*Fit4Mom Bloomington-Normal waived my membership fee in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own.
Once you have kids, your body changes in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Aside from the hair loss, black bags under your eyes, stretch marks and skin changes; there is also suddenly a new understanding that your body will never ever be your own again.
Your hands now meant for holding, cleaning up messes, folding laundry, wiping butts, sifting through toys, wiping away tears and Googling your way through every major parenting decision. Your ears for listening to cries, wines, first words, screaming and I love yous. Your brain for worrying, and wondering, am I doing it right? Are they developing ok?
Although it is true that your body will never be your own for the next 18 years and beyond, what if you want a little bit of your body back? What if you are ready to do something to push your mind, body, and spirit and rediscover yourself as a mom?
One of the most inclusive mom workout groups, Fit4Mom, started offering a Body Back program in our area. I was intrigued and wondered if this could help me forge a path in discovering and claiming my own body back.
What is Fit4Mom Body Back Program?
Body Back is an 8 week results based fitness program that focuses on improving your overall health and well being. The transformative program is designed to challenge, empower and recharge moms.
Aside from two high-intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts held each week, It also includes nutritional guidance, recipe ideas, meal planners and accountability.
The program IS NOT declaring, come in and get steel cut abs, a gorgeous new mom bikini bod, and a set of new gams (but you might). Body Back isn’t even about losing weight (although I am sure you will.) Instead, the program focuses on YOU. Finding who you are now, finding that inner strength, clearing out the mental junk, and setting up healthy habits you can actually implement into this thing called motherhood.
But I Am A Mom, I Don’t Have Time To Workout
Body back sounded like an amazing mom-centered workout program, but when I was approached about taking the 8 week class, my mind automatically shifted to all the reasons why I couldn’t do it. The truth is you will always have an excuse not to work out.
I need to cook dinner. I need to put the kids to bed, and I don’t want to make my husband do it. I don’t want to wake up that early. I already have to go to work all day. I am too tired to work out. I can’t afford it. I could never work out that hard. I’m not strong. I don’t have time. My kids need me. and on and on and on.
This year, one of my goals was to feel better in my jeans, and make more time for myself. So, I MADE a commitment, and said YES. For 8 weeks I would show up every single day, with a smile on my face and work as hard as I could. This was ME time. Not kid time. Not husband time. Not work time. Not blogging time. This was just 2 hours every week that I would be 100% committed to. I wanted to see how far I could mentally and physically push my body forward. To gain a new sense of what my body was capable of, and maybe as a perk, feel better in my jeans.
Did it work? Could I do it? More on that to come.
What Is This “Mom Workout” All About?
For the past year, I have been participating in Fit4Mom stroller strides classes off an on. I was not exactly sure what to expect with Body Back. Fit4Mom’s Stroller Strides is a mommy and me stroller class that allows you to bring your children, in a stroller, while you work out. Body Back is completely different. The program is just for the moms, so you leave your kiddos at home.
I asked Sarah Lutterbie, owner of Fit4Mom Bloomington-Normal, to explain in detail how this class is different from other mom workouts and here is what she said,
“The difference with this program is that Fit4Mom is owned, designed, and taught by and for moms. We all recognize the struggles, triumphs and the obstacles that moms encounter. BodyBack offers top notch workouts, but we strive to offer more than that. Each week the program offers specific guidance when it comes to finding strength physically and mentally throughout your life, including nutrition guidance and accountability and habit modification that encourages overall wellness. The magic of BodyBack is in connecting with and supporting each other and having a coach who genuinely cares about YOU!”
So… Here I go, off to see what this program is all about.
Day One Of Body Back
One great thing about Body Back, is that there is no gym equipment necessary! The Body Back classes were held at a local park. The instructor occasionally brought “equipment” such as gallon water jugs, stability balls, resistance bands, and tension bands. I brought my positive attitude, a yoga mat and my water bottle.
