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Moms Work Out with Their Children

Eliza Adams, 34, of Ashburn, and her 4-year-old daughter Nicole work out together for at least one hour a week. Mom power walks and does abdominal exercises, deep knee bends and push-ups.

Nicole is along for the ride. Literally. Her mom pushes her in a stroller at Dulles Town Center and stops periodically to do the other exercises.

THEY ARE NOT alone. Janine Becker, 40, of Lansdowne, and her daughter Tess, 4, join the pack of Fit Moms, who spend one or more weekday morning getting in shape. Fit Moms, founded by Ashburn entrepreneurs Lisa Peklo and Kristin Degnon in September, use their expertise as professional trainers to lead moms with the exercise routine. The participants pay anywhere from $7 to $9 an hour for the workout. The lower rates apply when participants buy a card of five or 10 hour-long workouts. A $20 registration fee includes one free workout and a fitted black T-shirt featuring the Fit Moms logo and information.

Becker, a part-time preschool teacher, said she use to go to a gym. "I was by myself and it was boring," she said. "This is my socialization and Tess gets to meet the other children."

Susan Webb, 42, of Ashburn, said she lacked the motivation to go to the gym. Fit Moms is a great way to combine exercise and friendship, she said. "It’s the best workout I’ve ever had. You get to talk to and socialize with other women. I don’t feel like I’m exercising."

Webb’s two boys are in elementary school.

Peklo, an Ashburn mom who also teaches yoga at the Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion and children’s dance classes at the Creative Dance Center, said she thought Fit Moms would mostly attract women with babies and toddlers. It attracted moms, however, with and without children in tow. They meet at 9:30 a.m. daily.

"We truly believe that a mother’s health should be a top priority so we have designed an exercise program that can be performed with your child," Peklo said.

Peklo, an Ashburn mother of two daughters, has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech with a major in exercise science. Degnon, an Ashburn mother of four, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, with a pre-med major and a minor in exercise physiology.

Adams, who also has a daughter in elementary school, said she preferred Fit Moms to a gym, because she did not want to put her daughter in a daycare center. "I like the fact she can be with me for my workout and she doesn’t have to be in a flu and cold environment," she said.

She also likes the schedule. "I can pick which morning I come," she said.

Webb, owner of Progressive Marketing, has been going one morning a week, but plans to increase her attendance to get ready for swimsuit season.

FIT MOMS is featuring the Reach the Beach Fitness Challenge, which runs from March 1 to May 1. Participants pay a $10 supply and commitment fee that includes a newsletter. They are provided with a notebook to log all of their workouts and meals. "Each minute they work out is equivalent to a mile," Peklo said. "The first person to reach the 1,093 miles to Miami will be the grand prize winner."

Peklo and Degnon also will hold weekly drawings.

In place of the mall routine, Fit Moms provides yoga instruction at the Potomac Club in Lansdowne on Fridays. A daycare center is available for the children.

Adams, who works part time for Southern Living at Home and has another daughter in elementary school, said she exercises with Fit Moms twice a week. She said the fitness routine helps to keep her stress level down.

The group held a Holiday Challenge contest in November and December. The woman who lost the most inches and weight won. Webb, who printed the Fit Moms’ T-shirts, came in first; Becker came in second.

Becker said the contest provided the right incentive. "You are invited to parties with all this food. You don’t want to gain all this weight."

Webb said she has built muscle tone and lost two and a half inches. "Everything is fitting me much, much better," she said. "You firm up."

She described the workout as another form of entertainment. "I’m doing something for myself," she said.

While the women stretched their muscles, Webb told them about the great movie she saw the night before. Seneca told Nicole that she was getting ballet slippers after the workout, and Nicole showed off her Barbie doll.

On the last weekend of March, Fit Moms moves out of the mall. Degnon, who works part time as personal trainer at Ashburn Village Sports Pavilion, said spring workouts are planned in two places in Leesburg, three in Ashburn, one in Lansdowne and one in South Riding. "Our long-term goal is to come up with a studio and have classes inside and out," she said.

Peklo said the summer fitness routine will be held at 6 a.m. Peklo and Degnon modify the workout for those who are starting out on the exercise routine for the first time.