Erika Hanna had a pint-sized workout buddy during her Thursday morning class.
He seldom let her out of his sight. He partnered with her for exercises and offered encouragement.
That workout buddy was Hanna’s 18-month-old son, Henrik.
He helped with exercises by acting as mom’s weight when she lunged around the room. And his encouragement came in the form of hugs when Hanna held a plank position.
Occasionally he strayed from mom’s yoga mat to chase a loose exercise ball or take sips from her water bottle.
Those kind of antics are pretty standard at Well Mama, a fitness studio designed with moms in mind.
The courses have given Hanna a chance to stick close to her kiddos while managing her own health and fitness.
“My kids feel welcome,” the 31-year-old mother of three said. “I can bring them into class with me or leave them in the child-care area next door.”
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I started at Well Mama at the end of August. I won a one-month membership. I stayed because I love it so much. I have enjoyed finally taking care of myself — mentally and physically.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: There’s a big variety of workouts. This class — Strong as a Mother — is faster-paced and you can use your baby as a weight. In the summer, we put our kids in strollers and walk and sprint the hills outside. I also do yoga and barre classes. I work out four days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: My goal is to feel better about myself physically. I don’t watch the scale. I just want to be comfortable in my new mom body and improve my quality of health.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: The commitment of doing it. At first, I’d feel discouraged, but now it’s such a routine. I look forward to it. I’m taking time for myself as a mom and I’m getting stronger.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Starting up and sticking with it in the beginning. There are days when you just don’t feel like working out.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Closeness of this (gym) community. If you don’t show up one week, everyone asks where you were. My body also can tell when I haven’t been working out.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: I don’t really have one. I hate it when I forget my water or a hair tie, but other people don’t bother me.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I play with my kids and get outside. My husband and I have done 5Ks together. We like being active as a family.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: Comfortable clothing like a good yoga pant.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Try to stick with it. Make it a plan, but be easy on yourself if you miss a day. One workout is better than zero workouts.