Fit with your L’il Bit

These fitness classes that include your little one make working out after having a baby fun.

I worked as an editor at health and fitness magazines for six years before moving to Portland, so I’ve been a fitness guinea pig many, many times. Now with two children and limited chances to sneak a workout in, I’m far from being at my fittest. But I jumped at the chance to try out some of Portland’s mom and baby exercise classes with my 7-month-old son, Cruz.

Baby Boot Camp of Happy Valley/Southeast Portland: Strollfit

Field_Trip_-_Baby_Boot_Camp-1The scene

The Astroturf field of Portland Fustal’s indoor soccer gym. Four moms in serious workout gear gathered with their babies 4 months to 23 months strapped in strollers.

Sweat factor

This is the kind of workout I enjoy — and routinely did before having kids — lots of sweat inducing squats and lunges with bursts of cardio. Later that day, my glutes were aching.

Class highlights

Instructor Jennifer Johnson-Dwyer led us through circuits of fat-burning movements such as lunges with shoulder presses. We lined up the strollers and hopped from one to the next doing our moves with exercise bands and tubes in front of slightly bemused children. And just as the littles got bored, we jogged them around the field. Jennifer was encouraging and great at demonstrating proper technique to avoid injury. It felt really good to do a hardcore workout again. I’ll be going back to Baby Boot Camp.

Who it’s great for

Moms who want to get serious about working out and meet other moms. It’s also a plus that you can bring toddlers.

Baby reaction

Cruz wasn’t crazy about being in the stroller, but he took a very long nap when we got home — score!

Details

Baby Boot Camp offers classes all around the Portland metro area, visit babybootcamp.com. The class at Portland Fustal, 3401 SE 17th Ave., is offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 am 10:30 am. First class is free. Single drop-in $17, multi-class packages offer reduced rates.

Mount Scott Community Center: Fitness — Dance Babies

Field_Trip_-_Mt_ScottThe scene

A big auditorium at Portland Parks and Recreation’s Mount Scott Community Center, but only one other mom and her 17-month-old. I brought both my baby and my 3-year-old daughter.

Sweat factor

“Just dancing” with two kids had me dripping wet and gulping from my water bottle.

Class highlights

I went to the very first day of this new class, so instructor Yvette Meek was working out the kinks. With music booming, we followed the ultra fit Yvette and her adorable 13-month-old daughter (pictured here) through a series of movements. There wasn’t a lot of variation in the moves, but my daughter had a blast making up her own steps. I just had to remind her (over and over) not to trample her brother’s fingers. Doing squats and simple swings in and out with my 20-pound guy proved to be effective cardio. Pro tip: If you are breastfeeding, be sure to wear a supportive nursing sports bra to this class.

Who it’s great for

Moms of older babies and toddlers who are relatively fit and who know about proper form. There wasn’t a lot of instruction on how to do things like keep your tush back and knees from going over your toes when doing squats to avoid knee injuries.

Baby reaction

Adela had fun bop-ping around making the lights on her shoes sparkle. Cruz seemed puzzled as to why I was bouncing him so much. I’d try the class again, but leave Cruz in his car seat and focus on spinning around with Adela.

Details

5530 SE 72nd Ave. Fitness – Dance Babies, Fridays, 11:30 am-12:30 am. Drop-in fee, adults $5.50, ages 3-12, $3.75. Mt. Scott Community Center.

Yoga Continuum: Mama & Baby Yoga

The scene

The lavender- and sage-scented studio at the Woodlawn Movement Healing Arts Center. This was one of Yoga Continuum’s first classes back after a summer hiatus, and Cruz and I were the only students.

Sweat factor

It was a calm, gentle workout. After a night of little sleep, I left rejuvenated.

Class highlights

I’m far from a yogini, so getting one-on-one attention from an instructor would normally stress me out. But Kelly McLean made it seem like I was hanging out with a friend. I especially liked that she showed me some massages and gentle leg stretches to perform on Cruz. At one point, he adorably crawled under me as I was in downward-facing dog for some impromptu peekaboo through my hair.

Who it’s great for

New moms who’d like some baby-bonding time — and a gentle work out. (Yoga Continuum also offers a separate family yoga class for parents with older children.)

Baby reaction

Cruz was all smiles when I interacted with him during this class.

Details

Yoga Continuum at Wood-lawn Movement and Healing Arts Center, 728 NE Dekum St. Thursday 10 am-11 am. $15 drop-in fee. (Yoga Continuum also offers a Mama & Baby class at Andaluz Belmont, 3825 SE Belmont, on Tuesdays 1 pm-2 pm.)

Yoga Refuge: MamaBaby Yoga for Postnatal Recovery

Field_Trip_-_Yoga_Refuge_1The scene

A welcoming, light-filled space above Montavilla’s main drag. Moms were encouraged to take breaks as needed to breastfeed, rock or change babies.

Sweat factor

A relaxing workout with minimal soreness the next day.

Class highlights

Yoga Refuge’s founder, Kate Sanderson Holly, helped us identify if we had a diastasis recti (a.k.a. separation of the abdominal muscles, which is very common after pregnancy). All poses focused on strengthening muscles and easing postpartum aches and pains. Kate is a mom herself and her youngest, baby Julian, was in attendance. Her helper, Leah, held babies so moms could follow the movements. Leah took my 7-month-old so I could lie on the floor with a rolled-up blanket cradling my spine, arms spread wide and eyes closed. Being able to do this do for three minutes was worth every penny of my drop-in fee.

Who it’s great for

Brand-new moms who’d like more energy — and to get out of the house for some human connection.

Baby reaction

Cruz enjoyed the outing — especially attempting to chew on yoga blocks. Kate mentioned that the closing “Om” usually calmed babies, but Cruz started crying at the sudden noise.

Details

A new five-week series, $60, (or $15 drop-in option), starts November 12 and runs through December 17. Thursdays, 10:45 am-11:45 am. 7831 SE Stark St. #300. yogarefugepdx.com.

More classes to try with your squish

The author with her workout buddy, 7-month-old Cruz.

The author with her workout buddy, 7-month-old Cruz.

Andaluz Waterbirth Center’s Belmont Studio offers Mamalates classes to help new moms regain their core strength. Classes run in a four-week series ($70), Wednesdays 10 am – 11:15 am. 3825 SE Belmont. waterbirth.net.

Alma Midwifery offers a donation-based yoga class on Thursday mornings from 10 am – 11 am. You can swing by the new parent group after class, too. 1233 SE Stark St. $5-$10 suggested donation. Call or register online at almamidwifery.com to get the first class free.

Fit4Mom Stroller Strides class has indoor and outdoor sessions throughout the Portland Metro area. First class is free. Fit4Mom.com.

Yoga Union Community Wellness Center has beautiful (and sustainable) new digs. They don’t have a parent-baby class, but do offer onsite childcare for when you need a little break. 2305 SE 50th Ave. #100, yogaunioncwc.com.

Denise Castañon
Denise Castañon

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