WASHINGTON — With two young boys at home and twins on the way, Jaymie Freeman knows how hard it can be for a mom to find time to work out.
“They have to find daycare or leave their babies at the daycare at the gym, which can be difficult,” Freeman said.
After the birth of her second son two years ago, Freeman solved her own dilemma in a way that helps out other central Illinois moms of toddlers as well by purchasing a franchise for Baby Boot Camp, a nationwide program that allows moms to bring their young children to fitness classes.
“I knew I wanted to spend more time with my boys, but I also had an education and a passion for fitness so I needed to find a way to do both,” said Freeman, a Metamora native. “I looked into Baby Boot Camp and did some interviews with them and loved everything about it.”
In winter, Freeman offers Baby Boot Camp stroller fitness classes at 9 a.m. Mondays,
Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Northwoods Mall and at 9:15 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at Five Points Washington. In the warmer months, the classes move outside to Bicycle Safety Town in Peoria and Washington Park in Washington.
The cost ranges from $50 a month for unlimited classes at any location to 8-class or 16-class punch cards that cost about $10 per class. Moms can take a free class to explore the program.
With a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s in nutrition, Freeman is certified in pre- and postnatal training through Baby Boot Camp. She’s planning to hire an instructor to lead classes during her maternity leave this spring and an instructor to teach fitness yoga.
The kids, who are generally 5 years old and under, stay in their strollers for the first 40 minutes while the moms work out around them and then are allowed to get out to play while the moms finish up with planks and stretching for the last 20 minutes of the hour-long class.
“Usually, the biggest concern for new moms joining is that their baby or kids won’t want to stay in the stroller,” Freeman said. Setting consistent expectations so the kids know they will stay in the stroller for the first part of the class helps, and the strollers are incorporated in some of the workouts.
“We keep them moving,” Freeman said. “We’ll start with warm-ups and then go back and forth from strength to cardio. Sometimes that cardio is taking laps around the mall or stroller weaving so the kids get a change of scenery. If the moms need to take their kids out to feed them or for whatever reason they’re welcome to, but that consistency is best so they know what that expectation is and they adjust to it very quickly and love it.”
Class size averages about 10 in winter and about 15 in summer.
“It’s really almost small group personal training. Everyone gets to know each other and the kids, and it’s a nice social outlet as well,” Freeman said.
Baby Boot Camp also offers a free stroller friends moms group with two playdates most months and a monthly mom’s night out that are open to all moms of stroller-age kids regardless of whether they come to the classes. The moms group will meet again in February, with dates to be posted on the Baby Boot Camp Central Illinois Facebook page.
Freeman also offers a Core9 Birth Recovery Program for brand new moms, a 5K training program and a four-week nutrition program for women.
“Baby Boot Camp is more than exercise,” Freeman said. “It’s an opportunity to get stronger and feel better mentally, physically and emotionally while teaching your children the benefits of an active lifestyle.”
For more information or to sign up for classes, visit www.babybootcamp.com or email Jaymie Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org.