By Savannah Vasquez | 315-4412 | @destinlogsav | Svasquez@thedestinlog.com

“Happy burpee to you, happy burpee to you, happy burpee dear babies, happy burpee to you,” a group of women gathered at the Destin Commons sang out to the tune of Happy Birthday this past Tuesday. The women were participating in an exercise group called Fit4Mom and while they sang, they performed push-ups and jumping combinations in front of their gurgling babies – all of whom were sitting happily in their strollers.

April Dokianos leads a Fit4Mom workout at the Destin Commons with her 13-month old son Kolsen in the stroller. [SAVANNAH VASQUEZ/DESTIN.COM]
“Fit4Mom’s purpose is to give mothers the strength they need in motherhood – at any stage – not just physically, but also emotionally as well,” said Fitness Instructor April Dokianos. “It’s my job to keep the kids entertained so that the moms can focus on their workout.”

Dokianos is a mother of three herself, and started the local Fit4Mom franchise after having her son last year. Having successfully launched her business in Niceville in January, she just began her program in Destin last month.

“I decided last minute not to go back to work,” she said, when asked what brought her to be a Fit4Mom trainer. “I was an Exercise Physiologist at Hurlburt and I heard of Fit4Mom through my clients. I wanted to keep my fitness and have a business and there was nothing like this in the area. It’s perfect, now I have my family and fitness and (Fit4Mom) brings it both together.”

Fit4Mom has four programs that are tailored to foster both health and community among moms of all walks of life. Right now Dokianos offers Stroller Strides, which incorporates the stroller into the workout and Fit4Baby, which is a moderated workout for expecting mothers. Soon, Dokianos plans to add Body Back, which is a class for moms only to focus on getting pre-baby body back and Stroller Bar, which uses bar movements akin to ballet warm-ups.

“The work outs are all modifiable and they are timed,” she said. “There is always a level one and level two option for the workout, if the mom wants an extra push.”

Another integral part of the Fit4Mom workouts, are the babies themselves, Dokianos explained. She added that the connection between mother and baby is important.

“Just trying to keep them happy is our main goal,” she said. “All of our songs are interactive and we will crawl around and make them giggle, we have peek-a-boo lunges and tickle sprints; with toddlers we have a song for every work out set.”

Dokianos said that she welcomes visitors and vacationers and that mothers do not have to have a stroller to participate.

“I want to make it accustomed to every mom,” she said. “The working mom, the mid-shift mom – it’s just getting that work out in.”

Want to Go? Fit4Mom is offered at the Destin Commons in front of the AMC Theatre on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:45-9:45 a.m. and in Niceville at the Niceville Recreation Complex at 212 N Partin Dr. Starting in June, Dokianos will also offer Fit4Mom on Saturdays at 8 a.m. James Lee Park. In addition to the workout groups, Dokianos said she will soon be starting up a play date group which will be free and open to all moms. For more information and for pricing visit http://niceville.fit4mom.com/programs or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fit4momnicevilledestin/.