Fit4Mom is more than an exercise class geared to mothers — it’s about building a community and helping to make moms strong in body, mind and spirit.
“Motherhood is very lonely at times. You think you are the only one going through something. These classes are not just to get out, but also to create a community and get support from people who are going through all the things you are. You don’t have to be alone in this,” said Codi Jackson, franchise owner of Fit4Mom 618 in O’Fallon.
After the birth of her second child, Jackson got the idea for a fitness class especially focused on the needs of mothers. Then she discovered a franchise opportunity through a national company called Fit4Mom.
“I realized I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “I saw that there were franchises in west county of St. Louis, but none over here. I am happy to bring it over to this side of the river.”
She started Fit4Mom 618 this summer and has seized the opportunity to have as many classes outdoors as possible.
At CityFest in August, she offered stroller strides, but invited those who no longer live the stroller life.
“It was bad weather, but it was such a good class. Everyone who came ended up joining,” she said.
Jackson had a grand opening July 25 and offers classes four-five days a week.
“The fitness classes take place in the local parks of O’Fallon and when it turns colder, we will move to an indoor space,” Jackson said. “I want to stay outside as much as possible. The kids are so much happier outside in the fresh air.”
Jackson, a certified ACE group fitness trainer, is the lead instructor. Fitness has been a part of her life since she was a young girl.
“I was always athletic. It’s always been something important to me. I have always made the effort to fit it in. After having Blake, it was more difficult to fit it in,” she said.
Jackson grew up in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, content to be a tomboy and play sports. After high school, she moved to Lebanon to attend McKendree University on a volleyball scholarship, and then later coached. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.
She made O’Fallon her home when she married Brad Jackson. They have a son Ian, 9, and daughter Blake, who is 14 months.
Jackson’s last full-time job was as an administrative manager at a recycling company.
“This is a perfect fit for me. I can pursue my passion and provide something for the community and be the best mom possible,” she said.
Moms can bring their children in a stroller or come on their own, and they do not have to be a mom either.
“It can be any age mother and we have people without kids. We had a woman who said she was a dog mom and wanted to work out. You can leave the stroller at home,” Jackson said.
She noted exercise can be sometimes tricky for pre-natal and post-natal women, as the body is still healing, so Jackson considers those factors.
“It’s very important to recognize those things. It’s however you feel,” she said.
“It is also great to bring your stroller kids with you to work out as it emulates an active lifestyle for them to see and to follow in your footsteps,” Jackson said.
“The kids have fun, too. Any time they are watching all of us, they do really well. I have yet to have a mom have to leave because of a child acting up,” she said.
The average age to date, she said, is between 25-45, but anyone is welcome.
The unique fitness classes are about finding the strength in motherhood.
“These classes are all about self-care in a supportive and encouraging environment. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other moms in the community. It takes a village to raise our children, so let’s build one together,” she said.
More than just exercise
Besides the exercise component, Jackson offers support through playdates and Mom’s Night Out events.
“They can come and meet other mothers and have their children interact with other kids,” she said. “Moms really want that social interaction for their kids as well. They want their little kids to meet other little kids. In this fun environment, everyone gets it.”
Jackson said for play periods after the exercise, she tries to organize something fun, and has bubbles, chalk and other items on hand.
“It varies each week — just something,” she said.
The Moms Night Out take place once a month.
“They can relax for a couple of hours. It’s dinner or maybe drinks,” she said.
The classes allow moms to feel more relaxed and comfortable, too.
“Although the classes do require a membership, the first class is always free to try out and the play dates and support events are always free for anyone in the community,” she said. ‘Strides 360 is a total body workout designed to increase endurance while developing speed, agility, and quickness ‘to help you charge through Mom life.’”
Stoller strides exercise & more
Stroller strides is a total conditioning workout designed for moms with kids in tow. Each 60-minute workout is comprised of strength training, cardio and core restoration, all while entertaining the little ones with songs, activities and fun.
“No more mama guilt. This class is all about self care in a supportive and encouraging environment,” Jackson said.
She is thinking of adding classes for dads, too. And Jackson will provide wellness and healthy lifestyle tips, too, whether a class, a guest or resources. A pediatrician came for a question-and-answer session, giving of her own time. She has talked with Jon Greenstreet, owner of Bike Surgeon, about some pop-up classes there and partnering with him on some efforts.
Jackson working with community
Additionally, Jackson has been at Vine Street Market in O’Fallon Saturday mornings, and they’ve attended a Diva Night in downtown Belleville.
She is partnering with the O’Fallon Public Library from 9-10:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of the month where the library provides story time and playtime for the kids and she does an exercise class for the grown-ups.
“I like getting together with local businesses about what we can do together,” Jackson said. “I am very blessed with being a business owner in town. Everyone has been so nice in O’Fallon and Belleville.”
“I’ve been trying to find any partnership I can in the community to showcase what our classes look like and to let mothers know that we are out there and ready for them to be a part of ‘our village,’” she said. “This class is very outside the box, so that’s been our biggest challenge — letting people know what we do.”
O’Fallon park sites include Community Park, Family Sports Park, Hesse Park and Thoman Park. They will likely move indoors between November and March, she said.
Currently, her class schedule is stroller strides at 9 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays at Family Sports Park and strides 360 at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. Fridays, both at Hesse Park.
For more information, call Jackson at (314) 282-5106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website at 618.fit4mom.com