that is not one of my strengths!

                I know my creative interests come from my mom. Growing up she always did great projects and activities with us and tried different paint techniques and decorating styles at our house and this was all before Pinterest!  Before I start a new project for the house I always get her opinion on color or style.  My husband Joey doesn’t have any interest or opinion when it comes to the house so that means free rein for me!

                We moved into our house 11 years ago.  Since then, we have made changes to every single room.  When we moved in the house was a country style but we have slowly made it into a more modern and updated living space.  The first things we did were to take down wallpaper borders, paint the rooms, and replace the carpet with hardwood floors. Once the basics were done it was time to move onto the fun stuff and start styling the house and that’s where Pinterest came into play!

                I would brainstorm a few projects at a time and research on Pinterest and other online sites until I decided I was ready to take the plunge.  I have completed a few Pinterest projects that could have easily become Pinterest fails but so far I have been lucky! My biggest risks have been painting my refrigerator with chalkboard paint, painting our builder grade kitchen cabinets grey, painting our kitchen countertops black and whitewashing the fireplace.  I was amazed at how well all of these projects turned out and what an improvement each one made!  My dad was assisting me on some of these projects and he was very unsure and nervous to each time.  If any of these projects didn’t work I would have had to the relevant components, and that is pricey!  But I’m glad we took the risk!

fireplace makeover

                Over the summer we decided the deck needed a makeover.  The paint was fading and there were splinters and rough spots; definitely wasn’t safe to walk on barefoot.  We power washed the deck, which is one of my favorite chores and then we painted it with a deck restore.  I thought this project would take us a weekend; it ended up taking over a week in the hot sun!  The entire time I was out painting and working on the deck was awful! I told my husband I will never do that again and that next time we would pay someone.  I never realized we had so many rungs! However once the deck was complete it looked great and you can walk on it with bare feet!   I guess you never know how hard something is until you try and this was terrible but we now have a nice deck to enjoy.

kitchen deck

                I’m always looking for the next project to work on in the house.  Most of the house is complete there are just a few finishing details to make it perfect.  I think this year our projects will be to repaint the front porch (something I am not looking forward to after the deck) and painting the cabinets in one of our bathrooms. 

                I love updating my house with my changing style and I love that Pinterest is there at the touch of my fingertips to unlock my creativity!  It’s crazy how one little app has influenced not only designs in homes but everything from birthday parties, nutrition and educational activities for our little ones!  I hope everyone finds their creative side whether through Pinterest, friends or your own brain! Happy pinning! Wish me luck on the front porch; I’m hoping I can at least get my husband to paint the rungs!

                 

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The Holiday Hustle

We are right in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle; checking off Christmas lists, wrapping presents, baking, traveling and entertaining. At the bottom of your list you might find working out; how can you find time for this in the middle of the holidays? In between parties and cookie exchanges it is hard to make fitness a priority but if you have a few spare minutes you can!

 pushups

We will all be enjoying some extra helpings at Christmas dinner, taste testing Santa's cookies and eating some New Year's Eve appetizers so a little exercise will do you good! Follow the exercises below for a ten minute workout, the Holiday Hustle! You can do this first thing in the morning or last thing at night, it's only ten minutes but you will feel great afterwards! We can all find ten minutes, right?

    Do each exercise for one minute each.

Jumping jacks

Mountain Climbers

Squats

Push Ups

Plank

Calf Raises

Tricep Dips

Wall Sit

Crunches

Superman

If you want to finish up the month of December strong I have another workout for you; the 12 Days of Fitness!  This workout routine is just like the song, each day you add a new exercise! By Day 12 you will be performing exercises from Day 1-Day 12! This is another fast paced workout that can be done between wrapping presents and moving your Elf on the Shelf! At Fit4Mom Fredericksburg we are doing this workout as a contest, the winner will be receiving a great prize from our Vendor of the Month, Preschool Art Time. You can find more information here; https://www.facebook.com/Fit4Mom-Fredericksburg-Stroller-Strides-164738823545536/

 

 

Have an amazing holiday season surrounded by your friends and family!

