WINCHESTER — A new year means a new perspective for many people looking to get healthier, get fit or lose weight.
Those who have been discouraged by a workout routine in the past might be hesitant to don their workout clothes and return to the gym. But exercise comes in many forms, and area fitness professional Milissa Marshall said she strives for a workout that’s both challenging and fun.
Exercise works best when it’s something you want to do, said Marshall, owner of Dazzling Divas fitness studio at 121 Weems Lane, Winchester.
A good fitness routine “makes you want to come back because you love it,” she said. “You want to be there.”
Marshall found what she was looking for in the pole and aerial fitness studio after a friend made it sound so good that she couldn’t resist trying it for herself. That was 11 years ago.
Last fall, when the business was up for sale, Marshall purchased it and has been updating the facility.
“It seemed like a natural fit,” said Marshall, who also owns Brag Swag LLC in Winchester.
She knows of other pole fitness studios in Northern Virginia, but in this area, she said, “there’s nothing else like it.”
Pole and aerial fitness is a full-body workout, said Marshall. The studio offers classes in the pole studio as well as the Lyra studio, where participants use an aerial hoop to work their upper body and core.
“The instructors and students are all very supportive,” she said. “It’s really a community, and everyone just cheers everyone else on.”
She said that’s one of the best-selling points of a workout routine that can easily spook newcomers who fear they aren’t strong enough, fit enough or young enough for pole or aerial fitness.
“It’s truly a workout for anybody of any age, any size, any ability,” she said. “I tell them, everybody starts somewhere.”
Classes fit up to 11 participants at a time, and she said instructors assist students based on their experience level. Personal training is available one-on-one or with a friend.
Newcomer drop-in rates are $14 for a one-hour class or three classes for $33.
Existing members pay $17 per class and can either drop-in or buy a package of four, eight or 16 classes.
Private instruction is $30 for half an hour or $50 for an hour.
Regular classes are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, though Marshall said the studio also hosts special events and can be reserved for parties like team-building sessions or bachelorette parties.
Since taking over the business Oct. 1, Marshall has been renovating the space to update the look. She encourages those who have attended in the past to come back and check out the new features, such as blackout vinyl around the pole studio and shaded vinyl around the lobby area to give privacy from the outside world.
Marshall finds pole fitness empowering for women and said people amaze themselves by what they’re able to do in the studio once they try it.
“Emotionally, it’s been such a confidence builder for me,” she said.
Also into yoga, Marshall said cross-training is a great idea for people looking to get something new from their workout and keep their body guessing.
“It’s something you do to take care of yourself,” she said of exercise in general.
Yoga increases your flexibility, which she said helps her perform more advanced moves in pole fitness and Lyra.
“If you can find a workout that you enjoy, that is fun and that you can get excited about going to, you’re going to stick with it,” she said. “And for me, this is all of those things. This checks all the boxes for me.”