Kapolei’s Mom ʻOhana Has A New Leader
We need community to stay happy, and we need exercise to stay in shape.
Melanie Gonzalez is making sure Kapolei moms have a place to find both.
She’s taken over the Central Oʻahu franchise of FIT4MOM, which provides exercise classes for moms. It’s a group she joined as a member five years ago – reluctantly.
What: FIT4MOM Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre workouts
When: Monday-Saturday mornings
Where: Ka Makana Aliʻi, Central Oʻahu Regional Park, Kapolei Regional Park
Info: Visit the FIT4MOM website to sign up. Your first class is free.
Gonzalez had just given birth to her son Sebastien. Her husband Miguel spotted a FIT4MOM stroller strides class at Kapolei Regional Park. He brought home a brochure.
But Melanie, who had run marathons prior to her pregnancy, was skeptical. “I thought: They’re not going to give me a good workout. It’s going to be moms walking around with strollers. No.”
A week went by before she agreed just to try it—mainly because the first class is always free.
“I was so surprised,” she says, “It was a workout!” Gonzalez signed up the next day and started going, with newborn Sebastien in tow, five days a week.
“I was hooked,” she says. “It wasn’t just the workout, it was the community, and the way the ladies brought me in. I didn’t have any mom friends at the time. So this was perfect for me.”
What Makes FIT4MOM Different Than The Gym?
If you met up with some new mom friends to talk story, it would be a little weird if you suddenly dropped down to do some pushups.
And if you went to an exercise class at a gym, it would be weird if you suddenly dropped your weights and started talking story.
“It’s not just-you’re here for a workout, now you’re gone,” Gonzalez says. “We want you to have that sense of community, that sense of bonding with other moms.”
She says that moms sometimes come to the class and don’t exercise at all. Maybe they didn’t get any sleep, or aren’t feeling well, but they still show up because they know other moms will have something nice to say.
“You’re really coming to meet these other moms. The workout is a bonus.”
And these relationships go beyond the daily workout. “We do mom’s night out, we watch each other’s kids, we do beach days, play groups. You form a whole new ʻohana when you join.”
What Makes The FIT4MOM Workout Really A Workout?
So what about the workout? “It’s not just walking around the mall,” Gonzalez emphasizes. “We do strength exercises, we do cardio exercises, jumping jacks, squats, we’re using resistance bands and core balls.“
But it’s not just about the moms. Keeping babies and toddlers entertained is part of the plan too. “We’ll have the moms tickling the baby’s toes, or playing peek-a-boo as they do squats,” says Gonzalez.
If a baby gets too fussy, a trainer might go over and blow bubbles for them.
Gonzalez’ positive energy and fitness experience made her a natural choice to become a FIT4MOM trainer, which she’s done for the past few years, and will continue to do.
But with her son Sebastien starting kindergarten, she has the time and energy to do even more. “I want to try to reach all the moms I can, so they can feel the way I do when they come to a workout.”
You dads can be a part of this too. Dads are often the ones encouraging their wives to participate. And wives, in turn, are encouraged to invite their husbands to participate in classes on Saturday. “A lot of our moms are military, and don’t get to see their husbands as much as they like,” says Gonzalez. But beware dads, Melanie won’t take it easy on you.
“When they get finished with the workout, they’re like, ‘wow,’” Gonzalez says. “They’re pretty surprised at the exercises that their wives are doing. Even the military guys.”
Gonzalez invites moms to try out FIT4MOM. The first class is always free. You can sign up on their website, or just show up to a class. Here is the class schedule.