 

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Sweat Off That Stuffing

                Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I’m sure you are looking forward to all of the delicious foods that come with this holiday, I know I am!  Turkey, stuffing, green beans and mashed potatoes will all fill our plates and our belly’s but we don’t want our waist lines to fill out too! 

                Want a fun workout that will work up a sweat but can also be used for Thanksgiving dinner?  Each year at Stroller Strides we have a Canned Foods Specialty Class.  All of the girls bring two canned goods, we work out with them and then donate them to a local food bank.  This year our Canned Goods class will be on November 20.  Hoping to collect a lot of cans this year!  If you want to join us we hold classes Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings at 9:45 in Kenmore Park.

                Grab two cans from your pantry, the heavier the better!  Once you have your cans it’s time to workout!  Perform each exercise listed below using the cans as your weight and repeat each exercise twice.

 

·         Start in squat position and do arm circles while holding the cans in each direction for 30 seconds in each direction.

·         Holding cans in each hand perform 15 front raises.

·         Start at the end of the room performing walking lunges while passing one can between your legs until you get to the other end, turn             around and come back.

·         Get into a wall sit position, place the can between your knees and hold for one minute.

·         Stay in the wall sit position for another minute, this time holding the can straight out.  This one really burns the legs and arms!

·         Hold the cans in each hand, perform 20 bicep curls and 20 reverse bicep curls.

·         Place one can on the ground.  For a little cardio burst perform toe taps on the can for 1 minute.

·         For an upper body and lower body burn hold the cans in each hand.  Perform 20 reverse lunges while doing an overhead press.

·         This exercise will work your core!  Hold one can over your chest while performing 25 sit ups.

·         The last exercise will also get your core burning! Sit in a V sit position performing a Mason Twist, this time instead of using a weight            you will use your can moving it side to side.

 

Now that you’ve finished your two sets you can grab your can opener and start Thanksgiving dinner for your family!   Once your workout is done, kick back and relax and don’t feel guilty about that extra piece of pumpkin pie!

                                                                        Pumpkin Pie, Autumn, Holiday, Baked

 

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Stitch Fix, Worth It or Not?

This post is a little different from my usual ones.........because even a fitness instructor is allowed to get girly every once in awhile!  Fitness and clothes are some of my favorite things but sometimes yoga pants just don't cut it!        

I have loved shopping for clothes since I can remember. When I was younger I couldn’t wait to go school shopping and then another shopping spree for spring and summer clothes.  I was always very particular about what clothes I wanted and my mom was always very patient with me while I spent way too much time in the dressing room.  She was still patient with me when we went shopping for my wedding dress until probably the tenth trip she said we need to start narrowing down some choices. 

Once I became a teacher I was excited to start buying professional and business casual outfits.  I was always known for wearing cute stylish clothes but that changed when I became a fitness instructor.  Instead of wearing heels every day I was now wearing tennis shoes, tank tops and shorts.  While there are plenty of cute workout clothes it still doesn’t compare to dressing up every day for work.  I love going shopping but instead of buying a new pair of jeans instead I buy a new pair of yoga pants.  Now don’t get me wrong I still but cute “real” clothes just not as often as I used to. It’s hard for me to justify buying lots of new sweaters and dresses when for the most part I’m in workout gear. 

Every chance I get to wear my “real” clothes I definitely do! Going out to dinner, Girls Night and family outings I jump at the chance to pick an outfit from my extremely messy closet! I wanted to add some more fall pieces to my wardrobe and instead of heading to the mall I tried Stitch Fix!  Lately I’ve been seeing all the posts and ads for Stitch Fix so my sister, friend and I decided to give it a try! Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that is tailored to your taste and price range (kind of).  Just to be entirely upfront in no means am I being compensated by Stitch Fix for this blog, I'm just sharing my love of Stitch Fix!

