Fit 4 Mom- Los Angeles

Helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life

Hello mamas!!

Welcome to my very first blog entry as the new franchisee owner!!! I hope you are excited as I am!! 
As many of you may know, I was super busy with the planning of my wedding / Adela’s 1st birthday celebration. No, it wasn’t intentional to celebrate the both on the same day. I planned and booked all the major things (ceremony and reception venue) when I was 3 months pregnant. Luis (my husband) and I choose August 3 since its the day he asked me to be his girlfriend. Adela decided to be 10 days earlier than her due date and was born on August 3. The celebration changed from just being a wedding to a 1st birthday party as well. With over 300 guest, it was a bit stressful trying to plan it all. Now that that day has passed, I feel more relieved. It was fun and I enjoyed every minute of it. 
Now I can fully focus on Fit 4 Mom- Los Angeles. So ladies, any questions, concerns, or ideas for the group, I am open to hearing. Any suggestions for Moms Night Out? What would you ladies like to do? Or learn to do? I have raffles and prices in the near future. All the info to that is coming soon.
I’d like to thank each one of you for your support and patience in the transition of new franchise owner. I am looking forward to our family growing as we welcome all the new mamas to the group. 
In stride,
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The Next Chapter

It is time for me to sell the Stroller Strides/ Fit 4 Mom Los Angeles Franchise. This was not an easy decision to make! Being a franchise owner has been incredible for my family and me.  But it is time for me to get back to my true passion, teaching elementary school.When I first started as a Stroller Strides client, I never imagined I would become a franchise owner.  After finding my stride as a franchise owner I never thought I would ever want to sell it! Learning to run my own business while tending to my two small children was challenging to say the least. But I believed and continue to believe that the only way to grow as a person is to constantly find new mountains to climb. As a Fit 4 Mom owner, I got in the best shape I’ve ever been and developed confidence in myself as a business owner.  But by far the best benefit has been the friendships I have made with so many amazing women I may never have had the pleasure of knowing otherwise.

When I made the decision to look for a new owner I knew I could not pass the torch to just anyone.  Stroller Strides/Fit 4 Mom isn’t just a workout that you can do with your baby, it’s a community of like minded women who support each other in their quest to raise healthy children. The new owner had to be someone who could maintain this AND take the franchise to the next level by offering more Fit 4 Mom programs such as Body Back.

With the help of the corporate team I have found the perfect fit -Roxana Reyes!  Roxy and her 9 month old daughter Adela have been taking Stroller Strides classes in Marina Del Rey/Culver City.  Roxy recently became a Stroller Strides instructor.  She is working on her personal trainer certification as well.  Fitness and nutrition have always been an important aspect of her life.  With a degree in Business Administration/Management and a minor in Accounting, Roxy spent 6 years as a bank supervisor.  When the time came to start her family she knew she didn’t want to work full time.  Since the birth of her daughter she has been a part time nanny.  Fit 4 Mom will allow Roxy to utilize all of her talents.

Effective June 1st Roxy will be the new owner of the Fit 4 Mom Los Angeles franchise.  But you can’t get rid of me that easily;)  Stroller Strides has been my life for the last two years- Kairo doesn’t know any other way to start his day!  While I look for a job in education I will continue to teach classes when needed and help plan Plum Mom’s Club activities.  We hope to make this transition has smooth as possible. All classes and activities will continue as planned!

Motherhood is by far the most challenging job i have ever had. But having a community of women to share the challenges and rewards, the sweat and the tears with has been priceless.  I could not have made through the last two years without you!  Thank you.

In Stride,
Ashley Pontell

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Imitating Mommy

Future Stroller Strides Instructor

Future Stroller Strides Instructor

Children are sponges. From the moment they are born they are absorbing information from the world around them.  Learning doesn’t take place in isolated segments, it is happening all the time.  Every new sight and sound is a way to figure out the world.  We are teaching our children without even realizing it!

Almost every 2 year old knows what a phone is for. If you hand them a toy phone, they will place it to their ear and speak into it. They might mimic talking on the phone with other objects, like a banana. We don’t intentionally impart this knowledge on to our children in the same manner that we teach them their ABCs or how to ride a bike. Instead, the children learn through imitation. They see the importance our phones and other objects play in our daily lives, and take it upon themselves to mirror our actions with them.

