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Company offers programs for mothers - and babies - all over Portland area

The single day of the year dedicated to honoring the mothers in our lives is just around the corner, on Sunday, May 14. One franchise that employs several Portland moms, called FIT4MOM, wants to reach out to other mamas around the city so they can treat themselves during what they're calling the "Month of Mom."

FIT4MOM describes itself as the nation's largest wellness company designed by moms and for moms. Programs in Portland have been around for a dozen years with locations in Cedar Mill, Southwest Portland and Southeast Portland.

It doesn't have a brick and mortar location, but rather works outside at at various locations during the summer months and in gymnasiums and community centers during the winter. This month, it's celebrating moms with some specific events and giveaways on social media.

To get involved, visit www.fit4mom.com.

The Tribune caught up with Megan Caldwell, a mother of three who runs one branch of the franchise out of her home in Cedar Mill, but offering classes in Northwest Portland:

COURTESY: FIT4MOM - Megan Caldwell operates FIT4MOM in Northwest Portland. She is a mother of three children, including daughter Charley (above), who's now 1 year old.Tribune: Can you tell me a bit of background about this program and why it's special to Portland?

Caldwell: It was established about 16 years ago in San Diego, and we've had the programs in Portland about 11 years. I took on FIT4MOM Cedar Mill about four years ago. We also have two other local franchises in Portland so we really offer a range of services all over Portland and in surrounding areas. Our mission is to provide moms strength and motherhood. So really helping moms connect with themselves after they become a mom, giving them physical strength, but also emotional strength and confidence. As well as a big piece of it is just connecting moms with other moms and connecting them with local resources here in Portland.

Tribune: Can you tell me about the FIT4BABY program?

Caldwell: It's a program that FIT4MOM as a whole has offered for a bit of time. We just recently launched it here in Portland. One of the most unique things about FIT4MOM, and I run this out of a business in my home, and I have small children myself, it took me about four years to have the time and energy to figure out how to get this program launched. It is a program, fitness classes designed for expecting moms, so all stages. So we have some moms who learn that they're pregnant and come right out and some that find us later on during pregnancy.

Tribune: What sort of meal prep ideas do you suggest?

Caldwell: One thing that we emphasize and focus on is this idea of meal prep and planning. So coming up with a plan for what you're going to have. I often recommend starting with something at the beginning of the week that can be used as leftovers so that you're not recreating the meal or cooking 21 different meals each week. So maybe a veggie and bean soup on Monday, so that can be dinner for the family Monday night then lunch during the rest of the week. So the goal is to help moms and make things simpler.

Tribune: How do you suggest managing stress, and and what are some hacks to get more time in the day?

Caldwell: I think we're all looking for that, right? So I think it's a pretty well known fact that women with postpartum depression and anxiety, just from pregnancy, hormones, and childbirth. Most doctors are going to recommend exercise and fresh air, so I think our classes cater to that — not just the physical movement of moving your body and burning calories and getting endorphins up, but also that connectivity, connecting moms in similar situations. So when a mom shows up to class with spit up on her shirt because she hasn't been sleeping — being able to connect with her and say it's OK, we've been there, here are some ideas.

Tribune: Any possibility for other locations to open up in the future?

Caldwell: We are definitely looking to push that. We currently run classes in Southeast Portland, Happy Valley, Southwest Portland, Tigard, Tualatin, and during summer months we're in West Linn. We've got a couple Beaverton classes. I'm definitely looking to bring classes back to Northeast Portland. I had been there for several years, but I had to take a break when my daughter was born a year ago to keep my own sanity. We are definitely looking to expand to make our classes more accessible.

Tribune: Any lingering thoughts?

Caldwell: I want to emphasize that FIT4MOM is way more than a fitness class. I think sometimes people get thrown off by the name, or the name of our programs. Moms can expect a challenging workout at each class, but we tailor it to each woman's needs, and also just recognizing that we welcome all moms, so whether you're a former collegiate athlete looking for something hardcore or whether you're a woman who hasn't exercised in years, we have a place for you in our village.

For more: www.swportland.fit4mom.com, www.southeastportland.fit4mom.com, www.cedarmill.fit4mom.com.

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