We did a brief assessment on day one to see where we were at physically. How long to run a mile. How many squats and biceps curls in one minute, and how long you could plank for. I put my ALL into this, and here is what I got:
My Initial Body Back Assessment:
- Mile Run: 11 minutes and 29 seconds
- Push Ups: 3 (whomp, whomp)
- Plank: 1 minute total hold
- Left Side Plank: 15 seconds (guys this was tough)
- Right Side Plank: 23 seconds
- Squats In a Minute: 36 in a minute (basically felt like I was going to throw up after this)
- Bicep Curls In a Minute: 21 in a minute
I was out of breath, my muscles were aching and I was tired after our assessment, would this program really be right for me? I wasn’t sure but I promised myself I would keep showing up.
We also declared a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time based goal) my goal was that by the end of the 8 weeks of class, I would shave off at least a minute from my mile time, and also at least double the amount of push ups I could do. I also wanted to feel stronger in my own body.
What Is a Body Back Class Like?
What Is a HIIT Workout?
For the next 8 weeks, two times every week, we met for HIIT workouts. HIIT is becoming a new buzzword, and I had no idea what it meant. But I laced up my shoes and was ready to go with the flow. For those that don’t know HIIT stands for, it’s High Intensity Interval Training.
Per Sarah, the owner of Fit4Mom Bloomington-Normal, “It’s all about bursts of breathlessness! We push to breathless and stay there for a certain amount of time and then, just as importantly, we bring the heart rate back down while we recover by incorporating slower strength moves that are specifically designed for moms. One of HIIT’s biggest benefits is the number of calories that can be burned in a short period of time. Not to mention, you will experience extended benefits post workout because of EPOC, Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption.”
HIIT Workouts In Body Back
The way we did HIIT in our Body Back classes, consisted of 1 minute high intensity bursts, followed by a minute of a strength moves and then a minute of core/ab work. Then you would repeat that same circuit one more time. We did a total of 4-5 circuits.
Not each session was the same and there was tons of variation. One day we did an entire workout that revolved around carrying gallon jugs of water, we did a Filthy Fifty Cross-fit inspired workout (although to be clear this fitness class is NOT cross fit related), we used stability balls for every move in another class and one day we did an entire workout that revolved around burpees. You really never knew what you were going to get. I loved that our instructor made the class so much fun!
Now that I’ve HIIT it, I never want to quit it. These workouts are AMAZING and work out your ENTIRE body. After the first two sessions I went home and could barely walk up the stairs or sit down in a chair; that is how I knew I was doing something right! I realized I had muscles in my butt and legs I never knew about. It was a constant, “Ok, nice to meet you new muscles, thanks for being a part of my body for 30+ years. Sorry I have neglected you, I didn’t know you existed”.
Sample Of Body Back HIIT Workout
- 60 seconds of 5 Jumping Jacks+ 1 Burpee
- 60 seconds of squat+ Tricep Extension with band at the top
- 60 seconds of Side Plank with hip dips (switch for round 2)
At the end of every class we would do a little bit of “stretching” as the teacher called it, but I finally caught on that the stretching was actually some additional core work. The moves were really simple, but strong and powerful enough that I could feel it in my core for days to come.
At the end of each session we would do a meditation exercise that would allow us to really just concentrate on well, meditating. Before Body Back, I had never done a meditation in my life so this was brand new to me.
This was so hard for me to do at the beginning. I would think about the laundry in the dryer or the groceries I needed to pick up, but I got mentally stronger as the weeks went on and was able to push that other “stuff” away and really focus on being in the moment.
I think that having these short powerful meditations have really helped me in motherhood, and it is something I want to continue well after Body Back is over. It’s refreshing to take a break and re-center.
Body Back Workouts At Home
The Body Back program also comes with two options for at home HIIT workouts, as well as four other 30 minutes workout videos. These were great to incorporate when I had to miss class or if I wanted to add a few workouts in the week.
Body Back Food and Nutrition
Aside from the amazing workouts, the Fit4Mom Body Back program also focuses heavily on nutrition. This is NOT a diet plan, there are no foods off limits, it’s not Keto, or Whole 30, or Paleo. Instead, it’s just some basic guidelines and tips about putting wholesome and nutritious foods into your diet and also coming up with healthy recipes that the whole family will love.
