This week I did something fun. I went out on a limb (or I guess you could say a pole) and tried something new. This week I went to a pole fitness class, what you’d recognize as pole dancing (no, not stripping). I went toute seule and braved the potential (okay, guaranteed) awkwardness all in the name of personal triumph. The studio was offering free introductory classes and I just couldn’t pass it up! You know me, always in it for a good story to tell, at the very least.
To set things straight: it’s not what you’re picturing. I’m not talking about showing up to a dingy strip club and auditioning for a spot on their roster. I didn’t wind up on stage doing my best Magic Mike on a wild night out after a couple too many tequila. When my friend was scheduled to work at the time we were signed up to go, a very nervous but very determined Mad showed up to a studio in the basement of a brand new student living complex and was surprised at the super cool, industrial-chic interior. Opening the door to the pole studio there were mirrors around the perimeter and about 15 poles standing tall, sparkling in all their glory.
The workout started simple, lunges and leg lifts using the pole for support. Then, with the pole in the crutch of the knee, leaning to the side for side crunches. Then it came time for the good stuff… the things the pros make look so easy when in fact, they’re white knuckle, hold-on-for-dear-life situations.
We were taught how to grip, one hand high to hold on and one across the body to hold yourself away from pole. This was the foundation for pole spins, coming up on your inside foot tippy toes and letting the body twirl around the pole whilst trying to maintain some level of grace. The simplest move in this introductory class proved to be super tough… tough on the shoulders, really hard on the ball of your foot, and #tough in the sexy department. Coming around the pole to hook your heel and do a little flick of the hair sounds a whole lot hotter than I could have ever made it look. Same goes for sliding down the pole with your back to it. While it's meant to be sexy and enticing, I kept getting stuck half way and crashing down to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Thankfully I was nowhere near ready for any upside down moves that, in my mind, ran the very real risk of squuueeeeaaaakkkkking down the metal pole.
I’m so glad I stuck with it and decided to go to the class solo. In a self-deprecating tale of my awkwardness and general lack of sex appeal, I hope you feel inspired to put yourself out there and try something that makes you nervous or that you’d be inclined to shy away from. As my family would tell you, I’m all about trying new things and experiencing all there is to experience (and dragging them along with me). As an added bonus to this mentality, fitness for me this year is open-ended… I will combine regular yoga practice with a random selection of fun new activities, as best I can. On a student, 20-something budget, free trials are the perfect opportunity to try all things new! Pole fitness was a strong start and truth be told, an underestimated workout that takes incredible strength. Huge kudos goes to the people who have mastered its art.