The first step is to complete a Personal Style quiz.  There are questions and pictures throughout the quiz that will help them get a good feeling about your style.  There are areas where you can let your stylist know more information; I wrote that I didn’t want anything pink, orange or red because it clashes with my reddish hair.  Once you complete the quiz there is a $20 styling fee that can be used towards your purchase once you receive it.  You can also set up your delivery schedule for your 5 pieces, I chose once a month but you could do more frequent or spaced out deliveries as needed.  When I got home to my Stitch Fix box on the front porch it was like Christmas! I was so excited to open it up and try everything on.

Once I opened the box I was so surprised to see that everything in it was my taste and style!  I pulled everything out and tried it on immediately!  I was so impressed with the fit and look of everything, every piece fit me perfectly!  I took pictures of the items and sent them to my sister and friend and we were texting about what we liked and what I should keep.  I knew I definitely needed to keep one item because my styling fee of $20 went towards the purchase.  I received 2 sweaters, a tunic, a shirt and a pair of jeans.  The only piece I didn’t like was the shirt.  I decided to keep the tunic and return the rest, most of it was a little pricey and I felt I could find comparable pieces elsewhere for less money.  If you do decide to keep all of the pieces they do give you a 25% discount off your entire order.  The order comes with a prepaid envelope to return everything that you decide not to keep.

Overall I was very happy with my Stitch Fix!  Once you make your purchase you fill out a survey about the pieces you receive so that your next delivery is even better!  I’ve already signed up for my next Fix and I can’t wait to get it in October!  I’m looking forward to all of my new pieces, especially since not one of them will be workout wear! If you’ve been seeing all of the Stitch Fix hype, love clothes and the idea of your own stylist then Stitch Fix might be worth a try!

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Add Some Water To That Workout!

                Summer is here, and since we live in Virginia, we get a nice dose of humid and hot weather! Many of you dread the idea of even walking to the mailbox at this time of year, never mind grabbing your tennis shoes and racquet for a game under the blistering sun!  So what do you do if you want to get your workout in and feel refreshed at the same time? Add water!

                This summer find a pool, grab a hose or fill up some water balloons for a fun, wet workout!  Whatever exercises you choose, you will have fun with your family and/or friends.  So put on some sunscreen, get out of that air conditioned house of yours, and head outside for some real fun!

Pool Fun-

                Everyone loves taking a dip in the pool, but instead of just floating around, use your time to get fit! Grab your little one for a game of Wheels on the Bus or Ring around the Rosie.  Singing either of these songs with their motions will give you a full body workout while lifting your child in and out of the water.  They will love it and your arms will feel it! Here are the motions for Wheels on the Bus;

                Round and Round-Circle around holding baby

                Up and Down-Lift baby in and out of the water

                Wipers go Swish, Swish, Swish-Swing baby's legs side to side in the water

                So what if the other moms and dads in the pool look at you funny? Maybe next time you arrive at the pool, you’ll see them singing and splashing with their babies too!

                If you have some older kids, ask them to join you in a game of pool volleyball or basketball.  Grab a ball and hit it around, it’s even more fun in the water instead of in the grass.  Don’t have a hoop or net? That’s okay try making a whirlpool.  My son and I did this yesterday in our pool, it was a great leg workout!

Water Balloon Fun-

                There is so much fun you can have with water balloons! My family and I have already hooked up our hose for some water balloon fun.  Before you start filling up your balloons I need to share a secret with you: you need to buy Buncho Balloons. This is one of the greatest inventions ever made; you can blow up 100 balloons in 60 seconds! We tried them right after I bought them at CVS and they are amazing! Not only do they fill with water, they also tie once they are filled!  This saves so much time! Where was it when I was filling balloons for my class field days years ago?

                Once you fill up your balloons there is so much you can do with them. We played a game of water balloon baseball, which was a lot of fun for everyone. Even my three year old daughter loved it, she grabbed her baseball tee and set her water balloon up and sprayed us once she hit it. Once you’re done with your baseball game split into two teams for some water balloon dodgeball. The front yard will be full of screaming fun with everyone dodging water balloons while getting a workout running around the yard. When you’re done, it’s time for some stretching as you spread out over the yard to pick up the little latex pieces of water balloon that will be littering the grass.  You can make this fun, too! You can go slow and do some good stretching as you reach and lean over, or even do some squats, or make it into a contest to see who can pick up the biggest pile first or the most colorful pile.

