Going strong

“What happened to my waist? It’s gone!”

“Will I ever get back to my pre-baby weight?”

“Why do I feel so physically weak all the time?”

These are a few of the laments that StrongMom owner Erin Marich of Greenwich hears as she conducts her fitness classes designed especially for new moms and pregnant women. Her classes, held outdoors except for the winter months, are crafted to help women gain back their strength and fitness levels, lose that baby weight, and, just as important, bond with the other women in the group who are “all in it together.”

“After leaving my job as a school psychologist, I had my first child, Ben, and was living in Manhattan in Battery Park City,” Marich says. “I found a great mom’s boot camp that I attended regularly. The classes were held right in Battery Park, and I loved being on the water and under the open sky. I was able to take Ben with me and met a lot of new moms and made friends, which was very important to me.  Because we were all in the same place in our lives, going through a major event together, it was easy to bond.”

Erin and her husband, Chris, moved from Manhattan to Greenwich in 2012.

“By then I had my second child, Hadley, and looked around the area for a similar program dedicated to pre- and postnatal fitness. I couldn’t find one.”

Chris was supportive of her need to work out with like-minded women and suggested she start her own specialized fitness business. So she took the leap and became a certified personal trainer, incorporating StrongMom as an LLC in the spring of last year.

“For the moms”

StrongMom is based on the reality that many new mothers have little time to themselves.

“I wanted to create one hour out of their day when they could focus totally on themselves,” Erin says. “Child care is provided, so they can bring their children with them and have them only a few feet away while they work out. The kids are there – but they are not there – at least for that one hour.”

She typically has from six to eight women in her classes, which are held outside in Bruce Park weather permitting and indoors at Allegra Dance in downtown Greenwich.

“I am lucky to have attracted a group of women who really get along. They treasure their ‘me time’ and have forged many friendships. The support of the group is all-encompassing and as instructor, I tailor my cardio- and strength-training exercise program to the needs and abilities of the women. It is highly individualized. I modify exercises and everyone is free to work at their own level of ability. There is absolutely no competition.”

A typical one-hour session consists of a warm-up followed by circuit (resistance) and interval (speed and endurance) training.

“I use a lot of equipment – balls, weight bells, an agility ladder and ropes, among other things. I take advantage of the outdoor environment and use the benches in the park for strength training and will use trees for the battling rope.”

While her high-intensity approach works the entire body, Erin says, “I focus on the core, which is a big area of concern for women after giving birth. Getting that midsection back under control is a big deal. Women want their nice flat belly back and my workouts are designed to help them achieve that goal.”

After the main part of the workout is complete, Erin conducts a cool down at the end.

“My workouts are always different,” she says. “I do partner work and teamwork and use great, upbeat music for motivation. I bring portable speakers to the park, and, yes, I have a permit for all this from Greenwich.”

Looking ahead with confidence

The results speak for themselves.

“It’s growing and the women that come really enjoy it. Friendships are blossoming and we do things aside from exercise like Ladies’ Night Out and group runs for different causes. My clients tell their friends how much they like it and the good reviews spread.”

She credits Chris with giving her the push she needed to get StrongMom going.

“He knew I could create something successful, and he was right. He has helped to spread the word and gives me plenty of help with our two children. StrongMom fits perfectly into our shared interests.”

Chris’ successful career in the world of finance had been a big benefit to StrongMom. “That gave me the breathing room and flexibility I needed to start a second career.”

He also volunteers as “guinea pig” for different routines and exercises. “He has been very helpful in that regard. We talk things through and do my new workouts together. Apart from StrongMom, we have always exercised and gone to the gym together, something we continue to do.”

Erin is proud to have created classes for women who can join them at any level. “No matter where you are, everyone gets a good workout,” she says. “I make sure my students are at the right intensity level and focus on their technique and form.”

And the encouragement and support from peers is the icing on the cake. “Everyone is at a different stage of the same process – becoming a mother. I think I have created a sound workout that is fun for everyone and leaves my students in a happy sweat.”

For more information, visit strong-mom.com.

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