There are things, people, events in life that cause us to make changes. I was in that place when something inside me told me to go ahead and try something I knew I’d fall in love with immediately: Pole Fitness.
Most of you know me from my years in the fitness industry as a figure competitor. My journey to pole fitness began when I became overwhelmed with work and people’s constant need of me and my time to do “something”. I had to find an escape or release somewhere.
I first started with rediscovering my passion for dance and choreography. I was a dancer in college and belonged to our hip hop dance team. We called it “The Funk Club”. I even danced at an event while I was 6 months pregnant with my first child! Yup, that was me!
Anyway, I searched for Hip Hop dance studios and came across an awesome one. It took me .2 seconds to make a decision and go to my first class. The results: I was rusty. Like real rusty. Lordt was I a hot mess!?
While I love hip hop choreography, I needed and wanted something more. That’s when I said…eff this…I’m doing Pole Fitness.
Why Pole Fitness
Lets get the first thing out of the way – no, I am not trying to be a stripper. It is too bad that I have to put this disclaimer due to the generalization and misunderstanding of what exactly pole fitness is. While one might compliment the other, the word stripper and pole fitness are absolutely not synonymous to one another.
My personal goals were to become more flexible and be able to perform strength moves all while looking good doing it. It takes expression, art, fluid movement and grace to do pole fitness. I wanted to do and be all those things.
When I joined the studio I currently attend, I found everything I was looking for and more. Here are some of those things:
- The environment was incredibly empowering. The only way I can describe it is like you are in this sort of protective secret environment where you are being taught super powers that will eventually help you overcome whatever it is that is happening in your [the]outside world.
- We were all comfortable with our own skill levels as students. It didn’t matter if we had taken the introductory classes once or three times, we were all there to learn and sat through every single part of the process even if we had learned it before.
- There were different body types, each one of us working toward our personal goals. And every single individual was there learning and doing the moves beautifully and gracefully.
Now on to what I have personally benefited from joining my studio and remaining consistent. I think you would benefit as well if you tried pole fitness!
- Increased flexibility. Yo…let me tell you something about what bodybuilding has done to my body due to my own negligence: my body was stiff as a board. With persistence and consistency I have become way more flexible than I ever have in my entire adult life!
- Increased core strength. Here’s the irony: When I would train and diet for competitions, my abs would pop out within 2 weeks. I go into the studio thinking my core is solid AF. Nope. Not mine. I was weak. Weak I tell you! I couldn’t pull my body up. I had a hard time with sit ups. Planks? Nope…not me. But I am so happy to have [re]built my core strength and can’t wait to see what else I can work up to!
- Relearning a new way to train and nourish my body with food. Let me be honest and candid here. Bodybuilding can f**k your head up as far as what it is that we are supposed to eat and how we are supposed to train. I have cut down the ridiculous amounts of protein I was eating. I nourish my body with more fruit than ever. I don’t train like crazy. I do cardio when I feel like it mostly because it makes me feel good rather than because I have to for a competition. And the results: a happier, healthier me!
- Regained my sense of self. This is what I was mostly looking for. When I am in the studio or when I am at home practicing (yes, I bought a pole), I let go. I let the music move me. I allow my strength and sensuality both take control of my body. And that…that makes me feel empowered and beautiful. It has given me the ability to take the time out of my busy schedule to do something I love rather than something I had to force myself to do when I was competing (hello…cardio!). It’s probably one of the few times you will catch me without my phone doing work.
Finding a studio
I did a lot of research. Once I had made up my mind about pursuing pole fitness, I spent a significant amount of time deciding where to go.
While distance was not really a concern, I looked for a place that I could easily get to whether I was working in NYC, CT or in MA since I travel frequently.
I then went on google, and spent a lot of time reading the content on the websites that were returned from my search. The one that caught my attention was called The Girl Spot. That’s the one I chose and where I have remained a student at ever since.
One thing you will know about Pole Fitness, if you choose to try it, is that you will know almost immediately whether a studio is a good fit for you or not. The other thing you will learn immediately is whether you will love or hate pole fitness.
The Girl Spot not only had a very complete website with all the information I needed with breakdowns of all the classes they offered, but they had levels or steps that you have to go through in order to advance. Once I read about the owner and her extensive dance background, as well as that of the other instructions, I was set on this studio. Everything was even better once I went in for my first class. They were welcoming, friendly, patient, funny and loving all while being very stern about teaching us the correct methods to the pole moves and spins. I’m a fan of tough love so we were a match made in heaven.
We spend a significant portion of the class warming up…and by warming up …I mean really really warm up! It’s like a mini workout! After we learn some spins or whatever it’s scheduled for the day, we do some conditioning. This is AFTER your body is pretty tired which in my opinion, pushes us to really pull our strength to do some of the conditioning workouts. I personally looooove it!
Unexpected side effects:
I had a few bruises that showed up after my first few classes. They caught me completely off guard because they were big, bright and ugly. LOL. I bruise easily though.
Calluses – never in my almost 15 years weight lifting did I get these…but you can’t wear gloves so…there they were…on my delicate puppet looking hands.
Random pointing of toes, dismounting off the bed, body waves on everything, and pole gripping anything that nearly resembles a fitness pole (regardless of location).
Extreme increase in confidence. That sexy outfit you had buried in the back of the closet will eventually come out again. 🙂
Update: I have added a 2nd favorite studio closer to my home. I take additional flexibility classes and take advantage of their open pole sessions called Pole in the Wall (I know…clever little name isn’t it?).
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