I cannot believe it, but it has been 18 months since the birth of my son. Since becoming a first time mom, I joined my local FIT4MOM group. FIT4MOM is a village of mothers who come together regularly for a variety of classes - "Strength in Motherhood" is their (our) mantra. The classes are designed to fit moms in every stage of motherhood. The various classes include FIT4BABY (prenatal fitness classes), Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre, Body Back, and Our Village. Some of these classes are designed for you to bring your baby(ies) to during your workout, and others are designed for just moms. Moms need to remember that they need to put themselves first at times. Remember - happy mom, happy baby! 

Up until now, the only classes that I have participated in were the Stroller Strides classes. These classes have been so good to me. I have reconnected with old friends from high school, and I have also met many new (amazing!) moms in my community. Us moms support each other in every facet of motherhood. It really does take a village! 

Since joining FIT4MOM Stroller Strides, I have heard a lot about this Body Back program. Body Back is an eight week course that teaches a lifestyle change. As a new mom, it is easy to let life get the best of you. For me, I had fallen out of my pre-baby routine of regular workouts and preparing healthy meals. There just wasn't time! 

When I was pregnant, I very regularly walked and exercised. I was not aware that FIT4MOM existed and offered FIT4BABY. Luckily, I found a home DVD workout program for that period of my life, which kept my muscles toned during pregnancy. During my pregnancy, I had a stringent stretch mark prevention technique that I made up myself and adhered to with little deviation. I feel that the work outs and intense oiling helped immensely with my postpartum recovery.

After my son was born, I sustained several physical limitations which kept me away from the pre-baby workout game that I was used to. I remember that after my first Stroller Strides class, I was wiped out for a week! But as I started to use my muscles again, the class became much easier. 

At the top of 2017, I decided this was the time for me to do Body Back. I wanted my Body Back! Or something that remotely resembled it. I went to sign up for the course, but it was full. Typically, the eight week sessions cap out at 14 participants. This allows for the instructor to give the necessary attention to each of the members. I was excited when I received an email from the fabulous instructor and franchise owner, Lesley, to let me know that one spot had opened up. I jumped on it! 

I remember asking Lesley at the beginning of class if "this was going to be more intense than Stroller Strides". She laughed, and said yes. And then laughed again. 

Here's how a typical Stroller Strides goes for me. I stroll in with my little baby. I find a friend(s), and start talking. The talking usually lasts all class. I routinely miss the instructions for what we are supposed to be doing, and in the end, my mouth causes me to slack on my workout. But despite my talkativeness, I do get a lot out of these classes. You learn a lot of tips and suggestions having these mom to mom conversations. After class, it is typical for the moms to hang out while the babies run around. 

Body Back is a HIIT workout (High Intensity Interval Training). It often involves circuits with a broad mix of cardio and strength exercises. I nearly died in the first class. I couldn't breath. I was crawling to get my water. I had not worked out this hard in over two years. And there was no talking. None. And they don't let you use your green resistance band (the band I had been used to in my Stroller Strides class). Red band only. Red band is hard. Lesley and I had a good laugh after that first class about my question regarding the difficulty of Body Back vs. Stroller Strides. 

 Our fearless leader, Lesley!

Our fearless leader, Lesley!

Body Back involves two workouts per week with your class and instructor. During the rest of the week that you are not in class, there are at-home workouts that you access online, and then a variety of workout challenges that are assigned on a weekly basis. In addition to the workouts, there is a Body Back meal plan. This is key. I have always felt that for me, my body composition is 70% due to what I eat, and 30% due to my activity level. 

The Body Back meal plan is FULL of some of the most delicious recipes that I have ever had. The recipes are easy to follow, and involve readily available ingredients from your local grocery store. The challenging part is being dedicated enough to carry out your meal prep. 

For me, this involved preparing all breakfasts and lunches the night before. Since I was going to be doing this for myself, I was able to convince my husband to take part in the meal plan as well. He was not all that willing at first, but I told him he would be the only non-participating spouse if he did not do it. He was on board. 

