by Christina Cook
Now that the kids are settled back in school, you may find that you have a bit of time to dedicate to yourself. Why not take that time and commit to a new fitness routine? Group fitness classes provide a motivating setting and make it easy for busy moms to get in a quick, effective workout. Here are three mom-approved workouts that are guaranteed to make you sweat.
You don’t have to be a dancer to obtain a long, lean ballet physique. Barre workouts help attendees tuck, pulse and shake their way to a strong, lean and toned body.
Amy O’Connell and Sarah Brittenham, co-owners of Barre Forte LoHi/Riverfront Park, were brought together by their passion for running and turned to barre as a way to prevent injury and build strength. O’Connell saw the affect barre had on her body while she was pregnant with her son, now 2, and the strength she was able to maintain after he was born. O’Connell and Brittenham say barre is great for everyone—fitness newbies, serious athletes and new and expectant moms.
The classes at Barre Forte are low impact, yet intense, and use tiny, repetitive movements to target and tone muscles in arms, calves, thighs, butt and abs. As with running, O’Connell says barre can be a very mentally challenging workout. “When your brain is telling you to stop, you have to find it within yourself to keep going,” she says.
Holland Darcy, mom to a 3-year-old and expecting a baby this fall, says she’s 10 times as fit and active now than during her first pregnancy. “I love the balance of strengthening, toning and stretching across all regions of my body, especially the extra attention paid to sculpting my arms, shoulders and back, and the leg and booty moves that leave me sore no matter how often I go.”
$20 drop-in. 1553 Platte St., barreforte.com.
Pearl Street Fitness owners Scott and Laura St. John’s method of high-intensity, interval-style training uses a variety of exercise combinations and equipment to hit every muscle group. The workouts are different every day, so they don’t become repetitive or dull.
As a busy mom herself, St. John recommends taking just three classes a week — that’s all the time you’ll need. Diane Woodworth-Jordan, mother of three, makes working out at Pearl Street Fitness a priority. “I’m a better parent because of it,” she says. “I’m more patient.”
All levels are welcome at Pearl Street Fitness, and are encouraged to take each class at their own pace. “I don’t consider myself an athletic person, but I feel like I really accomplish something here,“ says Woodworth-Jordan. “It really pushes me beyond anything I would do myself. They don’t let you give up.”
The instructors are passionate, the workouts are tough and the community is supportive—expect high fives and words of encouragement to help get you through it. “If you want results and to be involved in a good community then this is the place for you,” says Erin Powell, mother of two, who feels more confident due to her workouts. “If you’re confident here, you’re more confident as a parent.”
$19 drop-in. Multiple locations, pearlstreetfitness.com.
Whitney Herman, the owner of Shift Cycle + Fitness, calls her class “the party on the bike.” Music is the driving force in her high-intensity, rhythm-based cycling class, but it’s her energetic, encouraging personality that pushes clients to work hard.
“I love riding to the rhythm of the music because the workout is so fun that you don’t even realize how hard you are working,” says Natalie Roth, mother of two. “Each song focuses on different speed, resistance levels and bike positions which keeps you motivated and focused the entire class.”
Jami Jacobs, mother of a 2-year-old and expecting a baby this month—who crushed it on the bike during her entire pregnancy—says it’s one of the most fun, yet difficult, workouts she’s ever had. “You are only expected to give what your body is able to produce,” she says, adding that the studio lights are always dimmed so you never feel like the instructor or the other riders are watching you. “This was a huge plus for me when I started, since I had never done spin before and I was nervous of my skill level.”
As a mom herself, Herman understands her clients’ needs and offers childcare, too. “The fact that I can bring my kids along with me gives me no excuses,” says Roth.
$18 drop-in. 5096 Central Park Blvd., shift-cycle.com.
The next time you find yourself in a fitness rut, switch up your routine with one (or more) of these workouts. Your mind will thank you and your body will reap the rewards.
Christina Cook is the assistant editor for Colorado Parent magazine.