Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Chanin Victor
Observer Staff Writer 

Lynn Case: Mom-prenuer of FIT4MOM Santa Monica is an Awesome MOM BOSS!

Do you want to workout? FIT4MOM is the nation's leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program, providing fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood

 

October 14, 2020

Photo Credit: Lynn Case

We are so excited to highlight Lynn Case, from FIT4MOM Santa Monica, an awesome Mom Boss and Mom-prenuer! FIT4MOM is the nation's leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program, providing fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood. From pregnancy, through postpartum and beyond, their fitness and wellness programs help make moms strong in body, mind, and spirit. I've known Lynn for a long time through Stroller Strides/FIT4MOM and together with Books and Cookies LA, we hosted some fun babytime classes at Monica & Andy retail store in Santa Monica Place. She's one of the most genuine, nicest people I've met and her story is really interesting as well. That's why she's Momtastic! Here's more about Lynn:

- Hi there! My name is Lynn Case and I'm mom to Khloe (9) and Kayla (5) and I've been married to my high-school sweetheart for 18 years. I've been the owner of FIT4MOM Santa Monica for 4 years now. FIT4MOM is

where women in our community come for pre/postnatal exercise classes & to receive support on their motherhood journey in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Our members are from Santa Monica, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Venice neighborhoods in Los Angeles.

- I'm proud to be able to say that we're so much more than just a workout. No doubt you're going to come to class and leave feeling energized for your day, but you're also going to get linked into what's happening locally. I love that we can go from jogging up the incline or Montana Stairs to stretching on our mats with little kiddos around all while sharing information on daycares, preschools and where to find the best online deal on diapers.

It's all so fluid and real time. It's a wonderfully diverse community that celebrates the unique changes we as women experience during this time in our lives

- It's a funny story about how I became the owner and serves as a good lesson too. Back in 2011 after I gave birth to my first daughter a friend of mine invited me to the "Stroller Strides" class at the beach. I was interested and went along and ended up signing up right away. It was also during this time that I had just started taking my daughter to daycare for 3-4 hours a few days a week. This was mostly so that I could start training my private clients again. See, prior to having Khloe I was a personal trainer and doing private training out on the bluffs in Santa Monica.

One day while I was training I saw Raisa (the owner at the time) running by with a band of strollers and moms jogging through Palisades Park.

She saw me and recognized me as a new member of FIT4MOM. She approached me later and told me I should become an instructor and that I'd be able to bring my baby with me while I taught class. This seemed like a great idea since I didn't have full time childcare so I went through the pre/postnatal certifications and started teaching! (Fun fact: My first class location that I taught at was the beach class where I also took my first class. Just a fun, full circle moment) I taught classes regularly for a few years and then about 6 months after I had my second daughter, Kayla, I got a call from Raisa about buying her franchise.

This call came literally while I was sitting in a chair at home breastfeeding. Anyone who has had a baby or been around a young child knows how time consuming it all is. I joke that it must have been sleep deprivation that got me to say yes to this offer. Honestly, I knew that while the idea of owning a business hadn't crossed my mind in the late night hours of feeding and teething I knew that this was a unique opportunity and that I had to keep this community going for all the moms. The lesson for me was that you're never going to be ready for big changes that happen in your life. Sometimes you really need to jump in and go...even if you're breastfeeding a young baby and are sleep deprived.

- I'm happy to say that 4 years in I still have many goals for this business. Pandemic or not, I'm not done here yet. When I reflect on where I was as a business owner then and where I am now, I can't help but laugh a little at myself. Truth is, what I thought I had figured out then- I didn't necessarily, and what I think I have figured out now- I don't necessarily either. My goals change season to season and might include implementing a new class format, scaling locations for classes, or collaborating with local businesses to better serve our demographic, are all great ideas but there's a time and place. Some of these goals might not be right for right now. You'll know that you're moving in the right direction when you lean in and really listen to your community first. The members here are my best source of inspiration!

- I was born in Nebraska, moved to Kansas City when I was a teenager, and went to the nearby University of Kansas where I studied Music Therapy. Andy and I got married right after college and we moved to Florida to finish school where I graduated with an Audio Recording degree. Then, kind of on a whim, we both thought our best chances for work were out west.

