No Weights? No problem! Grab a Pumpkin! Pueblo West, Colorado’s NEMs Fall Fest shows you how exercise can be fun, festive and FREE.
In May 2014, Jessica Cordova built up the courage to send in an application to be a NEM group leader. This courage came from wanting to empower her 8 year old daughter who, at the the time, was dealing with bullying for the past 10 months. “To see her confidence at an all time low was something that I knew I needed to take control of. Just like many moms, my daughter needed to be around people and other children that were going to build her up, not tear her down. We were able to focus her mind on something exciting, something new. Something that we could do together. I wanted to show her that we could do something positive for our community and set a good example of a strong woman.”
Today, along with her co-leader, Myndee Weber, Jessica’s daughter is proudly a NEM group “assistant manager” and has made new friends who joins them weekly. Most recently they held a Fall Fest, where they met at the heart or their community, a pond, where they meet every Tuesday and Thursday morning in Pueblo West, Colorado.
“After a good stretch we always warm up with two laps around the pond. I encourage moms to bring a jogging stroller if they have one and go at their own pace. The older kiddos also bring their bikes and scooters. Once we are warmed up we do what we call “fit mom cardio” which includes plyometrics such as, squat jumps, jumping lunges and burpees. After cardio, we perform 15 minutes of full body circuit training utilizing body weights, medicine balls or dumb bells from home, then we end with some stretches and core.”
During the workouts, children are encouraged to join or play amongst each other with a bag of toys in the grass. I like to encourage the children to join in with us if they want or we always bring a bag of toys for them to play with on the grass.
Jessica was always an athlete, runner, dancer, cheerleader and fitness enthusiast. She even competed in a figure contest in 2004! She didn’t get her best body though, until AFTER she had three children.
“Since my first pregnancy 8 years ago, I’ve had many ups and downs and it hasn’t been easy. I gained over 45 pounds with each of my babies, and had to start from square one after each just like many other moms. Between pregnancies I remained active but not consistent. After my youngest, I couldn’t even do a pushup, not one. I was discouraged all over again; feeling uncomfortable in my own skin and refusing to look at my reflection in the mirror. I continued to workout at home afraid to step foot again in a gym.
For the next 8 months after my failed pushup, I overcame my weaknesses and kept sight of my goals of being healthy and fit, leaving all excuses behind. And trust me I had many.. One of my biggest was priding myself on being a devoted stay-at-home mother to an 8 year old daughter, 4 year old son and a crazy, around the clock nursing one year old. This meant, no breaks, no me time, eating last, waking up first, running them around here and there and absolutely no supplements, cutting calories or fad diets for the health of my breastfed son. I knew I had to find a balance and set an example for my children, teaching them smart eating choices and an active lifestyle even with a busy schedule.
Today Jessica still remains a devoted mom, just a mom that makes no excuses for her or her family’s health. “I now enjoy my time in the gym with out feeling guilty because it makes me feel better mind, body and soul. I’ve set new goals for myself, have stopped looking at the scale and can now do 50 push-ups without stopping. I have grown a love for sharing new, healthy recipes with my family and the bonus is each of us have all around better energies. Winning!”
After following the No Excuse Philosophy on Maria Kang’s page (and controversy) Jessica finally got the courage in May to send in her application to be a group leader through the NEM website.
“The process was easy and I knew this was something that my community, as well as my family, could truly benefit from. So why not? I wasn’t sure what to expect being that I was your “average” stay-at-home mother without any actual fitness certifications, just a love for health and fitness. Within 24 hours I had an email back saying I would be a great fit. Yay! I was beyond thrilled and was excited for the opportunity. Between the two groups, I have 280 members online in our facebook group pages and consistently have an average of 8 or more moms that attend weekly at both locations. Since becoming established, friendships have formed and the amount of support and respect amongst these amazing women has been tremendous. Even the kiddos have made their buddies that they look forward to playing with at each meet-up!”
So what are Jessica’s tips for other nervous moms who want to become leaders?
“Don’t be!!! I encourage all fitness levels to come to our meet-ups, and its amazing to see how encouraging and supportive the other members are, especially to our new members. We take into consideration that we do have members that are new to fitness and as a leader I am willing to modify each exercise if needed or jog along side of them with motivating words.
The great thing about this movement is that we are choosing to surround ourselves with like-minded women; women who all have the same goal in mind of bringing health and fitness to their families, starting with themselves. We admire each others efforts and it’s an empowering feeling knowing that you have a new realm of support just by coming to a workout and meeting potentially new friends. When you attend a meet-up, your children are watching you make an effort to a healthier lifestyle.. that should be enough reason to join your local group.. Be the change, challenge yourself, join the movement! I promise you will not regret it.”