Five years ago a new group fitness concept came to Ahwatukee Foothills and mothers with children in strollers found a new way to keep their baby entertained and also get some exercise.
Now as Stroller Strides celebrates its anniversary, it is also celebrating new ownership and more classes in the coming year.
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Jennifer Myers has been a personal trainer for nine years but she was tired of all the traveling involved in her job and felt like she could reach more people in a group setting. She hadn't been involved in Stroller Strides before but she began to look in to the franchise.
"Stroller Strides was ideal for me," Myers said. "I'm a mom. It's a great franchise. When the time came that I was getting tired and putting literally thousands of miles on my car each month, that's when I looked more into the franchise. Chandler-Gilbert went up for sale literally the week that I started looking. That's why I chose Chandler and Gilbert. Ahwatukee at the time was owned by someone else."
Even though it was owned by someone else, Myers knew the owner was beginning to want to move on to a new venture so she kept her eye on the Ahwatukee franchise. Myers was able to take over the franchise on Sept. 1 and her goal is to inform members of more options opening up. She plans on adding more classes and now Ahwatukee members can also go to classes in Chandler and Gilbert because it's all one franchise.
In addition to more classes, Ahwatukee members will have the chance to be taught by Myers herself, who was voted Instructor of the Year in 2010 out of more than 900 instructors in Stroller Strides. The Instructor of the Year is nominated by members. Once nominated, they have to apply and make a personal video.
The final three make a video together that goes on YouTube and is voted on by all members. The winner was announced during the annual Stroller Strides convention in San Diego.
"I had only been with the company at that time for a year," Myers said. "To be nominated, that was awesome. To win I just got chills."
Stroller Strides corporate is celebrating 10 years of focusing on group exercise for pregnant women through the first few years of a child's birth. Myers says each class is formatted the same with a warm-up, power walking and strength exercises. They also provide mothers with play dates and chances for classes without the kids.
Myers said the most surprising thing for her was seeing the support that comes from Stroller Strides.
"I can't emphasize enough the support of just being a mom," Myers said. "It sounds extreme but Stroller Strides literally has saved lives. It literally takes women out of any depression they might be going through. It's a great place to be for support, No. 1, and then it also gives physical support and strength for motherhood. You're getting muscles and also mental support to raise a child. I knew it was powerful but to actually see it in moms has just been amazing."
For more information on Stroller Strides, visit http://classes.strollerstrides.net/ahwatukee or like them on Facebook by searching "Ahwatukee Stroller Strides."
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