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Anchorage and Eagle River Stroller Strides Participates in the National Get Fit Challenge


Participants prove motivation, competition and support spur lasting lifestyle changes

Anchorage, Alaska (Grassroots Newswire) 8/19/2009 -- Long considered the mainstays for achieving a healthy lifestyle, "proper diet and exercise" are arguably the tenets most oft-pitched by physicians, personal trainers and wellness gurus alike. Less publicized, however, are the key factors that help make that well-known phrase a lifetime habit instead of a short-lived phase. According to Anchorage-area participants of the Stroller Strides National Get Fit Challenge, sustaining good health habits isn’t just about calories in and calories out - it’s about motivation, competition and support.

Recently, more than 520 moms across the country, including those in the Anchorage area, completed their commitment to better health through the Get Fit Challenge (GFC). The Challenge was a three-month program pairing Stroller Strides total body postnatal exercise classes with a supportive email component offering weekly meal suggestions, easily adoptable fitness and nutrition tips, and plenty of motivation and inspiration.

Designed to provide measurable, tangible results, the GFC required that participants undergo hydrostatic ("dunking") or physical fitness testing both before and after the three-month period. With "after" results now in, these hard-working moms have realized that they’ve not only made significant changes to their physical shape through weight loss and decreased body fat, but they’ve also jump-started the motivation necessary to ensure permanent lifestyle changes.

"Participating in the GFC has helped me make my most drastic life changes," said Katie Hamberlin, who participated at the Peoria, Arizona, Stroller Strides location. "Before the GFC, I had blinders on in terms of the amount of weight I needed to lose. Now, I’m 12 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant, and I’ll never give up."

Prior to starting the GFC, the 26-year-old mother of 10-month-old Taylor had reached a low point in life, experiencing a job layoff and becoming increasingly frustrated with the lingering baby weight that wasn’t coming off. An email from her Stroller Strides instructor about the GFC - coupled with her newfound free time - prompted her to sign up. Promising herself that she would participate in classes three days a week, Hamberlin soon found herself going every day, driven by the program’s support, the fun and friendly community it provided and a strong sense of competition.

"We all really kept each other going," she said of her GFC group. "When you’re tempted to give up, your fellow participants are urging you to ’pick up the pace,’ and a competitive aspect kicks in when you know that the other moms are going to be there every day - regardless of whether you are or not.”

Hamberlin lost nearly 18 pounds and 7.8 percent body fat through the program, and has recently signed on as a Stroller Strides instructor for the new Vistancia Village location in Peoria, opening in early 2010.

For participant Amanda Milburn of Dallas, Texas, the Stroller Strides GFC showed her that accountability, motivation and competition were missing from her prior attempts to get fit and healthy. An avid dieter, the 28-year-old mother of a two-year-old and a nine-month-old, was frustrated by her inability to progress from "decent" to "great" shape.

"Dieting had helped me lose a significant amount of weight, but I still wasn’t happy with my appearance," she said. "I realized I was on my way to being ’skinny fat,’ as my fitness performance hadn’t improved, and I felt flabbier than ever. What I really needed was motivation to work harder."

Competitive by nature, Milburn was driven by the GFC’s "before" and "after" testing. Although she wasn’t able to make it to every Stroller Strides class, the program’s weekly emails served as a constant reminder to exercise and eat healthy. When her schedule wouldn’t allow her to attend class, she’d make sure to take a walk on her own, and she modified her former dieting techniques to include balanced meals and plenty of fruits and veggies.

Milburn lost nearly 20 pounds, several inches and significantly decreased her BMI during the GFC. After seeing her improvement on her "after" one-mile-run testing, she committed to running and recently completed her first 5K and is now training for a 10K.

"After seeing my GFC results, I’m actually working harder than ever, because now I see my own potential and know I can do it," she said. "I felt limited in my athletic endeavors before, and now I know that I’m not. I’m capable and can be as thin or fast as the next woman. It’s my choice."

Shelly Esposito from Thousand Oaks, Calif., joined the GFC after crash dieting proved an unhealthy and unsuccessful option for staying fit post-baby. The 30-year-old mother of 18-month-old Alex was fed up with unhealthy, "cardboard" diet food and its inability to provide feel-good, lasting results.

"The GFC was a constant reminder that I was taking on the task of getting healthy, not just trying to madly diet down to a specific weight," she said. "It helped me realize the importance of being a healthy person and good role model for my child - not just fitting into ’skinny jeans.’"

Rather than putting an extreme focus on weight loss as she had in the past, Esposito instead made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, and soon enough, the weight began to come off. The program’s regular emails served as important reminders of the lifestyle changes she wanted to make, whether it was avoiding the temptation for that after-dinner treat or opting to cook a healthy meal from the recipes provided, instead of snacking or eating out.

Esposito lost 25 pounds during the GFC and continues to strive for optimal health. Now focused on long-term, lasting wellness goals instead of "quick fixes," she’s proud that she can model healthy behaviors to her young son.

"At the end of the day, it’s most important to be healthy, fit and strong, and prior to the GFC, I really lost sight of that," she said. "Living a healthy lifestyle means weight loss comes naturally and is more permanent and it’s inspiring to see my son mimic my new behaviors of snacking on fruit, veggies and whole grains. I feel like I am a good role model now."

For more information about the Stroller Strides Get Fit Challenge and local residents who participated in the event, please contact owner Kristy Clay at 888.605.7860 or visit www.strollerstrides.com.

About Stroller Strides
Stroller Strides classes are offered in over 900 locations in the United States and Canada. The hour-long classes emphasize cardiovascular activities and muscle-strengthening exercises using resistance bands and strollers, allowing moms to interact with their babies throughout their workout. Stroller Strides also caters to pregnant moms-to-be with its Fit4Baby program, which features a total body interval workout that is adjusted to accommodate clients’ various stages of pregnancy. To further assist mothers in all aspects of their lives, Stroller Strides partners with Pampers®, LUNA® and BOB®. For more information about Stroller Strides, including class locations, visit www.strollerstrides.com.

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