With all we owned towed behind us in a big yellow Penske truck and our dog, we headed to Los Angeles. It's good we were young and not parents yet! Lol. My career started in the recording industry. I was soon the Studio Manager at Paramount Recording. A super fun gig and I had the opportunity to assist on sessions and meet some amazing musicians. I knew this lifestyle wasn't conducive to raising a family, especially since I would be the one who was pregnant. I also needed a change. I was in my mid-twenties and I was taking terrible care of my health. Not exercising, not eating well and it was taking its toll. That's when I hired a personal trainer to get my rear back in shape and that was also the catalyst I needed for a career change. One that I was surprised to discover and also one that would allow me to have a flexible work life so I could have a family. It was after my instruction to become a personal trainer and coach that I landed a job in Santa Monica. A few years after living the gym life I knew I needed to get outside and had a love for the beach life here. While on a break one day at the gym I walked over to City Hall and filled out the paperwork for my first business license. I guess that was the start of my work life being based in Santa Monica and my entrepreneurial spirit was born as well.

How do you balance being a mother and the head of a Company?

- That's a great question. What I know from this journey so far is that there really isn't balance. The push and pull of daily life is at times much easier to navigate than others. I feel like Wonder Woman if I can get a full hour of work done and, yes, at times that happens. However, and especially during this Pandemic, it's most common that my "balance" looks like 10 min. of work on my business followed by 20 min. of gathering craft supplies for my girls' next project or putting on a kitty headband and pretending to be the Mama kitten while I play with my youngest. Ebbing in and out of that flow is pretty exhausting. I think all mamas can relate to that right now though. Sometimes, well ok, most of the time I have to remind myself that this won't last forever and that I'll likely miss this someday.

- A typical day for me right now looks like getting up earlier than my girls so I can check into my schedule and have a few minutes to get my mind around the day. Having a few minutes to drink a little coffee is also a bonus. I make time to plan out the week and by doing this and checking in each day it keeps me somewhat organized. I use a task tracker to list the TOP 3 things I want to get done each day. I only make 3 to-do's for the day even if I end up doing more, but I choose the top ones that must get done and then give myself some grace if those in fact didn't get done. Even during this pandemic I'm trying to stay on a regular schedule. Getting up, getting ready for the day, preparing meals, working out and work tasks along with home tasks are all up for grabs each day. We're also sticking to a regular sleep, play, screen time schedule with the girls too. It's never perfect, but having a sense of normalcy even in small doses helps us all stay steady.

- I've found tricks over the years for keeping work & home moving a little more efficiently. Like I was talking about earlier I keep a schedule. I'm a little old school with my pen to paper approach, but I believe you just have to find a system that works for you. I schedule in time each Sunday to write out my schedule for the week and everything is in there! When to wake up, get ready for the day, get the girls ready, breakfast, workouts, classes, meetings, my husband's work sometimes, appointments for car maintenance, dog grooming, etc. This list is really endless as we all can relate. When I write our family's schedule it takes a lot of stress and confusion out of the equation of everyday life. NOTE: IT ALMOST NEVER GOES TO PLAN! Another big one for me is separating my work at home life with family life. Outside of the pandemic I used to have a few hours during the day to be back home from teaching a fitness class and really dig in and work. If you've ever worked from home it can be challenging when you have a dirty bathroom or dishes looking back at you. For a long time I felt distracted too easily and thought I could do both at the same time. Nope! I needed a clear division line. I started getting home from teaching class and I would light a candle near my workspace to train my mind that it was business work only time. I even ask Alexa to play "calming piano music" while I'm in "work mode". It sets the tone of my environment and it really helped. Nowadays with kiddos near me ALL. THE. TIME. I realized rather quickly that in order to have some sense of normalcy for myself and my work I had to set the tone again. It just comes in much smaller pockets of time and I'm really trying to give myself space and grace while navigating this new world.

-I think the process of becoming a mom taught me to be more brave and in some ways more willing to take risks. Anyone who has been in a position of taking care of children might relate to the feeling that you would do anything to protect your young. While being a mom is hard, even on a good day, it's empowering many times too.

