After relocating to Lake Mary, a popular local workout class for new moms (with their kids in tow) is now more secure and more fun
When Longwood resident Jenna Giles started a No Excuse Mom exercise and support group at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs in July 2014, her daughter Aaralynn was 15 months old, and it was relatively easy for Jenna to keep an eye on her while leading the free, weekly one-hour class. About a year later, in the fall of 2015, that was no longer the case, and Jenna knew it was time to make a change.
By that time, Aaralynn was an active, two-and-a-half-year-old toddler, and Jenna was often concerned that her daughter – or the children of the other moms in her group – might wander off toward the busy streets adjacent to Cranes Roost. But before Jenna could make a decision about a new location, the park began a $10-million construction project and forced Jenna to relocate.
“I only knew about the construction less than a week in advance,” says Jenna, 32, who soon found out that the project would not be completed until it was time for the park’s big Red, Hot & Boom celebration in July 2016. “But to be honest, I was kind of hoping to find a different location, anyway. So that gave me the boost that I needed to get that done.”
Jenna worked quickly to find a new location, and she discovered the perfect place in Greenwood Lakes Park, on Green Way Boulevard in Lake Mary. Although she lost a few of her regulars when she made the switch, Jenna loves her group’s new meeting place.
“Cranes Roost was more centrally located [in Seminole County], but I like this location so much better,” Jenna says. “It’s so much safer for the kids to play. There’s lots of shade, and there are so many more options.”
Located next to the Seminole County Northwest Branch Library, near Lake Mary High School, the park offers playgrounds, pavilions, picnic tables, and walking trails. It’s the perfect place for parents to bring their children for some exercise and fresh air.
Jenna, a fitness and nutrition coach who also works as a freelance makeup artist, started the No Excuse Mom group as a way to meet – and help – women who wanted to get back in shape, physically and emotionally, after childbirth. Jenna struggled with postpartum depression after Aaralynn’s birth and was looking for a way to get fit and bond with other women who may be going through similar circumstances. She found out about the No Excuse Mom movement, a worldwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit, on Facebook.
On one sunny Friday morning, local moms Hannah Tellez, Rebecca Pesmenski, and Angela Lewis – all with babies and toddlers in tow – joined Jenna for a No Excuse Mom workout, and both moms and kids had a blast.
“I also do workouts at home, but it’s so much more motivating to come out here,” says Hannah, whose daughter Lily, 18 months, has been accompanying her since she was six weeks old. “Jenna is really encouraging, and she always gives us modifications or lower-impact options, because she understands what it’s like to be a mom and the limitations some of us have.”
Rebecca has been doing the workout since son Theodore, now two, was six months old. “I always love coming here,” she says. “Jenna is so inspirational, and she always encourages us to go at our own pace. This is an awesome class for mommies to meet other mommies, and the kids get to know each other, too.”
For Angela Lewis, who brought five-month-old Nicholas and six-year-old stepdaughter Chloe, one of the best things about the group is that all the moms can relate to each other and their various challenges.
“No one is going to judge me if Nicholas starts crying and I have to take a break,” Angela says. “They completely understand. It’s nice to find other moms that you have something in common with, and we’re also doing something that’s good for us.”
Jenna starts the free 10:00 a.m. session with some inspirational words, and then leads the moms in a 30-minute workout that focuses on core conditioning and functional training. The moms use yoga mats for some of the exercises, and sometimes they even incorporate their toddlers in their routines.
“There are a lot of mommies out there who think they can’t get out of the house with their children,” Jenna says. “The biggest reward for me is providing these women with a place where they can work out, their kids can play, and they can get physically fit. There’s no body shaming and no mommy shaming. And if their kids act up, we get it. We all understand.”
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