At Beach Mamas Bootcamp outdoor workouts in Hampstead and Holly Ridge, local women form strong bonds through fitness.
Jen Webster knows that being a strong woman is about more than building muscles and lifting weights. For her, true girl power comes from the power of the tribe — women working together to support other women.
As the owner of Beach Mamas Bootcamp, Webster is dedicated to helping women across Hampstead, Holly Ridge and beyond find their inner strength, improve their health and form strong bonds with one another.
Shortly after moving to the Hampstead area with her family in 2017, Webster came across a small group of women working out together at Kiwanis Park one morning. Her own interest in fitness led her to want to find out more, and she soon became a part of a new sisterhood.
“The group was called Toned Mamas, and I loved it,” Webster says. “When the trainer who ran it moved away, I didn’t want it to end, so I got certified as a personal trainer. I renamed the group Beach Mamas Bootcamp, and on July 1, 2019, we had our first official class under the pavilion and have since just kept growing over the past three years.”
Open to women of all ages and fitness levels, Beach Mamas Bootcamp touts itself as a group of ladies who love fitness, nutrition and staying healthy.
Whether dealing with the daily challenges of motherhood, work or simply the craziness of everyday life, Beach Mamas offers women not only a workout group, but also a community in which members support one another. Classes run Monday through Friday mornings at both Kiwanis Park in Hampstead and at Holly Ridge Municipal Park. The workouts are shown with modifications for all fitness levels, and the atmosphere is supportive and nonjudgmental.
“We have ladies who’ve never worked out, pregnant and postpartum moms, women who’ve never had any children, grandmothers and ladies in their 70s and 80s,” Webster says. “We’re all inclusive and that’s what makes it really work, because when people first show up, they feel welcome, which is a huge thing for us. It feels different from a gym because we’re a tribe and everybody’s there for the same reasons — to better themselves, get out of the house, have an hour in the fresh air, get their workout in and meet friends.”
Sherry Panzardi discovered Beach Mamas Bootcamp one morning while walking through Kiwanis Park. She stopped to watch the group, then returned the next day to work out and become a part of the tribe.
“Being in a group setting with such welcoming women of all ages is very comforting, since I’m 59 years old and not a mom,” Panzardi says. “I’ve been with the group for almost two years now in Hampstead or Holly Ridge and through live videos if I can’t make either park, and I’ve become stronger and more balanced.”
While Webster runs all classes at Kiwanis Park, trainer Lanie Pack leads classes at the Holly Ridge location. Her own personal experience as a mom and military spouse has helped her relate to the women who come out every morning with the same goal of prioritizing themselves and their health and making new friends.
“This group enables women to not only exercise with knowledgeable trainers who can modify workouts for all fitness levels, but also helps women network and become a part of a community,” Pack says.
As for the workouts themselves, Monday through Thursday the focus is on trainer-led exercises, while Friday centers around circuit stations. Webster also livestreams her classes every morning so that members can Zoom from home if they have a sick child or don’t want to come out on rainy days. The workouts are recorded and posted online so people can do them any time and around their work schedules. Classes last an hour and include a warmup before the metabolic workout.
One of Webster’s favorite things about her bootcamp is that it’s completely outdoors and runs year-round.
Instead of being cooped up in a gym’s childcare or nursery, children are welcome to come play outside while their mothers work out, and moms are encouraged to take breaks to check on their kids and tend to them as needed.
“I’ve had people ask why I don’t open up an indoor space, but the reason people come to our group is that it’s different, and we like to be outside because we want our kids to be able to play freely,” Webster says. “If you need to go check on your kids, go ahead and run over to them because that’s extra cardio. We have ladies who breastfeed every class. We’re very laid back in that way.”
Along with offering local women a great way to be active and stay fit, Webster’s goal is also to bring women together, help them build bonds and create a support system. Having moved to the area herself as a mother to two young children and having worked hard to make connections, she says her favorite thing to do now is connect people and help her friends become friends. With so many military wives in the area whose husbands are deployed, she knows the importance of finding a tribe in which women can feel like they belong.
“For someone who’s never worked out before or doesn’t know what they’re doing, they might just walk into a gym and feel lost,” Webster says. “Especially if you move to an area as a military wife, you might not have your friends, so that’s why I started Beach Mamas, because I wanted people to feel welcome. Running a small business is lots of work, but helping women get to know other ladies and have that sense of community is so rewarding.”
In addition to the daily workout classes, Beach Mamas Bootcamp also holds monthly social events such as Mom’s Night Out, summer pool parties and a yearly holiday party.
Another highlight of the Beach Mamas Bootcamp community is the group’s Strong Women Lift Each Other Up events. Held after class every three months, these events encourage members to share what they love to do and learn about each other’s businesses. From photography to physical therapy to nutrition, massage therapy and cleaning services, each woman gets time to present her business through demonstrations and samples and show how she can help other women.
“I created these events because I kept seeing how these ladies all had their thing outside of motherhood, a passion that’s super important to them but that they don’t share every day,” Webster says. “I want to give them the opportunity to share and say, ‘Hey, this is what I do, and if it works for you then please support me,’ and we will, because support is what Beach Mamas Bootcamp is really all about.”
Want to work out?
Beach Mamas Bootcamp
586 Sloop Point Loop Road, Hampstead
Holly Ridge Municipal Park
417 Kraft Street, Holly Ridge