- I didn't expect that I would learn so much about building community. I came into this with the idea that I just needed to make the workouts great. It's so much more than that. Women come to workout and are able to bring their kids, yes....but they come to be heard. They NEED TO BE HEARD! Motherhood can be very isolating and with so many of us who aren't from LA originally we often don't have family close by. Our moms need to know that sleep regressions happen, they need to know how to get through the teething, they need to know that they're not alone and they can do that here. I'm proud to be part of a community that provides a safe space for all of this. I think exercise and moving our bodies is often the perfect catalyst to open up about our emotional health struggles and needs too. It's happened many times that while stretching at the end of class that we'll have one mom open up about something she's dealing with and before you know it we're all in together, rallying around this mama, supporting her, crying with her. It's really an honor to see this happen. It's these moments that set us apart from other workout communities. We're more than just a workout or a playgroup or a Mom's Night Out event. We're what all women need and deserve in a time of life when most of us are made to feel like we're supposed to just have it all figured out. News flash: We're NOT!

What is currently happening in your business?

- When the pandemic hit the team and I were able to pivot pretty quickly and take classes from outdoor only to online. We've even continued to have regular music class, playgroups and story time via Zoom. Such a unique time for sure. Over the last few months we've stayed steady offering just online classes but this fall we'll be transitioning back outdoors at least a few times a week while keeping online options available. If nothing else this transition out of business as usual has made us realize that maybe we should have had some online options all along! It would really help those mamas who are transitioning nap times or didn't get sleep the night before themselves to get in an energizing workout for their day. I'm also super excited to be offering our first 8 week Body Well session beginning in Mid-September for a smaller group of ladies. The team and I are so ready to lift our mamas up at a time when they need it most "Body Well is about the journey, meeting you where you are & challenging you to grow. This 8-week program includes small group fitness coaching, nutritional guidance, recipes + meal planners, community-based workouts, and weekly challenges to help you manage stress and sleep better. Body Well will focus on improving your physical and mental well-being with a community of mamas to support you every step of the way." I've been planning week to week for awhile now and I think that's how we'll be going for the rest of the year. It's hard to know what the state of everything will look like in a few months but as long as we remember to listen to our members I think we'll just keep going. It's really an honor to be a small part of so many motherhood journeys.

What advice would you give other working moms or moms who want to start their own business?

- If you've thought about starting your own business I would say go for it. There really isn't going to be a better time and you will not ever have it all figured out. You will start and it will feel scary, but you will know the next right step if you listen to your gut. Keep coming back to your values and you'll always know what to do.

- If you're a working mom I would say go for it too! If you desire going back to work then you should! What I mean is that I have found many working moms who take a leave to have their baby are often left feeling torn about how they can go back to work when their heart is with this new precious human. Again, take time and listen to your gut. There are many many great options out there to help you.

Ask yourself what would change if you didn't go back to your career right away? What would change if you did go back right away? At the end of the day if you're in this position I would encourage you to be clear and ask for what you need. Don't be afraid to tell your work what you need. Don't be afraid to ask your partner for what you need. Don't be afraid to love your job and don't fall into the idea that you're not doing what you're "supposed to be doing" if you do decide to go back to work. I've talked to many women who are on both sides and I will tell you that if you're going back to your career, have decided to stay home or have decided to become a business owner that you will feel guilty at times, you will feel on top of the world at other times and you all deserve to be supported in any decision you make. Your own choice is the best choice.

Photo Credit: Lynn Case

-I'd like to add somewhere that I don't do any of this alone and just like the saying goes, "It takes a village", it really does! The experience and love that our members get wouldn't be the same without an amazing team of women who are committed to helping members thrive. I'm so proud of our instructors and am honored to be on this journey with them.

If you're interested in learning more about FIT4MOM Santa Monica please visit their website, where you'll be able to sign up for a FREE Trial class, see the schedule, and find out more info. Lynn teaches some of the classes herself as well as some other amazing instructors. If you're unsure about whether you can do any of these classes, please consult with your doctor first. There are several options for classes and there is the best part is your baby comes with you to class in-person too. https://santamonica.fit4mom.com/

 

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