Unfortunately, infants cannot distinguish between behaviors which will allow them to thrive into adulthood and those which would be better left unlearned. The image of mom swigging from a soda can or dad endlessly channel surfing can be just as compelling to a baby as a telephone. It’s up to us to determine which memories will take up a permanent presence in our children’s consciousness.

Take pride in knowing that by working out with us at Stroller Strides, you are not only taking good care of yourself, you are providing your child with a crucial component of their own well-being: positive associations with a healthy role model.  The memories imprinted of you taking time to care for yourself by exercising will guide your child for life!
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Understanding Artificial Sweeteners

By Lisa Druxman

It’s understandable that you might be drawn to diet foods or artificial sweeteners when trying to keep your weight down. Unfortunately, those foods may be doing you more harm than good.

Most of these are chemicals that replace the sweetness of sugar without the calories. Think about this – With real foods, when you eat something that’s very sweet, it’s also usually high in calories. Your brain knows this and does its best to use those calories efficiently. When you eat something that is sweet and does not have calories, your brain is confused and your body will not metabolize those calories as it should. Basically, if you eat something that tastes like it should have calories and doesn’t, it will have a negative impact on your body!


  1. “Sugar Free” does not always mean low in calories.
  2. Recent studies have shown artificial sweeteners can actually increase your appetite.
  3. Artificial sweeteners can still spike your blood sugar and lead to additional cravings

Just because it’s on the market does not mean it’s safe. Saccharin has been linked to cancer. Sucralose (also known as Splenda) is associated with both liver and kidney enlargement. It can also cause skin rashes, headaches and stomach pains. Aspartame (also known as NutraSweet, Equal and others) has been associated with everything from hallucinations to brain tumors.

Turn to natural sweeteners when you need something sweet. This can be honey, maple syrup and date sugar. As with any sugar, keep it in moderation as it has no health benefit.  Sugar is sugar, regardless of color.

Natural Minimally Refined Sweeteners (the best for you)

•Fruit juice

•Unrefined maple syrup

•Raw honey

•Date sugar

•Molasses (blackstrap or barbados)


•Brown rice syrup

•Barley malt

Refined Sweeteners (second best)

•White sugar

•Brown sugar

•Refined maple syrup

•Corn syrup





•Processed honey


Artificial Sweeteners (avoid!)

•Aspartame (a.k.a. NutraSweet)





L Druxman, (2011, July 18).  Understanding Artificial Sweeteners

Retrieved from

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Honor Your Shape

Celebrate your post-pregnancy body!  Be proud of your current shape and all your body has done for you.  You birthed a baby!!  What else is your body capable of doing?  Don’t let negative self-talk stand in your body’s way of becoming the best it can possibly be.  Surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you and challenge you to make positive improvements in your life.  Don’t pollute your mind with images of celebrities who are back in their jeans days after giving birth!  For every woman who laments her postpartum scars, there is a woman who only wishes she had them.

The Shape of a Mother website is a place where real women post unedited pictures of their beautiful post-pregnancy bodies; no airbrushing, no plastic surgery.  It is a celebration of real women and their magnificent shapes.

BirthMarkings is a short documentary film (19 minutes) that focuses on women’s relationship to their post-pregnancy bodies.  Showing only their naked bellies mothers speak candidly about their shape.

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Plank Competition

I love to plank!  Front plank, side plank, up up down down plank, swing plank, circular plank, planks with butt kicker…you know you love them too.  The plank strengthens the abdominals, back & shoulders.  It is the ultimate multitasking exercise! Perfect for the busy mom. Muscles involved in the front plank include:

Stroller Strides Los Angeles Plank Competition

Sponsored by Luna

Stroller Strides Los Angeles Plank Compition

During the first week in September we’ll all record how long we can hold a forearm plank.  At the end of the month we will do it again and whoever makes the biggest improvement on their own time will win a box of Luna Fiber Bars!

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5 Steps to A Healthy Home

Step 1:  Avoid Pesticides 

Use non-toxic or the least toxic pest remedies – like soapy water to kill ants and boiling water to kill weeds. Good sanitation and proper food storage help to prevent pests.

Step 2:  Use Non-Toxic Products 

Look for natural, non-toxic cleaners, body care, and home furnishings. Read labels to learn what’s inside or call the manufacturer.  See how your products rate by using this site.

