Unexpected Benefits of Pole Fitness
*Please note the photo quality is pretty poor in this post, because they’re all screenshots from videos. Also I hope you all enjoy my fantastic photo editing skills smudging out my classmates for their privacy. #soprofessional.
Okay, so there’s some pretty obvious benefits of starting an exercise routine. Increasing strength, fitness, getting out of the house – all that. They’re all good things! But Pole Fitness/Pole Dancing has turned out to be something special. Any fitness class that can get me out of the house in winter at bedtime has to be pretty impressive. Right? My class has been from 8pm to 9pm. Like, I’m normally in my PJs curled up in bed by then in winter!
Even on nights when I have to take off my dressing gown and slippers to get dressed and ready to go, even if I’m a bit “wah I don’t want to go out” at first, but the time I’m there I’m pumped and excited.
Actually it’s my favourite day of the week. The whole week I’m just counting down the days until pole. (Pole is tomorrow. Can’t. Wait.)
When I first went to my first class the teacher asked who brought a friend with them. And basically everyone in my class had come as a pair or more. So I was the one brave enough to come all by myself. And I have to admit I had a bit of an idea in my head about the type of person who did a pole fitness class – and I was worried that that super cool, sexy, tall, leggy, gorgeous, fit, flexible, amazing goddess in my head probably wouldn’t be my friend.
(Which is stupid because the whole reason I started wanting to go to a pole class is I have friends who do it and OBVIOUSLY my friends are people who would be friends with me! Duh.)
It was fine. Firstly, it was a beginner class. So nobody was doing impressive inverts and splits on the first day. It’s not like I was the only person who was sooking because my hands hurt after 10 minutes. I was in the right place.
And also apparently the 8-9pm time slot is affectionately referred to as “Mum’o’clock.” Because it’s the time where babes are in bed, kid’s sports are finished, partners are home from work to take over. Which was really lovely. By the third week we were all swapping birth stories. As ya do when you finally get some time away from your kids. It’s great. Totally had no reason to stress about not finding my people. They’re definitely my people.
I had an inkling that doing pole fitness might help with my body image/self esteem issues. I also was kind of thinking that pole fitness would help me lose weight and get skinny. Either way worked for me.
This might not sound like a big deal to people who don’t have this struggle, but I haven’t weighed myself in about two weeks. Up until two weeks ago I’d compulsively weigh myself at least a couple of times a week. If not daily. If not multiple times a day. I have some issues.
The last time I weighed myself I did not like the number that came up. I’d gained weight. And I literally said “Oh fuck off” to my scales, stepped off them, and have not got back on them since.
I BROKE UP WITH MY SCALES, PEOPLE! THIS IS A BIG DEAL!
Because instead of focusing on what my body looks like I’m like – holy heck my body does some cool stuff. Who needs to be skinny when you feel strong?
(Okay, fine, deep down I’d still like to be skinny. A lifetime of body image issues cannot be cured in a few weeks, but I’m definitely feeling better about myself.)
Again, I had a bit of a clue that feeling sexy might be a benefit of doing pole fitness. I mean, pole dancing is hot. It’s so sexy to watch. I just wasn’t entirely convinced that I would feel (or look) sexy when I’m doing it. I’m not exactly coordinated or flexible. I’m still not. I have a video from a class a couple of weeks ago of my kneeing myself in the face. (Though, I may not have been flexible enough to do that before I started, so maybe that’s a win?)
But there is something really deeply cool about dancing, wiggling, feeling a bit sexy in a room of women*. There is no male gaze here. I feel like I’m getting to be sexy in myself, for myself. I have the 6 inch shiny heels and the booty shorts just doing my thing. It’s amazing.
* Men are able to do pole though if they want to! Just I’ve only ever had classes with women.
Doing pole fitness has made me a lot more aware of my body. MAYBE it’s because I’m always just a little bit achy and stiff from pushing myself to do things I’d never thought possible, so I have to think a bit more about how I move. I’m also constantly covered in bruises. I really do feel like I need to be more careful with myself for the rest of the week. (OKay, I’m also just a little bit proud of all my bruises. And I’m constantly going “LOOK! LOOK AT MY BRUISES!” I basically match my splotchy tiles.)
I think before I get up and down off the floor. I’m more careful when I lift things. I also seem to sit and stand taller and straighter. It could be that body confidence thing, I’m feeling more comfortable in my body so I’m also being kind to it. And I find myself stretching and moving more throughout the day. I do spend a lot of time sitting still! A lot of my work is either sitting at the computer or driving so doing a bit of a stretch every now and then is super important!
I’ve been so ridiculously busy lately. My friends barely ever see me. I’m always working on something. I’ve got constant deadlines and commitments. Not to mention my kids have sporting activities on three days a week. And my partner has been working interstate a lot. My life is pretty hectic.
I was concerned that adding in another activity would wreck me. Especially when it’s on a Thursday night and my two biggest work days are usually Thursday and Friday. It was the class and time that worked for us but I was worried that it would be a bit of a “Who Sank The Boat” situation and that pole would be the mouse that ruined it for everyone else.
But honestly I feel more motivated and energetic. I’m currently trying to work out how to fit an extra session of Pole a week into our schedule! Because I look forward to it all week so one session just doesn’t feel like enough. A week is so long to wait.