As part of the program, us participants logged everything that we ate. It is all about accountability. Lesley regularly checked in to see how we were doing with our meal planning and prep. We also pre-planned workouts. This planning and accountability is KEY to staying on track. Our group of 14 has a closed Facebook group as well. The moms that I met on this journey are amazing! Each of them has their own individual inspiring story. This group was instrumental in staying motivated. We did not see each other between Thursday and Tuesday, so it was good to have the moms in my session post photos of food that they had prepped, sweaty selfies, and other Body Back accomplishments. 

 I was slightly discouraged when at week 4, I had only lost 3 lbs. However, I could tell that my body was changing! 

I was slightly discouraged when at week 4, I had only lost 3 lbs. However, I could tell that my body was changing! 

Everyone had a different set of goals that they had been looking forward to accomplishing through Body Back. For me, I wanted to lose 10 lbs and get my eating back on track. We were eating out too much as a family, and I wanted to get back into good habits now while my son is still young. It has been wonderful to see him try all of the Body Back recipes as well. 

So how did we do after the eight week program? Well let's review my husband's results first. His regular breakfast routine was a big bowl of cinnamon toast crunch. For lunch, he would eat a cured meat and cheese sandwich on white bread. His daily work snack was a bag of potato chips and a sleeve of Kirkland trail mix. He did this meal routine EVERY day, rarely deviating. My husband did not work out even once during these eight weeks, his only lifestyle change was the new Body Back meal plan. His total weight loss in eight weeks was 16 pounds. Yes, you heard me right, just by making major changes to his breakfast, lunch, and snack, he lost 16 pounds. AMAZING! 

At the start of Body Back, Lesley took our measurements and starting weight. But I need to be clear here - this program is not all about shrinking. It is about changing your habits and replacing them with healthier ones. It is about becoming a strong, fit momma, and learning the necessary tools that will help you to teach your children about health and wellness.  I cannot, and will not, raise a cinnamon toast crunch cured meat and cheese on white bread eating son! I am striving for diverse palates in my house! 

 On the first day of class, I could hold a plank for 1 minute at 47 seconds. By the end of class, I could hold a plank for 3 minutes and 48 seconds!

On the first day of class, I could hold a plank for 1 minute at 47 seconds. By the end of class, I could hold a plank for 3 minutes and 48 seconds!

In the end, I lost 4.6 lbs, and 3 inches total from my hips, waist, and thighs. I also gained some abs! I could not be happier with my results. We also have a fabulous new meal plan that we are loving that we plan to keep with us forever. This truly is a lifestyle change!

10 Major Body Back Takeaways

1) Drink MORE water. Shall we put a number on it? At least 100 oz per day.

2) Plan your meals! No one is successful at meal prep without planning. Make a list. Shop once per week. Cook from the BB meal plan and watch your waist shrink! Double your recipes so that you will have leftovers!

3) Body Back is harder than Stroller Strides.

4) Being strong and toned, and your clothes fitting better, is better than the number on the scale going down.

5) MAKE time for your workouts. Set a goal of 4, 30 minute sessions per week (whatever you need!)

6) Print out your BB meal plan, laminate the pages, and put it in a binder. Make it so the meal plan is easily accessible in the kitchen for all your family members.

7) Focus on flavor in your food. I enjoy adding ingredients to the recipes that added depth without adding too many calories. Olives. capers, citrus (lemon/lime), mustards, vinegars, thyme, basil, dill, oregano - you can easily blend or add these tangy yet flavorful ingredients to make your meals more crave-able and satisfying.

8) Let your husband win the weight-loss competition. They always will, and do!

9) As moms, we are stronger than ever! We really can do anything!

10) Smile!

 We did it! Eight weeks of hard work! This is truly a group of Super Moms! 

We did it! Eight weeks of hard work! This is truly a group of Super Moms!