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Courtney Wyckoff: The Force Behind Momma Strong

As a mother of two, Courtney Wyckoff knows first hand how limited the options are for moms trying to find feasible, sustainable and effective exercise fitness programs.

With a background in corrective exercise and personal training, she decided to do something to change that.

Wyckoff created Momma Strong, an online resource for women, offering workout plans designed to build strength and resilience, while also being realistic and understanding all the demands and limitations mothers face every day.

"Mothers need strength that matters -- both mentally and physically - to function as empowered women in the world and in their own families," she said.

Growing up in the Washington, DC suburb of Arlington, VA, Wyckoff was always active. The youngest of four, five minutes younger than her twin brother, she was always the smallest.
"I was teased mercilessly as a kid for being super skinny, which left me feeling pretty 'small' in life in general," Wyckoff said.

Her 6th grade P.E. teacher noticed the daily bullying and intervened. "He took me aside and said that I had a choice: Be skinny wimpy or skinny strong," she recalled. "He pushed me really hard after that, giving me incentives to run the mile fastest in the class and do more pull-ups than the boys -- which I did."

It was an early lesson in physical empowerment that has never left her.

After a lifetime of competition and discipline, Wyckoff was worried about how she would handle all the physical changes that came with pregnancy. She was surprised by what happened. "Instead of a nervous breakdown, I felt completely liberated," she said. "I was forced to relinquish control. I ended up developing a more intimate, more forgiving connection with my body."

The realization that "savoring life in all its forms beats deprivation" is one that would eventually influence the DNA of Momma Strong. But first, there would be new hurdles to conquer.

Following her two pregnancies, Wyckoff faced postpartum depression, as so many mothers do. "Each time, I suffered through postpartum depression - but I never really let myself get the help I needed," she recalled.

Fear that she would be deemed a failure led Wyckoff to try to hide her postpartum struggles. "The more I hid, the more I started binging on really crappy food and staying sedentary," she said.

This led to weight gain, and eventually to injury, including Sacroiliac Dysfunction, Sciatica, degenerated discs, facet disease, and rotator cuff impingement. In response to her injury, Wyckoff finally decided to start using use her years of research on human anatomy and core conditioning to find a solution. "It took everything for me to commit to a bit of time every day doing research and trying things out on my body," she said. "But the more I did it, the better I started to feel."

The combination of physical and mental activity alleviated the injuries and depression. Encouraged by her own experience, Wyckoff started creating postpartum recovery videos to share with her close friends.

Momma Strong was born from the response she received from those first videos. "I started formulating exactly what I would want in a workout program as a mom," Wyckoff said.

This included limiting workout length to 15 minutes, offering variety each day, focusing on overall health and making sure that all workout videos are led by a real-life mom. 

Wyckoff sees Momma Strong as a movement empowering mothers to reach their full potential. "I believe in my heart that Momma Strong will be an incredibly powerful voice in the new wave of feminism, or equalitism, in women's wellness and in modern motherhood," she said.

Wyckoff wants Momma Strong to free women from the isolation and unhealthy expectations that so often follows childbirth. That is why she has created an online community and forum so mothers can connect from their home computers. "The women in Momma Strong know they can't do it alone - and luckily, they don't have to," she said. "They don't have to be superheroes. They just have to show up and begin again."

Wyckoff's vision is resonating with new mothers, as the Momma Strong community continues to grow, now serving 5,000 member globally. "The response has been incredible," she said. "With each day that passes, more and more women are participating in the program and feeling stronger, more confident and optimistic about the future."

For more information, visit mommastrong.com.



About Momma Strong
Momma Strong is a fitness and motivation company on a mission to strengthen moms so that they can show up in the world in they way they choose. Founder Courtney Wyckoff, a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and mother of two, has created do-at-home programs to address the specific needs of mothers - in quick, 15-minute daily sessions. She also coaches members on a number of topics related to nutrition, wellness, exercise and injury prevention -- and offers intelligently designed online conditioning programs with in-depth looks at ways to improve physical, mental and emotional health. Optional week-long retreats, or "recesses," offer opportunities to retune, gain strength and have fun under the guidance of a chiropractor, a psychotherapist and a corrective exercise specialist. Momma Strong also is actively involved in educational outreach programs. For more information, visit mommastrong.com.