Kathy Galkin dedicates her life to health and fitness, and to her children.
On Monday morning, the mother of three strapped her 2-year-old son, Ty ,and 10-month-old daughter, Corby, into a stroller and led a group of 30 women around the Dulles SportsPlex basketball courts. They jogged, and skipped, and jogged again to pop music while pushing their children in strollers.
"This is no gymboree class," Galkin said mid-stride. "These moms work hard."
Galkin is the fitness instructor at StrollerFit, an exercise class in Sterling ideal for stay-at-home moms. The one-hour class incorporates cardio exercise and strength training and children’s entertainment. While new moms squat and dip, they sing songs, like "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
There are more than 80 StrollerFit programs throughout the country, but Galkin’s Sterling franchise is the largest with 80 mothers participating in the class.
Galkin, whose blue spandex exercise shirt reads "mommy muscle," has always been active. The former elementary-school physical-education teacher completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., and the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Diego, Calif.
"This class offers moms a reason to get out of the house and feel good about themselves," she said. "There’s nothing like it in the area."
AILEEN GREGORY gave birth to her daughter, Adison, March 3.
Gregory heard about StrollerFit through her "moms group" at Loudoun Hospital and signed up three weeks ago.
"It’s a great workout and a great way to meet new moms," Gregory said. "It’s also a good way to get back in shape and feel good about yourself."
On Monday, Gregory took a break from frog jumps and wall sits to breast feed her daughter.
"Moms don’t have worry if their baby screams or cries in this class," Galkin said. "This class is about taking care of the baby first. Moms stop to nurse, change diapers, do what they need to do."
Gregory said StrollerFit makes exercising two to three times a week an attainable goal.
"I don’t have to worry about her [Adison] because she’s exercising with me," she said.
Fellow mom Maria Bokel sat next to Gregory on a bench.
She wiped sweat from her brow while she gave her 5-month-old son, Aidan, a bottle.
"This class is a lot of fun to do with him and it’s a great way to meet stay-at-home moms like me," Bokel said. "But it’s tough. She kicks our butt."
Bokel joined Galkin’s class when her son was 6 weeks old.
"The best part is, it’s right near my house," she said.
GALKIN OPENED the first StrollerFit in Virginia four months ago.
She experienced StrollerFit for the first time when she lived in Ohio. After giving birth to her daughter, she and her son, Ty, signed up for a class there.
"It was a great way to fight the baby blues," she said. "Exercise helps fight depression."
Galkin said the best part of her job is being able to exercise with her kids.
"It’s important for them to understand the importance of exercise," she said. "I’m setting a good example for them at an early age."
While Galkin enrolled a new mother in the class, Ty ran baby sprints up and down the basketball court.
StrollerFit meets Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. After class, the moms take their time to pack up rubber balls, hula hoops and blankets, and talk.
"It’s a good excuse to get out of the house and it’s better than staying home by yourself," Galkin said. "We’re all in the same boat."