By Sherida Mock

Lisa Druxman loves to see moms make time for themselves. As a speaker, founder of Fit4Mom (a network of fitness programs) and the author of The Empowered Mama, Druxman recently visited Austin for a mega–workout in Zilker Park. There, she and a team of local Fit4Mom instructors led a group of 150 women—along with their children in strollers—through an hour–long Stroller Strides workout. The moms squatted and lunged to a call–and–response version of “Boom Chicka Boom” as assistants blew bubbles to keep the stroller set entertained. Afterward, we chatted with Druxman and others about the power of exercise to build a healthy, happy life.

AFM: What are the broad strokes of The Empowered Mama?

Druxman: It starts with just reconnecting to what’s important to you. Sometimes we forget that, because we become so reactive in the day, just trying to get everything done. I realized myself that my to–do list was pages long, but nothing on that list had to do with what was most important to me: my kids, my marriage, myself. So, I started from scratch and created a new way to do my to–do list based on the things that are most important to me.

We do something in the book called an Ideal Week Schedule, where you plan your week like you plan for a budget. It doesn’t go exactly as you want in a budget, but at least there’s a plan. Most women feel overwhelmed and say that they’re out of balance because they don’t have time for self–care. I try to turn that upside down by putting the self–care in first. Then, it’s the little things like social media that you maybe don’t have time for or television. But if you put the self–care in first, you always feel closer to balance.

Another thing I’ve been talking a lot about is, what’s your minimum effective dose for wellness? We have this vision of the perfect workout being at the gym and it’s an hour or whatever. And that might not be realistic if you’re a busy mom. But just ask yourself, what’s the minimum I need to get in every day to feel good? Maybe it’s 20 minutes of walking. Maybe it’s having the time to meditate for five minutes. Whatever it is for you, just make sure you get in your minimum effective dose each day.

AFM: Why do so many moms get overwhelmed and lose touch with themselves?

Druxman: We try to be everything for everyone. Moms get so busy taking care of the house, taking care of the kids. Seventy percent of millennial moms are still working. It’s no longer about ourselves. So, we need to reconnect. We need to take some stuff off our plate to figure out how to make self-care a priority. I think it’s important to think about how you want your kids to one day live. Do you want them to be less stressed? Do you want them to eat healthier, to exercise more? If we want that for our kids, it’s up to us to model it, because they’re not going to see it anywhere else. Taking care of ourselves is a gift to not just ourselves but to our families.

AFM: If you were to suggest one New Year’s resolution, what would it be?

Druxman: To do what’s most important first. To focus on what’s important to you. Put your own oxygen mask on first.

AFM: If you only have 5 minutes for yourself in a day, what do you do?

Druxman: Move. Our bodies are meant to move. I tell moms to only exercise on the days that you want to feel good. It will always raise your endorphins. It will always make you feel good. Even if it’s just getting out there and walking the dog, move your body.

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Lacey Guthrie, Austin Fit4Mom franchise owner

Once I found Stroller Strides, I never stopped going, because it wasn’t about exercising, it was about the community of moms I found. I had friends and I had a destination. It wasn’t hard to create that routine once I realized that it was more than just a workout. I was a runner before my third pregnancy. Once I got pregnant, I wasn’t able to run as much, and I let myself get in my head about it a little bit. I had to give myself some grace and realize that my body was doing a whole lot more than it had been doing before. If you can’t exercise to the same intensity, realize that your body is doing something way more important. We have so many different levels in our groups. We feel you; we get you.

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Heather Wallis, 8 year veteran

One of the instructors was my neighbor, and as we were exercising, we kept running into each other. She convinced me to try a free class, and I tell everybody that my first class, I almost threw up because it was such a great workout. I was a soccer player, and so I wanted something that got me back into good shape. I started in 2009, and I’ve been coming every Monday, Wednesday, Friday since then. I’ve had two more babies since then, and my youngest is 4. When he goes to kindergarten, I don’t know what I’ll do. Those moms are my tribe.

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Dot Aikman, 1 year rookie

I get a community; that’s my big thing. It’s good to get a workout, and it’s nice to get exercise, but it’s also wonderful to have a village of moms. Everybody can empathize with each other. We all get what we’re going through. It’s really helpful.

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