In a circle of women and strollers at Sunken Meadow State Park on Tuesday morning, the equipment was top of the line and packed with mom’s answer to any situation - bottles, blankets, toys, snacks and a yoga mat.
Stephanie Klein, who had work-out gear in her stroller but a baby on the way, handed out brightly colored resistance bands to the 15 women ready to start their beachside workout.
“Oh boy,” said one as she was given a band. “This is like a torture device.”
What was coming was no leisurely stroll around the park. The women - some of them with up to three kids in a stroller - pushed their kids in front of them as they jogged along the Sunken Meadow boardwalk and parked them while doing suicide sprints on the beach, push ups, sit-ups, and leg lifts.
Stroller Strides, a national franchise that Klein brought to Suffolk County two years ago, is an interactive workout program for moms and babies. Klein said there are classes six days a week at three locations, including the winter location, a storefront at Tanger Outlets at The Arches in Deer Park.
Klein, 29, of Dix Hills, said after she had her first child three years ago, she enrolled in another stroller exercise program and when that program ceased, she felt out of shape and missed the camaraderie.
“Overall, my whole well being was not the same,” she said.
The program is for moms with children 6 weeks to 4 years old and children must be able to stay in the stroller for the hour-long routine. That’s the only real stipulation, she said.
“This is a community,” she said. “There are days when we know some of the moms haven’t slept. They can choose just to be here with the other moms that day or they can work it.”
The ladies also entertain the children while they work out. While they were doing chair sits against a wall Tuesday, they were singing “If you’re happy and you know it.” While doing push-ups, it was “Old MacDonald.”
Crystal Gooss, 42, of Holbrook, attended her first Stroller Strides class on Tuesday with 9-month-old Leo Niles in tow.
The one-time New York City Marathon runner said she’s been slowly starting to get back into shape since having her son and was looking for a new experience.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s nice to have someone to talk to while you’re working out and nobody cares if your baby’s crying.”
And though they have a serious commitment to health and fitness, moms will be moms.
“I heard you had a 9-month-old,” one of the other mothers said to Gooss as she peered into her stroller at the start of class. “Oh, my God, he is so cute!”