One of the things that I quickly noticed as I was losing weight, was the amount of activities that I wasn’t able to actively participate in because of my size or lack of muscle to sustain myself. I’ve written about my inability to lift myself out of a car without grabbing onto both the hood of the car and the top of the car door. I couldn’t get up from a seat without bracing myself. If I dangled from a cliff, I wouldn’t have the upper body strength to keep myself from plunging to my death.
I mean, okay… so the last one was in a dream, but shoot – I could hit a rock climbing wall! It could happen. I’m just sayin’.
Thanks to things like weight training/weight lifting, I’ve been able to fix that. I have the core strength (your core includes abdominal, back and pelvic muscles) needed to withstand most of what I throw at my body. I have the leg strength I need to get through a lot of my daily activity. My upper arm strength might not have me scaling a rock climbing wall in under 10 minutes, but I’m getting there.
At least… I thought I was.
This past Saturday, I decided to attend a pole dancing class. That’s right. Pole dancing. Conservative thoughts aside (for now), I have to admit that this class not only wore me out, but left me sweating and miserable… miserable in that “I got my behind kicked so hard that I don’t have the energy to be happy about it” kind of sense.
I know there’s someone who wants to know what on Earth compelled me to take pole fitness (the correct term), of all things.
A couple of weeks back, I got to visit one of those “Girls’ Night Out” parties that included all kinds of non-fitness related conversation… although I’m sure that if you engaged in the topic enough, you could burn a few calories. Just sayin’. The last portion of the party consisted of all of the girls watching a pole fitness routine – yes, on a nice big silver pole – and learning a trick or two of our own. As someone who’d never even touched a pole before, I was probably more excited than I should’ve, and instead of hogging all the time to myself I decided to sign up for the classes.
My class, hosted by Angela of Enticement Unlimited (Indianapolis), was actually pretty awesome. All I needed was my shorts and my pumps. (Those pink heels above were not mine. I was trying to get in my workout… not fall to my death.) We started out with a warm up that consisted of some pretty serious aerobic activity that had me sweating not even five minutes in. Lots of relaxing stretches to help me calm down and settle into what was about to be demanded of my body.
Did I learn how to spin on a pole? Yes. Did I learn how to do any tricks? I sure did. Did I love it? My gosh, you have no idea. I mean, you’re in a room full of women who want to get in some activity, maybe learn a few tricks to take home to “The Boo” or merely are interested in having a good time. Neither weight loss nor “OMG what will she think if she sees me doing this move too well? She’s gon’ think I’m a ho!” was on anyone’s mind in that room. It was a place of Black girls of all sizes getting it in and having fun laughing at our successes and failures on the pole.
The instructor was awesome. She paid attention to our slip ups and seemed actively interested in helping each of us execute the moves properly. I know some people complain about unattentive instructors or not having enough time to learn their routines… I’d say those were bad classes. I left my class not only excited to attend again, but really looking forward to becoming a better pole-er.
I’m sure there’s someone reading this with their face turned upside down about how slutty this is, or how this isn’t fitness. I can assure you – as someone who lifts weights twice a day, practices yoga everyday and runs every single day – you are wrong about both. Today is Tuesday – my class was Saturday and I am still sore. The amount of upper arm strength it requires to lift and hold yourself up in the air, the amount of thigh strength it takes to execute the following:
…and the amount of core (again: ab, pelvic and back) muscles needed to hold yourself up in the above position with no hands? Please. This is an aerobic workout of the highest degree. And the thighs that you develop from all that? That’s what I’m really looking forward to, here.
But it’s sexy… it’s unheard of… it sets back the movement… I don’t want to be objectified. So what if it’s sexy? Even the most conservative of us know that there is a time and a place for sensuality and sexuality… so where do you learn to tap into your sensual side? What would the harm be in taking a move or two (or a pole, for that matter) home to “The Boo” to appreciate? Like I’ve said before, I find it hard to believe society has a sensible understanding of appropriateness in sensuality and sexuality – a woman can’t enjoy something sensual or sexual without being some kind of slut or whore – and I’m not going to sit around twiddling my thumbs while they figure it out. I’ll be getting my workout on.. probably on a pole.
I’m just not willing to let something silly like stereotypes or pre-conceived notions or pettiness get in the way of my getting fit and finding an enjoyable way to do it. For crying out loud, had I let “society” get in my way earlier in the game, I’d still be 300+ lbs. I’m good on my own.
So, I say to anyone (who can shed a little insecurity and ignore misconceptions about pole fitness) who is looking for a unique and fun way to get in some activity, do a little digging. Find a good pole fitness class in your area and check it out. And don’t be afraid to enjoy it. I know I’ll be going back… I might even try to get on this girl’s level:
Trust me. I’m on it.