Focus On: Pole Fitness

Hi lovelies 😀 How has your day been? As always, thanks for your fabulous comments this morning. I’m so thankful to have y’all hanging out with me <3

I thought it would be fun to do some spontaneous posts featuring more obscure workouts and classes. When I put the call out on Facebook, Pole dancing was a quick and popular request 🙂 This should be a good first one in the series because it’s a class I have experience with and really enjoyed. pole_dancingSource

When I lived in Valdosta, I took weekly pole dancing classes with a friend at a small studio, which has since closed down. Our instructor had a lot of real life experience, so it was interesting to say the least, but we always looked forward to this class. It was an intense workout and a lot of fun.

What is it: Pole Fitness. There are a variety of types out there, from Pole Dancing, Pole-altes, Pole Aerobics, etc. but the premise is pretty much the same: you’ll spin and dance your way to a toned body and most likely really enjoy yourself. It’s one of those rare gems of a workout that doesn’t feel like you’re working out.

What to expect: More of a “club-like” feel, with dim and colored lights, loud music and ladies only. Most likely, you’ll have an Intro to Pole class before you start with Beginner level classes, just to become more familiar with some basic moves and how it all works. I was really surprised at my first class to discover that the pole actually spins—for some reason I thought it was stable and you had to make the spinning happen yourself. The fact that the pole rotates makes it a *little* easier, but it still takes a lot of strength.

Beauty and Strength!

Usually, you’ll learn a few combos and put the moves into a dance. Pole dancing has a little bit of a stigma attached to it, but I promise that it’s extremely tasteful and a legit workout. It’s more empowering than anything and I didn’t feel self-conscious or embarrassed to take class.

What to wear: Skin sticks better than fabric –and you’ll want a little traction- so the best bet is to wear tighter fitting shorts (my fave are lululemon boogie shorts), a tank or sports bra and sneakers. Some studios may prefer you to be barefoot, while others will encourage you to bring heels. I may or may not have purchased 7 inch clear heels with a sparkly pink butterfly on them, just for classes 😉


The pros:

-You will be sore, in a good way. I’ve lifted weights consistently for the past 5 years or so, and pole dancing made me sore unlike anything else. It helped to target my arms (especially my biceps), and my thighs (including the hard-to-target abductors and adductors).

-It’s a great way to meet new friends. I LOVED the group of girls who took class in Valdosta. They didn’t take it too seriously and were super encouraging when my friend and I went to our first class.

-Often, you can arrange personal classes for birthday parties and bachelorette parties

The cons:

-You’ll be bruised up. I had crazy bruises all over my arms and stomach. Thought they’d go away or happen less often the more I took class, but they didn’t.

-As with any type of group fitness, the class depends on the instructor and the music. Our instructor was a pro (literally), and while she was super sweet and fun, she didn’t know how to teach fitness. We learned some awesome spins and tricks,but  she had a difficult time putting class together. Obviously, I still went and had a blast, but preferred the classes I took in Orlando.

Want to learn more? My friend Meghann did an awesome video about Vixen Fitness in Orlando.

Have you ever taking pole classes before? Would you? If you have, what was your experience like?

Hope you guys are enjoying your day!!

See ya later tonight <3



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  1. kate@ahealthypassion on April 18, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    AHH groupon has a deal for one of these classes and I was considering it but after reading this I am definitely buying it, how fun and im glad you get a workout 🙂

  2. Holly @ The Runny Egg on April 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I have not taken a pole class before but I would love to! I just watched that youtube video and I am seriously impressed!!! Wow that has got to take serious strength.

    Thanks for the pros/cons!

  3. Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing on April 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    To be totally honest, while I admire the strength this workout takes, I kind of got a bad taste in my mouth after I read about a mom of 3 little ones who did a pole dancing class (she had been doing it a while, knew the ropes…er…pole), landed upside down on her head, and was permanently brain-damaged afterwards. It just made me so sad for her and her family! I’m totally certain you don’t have to advance to that level, and I’m sure it can be as safe as any other form of exercise, I just prefer other types. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer! I just wonder if sometimes beginners go into these things not remembering that there can be a risk involved if you take it too far…yknow?

    • Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing on April 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      I should say I only mentioned that sad story because of what you said about the range of instructors…like you said, it’s important to have someone who knows what they’re doing fitness/safety-wise 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      i totally agree- that’s why it’s important to be safe and take classes in the order you should (intro, beg, etc). it’s also up to the instructor to make sure everyone in their class is exercising safely

  4. Katherine: Unemployed on April 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I did and it was SO FUN!

    (we had to make up our “pole names” too; I was jaguar)

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

      LOL. awesome

  5. Amber L on April 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I took a pole dancing class two years ago with a group of friends. It was actually a fundraiser for Autism Awareness. So part of the money went to that! I absolutely loved it! You are right, you are completely sore for a few days after (but in a good way)! I have been dying to take another class, but it was really far away, so it isn’t convenient for everyone to drive there. The class I took, the pole didn’t spin at all. Maybe each center has different poles. Either way I had a blast and really hope to do it again sometime!

