Fifteen years ago, Stroller Strides founder Lisa Druxman was on a walk with her infant son when inspiration struck in a big way. Prior to giving birth, she had spent over two decades working as a personal trainer in the fitness industry. As a brand-new mom, she yearned to remain the primary caretaker for her newborn son, but also wanted to stay on course as a health and wellness expert.
“I decided to create a workout that I could do with my baby,” says Druxman. “Stroller Strides was one of those lightbulb moments. I was on a stroller walk with my son and had the idea because it was always our best hour of the day.”
Soon after launching the program, where moms work out alongside their stroller-bound kids, Druxman realized she wasn't the only mother looking for an outlet for self care with a baby in tow. “As a fitness professional, I realized I could help moms get back in shape, and I needed a community of moms as I had so many questions about motherhood,” she says. “Stroller Strides was a cause before it was a company.”
Druxman's company, now called FIT4MOM, has grown to include a prenatal and Stroller Barre program and now has almost 2,000 class locations in 43 states. We recently caught up with the San Diego native to chat about finding balance, the one healthy snack she can't live without, and the reason why every parent should carve out time to take care of themselves.
Why do you think there was such a great need for your business?
All moms want to get back in shape. But more than that, all moms want to connect. They want a village so that they have the answers to their questions. They want support. They want to not feel alone. FIT4MOM classes are as much a community as a fitness program.
Are you surprised by the reaction you received to the program?
I could never have imagined. The program took off immediately, and that was before social media. When moms like something, they talk. They also talk when they don’t like something. Luckily, all moms are looking to connect.
Did you work prior to launching Stroller Strides?
I have been in the fitness industry for nearly 25 years. I have done everything from personal training to group exercise. My last job before starting FIT4MOM was being the general manager at large luxury health club.
Is your entire family supportive of your career?
Very much! They know how much I love my work. My work as afforded me to be able to be home for my kids (Jacob, 15, and Rachel, 11) at the most important times. And they have had some pretty fun perks of travel with the company.
What's the best part of being a working mom?
I love showing my kids, especially my daughter, that you don’t have to make a choice. You can have a career that you love and an identity with your work and be a present and loving mom.
What's the most challenging part of juggling work and family?
The juggle is definitely the hardest part, especially when they are little. It’s difficult to be present with your kids when you have access to your work on your smartphone, which is always with you. I had to learn to compartmentalize. When I’m with my family, I’m truly with my family. And, when I’m working, I’m all in.
What's one piece of advice you would give every new mom?
Baby steps will get you anywhere you want to go. Most people want to take a quantum leap. They want to do something extreme and jump five steps forward. It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t last. You need to figure out your goal and then take purposeful, consistent steps towards that goal.
How do you manage to find balance on hectic days?
It’s been a learning experience. The answer to everything is time. Your work requires time. Your family requires time. You require time. In the beginning, I just focused on my family and my work. That didn’t work for anyone. Once I started carving time for my own self care, I had the energy for everything else.
What's your favorite life hack?
My favorite life hack is to create an ideal schedule. It’s like a budget, but for your time. How do you want to spend it? How much time do you want to spend working? With your kids? Exercising? Chores? If you don’t plan, then you plan to fail. It won’t work out like clockwork, but at least it can serve as a guide. It’s a real eye opener the first time you do it and see how quickly your time fills up on things that aren’t that important to your health or happiness.
What's your favorite way to unwind with your family?
Exercise and nature! I love taking hikes or taking the dog to the beach with them.
Are your kids fitness fanatics too?
Fanatics? No. But we are an active family. Both kids play sports. They are definitely well-educated on why you want to live an active life.
What's your favorite healthy on-the-go snack for your family?
Probably nuts. I keep a bag in my desk, in my purse, in my car. It's a quick, quality source of nutrition.
Why do you think it's so important for women—especially working moms—to carve out time for themselves?
Do you want your kids to live like you do? Do you want them to exercise more? Eat healthier foods? Stress less? Laugh more? Where do you think they will learn that from? They will learn that from you!
Photo credit: Class images via FIT4MOM