Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Meet Kiara, the Diva Behind Diva Bootcamp!

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My latest fitness endeavor was a little different.  I shook off the confines of studios and beautiful refinished buildings to get some fresh air with Kiara Fuentes and the divas of Diva Bootcamp - a local outdoor fitness program for women in RVA. I'm currently working on my review of the program, but I can tell you that it's a really cool and personal experience to take part in one of Kiara's workouts. I love, love, love the message behind Diva Bootcamp - it's exactly what a lot of us need to hear these days. Get to know Kiara, and come back later this week to find out more!

What is your personal wellness background? How did fitness become your career?
My personal wellness background is massage therapy! I became a massage therapist 5 years ago and fell in love with how the body moves, taking care of your body, and taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally. I took over Diva Bootcamp in 2014. I had been a member under the original owner, Sherma Francis, and loved it! I loved feeling strong, fast, capable of tackling anything. Sherma eventually moved away to become a Physician's Assistant and I was given the opportunity to become the new owner and operator. I was excited (and still am) to make fitness my lifestyle, to encourage women to make fitness their lifestyle, to encourage women to see fitness as something beyond just numbers on a scale, and to reach out to women about taking care of themselves both physically and mentally.

Does Diva Bootcamp have a mission statement? What’s your mission for the program?

We do not have an "official" mission statement but I do have a mission and philosophy for the program. I whole-heartedly believe that fitness should be more than reaching a certain dress size, rather, fitness should be a celebration of movement, of what our bodies can do for us. I also believe that by empowering women to feel stronger, faster, more energetic, we empower communities. Lastly, our mission is to encourage women to shift their mindset from only having fat loss or weight loss goals to enjoying fitness, to setting practical, sustainable and positive health and wellness goals. Too many women equate their worth to size, shape, and outward appearances--I'd like to help shift that societal messaging and internal dialogue. I'd like to see the fitness industry as a whole move away from the shaming and weight loss messages that are directed at women!

What would you say to women who are reluctant to starting a fitness routine or don’t know where to begin?

Everyone has to start somewhere! I hear a lot of reluctance from newbies and I always gently remind them that everyone has to start somewhere. Start with what brings you joy--walking, dancing, hiking, etc. Starting a new fitness routine can be uncomfortable, intimidating, and challenging. Start off slow with activities you like. And then celebrate every victory, no matter how small! It's easy to compare yourself to others or say mean things to yourself when you are first starting out. Talk to yourself gently, be proud of your efforts, and have fun with it.

Who are the divas of Diva Bootcamp? How would you describe the women who participate in workouts?

The Divas of Diva Bootcamp are strong, empowered women!! We have women in their 20's and a member in her late 60's. The Divas have varying fitness abilities and varying fitness interests. Some women run half marathons, others go for nature walks, while others practice yoga. The two things we all have in common: we love being part of a supportive team and we love being outside!

What is the most rewarding aspect of owning a business?

I suppose it sounds cheesy, it's what all entrepreneurs say: But I get to do what I love. I love building relationships with people, nurturing people, encouraging people to be their best, healthiest selves. Knowing that I'm able to make a positive impact on people---that's the most rewarding aspect of owning a business. On the business side of things: I love that I have freedom and flexibility in my schedule, that no two days are ever the same, that I get to work on the daily tasks while also crafting the bigger vision, and I love that in my business I get to be outside

Feeling empowered yet?! Take a look at our other fitness-inspired GirlBosses - Sandi Cauley of TURN and Audrey Bonafe of Fighting Gravity Fitness

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