Countless challenges come with the role of motherhood, and one of the top struggles is self-care.
How can mothers balance taking care of themselves while taking care of children and countless other responsibilities? It's a question that pops up in news articles, blogs, books and memes.
What: Fit4Mom grand opening
When: Saturday, Oct. 22, 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Where: Coolidge Park
More information: There will be a Stroller Strides class, a Stroller Barre class, giveaways, prizes and refreshments.
Wellness company Fit4Mom aims to help solve that problem. The company has nearly 300 franchises nationwide and is expanding into Chattanooga.
The company offers exercise classes focused on pre- and postnatal fitness, and the structure eliminates problems many mothers face when trying to get a workout in, CEO Ash Robinson said.
"The best part is that you work out with your kid," she said. "We sing songs and do fun stuff while doing an interval training workout. No more germy day cares. No more mom guilt."
Fit4Mom isn't a gym. Instead, the company offers a set of classes—many of which are conducted outside—for both mothers and their children.
The classes are between 60 and 75 minutes. The two new Chattanooga locations are Coolidge Park on the North Shore and Imagination Station/Wolftever Creek Greenway at 4910 Swinyar Drive in Collegedale.
Some mothers wonder if their children will sit in a stroller or be able to handle the entire class, but Robinson said that the classes keep the children entertained and that there is flexibility for mothers to stop and handle something, such as giving their child a snack.
And mothers are in an environment where everyone else participating is in the same situation.
"The mom next to you not only understands, but she's helping your kids [if needed]," she said.
Starting Oct. 24, classes will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m. in Coolidge Park.
Tuesday and Thursday classes will be offered at 9:30 a.m. at the Imagination Station/Wolftever Creek Greenway location, 4910 Swinyar Drive in Collegedale.
Early motherhood, especially immediately postpartum, can be overwhelming, she said.
In addition to helping mothers feel better through promoting physical and mental well-being via exercise, there's a built-in community aspect.
"The other important thing is just the connections that moms get with other moms and how much they can lean on each other," she said.
The business' grand opening is Oct. 22, and initial pricing is $65 a month.
The classes are all guided by trainers who have been certified in pre- and postnatal fitness.
Once a month, Fit4Mom does a playgroup for kids, and leaders also offer a moms night out.
"It's a community as much as it is fitness," Robinson said. "We know that what makes people have successful fitness experiences is to do it in a community."
In the future, the team wants to add a Fit4Baby class for pregnant mothers. Those classes are done under guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Robinson said it's a misconception that mothers can't start something new while pregnant. Mothers who have never been distance runners shouldn't try to train for a marathon while pregnant. But the Fit4Baby classes are specifically designed to be safe for women who are pregnant, she said.
"That's an exciting program because there's not a lot out there for pregnant women," she said of the classes, which should be launched by winter.