Step 3:  Clean Up Indoor Air 

Ventilate the home by opening windows. Grow indoor plants that naturally absorb impurities (Arcea palm, lady palm, bamboo palm, rubber plant, and Boston fern are effective options.) Vacuum at least twice a week using a HEPA filter, and/or mop floors.

Step 4:  Eat Healthy 

Choose organic foods as much as possible. Select fresh, dried or frozen vegetables and fruits, and make foods from scratch to avoid synthetic additives and preservatives.

Step 5:  Be Wise With Plastics 

Use alternatives to plastic as much as possible and safer plastics when necessary – especially with food and beverages (look for those numbered #2, 4, or 5). Avoid using plastic in the microwave and with warm or fatty foods and beverages.

*content courtesy of Stroller Strides Corporate.

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You Know You’re an LA Strider When…

  • You walk with your shoulders back & down and abs engaged while pushing your cart at Target
  • You sing the ABCs to your toddler and they get into a wall sit
  • You Kegel while changing your baby’s diaper
  • You recognize people’s outfits from The Grove’s window displays
  • You are used to shooing away the “paparazzi” while working out
  • The first colors your kid knows are red and green
  • You know how to navigate the sea of camera crews & tourists, keep your baby content, and chat with your mommy friends all while getting a workout
  • You consider having another baby just to continue striding…

Did I miss anything?

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We Are Growing

Stroller Strides Los Angeles is opening its second location!  In addition to working out at Los Angeles’ premiere shopping destination, The Grove, you will also be able to get your stride on at LA’s museum row.  Starting in September we will be striding at Hancock Park, home to the La Brea Tar Pits.  Our class will wind its way through the bubbling pools of tar, the very place where wooly mammoths and saber tooth tigers once roamed.   And best of all, while we are growing, your monthly dues will not! Your existing memberships and ten-packs will be valid for either location with no additional costs. Make the most of your membership and work out with us six days a week! Stay tuned for more details…

Starting  September 11, 2012…

Rancho La Brea Tar Pits

Tuesdays & Thursdays

10 am

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Healthy To The Core

By Jennifer Smigelski of WELLthy Families

Core health is something I’m passionate about and for good reason. In fact, I gave a talk about this very topic at Yoga Center in San Luis Obispo earlier this month (see my photo from the workshop!). Why is this an important topic? Your core is the cornerstone of your health and wellbeing.

First, let’s get clear on what I mean by “core.” It is the part of your body spanning from your hips all the way up to your shoulders. That’s a huge area of your body and a lot of important things happen in there every day.

The muscles in your core provide power, stability and support to the rest of your body, from your arms and legs to your lungs and your brain. The average person uses those muscles constantly without thinking to bend, sit, twist, reach and more. The average parent uses those muscles even more – picking up and putting your child down, hauling a family’s load of groceries, lifting your child into carseats, strollers and shopping carts, bending down to pick up lost or cast aside items and much much more! The core is also where digestion takes place and your vitamins and minerals are absorbed. If something goes awry, you could end up with vitamin deficiencies at the minimum, gastrointestinal woes, or at the worst, disease.

Jennifer speaking at Yoga Centre in San Luis Obispo

One aspect of your core which many people routinely forget is your mind-body connection. Our body’s many parts are connected in a way that’s more sophisticated than we can imagine. For example, the gut has more neurotransmitters than the brain! That explains so many things, from having “butterflies” in your stomach to the phrase “gut instinct.”

To learn more about how core health plays a vital role in your health and wellbeing, as well as how you can get a healthy and keep a healthy core, join Jennifer on Friday, July 27th when she speaks with the moms of  Stroller Strides Los Angeles.  Healthy snacks & drinks will served.

Healthy to the Core

Friday, July 27th

8:30 Core Workout    9:30 Discussion

The Grove

Meet us by the fountain.


Jennifer Smigelski is the founder and director of WELLthy Families. A Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, she has spent over 10 years studying various wellness disciplines. Prior to founding WELLthy Families, Jennifer was a corporate Human Resources executive and executive coach for over a decade at top Fortune 500 companies, such as Nike, Morgan Stanley, and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). She is a graduate of Cornell University and currently resides in the Los Angeles area with her husband, Owen, and their two energetic little boys. Visit her at, or wellthyfamilies

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