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FIT4MOM of the Month: Natalie Russell

Happy New Year Ladies,

Who better to have as our January Mom of the Month than FIT4MOM Boss, Natalie Russell?! It was so fun for me to learn more about this amazing and inspiring woman. She's done so much for FIT4MOM Richmond over the past (almost) two years, and I know we all can't wait to see what's to come in 2018. Read on to learn more about this fascinating woman!

Natalie, you've done such an amazing job running FIT4MOM Richmond! How did you find the business and how did you end up becoming the owner?

My good friend, Ashley Digby, owned FIT4MOM Richmond before me. She was actually the second owner. I knew she had a fitness business, but honestly didn't know much about it. I was busy teaching ballet, chasing after a preschooler, taking on house renovations, and settling into life in Richmond. One day she and I were talking in the preschool parking lot and she told me that she was selling the business. We kind of looked at each other and jokingly she said "you want to buy it?" The next week I went and took my first Stroller Strides class (without a stroller or my son!) Our instructor, Katie, was teaching a Halloween class and I fell in love with everything about FIT4MOM and here we are today. About to celebrate my 2nd anniversary as Owner!

What do you love most about FIT4MOM?

Oh gosh, I don't even know where to begin! There is so much to love, but I suppose if I have to narrow it down I'd say the thing I love most is that FIT4MOM (nationwide) provides such a warm and welcoming environment to ALL moms. Through our variety of programs we're able to bring women together and hopefully are able to encourage and build their confidence. To help them realize they are badass moms, who can conquer ANYTHING and that they're not alone! That FIT4MOM is not only THE best place for pre and postnatal fitness, but that we create these amazing little villages of moms across the country!

What's next for FIT4MOM?

FIT4BABY!!!! We have our Grand Opening on January 4th and I'm beyond excited!

Before you were the owner of FIT4MOM and our fearless leader, what were you doing?

I was teaching ballet at a small dance school here in Richmond and guest teaching in the dance department at Henrico High School. I was also teaching fitness classes at Victory Lady Fitness and trying desperately to figure out what job I could do that would give me the flexibility to work while Charlie was in school (he was headed into Kindergarten) but be home with him in the afternoons. Good thing FIT4MOM came along! (by the way, who says I'm "fearless"?!)

Who are you a mom to?

6 year old Charlie (How is that possible?)

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What does a typical morning look like for you?

Up at 6 am, typical morning dash getting Charlie fed, lunch packed, out the door and on the bus by 7:12 am. Then, if I'm teaching, I spend the next hour or so answering emails, planning class and getting ready to tackle whatever the day might bring. All while enjoying a cup of Yorkshire tea (milk and one sugar please!)

What is something you're afraid of?

Letting people down

What is something that you love about yourself?

That I'm a glass half full kind of person. My rose colored spectacles keep me happy! Ha!

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Richmond?

I'm a bit of a gypsy really! I was born in WV but only lived there until I was 9. Then my family moved to Va. Beach and that is where I was until the age of 16. From there I moved to Columbus, OH to pursue my dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer. Columbus was home until I moved to England to dance professionally in 2002 and it was in the UK that I made my home for 12 years. So in actuality I feel like I "grew up" in England. It was where I became an adult! Richmond called to my husband and myself when one of my sisters moved here. We wanted to be closer to my family. So we quit our jobs, sold our house, said goodbye to everything my husband had known his entire life and moved to Richmond site unseen!

How did you meet your husband? Tell me about your first date.

Hmmm...we're going to need to do another interview to answer this question! Any story with Phil in it is entertaining and to be truly appreciated needs telling by him. The British accent always makes a story better anyway!

What were you like in high school?

I was studious, dedicated and disciplined and LOVED everything about theatre and the performing arts! I spent my time dancing ALL THE TIME and was active in our school's drama department performing in one act plays and musicals!

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A ballerina!

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses?

Can I say neither? ;) Sounds pretty scary. Maybe that's my answer to "What am I afraid of?"

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Decorating the Christmas tree for sure. It was such a big deal for my family growing up and I have so many fond memories. The tradition has certainly changed for me as an adult but none-the-less, but, no matter how it happens, I always enjoy it.

What is the best purchase you've ever made?

My first plane ticket to England. Without that one purchase my journey (in life!) would have been very different!

If your five-year-old self suddenly found themselves inhabiting your current body, what would she do first?

She would get up from this desk, stop staring at this computer and start dancing around the house. :)

What's something that being a mom has taught you?

How amazing my own mom was.

Have you set any New Year's Resolutions? Will you share one with us?

From a business point of view - to continue to grow our village whether that be by reaching more moms or by launching new programs like FIT4BABY. From a personal point of view - honestly? To work better at finding balance and self care. I need to practice what I preach!

What is the best book you've read or best television show you've watched lately?

My husband and I binge watch Netflix (who doesn't right?) and we just finished Longmire. Now we're watching TURN, Washington Spies. If you look closely you'll see Phil as an extra!

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Natalie, thanks for sharing yourself with us! You may claim to not be fearless, but we all admire your ingenuity in coming up with new ideas for FIT4MOM, and your honesty in discussing the struggles we face as women, wives and mothers. You're our hero!

Happy 2018!

Erin

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