VIDA Specialty Squad: Diana Chalikova
By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor/member
VIDA is home to dozens of the District’s best personal trainers. But did you know that many of our trainers also have specialized certifications and expertise? Each month, we’ll be introducing you to one of these superstars in our brand new blog series: The VIDA Specialty Squad!
Meet June’s squad member: Diana Chalikova! Diana is a personal trainer at VIDA Fitness U Street who also happens to be a former professional tennis player. She previously played on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour and has coached at elite tennis academies. She’s also been a hitting partner and coach for several current tennis pros. Needless to say, Diana can hit a serious serve. But she can also guide you through a training program that will help you reach your goals in no time. We spoke with Diana to learn more about her own fitness journey, what makes personal training so enjoyable, and how she spends her time outside the gym.
Tell me about your fitness journey up to this point. Did you do sports when you were younger?
I grew up playing tennis, and I went on to compete and eventually played professionally. The gym has always been a big part of my life.
How did you know that you wanted to be a personal trainer?
I wanted to show people that fitness and working out is something to be enjoyed. Exercise is not a punishment.
What are some of your personal fitness goals, and how does VIDA help you achieve them?
I’d like to progress in Olympic lifting and compete in that one day soon. VIDA not only provides an amazing gym with top-of-the-line equipment — it also provides people who couldn’t be more amazing. All of my coworkers are always supportive, knowledgeable, and compassionate. VIDA’s energy is contagious, and the community at VIDA is incredible.
Describe your typical workout routine. How often do you work out and which workouts do you do?
I do strength training fives times a week, which includes Olympic lifting two to three times a week. I’m drawn to this style of training because strength training increases bone density, builds a stronger heart, reduces your resting blood pressure, improves blood flow, halts muscle loss, helps control blood sugar, improves cholesterol levels, and improves your balance and coordination.
What do you most enjoy about being a VIDA personal trainer?
What’s not to enjoy? Whatever the client’s goals, helping them achieve them is what it’s all about. I have so many clients I am extremely proud of that it’s hard to choose. They all inspire me daily and are an inspiration to what one can achieve when guided properly.
How would you describe your personal training style?
I incorporate flexibility exercise, dynamic strength-training, static strength-training, aerobic exercise, and circuit training. I have a solid workout plan for all my clients, which incorporates all of these major fitness training styles to improve one’s health.
What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about working with a personal trainer?
I tell them what Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Learn how to train and work out properly, and your body will thank you. Because at the end of the day, practice makes permanent. Not perfect. A trainer will make sure your form is correct and that you’re optimizing your time in the gym.
Outside of the gym, how do you spend your time?
I program for my clients quite a bit. So when I’m not at VIDA, I’m most likely at home with my German Shepherd programming. I spend a lot of time with my family as well. I’m lucky to have them nearby.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Remember my motto: Keep your squats low and your standards high!