A lifelong athlete, Angela Rypien has a zest for fitness.
After all, she’s a daughter of Mark Rypien, hometown quarterback from Shadle Park and Washington State University who went on to the Washington Redskins and fame as Super Bowl XXVI MVP.
Angela Rypien, 28, played quarterback too for several seasons in the women’s 7-on-7 indoor Legends Football League (formerly the Lingerie Football League). Now a fitness instructor who also sells Isagenix products, she moved in December to Coeur d’Alene from Arizona.
A single mother, she sought out a fitness-minded group of young moms here. When she couldn’t find that mix, Rypien started one. She just opened a Fit4Mom franchise for Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls with classes from prenatal fitness to full workouts for moms alongside babies in strollers.
“I was part of a really great mom community in Arizona that was health and wellness based,” Rypien said. Her daughter Malayah is almost 10, and son Mekhi turns 1 on April 2.
“There are a couple of different Facebook groups here, but not really a large community for women to support each other and enjoy fitness. In general, there’s not a lot of new mom support, which is unfortunate, because, especially these days, I think modern moms get so stuck in thinking they have to do it alone.”
Rypien had heard about Fit4Mom and thought she’d find it here. Although she didn’t have a chance to go in Arizona, Rypien said many of her fitness friends there spoke highly of it.
“They had so many great things to say about how Fit4Mom truly brought them together,” Rypien said. “They loved the opportunity to be able to bring their baby to fitness.”
With a phone call to its corporate office, she learned a Spokane franchise had closed near the end of 2018. Hearing also that the North Idaho franchise was available, Rypien saw a need.
“We provide fitness for every stage of motherhood,” she said. “I wasn’t really looking to start a business. I just wanted to be a part of a new-mom community because it’s so important to have that community to be able to reach out and ask questions like, ‘Who is a good pediatrician?’
“I’ve moved enough to know. If I can help even one mom, it’s worth it. I had that in Arizona when I first had my son, so I figured if I need it, I’m sure there are other moms who do too.”
Rypien began instructing Fit4Mom classes this week at Premier Sports Center in Post Falls, a 10,000-square-foot indoor turf field. By this summer, she plans to offer more sessions, including at outdoor locations from Tubbs Hill to McEuen Park.
The franchise doesn’t offer separate on-site babysitting, but rather moms and kids stay together during routines, incorporating use of strollers for infants and children up to age 4. Songs and activities help entertain kids.
“You work out with your babies,” Rypien said.
She said the tricky part for all moms – whether working jobs or stay-at-home – is finding fitness opportunities specifically geared to them during pregnancy, postpartum and during kids’ early years. What to do for childcare is often a challenge as well.
Headquartered in San Diego, Fit4Mom has more than 2,600 locations. One featured class is Stroller Strides, a total-body conditioning workout. Each 60-minute session includes strength, cardio and core body work.
Other sessions include Fit4Baby for prenatal exercise, Body Back for high-intensity interval workouts after pregnancy, a Fit4Mom Run Club and Stroller Barre holding the bar of the stroller to do moves inspired by ballet, Pilates and yoga.
Rypien said her friend Stephanie Young is in the early stages of re-opening the Spokane franchise as owner. They plan to hold joint sessions when warmer temperatures hit, such as runs on the Centennial Trail.
Fit4Mom requires its own certification for instructors, Rypien said, and easier modified moves are offered for class members based on fitness levels and physical needs. She plans to add instructors.
Women typically can start back into fitness about six weeks after giving birth, with doctor’s approval and depending on whether they’ve had a caesarian, she said. And fitness during a healthy pregnancy can help women in many ways, she added.
“If you work out during prenatal, it really helps then during the birthing process and with bouncing back afterward,” Rypien said. “There are a lot of studies out there showing how positive it is to stay fit and active during pregnancy.
“If you’re having some specific complications in pregnancy, you’d want to talk with a doctor. Obviously, we don’t have you do anything you’re not supposed to. We’re all certified in prenatal and postpartum exercise.”
She said the Fit4Mom site offers a yearly membership of $70, and then participants pay $59 a month for unlimited classes. The franchise also sells a 10-class pass for $99 and has a drop-in rate of $15.
So far, Rypien said more than 100 women signed up for Fit4Mom information at the March 3 Baby Fair 2019 at the Spokane Convention Center. That’s also where her son won the crawling contest.
“Yep, we start ’em young,” she joked.
So what does dad think of her new enterprise?
“He loves it,” Rypien said. “He’s an amazing grandpa, so he’s like the more it has to do with the kiddos, the better. He’s always been supportive of anything I’ve been passionate about, whether it’s been going to cosmetology school and trying to find myself or playing football.”
In the LFL, Rypien started in fall 2011 as quarterback for the Seattle Mist team before a stint with the Baltimore Charm. She said her football tenure covered a total of five years and four seasons, because LFL leadership took about a year off to change up the season.
She credits that time in football as fueling her passion for fitness, health and nutrition. And her focus now as a fitness instructor fits around time with her kids.
“I love being a mom and having the opportunity to be with them every day. I don’t miss taking my daughter to school and picking her up, taking her to activities, taking my son to swim lessons, going to toddler time. It’s nice; my life is truly encompassed with them.
“It’s nice knowing what I want to do, and maybe I can help some of the moms going through some of what I did.”
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