Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lisa Peklo's DivaFit

What better way to start the new year than to join in on the latest exercise craze to hit the country: Pole Dancing. Hundreds of women are jumping on board at the Northern Virginia firm DivaFit,

"We pride ourselves on offering safe classes to hundreds of women (ages 18-60) in a non-intimidating environment," says owner and exercise physiologist Lisa Peklo, who founded the fitness firm in Sept. 2006. "I have a B.S. in Exercise Science, and for more than 20 years have worked in traditional fitness studios. Then I was introduced to the art of striptease at a fitness conference in the spring of '06, and enjoyed the luxury of moving in a sensual way to music and started teaching classes on the side to friends."

Her new hobby grew when she branched out and learned to pole dance. Then when she saw a space was available in a shopping center near her house where she host fitness-focused pole dancing classes, she didn't hesitate. "It was one of those things where I let my intuition guide me," she says. "Within days DivaFit was born."

Today DivaFit has 14 instructors, three locations (the newest is opening in March), a YouTube video and Workout Video. "We've got everyone dancing with us from stay-at-home moms, to accountants, teachers, lawyers, and dancers. Everyone had learned to move their bodies in brand new ways, and all the while they are smiling, and feeling sexier and stronger," Lisa says. "I love this form of exercise. It's not only a great way to get into shape — it's a fabulous way to learn to love the skin you are in."

As for those who raise an eyebrow when Lisa tells them she teaches pole dancing, she simply says: "I'm surrounded by so many woman who say their lives have been changed from this workout, so it's a little tough for me to understand the concern. Sure, women who start with our level one class are always a little shy. We actually call it the initial, 'dear in the headlights' look. But within weeks they begin to see how truly hard this workout is and then the real fun begins. The leave their baggy shirts and sweats at home, and instead darn some form fitting clothes to show off their firmer bods. And most importantly, they start to love not just the way they look, but the way they feel about themselves."

The testimonials she gets on graduation day is further proof, she says. "I swear, the things the women tell me make me want to cry, for this form of exercise has the power to change lives. One woman said she can now call herself a 'sexy beast,' something she never before would have said. Others say that for the first time they don't hate looking in the mirror. It's remarkable and magical. I'm just proud to be part of these beautiful transformations."