If there’s one thing new moms need, it’s a sense of community. So Rachel Burton was especially sad to leave Chatham County with her two little boys just when she’d discovered a wonderful group of active mothers through national fitness franchise FIT4MOM.
A former competitive swimmer who’d studied nutrition in college, she had the knowledge to eat right and exercise. But the demands of working full time at her own startup company and raising Linus and Errol just proved too much. Rachel had never managed to lose the pregnancy weight she’d put on, and when she saw a photo of herself with her large male cousins, she realized she fit right into the group shot. She didn’t want to.
So when she arrived in Chapel Hill, Rachel immediately signed up for the brand-new FIT4MOM group and was a member of the first Body Back classes, an eight-week program that combines high intensity interval workouts with nutrition guidance and other encouragement and support.
She kept at Body Back for about a year, then participated in one of FIT4MOM Chapel Hill’s first running training programs. She completed the Fleet Feet 4 Miler run and last year, the Tar Heel 10 Miler race, a goal she’d never even considered previously. “I still can’t believe that I can actually say I ran 10 miles!” she says.
Rachel slowly succeeded in losing nearly 40 pounds and creating a sustainable lifestyle of nutritious eating and exercise. But beyond the physical benefits of the workout, she found that having a community of moms to connect with was just as transformative. Rachel has taken her kids to music classes put on by a fellow FIT4MOM member and prepped slow cooker meals with other fitness friends she’s made.
“It’s a safe space of finding support in wherever you are,” she says. “There’s this nice network and connectivity piece where you can have a community around raising children.”
And the positive benefits will extend to her boys, too, whom Rachel says are always watching, soaking up the healthy behaviors she’s modeling. These days, they love playing with her resistance bands and showing off how long they can hold a plank.
“If you are actively moving and actively pursuing smart food choices and smart healthy active lifestyle choices, that’s something your kids observe,” says Rachel. “FIT4MOM has been a way for me to have enough energy and build the strength to be present and active in their lives.”