Finding Time To Keep Fitness In Motherhood

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Cassandra Hawkinson - helping moms on the road to fitness

We recently met Cassandra who is the founder of Active Moms’ Club in Chicago. We loved her balanced view on life, pregnancy (she is expecting twins!) and how to live healthy even as a busy mom. We knew our Kolcraft fans would learn a lot from her not only through this interview but through some short, informative videos we will be posting where Cassandra gives us fitness tips any mom will love!

Where did the idea for AMC start?

I’ve been a personal trainer for over eight years and have always specialized in training pre-and postnatal clients. At the time, I offered moms one-on-one training year-round and held a bootcamp style class only during the summer. Then one year class participation was really high and the moms started asking for fall and winter programming is when I discovered the need to offer quality fitness classes, in which women could participate AND bring their children with them to class. AMC was ‘born’ to bring fitness, community and education to mothers and expecting mothers in October 2008.

What do you hope moms get from your classes?

My goal is for a mom to leave class feeling good about herself. I hope every woman feels a sense of accomplishment by taking time in her busy day to do something for herself. Exercise should be a regular part of every family’s lifestyle. By attending a fitness class with or without child, a mother is leading her family by example. Also, I want moms to connect and learn from each other at or outside of class. Community is important, especially to new moms who can feel a bit isolated.

You have several classes from Prenatal Training to Biceps, Babies & Buggies. Do you have a favorite class that you like to teach?

My favorite class to teach is AMC’s “From the Core: Postnatal Recovery” class. This specialty class is unique as it caters to women who are less than six months postpartum. I really get to know each participant in every session. Moms with newborns are so eager to get out of the house and meet other new moms – the class creates a special community for them. I’m proud to see all of the women ‘graduate’ out of this class feeling stronger and more confident, and better prepared to take on motherhood.

What are some of the benefits to moms trying to stay in shape?

There are so many benefits to staying in shape, especially as a mother! We need to care for our families to the best of our abilities, but if we don’t care for ourselves (by staying in shape) we are not able to be the best parent or spouse. In addition to the physical benefits of exercise: lose baby weight or maintain a normal weight, increase in energy, increase in strength, and improved cardiovascular health, the psychological benefits of exercise such as improved self-esteem & self-confidence are just as important!

Any advice for a mom who wants to get fit but just can’t seem to fit one more thing into her schedule?

A busy mom has to be creative about squeezing fitness into her schedule. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to carve out a huge chunk of time in order for exercise to be effective. A mom can do 15 minutes of basic functional exercises (squats, lunges, planks, pushups) at home in the morning – or purchase a 15-20 minute fitness video – or tune into Fit TV on Demand, and then go for a brisk walk with the kids in the afternoon. At the end of the day that time may add up to 30-45 minutes. Consistently, if mom ‘squeezes’ in small bouts of exercise throughout her day, at the end of the week she created two or three hours of fitness that she may not have otherwise realized were available!

Cassandra at her twins' baby shower

Now for a quick glance into Cassandra’s life. 🙂

What’s your favorite holiday? My favorite holiday may be slightly unconventional. I love Memorial Day Weekend at the end of May. It usually is a very peaceful weekend. It’s the start of the summer and (typically) warm weather. The days are long and the city is alive with great events.

What is your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is alone time. With twins on the way, it’s not realistic that I will be able to participate in my guilty pleasure too often. But I certainly will make an effort – my alone time is my recharge. I will be a better parent if I am able to steal a few moments of solitude. If you are really looking for guilty – I LOVE Sweet Mandy B’s cupcakes! You might find me there…by myself!

What are you looking forward to the most once the twins are born? I look forward to meeting those little guys and discovering their personalities. I can’t wait to hold them in my arms and look into their eyes. I look forward to their first steps, teaching them how to play sports, watching them grow into little boys. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I look forward to reclaiming my body as my own again.

If you had a free day with no commitments or obligations what would you do with it? Hopefully, this day is granted in the summer and I am not pregnant. I would wake up around 7:30am, go for a run along the lakefront, shower, put on my bathing suit and head to the lake to bask in a little sunshine while reading a book. In the afternoon I would call my husband and ask him to meet me for margarita’s and relax with him, and play with the boys for the remainder of the day.

If someone was going to write a book about your life, what would the title be? My book might be titled “Anything is Possible”. I live on the outside of the “box” and always find myself pushing the limits, regardless what it is. I completed two Ironman triathlons prior to getting married and feel I still have at least one more in me. Ideally I would complete another Ironman when I’m 60 years old so I have a better chance to win my age group, which would quality me for Ironman Kona in Hawai’i (my lifelong dream)! You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. You are your only boundary.

Kolcraft is excited to be partnering with Active Mom’s Club to sponsor free lunch and learn sessions after the Biceps, Babies & Buggies class. You can sign up for it on the AMC website.

5 Responses to “Finding Time To Keep Fitness In Motherhood”

  1. Jill Myrick June 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    I was able to continue exercising through both of my pregnancies with little alterations to my routine.
    It definitely helped me in the end to lose the baby weight and go back to my original shape very quickly.

  2. HappyMomC July 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    This is very inspriring, hope to continue my exercise through my pregnancy too!

  3. MichelleH July 5, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Happy Mom C,
    Cassandra is great. We are excited about our Mom Fitness tips that will be coming soon!

  4. MichelleH July 5, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Thanks Jill! It’s encouraging to hear mom fitness success stories!


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