After having a baby, one of the biggest challenges a new mom faces is finding time for herself, and, even more so, time to exercise. That’s what makes Baby Boot Camp so unique — and so successful!
Baby Boot Camp is a professional fitness program designed for new moms that combines strength-training exercises with cardiovascular drills, yoga and abdominal exercises to help improve core strength. Baby Boot Camp New Orleans is owned and instructed by Maggie Doussan, who is certified through the Aerobics & Fitness Association of America. She and her husband Mike are parents to three children: Alexia, 14; Killian, 12; and August, 3.
“After my son was born in December 2011, I discovered Baby Boot Camp through its Baton Rouge chapter and instantly knew that this program was just what New Orleans and my family needed,” Doussan says. “I wanted a career that enabled me to work but not sacrifice time with my family. Similarly, I knew a lot of New Orleans moms who wanted a fitness outlet without feeling guilty about leaving their little ones behind or spending a fortune on childcare.”
The 60-minute classes, which meet five days per week in Audubon Park and City Park, are designed to combine fitness and fun in a format for both mom and baby. The classes cater to all fitness levels: pregnant moms; new moms recovering from pregnancy; and conditioned moms with one or two stroller-aged children. Modifications are offered that are more conducive for the postpartum body as well as for expectant moms.
Doussan enjoys the fact that she can help other moms achieve their fitness goals and be a positive role model for her young son. “Getting to have my baby as my business partner is what initially attracted me to Baby Boot Camp and is still my favorite part of the business today,” she says. “I can do something that I am passionate about every day with my little guy right by my side!”
Baby Boot Camp offers not only healthy exercise for the moms, but it also engages the children; instead of counting reps or timing each exercise, members sing songs, count in Spanish or list the days of the week. It also fosters an appreciation for fitness from a young age.
“I have watched my son, and many of his friends, grow into children who truly enjoy exercise,” Doussan says. “I feel confident that this will help him to continue to make healthy lifestyle choices in the future.”
As a mother and business owner, Doussan understands what it is like to be pulled in multiple directions. She is also a member of the executive board for the Brett Thomas Doussan Foundation (btdfoundation.org) — a foundation whose mission is to raise awareness for mental health programs in the New Orleans area, created after the Doussan family lost Maggie’s brother-in-law to suicide. The foundation is focusing on musical therapy and how it relates to mental health, with the goal of finding a way to help break the negative stigma toward mental health issues among young people.
Whether through the Foundation board or through working with new moms, family is at the core of Doussan’s efforts. And owning her own business has afforded her flexibility and unique opportunities.
“It is truly my pleasure to be able to interact with wonderful people, while generating income for our household without having to sacrifice time with my family,” she says. “I want to set a positive example for my children, so being involved with those causes I’m passionate about is important. My kids can see me dedicating my time and efforts to a cause that’s worthwhile, whether it’s raising awareness or raising spirits. I think that it’s important that the work that we do is as much for our children’s benefit as it is for our own!”