At the beginning of the program, everyone receives a recipe guide that offers tons of healthy breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner ideas. This was designed for busy moms who don’t have a lot of time, while also keeping meal planning with children in mind! Some of my favorite Fit4Mom Body Back recipes included:
- Honey Balsamic Chicken
- Salmon Burgers
- Power Energy Bites
- Blender Vegetable Soup
The program also has meal planners that were sent to us, to break down and really think about planning meals ahead of time. Meal planning is crucial for healthy eating habits, Even things like snacks were on the list. Having a plan on paper helps make grocery shopping easier, allowing you stay on track with a diet of healthy and nutritious foods.
Fit4Mom Body Back’s Accountability
We were asked to send a log (a picture) of what we were eating. EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is great because someone is watching you. It’s easy for you to log into an app like My Fitness Pal and “lie” if you wanted to (but who is this benefiting). By taking a picture of what you are eating makes you really think about what you are putting in your body!
Our instructor would give us some new recipe ideas, healthy suggestions or substitutes and nutritional guidance along the way! She even made a few videos for us to show how easy it was to throw some of the recipes together. I loved having someone looking at my plate and giving me tips and tricks for healthy eating.
Other Body Back Challenges
Each week we received an email to get us thinking about different areas in our life. Whether it was listening to podcasts, cleaning out our closets, or participating in hydration challenges!
I looked forward to these emails each week, almost as “mom homework.” An area of my life to “spruce up” and take accountability for outside of just being a mom.
I complained About Working Out Alllooottttt….
Our workouts were planned each morning at 6:15am. When I said yes to signing up, my son was waking up at 5:30am, so I thought well what the heck, I am already awake then anyway. The day I started the program he started sleeping until nearly 7:00 each morning.
Every morning I complained a little in my head that I had to go work out. BUT… EVERYDAY I left class, I felt energized, refreshed, and had a greater sense of purpose. Working out gave me tons of energy to get through the day. To get through motherhood.
I could feel myself getting stronger in other areas of my life. I started looking forward to the next class to be able to push myself even harder. I wanted to take more walks. Park further away from the store so I could get some extra steps. People started telling me I “looked stronger” that motherhood was treating me well. Days I could have felt weak, I looked to meditation to make me feel strong.
Fit4Mom Body Back Final Results
Eight weeks later, 16 INTENSE HIIT workouts, tons of cheerleading from my Fit4Mom instructor Sarah, late night runs, pushing myself past what I thought was possible, picking cauliflower over cookies, becoming stronger, and happier; here were what my final results looked like.
- I lost five pounds
- I lost 10 inches across my body
- Mile Run: 9 minutes 23 seconds (guys I SHAVED TWO MINUTES off in 8 weeks)
- Plank: 1 minute 37 seconds
- Pushups: 15 (guyssss thats not on my knees)
- Left Side Plank: 1 minute 1 second (as a refreshed day one I could only hold for 15 Seconds)
- Right Side Plank: 1 minute 7 seconds
- Squats In a Minute: 50
- Bicep Curls In a Minute: 28
My SMART goals, yep…CRUSHED them! My yearly goal set forward before Fit4Mom about feeling comfortable in my jeans? Well those jeans don’t fit anymore, I put them on and they fell straight to the floor! I call that a huge non-scale victory. In fact, when we had follow up assessment pictures the last day of class, my old workout pants (that fit snug on day 1) no longer fit either.
Soooo…Is Fit4Mom Body Back Worth It?
If you are here because you were considering signing up but weren’t sure if it was worth it, Mama head over to the sign up page and make the commitment for yourself.
Sure I lost weight, but what I gained was way more valuable… a new sense of what my body is capable of, friendships, acceptance of my body, energy and an overall sense of happiness about what my body as a mom is truly capable of. I do truly feel that this is one of the best mom-centered workouts out there!