Kelli DeWispelare is teaching Omahans to exercise their bodies and minds, too, one fitness class at a time.
The 28-year-old opened Sweat, Cycle and Soul, an indoor cycling, Pilates and yoga studio in Omaha near 180th and Q Streets, to encourage people to work out because they want to be stronger and healthier, not skinnier.
“The big thing that sets us apart from other studios is encouraging our clients to get away from their ego that tends to drive them,” she said.
DeWispelare used to struggle with self-esteem and body image issues. When she was six, her nanny commented that the Barbie she and her sister was playing with had “a perfect body.”
“For the first time, I gave Barbie a second look,” she said.
A few days later, while running through the sprinkler, she felt her thighs touch. She started to compare herself to the women on the magazine covers in the checkout aisle at the grocery store.
“After years of struggling and hearing other women's struggles, I thought, 'Why do we do this to ourselves?'...We're so much better and braver than this,” she said.
The Omaha native studied exercise science at Wayne State College and dreamed of opening her own studio one day to inspire people to love exercise and appreciate their bodies. She did in January.
“I love helping everyone find their way to exercise,” she said.
DeWispelare teaches eight of the Sweat, Cycle and Soul's 32 weekly classes. The studio offers high-intensity spin classes on a stationary bike and several forms of yoga, including power yoga and more relaxing varieties.
Instructors also teach a “Pedal and Pose” class, which is 30 minutes of cycling followed by 30 minutes of yoga. She calls the disciplines her “two loves.”
Occasionally there's a Pilates class, too.
“We create an environment where men and women can come workout, they can sweat, they can laugh, they can get out of their daily element for an hour a day and focus in on them,” she said.
Before each class – whether it be yoga or spin – the instructor will set an intention or mantra for the day, like, “The more that you love your decisions, the less you need anyone else to love them” or “Every decision you make today takes you one step closer or one step farther from your goal.”
“People come in thinking they just exercised their body, but they leave feeling strong in their mind and body,” DeWispelare said.
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