                Does your family like competition? If picking up those shattered water balloons isn’t enough of a challenge, then how about some water balloon relay races! Divide into teams in hopes of winning and while getting wet. Using a spoon (a serving spoon is best) race to one end of the yard balancing your balloon on the spoon and run back. Try this a few times to get in some cardio.  If you still have some balloons left over, try the over and under relay without popping on anyone’s head.

               Add a little water to your workout, enjoy your family and get your exercise in at the same time! Sounds like a productive summer to me!  Don’t forget to write Buncho Balloons on your next shopping list, trust me it will be your best summer purchase!

water balloons

 

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Everyone's Got One, What About You?

             Have you jumped on the fitness tracker bandwagon? Are you wearing a watch or fitness band on your wrist tracking all of your steps and activity?  If you are then you definitely aren’t alone! It seems like everywhere you turn you see men and women sporting their trackers.  If you haven’t bought one yet maybe this quick guide will help you find one that fits your lifestyle?

             Fitness trackers let fitness enthusiasts as well as people who want to take control of their health track their fitness goals and gains.  Wearing these gadgets on your body allow you to track so many things; including the amount of steps you take every day, sleeping habits, calories burnt and GPS.  When you see all of this data it helps you improve your health; whether it involves losing weight or just maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

             I have 2 different ones that I use for my workouts or throughout the day, a FitBit and a Polar Watch.  Each one serves different purposes for me, the FitBit tracks my daily steps and the Polar watch that I have uses a heart rate monitor to assess my heart rate and calories burned.  I like using the trackers because it pushes and motivates me to go a little farther or workout a little longer.   

 

             Below I have listed the most popular fitness trackers and some of their functions; hopefully you can find one to fit your active lifestyle!

 

Fit Bit Zip

FitBit Flex

FitBit Charge

FitBit Surge

Garmin Vivosmart

Garmin Vivoactive

Nike Fuelband

Polar Loop

Jawbone UP24

Cost

$59.95

$99.95

$129.95

$249.95

$169.99

$249.99

$149

$99.95

$149.99

Steps, Distance, Calories Burned

 

 

  x

 

 

 x

 

 

  x

 

 

  x

 

 

   x

 

 

   x

 

 

  x

 

 

  x

 

 

   x

Tracks Sleep

 

 

 x

 

  x

 

  x

 

   x

 

   x

 

  x

 

  x

 

   x

Heart Rate Monitor

 

 

 

 

Strapless

HRM

 

On Some Models

 

   x

 

 

 

Sensor Sold

Separately

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       

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Winter Break is Over, Lace Up Those Sneakers!

Did you spend the winter cuddled up in front of the fireplace keeping warm? Mmmmm, those were some cozy evenings of hibernation! Now that spring is here, even though the temperatures might not seem like it, it might be time to restart your fitness routine! The spring weather brings beautiful flowers, outdoor activities/ sports, and the chance to enjoy some fresh air!  Before you jump into a new routine here are a few tips to keep you on track this spring to reach all of your fitness goals.

·         Don’t make up for lost time-Whether it’s been a few weeks or few months don’t push yourself to the max right away, you have to ease back into it.  I know you want to get back in shape as fast as possible but it’s not worth overdoing it and resulting in sore muscles.

·         Schedule a Race or Sign Up for a Team or Exercise Class- Setting a goal of running a race or joining a team or exercise class will give you some motivation to kick start your training.  Once you have picked the activity you want to do you can start performing exercises that will help you in this event and keep you focused on your training plan.  For example if you sign up with a group of friends to play in a charity soccer tournament (which I just did) you could start running and practicing some soccer skills. 

·         Stay Consistent and Slowly Progress your Exercise Routine-You don’t want to start to fast but you want to progress with your strength and endurance.  Plan out and stick with a regular exercise routine that involves exercising 3-4 times a week.  As you continue and feel more comfortable you can increase your workouts as you’re ready.! Keep your workouts fresh and fun to keep you interested and having fun!  Incorporate different types of workouts into your week, strength training, cardio, yoga, dance class and HIIT training are all great ways to work up a sweat.