  6. Carrie on April 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    It always looks like so much fun! I do aerial dancing (which I highly recommend to everyone), and has some similarities to pole dancing. Whenever I search for aerial dance videos there are always pole dancing videos that come up as suggestions.

    Maybe some day I’ll try it? Pole-ates sounds awesome.

  7. brittney on April 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I want to see those clear heels! 🙂

  8. allison @ thesundayflog on April 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    uhhhh, you NEED to post a pic of those heels!!!! haha love it =)

  9. Stephanie on April 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    While I would have said before reading this post “yeah! Bring it on!”, the perma-bruising made me change my mind. I bruise easily as it is…I hate being covered in bruises.

  10. courtney @ cupcakedynamite on April 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    ahhh I’ve been debating one of these classes. It seems like a new and fun workout because there are some CRAZY things you can do on that thang! It must work some untouched muscles… ;D

  11. Lindsey on April 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I took pole dancing classes for fun a couple years ago, and actually stuck with it for 6 months or so. Somehow it got me out of my fitness plateau, and I actually lost the last 5 pounds that I needed to lose. It is so much fun and really is a great workout. My arms looked great from it, but the bruises were a little intimidating. My teacher was similar to yours, lots of real life experience, but not the best fitness instructor. I would definitely recommend it though!

  12. Carrie on April 18, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    My friend has a pole and she made it look so easy. I have fairly decent upper body strength, so I thought it’d be no problem. Not so much. I wasn’t expecting my hands to hurt so much or that terrible squeaky sound of skin getting stuck on metal. I was also anything but graceful. A lot of my direction included such commands as, “You’re not a monkey! Don’t grip it with your feet!”

  13. Charlene on April 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I took pole dancing classes at SFactor in NYC (though they have locations around the US) for over a year. I stopped after moving out of NY and now am in Boston (where it’s much harder to find a good class!). Pole dancing was loads of fun and quite the workout! While I did get some bruises in the beginning, as I practiced more they went away.
    I agree that it is an amazing workout for your arms and thigh muscles you don’t use often (especially in clear platform vixen shoes!) but my abs particularly got the best workout since you need a ton of ab strength to do inversions on the poles (which were my favorite!).
    You definitely need to take caution and have a good instructor (for safety and fun) but it definitely felt like both a party & a workout every time I set foot in the class!

    • Michelle on April 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

      I did the SFactor classes in SF for a few months last year. Not only was it a great workout, but it was a really fun, supportive group of women. Unlike other times in life when women can be so catty, we were all a little out of our comfort zones, so we became really close and cheered each other on! I also had a blast picking out the music I wanted to dance to every week. I found the SFactor classes a little too long (2 hours) and expensive, so I’ve started looking for a pole only class that might be cheaper.

      I may or may not have 6-inch red platforms for dancing…

      • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

        amazing 🙂

  14. Allison @ Food For Healing on April 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    ive heard of it, we actually have a dance studio that teaches it. my one friend and I were going to join in eons ago, but never did, we took belly dancing instead. definitely looks challenging tho

  15. Ashley @ Feeding Ashley on April 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I’ve never taken anything like that, but I’m really interested in trying it some time. One of my friends used to be a stripper. I didn’t see her for about two months after she started, but the next time we hung out she was super toned and muscular.

  16. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on April 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Hahah.. I think my boyfriend would like me to take a pole class.. as long as he gets to come and watch!

  17. Linz on April 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve tried a couple studios here in Dallas and it was a blast but super hard! The places I tried did not have poles that spun, that sounds awesome and way better for your hands.

  18. Chelsea on April 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I’ve always wanted to take a pole dancing class! Maybe this is the motivation I need to just get out and try it :))))

  19. Chelsea on April 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I loved the pole dancing classes I took. My friends through my bachelorette party at a pole dancing studio and we also did lap dancing. I was given a 10 class gift card, which was good since I was super tipsy during the party. I was really sore and bruised too, but as I got better it didn’t happen as much. Our instructor had made a living pole dancing in Virginia which you cant do topless, she was a riot! I really recommend the studio it is in Virginia Beach/Norfolk, VA called Studio Rio. Now that I live in Montana I really need to try out the place here!

