While the other women executed burpees and wall sits, Monica Seay took a seat on a nearby bench and nursed her 2-month-old daughter, Tillian.

"This is one of the best parts," she said. "None of the moms judge you if you need a minute to take care of your child."

Seay is part of Fit4Mom, a 12-year-old program founded in San Diego and now at 275 franchises across the country.

More and more, new moms are feeling the pressure to get back in "pre-baby shape" immediately after having a baby even though experts agree four to six months is more realistic while one year is not unreasonable.

Yet a mom trying to fit in the demands of a new baby, along with other daily responsibilities, might find squeezing in time for fitness takes a back seat to the temptation of a hot shower. And, even with the millions of moms trying to lose weight, the fitness industry isn't especially inviting to moms with newborns. Often, child care isn't available at gyms or kids must be at least 6 months old to be welcomed.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child," said Fit4Mom Colorado Springs franchise owner and instructor Heather Salas. "And here you have a big village of support around you and your kids are right with you."

As a military wife and mother of two, Seay is thankful for the opportunity to meet other local moms and playmates for her kids while focusing on fitness.

"When we moved here I didn't know anyone, and now I have a big group of friends that I would be comfortable leaving my kids with," she said.

Formerly known as Stroller Strides, founder Lisa Druxman created a program that would enable moms to meet for fitness and also enjoy their kids.

"It's great that everyone in the class is a mom," Seay said. "Everyone knows and understands what you're going through and wants to support you."

Fitness classes typically are held outdoors. However, when the temperatures are cold, Fit4Mom Colorado Springs moves its classes inside at the Chapel Hills Mall.

After gathering for a quick warmup and introductions, the women take off with their strollers for a jog through the mall. They then launch into a series of strength-building or aerobic exercises before taking off on another quick jog.

The jogging intervals aren't simply for boosting heart rates. The kids tend to get restless when their strollers are parked in one spot for too long. While the strollers are at rest, Salas encourages interaction with the kids by singing children's songs, counting and other diversions.

Other mommy-and-me fitness programs have sprouted throughout the country as well, such as Baby Boot Camp, which has 154 franchises, and Mommy Bootcamp, which includes classes named Hot Mama! or BOOTY-camp. All of them are deliberately geared for moms with kids who act like kids.

"Nobody is going to get upset if a kid starts crying or acting up," Salas said. "We've all been that mom; it's normal."

Other moms in the group might even pass you a snack, a book or some other distraction to help out.

The women at Fit4Mom Colorado Springs are all of the opinion that the benefits of the program - both physical and mental - make the class effective as well as addictive.


The Washington Post contributed to this story