Three times a week, parents in Gainesville and Hall County meet with their kids in tow to exercise and create a sense of community via iStroll Lake Lanier.
iStroll Lake Lanier
What: A fitness group for parents in Gainesville and Hall County
When: 9-10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Where: Laurel Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville (Monday and Wednesday); Cherokee Bluffs Park, 5867 Blackjack Road, Flowery Branch (Friday)
How much: $8-$65More info: istroll.co/lake-lanier
Led by certified group fitness instructor and licensed physical therapist Mary Deaderick, iStroll Lake Lanier is primarily a blend of first-time, veteran and soon-to-be moms — though the group is open to dads, too — who come together to share perspective on parenthood while getting a full-body workout.
The 60-minute high-intensity interval training workout incorporates running, body weight, dumbbells, resistance bands and, of course, a stroller.
“iStroll is a way to provide a kind of a healthy outlet for moms and a way to create that community and friendship,” Deaderick said. “It's not just a workout; it’s about creating friendship and a village that we all need as parents.”
Since being founded in Clarksville, Tennessee, in 2015, iStroll has grown to include more than 20 locations, four of which are in Georgia.
iStroll Lake Lanier meets from 9-10 a.m. Monday and Wednesday at Laurel Park in Gainesville and 9-10 a.m. Friday at Cherokee Bluffs Park in Flowery Branch.
For Deaderick, who joined iStroll in 2019 in Tampa, Florida, after having her first child, the organization provided a way for her to get back to doing what she loved: fitness.
“I had just had a baby and I was like, ‘I don't know who I am anymore,’” she said. “I ran a lot and all of a sudden I had this baby and I couldn't do any of those things anymore.”
Deaderick found a support system among moms in Tampa, thanks to iStroll, and wanted to bring the same sense of connection and community to moms in Hall County when she moved here last summer.
Deaderick launched iStroll Lake Lanier in September 2021.
“I handed out flyers, I talked to small businesses and sent out flyers to families at my kids preschool to get the word out,” Deaderick said.
Jana Amber, a mother of two toddlers with a third on the way, was referred to iStroll by a friend, and has been actively going to the workout group for two months.
“I was looking for something to keep me active and going to the gym while being nine months pregnant and with two kids wasn’t realistic,” Amber said.
According to Deaderick, all of the iStroll workouts can be modified to each participant’s fitness journey. Although they are challenging, they’re also doable.
“Whether you are a brand new mom or veteran mom, breastfeed or formula feed, we all are trying to be the best for our family and our children by taking care of ourselves and showing our kids that an active healthy lifestyle can be fun,” said Deaderick. “With my background as a physical therapist, I'm aware when a mom is kind of newly postpartum or doesn't quite have the strength and stability she needs to do sort of high level exercise.”
Derrick added the best thing about working out with other moms is that every “single person there understands what you're going through.”
Outside of working out, the group hosts a monthly mom’s night out and crafts days after workouts for the kids.
“I encourage people to try it; our first class is always free,” Deaderick said, adding that the Friday sessions at Cherokee Bluffs Park are also free through mid-August.
A monthly iStroll membership with unlimited access to classes is $50.
For those who prefer a set number of classes, packages are also available. A 10-class pass, valid for six months, is $65; a five-class pass, valid for two months, is $35; a drop-in pass, valid for two weeks, is $8.For more information on iStroll Lake Lanier, visit istroll.co/lake-lanier or connect with the group on Facebook and Instagram.