  20. Shanna, Like Banana on April 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve been dying to try one of these classes because I hear the workout is phenomenal. I need to round up some of my girls to go with me 😉

  21. Ruth on April 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Wow. I can see how it targets the areas you mention. Looks like it could be fun in a class.

  22. Leanne (Bride to Mrs.) on April 18, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I went to a pole dancing stagette & it was SO much fun! It’s definitly a confidence building fun workout!

  23. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on April 18, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Yes I have taken plenty of pole dancing classes and think they’re fun! A great workout, for sure! That huge metal pole takes no prisoners! It’s wayyy harder to climb it, flip upside down on it, and hang from it than people think and yes, getting beat up and bruised is totally par for the course. Lots of bruises when learning pole tricks, for sure!

    I love that you bought 7 inch shoes, too 🙂

    Great review, Gina. And as you said, some ppl have real life experience but arent the greatest teachers…but it still sounds like a super fun experience to say the least 🙂

  24. zoe (and the beatles) on April 18, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    pole dancing might be the most fun and intense work out out there! so much fun! i am lucky to have a studio in my town and even luckier to have won a free class last year. it ended up just being me and the teacher because none of the other girls who also won showed up! score! it was challenging, left me super sore and super pumped! i have yet to be back because of the cost (and because i am fresh-out-of-college, i have a fresh-out-of-college bank account ;)) but i totally agree with everything you said. fun way to shake up your work out routine!

  25. Colleen on April 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    I agree with your comment on non-fitness instructors. I took a few classes for fun and to learn something new, but the class really didn’t feel like a “workout.” I’d rather take a Zumba class!

  26. Lauren- HungryDancer on April 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try Pole classes!!! Thanks for the awesome tips!!

  27. Kristin on April 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I took a pole dance 101 class in Las Vegas for a bachlorette party. The instructor that we had was very prepared, but she did this all day long for newbies. The instructor was very knowledgeable, had class prepared so that each segment flowed, had great music and was a great personality. I enjoyed the class, we will see if I ever have time and money to do it in Phoenix (I know there is a place that is supposed to be amazing in Scottsdale).

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      i’ll have to check out a class next time i’m there

  28. Julie (A Case of the Runs) on April 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I think in the end, we have to choose what would be fun and comfortable to do. *blush* I, for one, would not be that comfortable. Maybe this is something I’d need to learn, but for those who are adventurous, I’m sure it’s great!

  29. Danielle on April 18, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    I always wanted to try one of those classes! I think that it would build your confidence too!

  30. Katie on April 18, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I don’t think the poles always spin. I used to go to the S Factor classes and their poles were stationary. So much fun!

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      you’re right, there are stationary ones- i’ve only used the spinning ones

  31. Christine @ Burning It Off on April 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Interesting post. Sounds like a fun workout but the bruising part makes me a little hesitant to try it. Maybe I’ll do it in winter, when I can cover them up with long sleeves and pants lol…

  32. Chantal on April 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve done an 8 week level I course and I had to much fun! I definitely want to get back into doing it again and move up in levels. You’re right that it’s a great way to build good (and a very different kind of) strength! All the girls who taught classes at my studio had fabulously flat tummies too as a result (bonus!)!

    I actually didn’t think it was a good replacement for a daily workout, but it was a really fun supplement for sure! Our poles definitely did not spin/rotate too, that sounds confusing or really brain-twisting, especially considering pole dancing and its required strength is definitely not as easy as you think, haha!

  33. elizabeth on April 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    HOLY CANOLI, that girl’s legs are longer than my entire body.

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      isn’t she gorg??

  34. Sarah @TheExPat Bride on April 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I want to try!!! It’s pretty expensive though since they usually have very limited numbers. There is a studio not far from me, but I live in a college town. And I know it’s probably crawling with flawless sorority girls that would intimidate me.

  35. Tanya on April 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Actually I have taken a pole dancing class! and I have to agree, those bruises are hideous! But it’s a fun workout!

  36. fittingbackin on April 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    OMG that video is crazy – wow. I love that you did it and you crack me UP with those shoes! I want to try one – it always comes up when it comes to planning bachelorette parties (doing a group class) but I’ve never done it! During my friend’s BP last year in Charleston the bar had poles everywhere (like totally normal bar – it was random). Anyway, everyone girls/guys/etc. were trying it and my friends got all bruised up – good to know that doesn’t get easier – eek!