·         Fuel Your Body Properly-I’m sure you’ve seen on Pinterest all of the pre and post workout food that will keep your body energized for your workouts,  Some of the best pre-workout snacks are dried fruit, fresh fruit, oatmeal or granola bar.  It’s important to eat food that is easy to digest and that is low-fiber and low-fat. Your post-workout snacks should contain protein. A few options are chocolate milk, boiled eggs, peanut butter, nuts and protein shakes.

·         Keep Moving Forward and Don’t Fall Into Old Habits-What kept you from exercising before?  Was it time of day, boredom from exercise sessions or the weather?  This time around try to figure out something new that will work!  Maybe find a gym with a pool or find a nice trail nearby you can hike with your family.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and tackle your fitness goals!  Spring is a time of regrowth, make it your time to get fit and active! You had all winter to stay cozy, now it’s time to sweat!

                                                                             

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Working Up a Sweat in the Winter

Have you been inside trying to avoid the arctic outdoor temperatures?  Are you itching to get some fresh air and exercise? It is so cold outside that even a trip to the mailbox or car can leave you shivering! What do you think about burning some calories outdoors? You can do it in these chilly temperatures....... with a little preparation.

Whether you are a runner or one who likes to take a stroll around the block here a couple steps to follow and some good reasons to get outside during the winter.

  • You’ll be working up a sweat even in the cold temperatures but it’s still important to dress warm and in layers.  All the articles I read suggested on dressing for temperatures 15-20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature.  The first layer should be spandex or something that wicks away sweat, then add a layer of wool for insulation topped by a breathable, waterproof layer. 
  • Wear thick socks or two pair of thinner socks and a hat.
  • Keep exposed skin covered as much as possible.  If it’s really cold out you can cover your exposed areas like your face with Vaseline to reduce the potential of frostbite.
  • Try to exercise in the afternoon when the temperatures are the highest.  If you aren’t able to make it outside during this time frame make sure you are wearing reflective gear that can easily be seen by oncoming vehicles.
  • When it’s cold outside consider running multiple laps of a short course rather than one longer loop. This ensures that you’ll never be far from home in the event of an emergency.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.  Even in the frigid temperatures you will still be sweating and you need to keep your body hydrated.

If the sound of running or walking in the winter doesn’t sound fun to you what about finding an activity that can only be done when it’s cold outside?  Take advantage of living in an area that experiences all four seasons and have some fun while burning lots of calories in the cold!  Find a local ski resort for some fun in the snow and burn a lot of calories!

  • Snowshoeing- An hour of snowshoeing burns 510 calories!  I have never tried this sport myself but the times I have visited Massanutten I have seen people doing this.
  • Shoveling- This might not be a favorite sport but is a necessity, do this for an hour and burn 380 calories an hour.
  • Sledding-Up and down the hill sledding for an hour can burn 455 calories an hour.  Grab your little one and head down that snowy hill!
  • Skiing-This sport improves muscle strength and endurance all while burning 385 calories an hour.
  • Ice Skating-This sport targets your abs, calves, hamstrings and quadriceps and burns 450 calories an hour.
  • Snowboarding-Snowboarding down the hill improves your balance and core strength and burns 390 calories.

Grab your coat, scarf and gloves and enjoy what’s left of winter!  Get adventurous and try something new and maybe you will appreciate winter and everything that it has to offer!

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About Alison

Alison Neal is the owner of Stroller Strides of Fredericksburg. Stroller Strides is a total body workout that is done alongside your baby. Each instructor modifies the workouts for all fitness levels. As a mother, Alison knows it is hard to fit workouts into a busy schedule, but follow her blog right here for great fitness and healthy living tips! You can also learn more about Stroller Strides by visiting her website.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Pouches is ready to kayak on the beautiful Rappahannock River. She’s also ready to learn more about how she can protect the river’s health using the Friends of the Rappahannock new River Report Card, sponsored by a surprise grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region (CFRRR).

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