Diary of a pole dancer
Level of coordination: plummeted to new lows
Blushes: 1 (the only time I nailed a move)
It has to be said that pole fitness is way harder than it looks. I’ve just come back from my first ever class, at Pole Rocks in Reigate, and already everything hurts. Yup, everything. Shoulders. Arms. Shins. Bum. Tummy. Especially tummy. Tomorrow I won’t be able to lift my arms above shoulder level. And yet, I will without doubt be back next week, because I feel freakin’ good.
I’ve been hearing a lot about pole fitness recently. It might even be the new Zumba. It helps you develop strength, agility, balance and body control. And apparently it’ll make you feel light, vigorous and full of strength. Bring it on!
So, a couple of things you should know about pole. Firstly, it’s not just for girls. Men do pole too, and there are several guys in the classes at Pole Rocks. In fact two of the instructors are men. And they’re bloody good at getting around the pole.
Secondly, you really should remember to *ahem* wax those underarms, because you’ll be down to that vest top in no time. Pole is hard work.
Thirdly, even the basic moves are quite tricky. But when you get it right it feels marvellous. Especially when the instructor applauds, and it makes you blush.
Fourthly, I was probably the oldest in the class by, um, a decade or so. Oh, alright, maybe it was two. But nobody seemed to notice. Or care.
Righty ho… I’m off to find a pole. I’ve got only six days to practise before my next class.
Level of coordination: slightly improved
Bruises: Two, plus a sore muscle in my tummy that keeps niggling
Right, second week back and my coordination seems to have somehow improved. I can actually get around the pole, and I don’t look like a total numpty. (So I say anyway!)
I’ve been doing basic spins. And I seem to be getting the hang of it. This is great exercise, and really fun. Also, this week I’ve noticed that perhaps I’m not quite the granny in the class – not all the polers are twenty-somethings. It’s hardly surprising, though, because as exercise goes this is a lot of fun.
But enough about me. Let me tell you a bit about Pole Rocks. The studio offers lessons in Reigate, Dorking, Leatherhead and Coulsdon. I’ve been going to the Reigate classes, which are held in the dance studio at Reigate College. There are eight poles, and mostly you’ll have a pole to yourself.
Sam Causon, owner of Pole Rocks, heads up the class with a band of helpers, so there’s one instructor for about every three poles. Sam took up pole when an injury forced her to stop running and cycling. She’d hoped to get some strength and confidence back. And let me tell you, she’s certainly done that. She says her body gained more tone and shape after four months of pole, than three years of going to the gym. It’s easy to see Sam is passionate about pole, and aside from being pretty nifty when she gets on the pole herself, she’s great at motivating and inspiring the class.
I wanna climb a pole too. Not this week maybe. But eventually!
Level of coordination: I’ve transitioned
Bruises: None this week, but that muscle in my tummy is niggling
Blushes: Two (once when I messed up, once when I got something right and I got a cheer.)
I’m raring to go. Hell, I even considered getting my shorty shorts out for this class. Then I thought, “Nah, don’t be silly Amber, you’re not quite ready for that!” And I came back to earth with a thud. It was quite a thud too, because that niggling injury I’ve been harbouring was made worse this week when I was out running and I slipped over. It seems my lack of grace knows no bounds.
But I’m not letting it stop me. So here I am. And while we’re on the subject of attire, you might be wondering what one wears to a pole fitness class. I know what you’re thinking. Does she wear her stilettos? So let me tell you that I leave my stilettos at the door. This class is less about being sexy, more about being fit. Students wear anything from normal gym kit, to itty bitty shorts and bra tops. Those further up the chain of experience tend to be the more scantily clad, and that’s because you need skin contact with the pole to give you traction. At least that’s what I’m told. I’m yet to get up there.
Sam starts every class with a warm-up, and ends with a core muscle workout (think sit-ups and ‘the plank’) and a cool down with stretches. My muscles still ache at the end of each class, but in a good way. And I’ve found it’s not the day after a pole class that I feel it most, but the day after the day after, if you know what I mean.
This week I’m still not climbing the pole, but the lovely, lithe and incredibly leggy Paris, did teach me some transitions. That’s where you put two moves together. So, peeps, I’m improving at this pole business. However slowly that may be. And while I’ve now got to take a a couple of weeks off due to work commitments (I have theatre shows to review for you peeps), you can be certain of one thing. I’ll be back. And you know what else, I will climb that pole! One day.