  37. alicia - on April 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I am a exotic dancer and health and fitness fanatic. I remember when I first started pole dancing ( I to was once a beginner ) I was intimidated and amazed at the strength it took. Poles can be both static and spin , I have one installed in my house and there is a pin you can take in and out at the base to make it static, or spin. spin is easier but makes you very dizzy. As for clothing, sports bras and short shorts are the best like gina suggested. I would highly recommend “mighty grip” or something for the hands to make your hands stick for those of you who are doing more advanced tricks. it is a fantastic work out and I have the best body I have ever had in my life from pole dancing, I no longer work my abs or arms because pole does it all for me. Instructors can be very tricky to choose, if you are very serious about the sport I recommend finding someone to teach you one on one (this is what I did because not everyone advances at the same rate – and I picked up easily and wanted to pay the extra to get a more advanced class. I did not use music or dim lights in my class because I wanted to learn the hardcore tricks haha – I love pole so much and hope you all can find some interest in it also 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

      so awesome- thank you for all of the tips!

  38. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on April 18, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve never tried it, but it looks tough! I bet it’s a killer workout though.

    Hahaha those heels of yours sound amazing. Do you still have them? I think a picture is needed. 😉

  39. Jaclyn on April 18, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    That’s so funny, I have tried some of their other varieties, but just got the salsa verde for the first time today and manohman is it good… i may or may not have also eaten some with a spoon *as soup* as you say 😉 it’s just so. dang. good.!

    I like Express > taxes..and have to agree! I sent mine in today… ughhhhhh, but looking forward to getting some ca$$h back! HA!

  40. Tulika on April 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    How cool! I’ve heard of pole fitness but I’ve never tried it…and I had NO idea it took that much strength!! (After watching that video, I’m seriously considering trying it). Thanks for the info/pros/cons!!

  41. Beth@Give a girl the right shoes on April 18, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Love the post!! I have been pole dancing/tricks for almost a year at the gym and at home! It is by far my favorite workout, and is something I do on a daily basis. I agree with you 100% when you say it is tasteful and a legit workout, but I still find myself hesitant to blog and tell a lot of people about it. But I love the classes, and appreciate your post! Don’t the heels make you feel like a new woman?! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 19, 2011 at 12:55 am

      the heels make me pole dance 1000 times better (at least that’s how they make me feel!)

  42. Jessica on April 19, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I took pole dancing classes a couple summers ago and Gina is 1,000% correct about the crazy bruises! I looked like I was beating myself up. My biceps, back, shins and mainly the tops of my feet were purple. It was also the absolute hardest workout I have ever tried (and I have tried them all). You are completely reliant on your own strength and many of us do not realize how strong you have to be to even lift your own body weight. I gained a new found respect for women who are can actually professionally pole dance. (youtube the professional pole dancing competition in vegas, amazing)

  43. Monique Gagnon on April 19, 2011 at 9:33 am

    SO funny to see this post!! my girlfriends and i just went to a private pole dance lesson for our birthdays and it was SO MUCH FUN! however, i’m still incredibly sore (and i work out 6 days a week- weights, cardio, kickboxing, yoga, running, etc). We are actually looking into doing a ‘fitness’ pole class because we enjoyed it so much. the poles we used, though, did not spin on their own- it was all our momentum to get around that pole;) Sexy clothes and shoes TOALLY help to make the experience better. you need to FEEL sexy in order to look sexy. Remember: the pole is your best friend;) hahaha

  44. Katy on April 19, 2011 at 10:30 am


    There, I said it. But I, too, ended up with hard-to-explain bruises in weird places (the back of my knee???)

  45. Molly on April 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I’ve been to 3 pole studios (it’s really fun and your arms will be sore!), but only one had a spinning pole, so don’t depend on that!

  46. MMiller on April 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I have looked into pole classes near me! I would love to take one! I need to improve my strength a little more first! Ours even has private classes if you prefer (more expensive of course)! Ours is called Heart and Pole fitness! I am determined to take a few classes…someday! Wish ours had a groupon!

  47. Sarah K on April 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    I just asked my friend the other day if she’d be willing to take a pole dancing class with me this summer when we’re both home. I can’t wait, it looks like so much fun and a hard workout.

  48. LauraJayne on April 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I loved pole fitness – if I had time, I’d still be doing it! After taking classes for a month or two, I was finally strong enough in my arms to do real push-ups! I actually think that class changed my body composition a little, and allowed me to break through my weight-loss plateau. I remember being so sore the morning after my first class that I couldn’t get out of bed – but it was so totally worth it!

  49. Katie on April 19, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I have been wanting to take pole dancing classes for forever and no one will do it with me! Maybe I’ll just suck it up and do it by myself, it looks like so much fun! Plus i am always looking for ways to increase strength and looks like this might be a good way! Love this post!

  50. Lisa on April 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    A new place called Pole Lite Fitness opened up here; you may have to give it a whirl while you are here!

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