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Local mom offers tips on staying active

Jessica Hrbek uses a pair of dumbells while working out to an exercise video in the basement of her Front Royal home. Hrbek hosts a Facebook page called “Fit Momma of Four” on which she gives fitness, food, and general health advice to other moms. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

Jessica Hrbek has her son Hunter, 5, help cut up a fresh cucumber in the kitchen of their Front Royal home recently. Rich Cooley/Daily (Buy photo)

By Katie Demeria

FRONT ROYAL -- After having her fourth child, Jessica Hrbek of Front Royal wanted to change the way she looked and felt. So she did.

Now, she is trying to help other mothers do the same.

Hrbek started a Facebook page a little over a year ago called "Fit Momma of Four." She posts healthy tips designed to help a busy mother meet the demands of her lifestyle while making healthy choices.

The page has generated over 1,000 likes and several fans have reached out to Hrbek to thank her for her work.

"I think people like that I'm a real person," Hrbek said. "I don't have a six-pack, I'm not a celebrity -- I have real kids, I drive around in a real minivan, and I was able to do all this."

"I'm busy, I have a life that's similar to people out there that are also moms, a busy life that leads to pizza and fast food and pasta every night," she continued. "It made me feel yucky, and I couldn't keep up with my kids."

Hrbek saw some fitness posts on her friend's Facebook page and decided she wanted to try getting healthy too.

"I just wanted to find a workout that fit into my schedule, that I could do after work," she said. "I didn't have high expectations, I wanted to fit into my pants."

Soon, though, Hrbek dropped a pant size. And the most exciting result was her ability to keep up with her children.

"I will never forget the moment when I was playing with my 4-year-old, running up and down a hill at a soccer game, and I stopped and thought, 'I'm not out of breath, I can keep up,'" she said.

It took Hrbek a while to get into the routine of exercising every day. It was not easy, she said, but now she is able to work out on a regular basis with relative ease.

Her lifestyle change had a big impact on her family, as well. Her husband has gotten healthier, and now her children will sometimes ask her if certain foods are a "healthy choice."

The trick, she said, is keeping healthy foods in the house on a regular basis.

"Stock your fridge with what's in season, and what's on sale," she said. "A lot of people will say eating healthy is too expensive -- but if you do it right, it's really not."

Now, Hrbek said she cannot keep enough fresh fruit in her house because her children eat it too quickly.

She also plans her meals ahead of time, taking time to prepare items over the weekend that she can use during the week, when her schedule is tighter.

"You don't have time to figure out what to make for dinner when you have guitar lessons, scouts and soccer practice to get to," she said.

She has also found that encouraging her children to get active is easier when she gets active along with them.

"They think, Mommy's having fun, I'm having fun too," she said.

One recent challenge Hrbeck encountered was encouraging activity when her kids were cooped up inside during snow days.

"All my kids like to dance," she said. "I know when they're getting lazy that I can just turn on some music and they'll start moving. And I don't sit down telling them to move around, I get up there with them."

Sometimes, Hrbeck sacrifices sleep in order to continue working out and keeping up both her Facebook page and her blog -- but she said it is worth it.

"I want my kids to grow up being active," she said. "I don't want them to have to fight an uphill battle as they get older."

Visit "Fit Momma of Four" at www.facebook.com/fitmommaoffour

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com

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