Fitting in a workout can be tricky for a mom. Sure, you could always wake up at 4:45 a.m. and fit in a turbo spin class before the husband and kids wake up. But if you’re anything like me, those hours of sleep are far too precious to sacrifice.
There are home workout DVDs and YouTube Yoga galore, but such workouts with a kid on each leg just don’t have the same effect as a live class.
The list of excuses not to exercise as a mom goes on, but the list of benefits exercise has on your physical and mental health is much weightier. For starters, staying active helps prevent disease, relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves mood, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. For me, losing weight and having toned muscles is just a side-perk. Taking time to exercise can do wonders for a mom and energize her to face the remainder of her day. She will have more energy and patience than she’d have without that blessed hour of uninterrupted exercise.
Then there’s the importance of physical activity for kids. The National Association of Sports and Physical Fitness recommends that preschoolers get a minimum of one hour of structured physical activity and an hour of unstructured physical activity. The association also recommends that they don’t stay sedentary for more than an hour at a time unless they are asleep. Those can be some lofty daily standards.
That’s why I got giddy when I found out that a BYU MBA student just opened Cahoots Fitness, a fitness center that caters to the exercise needs of moms and kids. I contacted Megan Murff, the mastermind behind Cahoots Fitness and asked her about her company and how she came up with the idea to give moms much-needed exercise options. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: How was the idea for Cahoots born?
Murff: I knew I wanted to start a business to help moms and strengthen families, but I didn’t know what that would be. So I started interviewing my mom friends, asking them what they found most difficult about being a mom. Out of those conversations, the difficulty of working out on a regular basis emerged as a major theme. This caught my attention because I am a big believer in the mental and physical benefits of regular exercise, and I feel strongly about how important exercise is to enable a mom to feel her best. I used to teach Kickboxing classes, so fitness was right up my alley. Also, I am six months pregnant with my first child, and I wanted to set up options for myself to be able to stay in shape during my pregnancy and after I have a little one in my life.
Q: What sets Cahoots apart from other fitness centers?
Murff: At Cahoots, we are all about mom and all about her kids. We are set up in a way to accommodate every mom we possibly can, no matter how many kids she has or what ages they are. When mom comes to Cahoots, the experience is just as much for her kids as it is her for her, because we start them really young learning gymnastics, yoga, music, dance and sports, and they love it! Many of our moms tell me they came that day because her child wouldn’t let her miss it. So this allows mom to get in her workout without any guilt because her kids aren’t sitting in front of a TV or video game screen while she exercises. We also offer classes for women who are pregnant or who have infants, because there aren’t very many exercise options for women in those circumstances, and women spend a lot of time in those circumstances.
The other thing that sets us apart is that we provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere for moms to work out in. Everyone has baby fat, or has had baby fat, and totally gets it. Everyone has a child who acts up sometimes in the kid class. Most of the moms feel uncoordinated and are new to certain fitness styles, like Zumba or Barre, but so is everyone else, so it’s just fun without the self-consciousness.
Q: What are some roadblocks moms face when they want to work out?
Normally, if moms want to work out they have four standard options — none of which they love. First, they can wake up super early and exercise before kids wake up, but moms need their sleep as much as their kids do. Second, they can work out at home with kids hanging off their legs and distracting them left and right. Third, they can go to a gym and put the children in childcare which is often unsanitary and sedentary, or fourth, they can work out after Dad gets home at night to watch the kids, but by then they are tired from the day and they want to spend the evening hours with their husband anyway. Cahoots Fitness was designed to remove those roadblocks and allow moms and kids to both start out their day in a productive way that doesn’t require waking up at the crack of dawn.
Q: What advice would you give to moms who want to stay fit, but find it nearly impossible to do so with children?
Try to exercise with your kids. Run around, do jumping jacks, dance and play on the playground. That way, you are teaching your kids to be active while you break a sweat and tone some muscles yourself. Kids love to exercise and will follow their mom’s example.
If you just have an infant at home, there are lots of great exercises you can do with your infant, which we regularly post on our Pinterest and Facebook pages. They include squats, sit-ups, lunges and bench presses
while holding your baby. Moms who come to our Mom & Infant Workout on Wednesday mornings learn more ideas that they can take home with them.
Q: What are your plans for Cahoots?
We want to grow. Plans are to fill up the schedule in Orem so moms have lots of styles and hours to choose from, then we want to franchise locations around Utah and then to other states.
Visit Cahoots Fitness online for class schedule and membership information.