Hanging from the Ceiling with Darieth Chisolm; Just Let it Flow
|by Kim Epp Frenette, March 2012|
Darieth had always been a runner but says, “I guess I got bored with it.” She had tried aerial yoga classes (yes, contorting one’s body while suspended in the air from fabric ribbons) in Detroit and loved the way it completely engaged her mind and worked out her entire body.
After contemplating for months if and how she should start a similar business in Pittsburgh she describes what she sees as a pivotal moment. “I was sitting at the kitchen table…I lost myself looking at these scrolls in my banister thinking ‘just let it happen, just let it flow, just put it out there in the absolute light…’”
“Every day after that,” Darieth continues with a sense of amazement, “pieces just started falling into place.” Within a few months she had a team of specialized instructors with the skill-set her concept required. One night in mid-March the perfect name, over which she had been agonizing, just came to her while laying in bed. “It was just this beautiful wellspring of resources and people and things that came together. I just kind of went out on faith; okay, if it is all falling together I’m just going to follow.”
Now fully committed, Darieth pulled in friends and family to help her revamp the space she found in Brentwood Town Square. Her mother moved in full time to help with the home and business. Darieth developed marketing materials and built a website herself using an online platform. By September, after countless hours of “blood, sweat, and tears, and some blood,”– all in addition to her ‘day job’ as nightly news anchor for WPXI Channel 11 – the dream was a reality. Fullbody™ Fitness Club opened its doors for people to “spin, fly, climb, drop, jump, swing and dance” their way to fitness.
In a serendipitous chain of events Darieth was able to pull off an interesting ‘Pittsburgh First’. While in the middle of structural modification to the as yet un-opened studio to support aerial yoga and silk dance, one of her instructors found an obscure magazine article about Reebok/ Cirque de Soleil workout programs being offered overseas. The circus inspired swinging from the ceiling seemed a perfect fit for Darieth. She contacted the company by email. Her urgent request for engineering specs made the point that this was more than a casual inquiry; within days she had drawings for her structural engineers and Reebok was flying Darieth and instructor Erin Carey to their head quarters to try the programs and equipment. Now Fullbody Fitness, in the South Hills no less, is the first and so far only facility in the entire United States to offer both Jukari Fit-to-Fly and Fit-to-Flex.
In opening Fullbody Chisolm was convinced women are looking for more excitement and fun from their workout. It appears she is right. Only 6 months in, classes are often booked to capacity well in advance. Chisolm has been able to meet operating costs from the first month and is beginning to pay back the loan she made to herself.
Darieth is committed to the concept, symbolized in the scrolls of her banister, that “if this is going to happen, it has to flow together.” She named her company Flow Fitness LLC (doing business as Fullbody Fitness) in recognition of that. “I don’t shy away from the mysticism around it because I owe it to literally that thought.” Later she laughs, “I am grateful for that part of it. Without it I think I would just be fumbling and stumbling along.” Darieth Chisolm fumble? We doubt it.
We spoke with Darieth Chisolm in February of 2012. In a wonderful interview that “just flowed” Darieth shared her experiences with opening Fullbody™ and juggling it all with a busy home and high profile work. We wish we could print it all but below we offer some of her wise and sometimes funny insights.
The first thing I do when I wake up is I go through these “I am” statements. It sounds a little wacky but I am serious when I say that when I don’t, my day is a mess!
What she says to herself:
“I am patient today. I’ve got a lot on my plate, I can handle it.” And I reward and thank myself at night… “Okay, Darieth, good day. You didn’t fall apart!”
On what gives:
My closet is a mess. I have more than one junk drawer. I mean really, it’s not all put together.
On how crazy schedules affect eye-sight:
I am a true type A in every sense of the word. Very motivated, very driven, but I have learned its okay to leave dishes in the sink… for days if necessary. I used to be like, “Don’t you see the dishes?!!” Now I don’t see them either.
The things I do really make me happy, and I am comfortable with it.
Time with my son, who is 15 and in 10th grade. But honestly, he is so busy… He has no intention of ‘spending time with mommy’ and he tells me that all the time. But it still tugs at me.
The downsides of creating your own website:
Most of my summer was spent in front of the computer. There were some frustrating times…
On dealing with tech aggravation:
I eat. I am telling you I gained a whole bunch of weight over the summer…I stopped doing what I love doing (working out) to create this!
I struggle sometimes with thinking is this really going to work long term? I trust that that is going to be the case but am I making the right steps, decisions to get there…. ?
On working with her mom:
I love it, love it, love it. I love her and I love that she dropped what she was doing in Detroit to see me through this. It’s a big sacrifice from her end.
On why it works:
We balance each other so well. She is very much a detail person. I am a big paint brush person…. She is so conscientious and tender and perfect around here. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but she cares that much.
Really, there is no one like mom:
She balances the house in ways that I can’t…
I’d love to be able to look back and say “I did it all”, or I did at least the things that I said I would do. Whether I failed at them is not as much of an issue as me saying that I tried -or I didn’t.
I don’t want to dumb it down but…just put it out there. Decide that whatever you are dreaming about is worth having. With timing, preparation, with belief, with work – with hard work – you can make it happen.
The world’s biggest obstacle:
I believe that the only thing that stops most of us from getting to whatever, is fear. Fear is a monster. If we let it get in the way it will eat us up and the dreams that we have….
On women and emotions:
We carry everything with us. We are used to multi-tasking our emotions… We can’t let one little poison spot happen and grow because ultimately it will affect the other portions of our lives.
The three faces of Darieth:
I am a lot more playful at the (fitness) studio than I could ever be on air. At home I am a lot more lose and relaxed. I think people would be surprised at what I look like at home… it is nothing like on TV.
Words of wisdom to her son:
You get what you focus on.
Her 6 word life story:
Be inspired. Be strong. Be you.
Big Philosophical Insight:
Why do we always restrict ourselves to these boxes that we live in? I think we should find as many ways as possible to experience. Who cares if it sounds off the wall. Maybe it is precisely on the wall and everything else is off….
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