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FITT Q&A: CHRISTA AIKEN - DC NATIVE, FITNESS INSTRUCTOR, AND FORMER REDSKINS CHEERLEADER

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MEREDITH O'CONNOR

JUL 14, 2020

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IMAGE VIA DC FIT CHICK

In a recurring series, we’re talking to inspirational people doing amazing things in DC’s fitness scene.

Recently, we caught up with Christa Aiken. You might know her informally as DC Fit Chick or as one of the leading ladies at Barry’s, but today… you’ll get to know her a little more.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.

I’m a DC native, born and raised here. Growing up, I was a really competitive basketball and tennis player. I went to Roanoke College on a tennis scholarship, and joined the cheerleading squad there.

I majored in Exercise Science—one of my favorite quotes is “the first wealth is health” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, so that decision was an easy one. From there, I started my group fitness and personal training career.

SO FITNESS HAS ALWAYS BEEN YOUR PASSION?

100%. I remember being five years old and following along to my mom’s home workout videos. Denise Austin also was (and still is) someone I looked up to. I knew early on that I wanted to work in the health and fitness industry.

AND REDSKINS FOOTBALL, TOO, RIGHT?

Yeah, I grew up going to Redskins games and always had it in my heart that I wanted to be a cheerleader for the team. Once I graduated from college, I auditioned three years in a row before making the squad.

When I didn’t make it, I worked with Sideline Prep to advance my auditioning and dance skills. Then in 2012, I finally made the team and spent four amazing years on the squad.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES FROM THAT TIME?

I got to travel across the globe with the team, places like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Aruba for calendars shoots, and during the Military Appreciation Tour to Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait. Those trips were some of the most fun and life changing experiences I have ever had.

And in 2013, I was one of three cheerleaders chosen for a Bud Light commercial alongside NFL legend Warren Sapp and Bravo’s Top Chef Jen Carroll. One thing I never thought I would be able to say is that I was in a Super Bowl commercial!

@dcfitchick | Instagram

WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH BARRY’S?

I had been teaching fitness classes in the DMV since 2010. When Barry’s decided to open a studio here, their director of operations for the DC area came to one of my classes and recruited me to be part of the founding team.

I helped launch the Dupont studio as the female head instructor and spent two weeks training in LA and NYC with the Barry’s curriculum team. I got the chance to work with some of the most established instructors out there and was training every day with other founding DC instructors. The experience was so inspirational and informative.

WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A TRAINER AT BARRY’S AND A KNOWN FACE IN THE DC FITNESS SCENE?

Keeping things fresh and physically challenging can be hard! I care about everyone who takes my classes and think about them when I’m programming. I want to keep the workout interesting and not fall back on the same old routine, BUT there are some classic moves that you just need to do all the time, so it’s finding that balance.

DO YOU WORK OUT EVERY DAY?

I work out five to six times a week, and it’s 95% Barry’s (right now, Barry’s at home). It’s important to exercise your body almost every day. That being said, it’s physically impossible to go hard in every workout, the body doesn’t work like that. Rest days are necessary!

So I love Pilates and yoga for active recovery. And I love doing dance classes for fun once a week, too — they are definitely a workout! I’m not a huge runner but because of COVID, I’ve been running outside more. Though, I prefer to run on a Woodway Tread in the Red Room.

YOU’RE A PRETTY BIG DEAL. HOW DO YOU FIND CONFIDENCE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE?

To be honest, I just don’t overthink it. The people I am posting for and talking to are my friends and people who might want to take my classes. When you think of it that way, there’s no reason to be self-conscious.

I also make a point to not overshare. My fiancé is pretty private, so I don’t post much about that part of my personal life. It’s helpful to keep some stuff reserved.

@dcfitchick | Instagram

WHAT ARE YOU EATING?

I have tried every diet in the book and worked for years to find what’s best for my body. I love to eat and I’ve always been interested in nutrition because it really does affect our moods, our energy, our thought processes.

I really like Whole30. I don’t know why it has a reputation of being challenging, it’s the most straightforward and easy diet I have seen! I try to stick to that year round, but I have done Carnivore a few times and really like those results. I would probably do that all the time, but my fiancé likes more variety.

WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE FAVORITE SPOTS IN THE CITY?

Ah, this is what I used to do: Take class at Barrys, teach a class at Barrys, and go out for brunch somewhere in DC or Arlington with friends. Literally the best!

But, I have to say Le Diplomate (where I met my fiancé, and the burger there is amazing), Union Market is always super cool, I love going to Nats games and The Navy Yard. I really like the rooftop at DNV (but any rooftop works for me), and walking around Georgetown.

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST ATTRACTIVE ABOUT DC?

I love that there is always something to do, a new restaurant to try, and the people in this area are so interesting! I love hearing people’s stories and what brought them to DC.

PERSONALLY AND FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE, HOW ARE YOU ADAPTING RIGHT NOW?

Because of COVID, we have been offering Barry’s at home classes through Zoom, which has been super cool because I have people from all over the world take my classes! I’m also able to take classes with Instructors that I would probably never normally get a chance to do!

Personally, I have been studying for my real estate license, which is something I have been interested in for years.

This time is definitely weird, and I can’t wait for the day when Barrys is back open and I can drink a Bloody Mary with my friends on a patio. But it’s given me a chance to reflect on those quality moments and appreciate all the blessings that I have today.

Follow along with Christa on Instagram, check out her workout playlist, and tune in to the Fitt DC ’gram for more local trainer spotlights and the latest fitness news.

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