Pole Fitness: My New Favorite Sport

by - 2:53 PM

It's interesting looking back because if you knew me prior to last year, pole was not a part of my life.  Many people would tell you I'm a runner, having completed a handful of 1/2 marathons and 5k's. Actually, aside from my friend Gumby*, I had never known anyone who did pole dancing as a hobby. I guess you can say I was pretty naïve in thinking that it was just for strippers. But after seeing Gumby post all her pictures & videos from her classes, I was fascinated and had to try it out for myself. I found a couple of studios in my area and chose one that offered an introductory class and that was nearby.  I didn't want to go by myself out of nerves so I ended up dragging along my husband's cousin with me. We arrived at the studio to find a couple of others who were there for the class and I became more relaxed after I realized none of us had any experience what so ever. Most of the class was just teaching us beginner tricks and simple spins that even I couldn't mess up seeing as I am THAT clumsy. My husband actually joked that I would fall on my head or break an arm in class.
(Me & hubby's cousin during our introductory class)
I made it through the introductory class without incident. Even though we didn't do much in terms of being "on" the pole, I was already excited about taking further classes. While his cousin's schedule didn't work out for continuing, I registered and was ready to start learning more tricks and spins! The studio does its classes in levels, moving up every 6 weeks. I began level 1 in May with a group of 6 girls and started learning the ins and outs of pole. Each level we were taught a little bit harder of stuff, finally getting to inverts in level 3. In the mean time, my vocabulary expanded with new spins like fireman, diva, ballerina, and climbs. I found out that my upper body strength was not as strong as I was hoping, but after having cancer twice and being hospitalized multiple times even after going into remission, it was expected. I began working out again outside of class incorporating weights and longer runs. With each level came new tricks that slowly came easier to me and greater excitement!
Fast forward from May to November and my birthday rolled around. All my friends new about my growing passion for pole and how much fun I was having. One of my dearest  friends , change that... family, surprised me in the most awesome way! She had mentioned she bought me a present and that I will really love it. I was greatly surprised when FedEx knocked on my door with a very long, very heavy box with X-POLE stickers plastered all over the package. I was speechless! I had my very own static AND spin pole for at home. Talk about an amazing friend! The sky was the limit once we got my pole set up. It has a nice place in the dining room and also makes for interesting conversation when we have friends or maintenance over. I now was able to practice pole anytime I wanted.

(My very own X-Pole)
Now that I am moving onto harder tricks and more intense spins, I find that I have to be patient with myself and not rush the process. Just last week I got so frustrated when I couldn't get a move down. After an hour of falling, jumping, and not so gracefully landing in awkward positions, I moved onto something else and felt a sigh of relief when I did that spin without fail. The only problem with having a pole at home and having had that bad hand of cards dealt (lymphoma) is the more I practice, the more I bruise. Everyone gets what we call "pole kisses" but I bruise worse than others. Actually, I've never seen anyone bruise as much as I have. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying what I love. It brings up further interesting conversations when people see my legs and arms all bruised if I am out wearing shorts, skirts, or dresses. Which leads me to my next topic; strippers.
Not everyone who pole dances is a stripper. Actually, I'm sure if you really looked at the numbers and statistics there would be more people doing it for fitness than stripping. There are some people who still think it should be removed from fitness but to be honest, I am happier AND healthier since I have started pole. I haven't had a cold or any illness in over a year. I have lost the extra weight and even have a 6 pack when I flex. Of course, I want it to be there without flexing but that will come in due time. Pole fitness is a lot of work. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun, but there are days like I mentioned above where I am so sore and tired that I just want to sit all day. Thankfully my mind says otherwise and I rarely go a day without some sort of workout. But getting back on track, just because someone dances on a pole doesn't mean they are a stripper nor do they want to be one.
 (Different tricks that require a wide range of skill)
 Now, while you don't have to be a stripper, there is something about pole that makes you feel a certain level of sexy. I have stretch marks from the steroids during chemo. I have scars from multiple surgeries and picc lines. I have hips that stick out no matter how much weight I lose. I used to look in the mirror and turn away because I hated the way I looked. But when I put on cute pole clothes and hop on the pole, I feel pretty. No, I feel god damn sexy. Plus, you HAVE to have skin showing to get the majority of the tricks to work. It's actually unsafe to wear too much clothes because you can easily slip off and hurt yourself if you don't have anything to grip with. Hence, the lack of clothes. But it's not always sexy either. The bruises, the calluses, the burns. It helps having a husband who is amazingly supportive and even helps spot you when you need the extra set of hands.
(Some of my favorite moves that you won't see in strip clubs)
There it is. My story about how and why I love pole. Every move is a challenge. Every bruise is a story. And every photo is proof of what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. I no longer see myself as that girl who had cancer. I see a strong, fit, woman who enjoys pushing herself to the limits. I'm even going to be started aerial hoop and silks in the next month. What can I say, it's addicting. Next time you find yourself wanting to try something new to get in shape: think pole!

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