I have been known to be easily seduced by the charms and promises of a new fitness regimen. I have a wandering eye. Although dance has always been my first love, I’m a woman of the world with a lot of experience in the sweat and muscles department. And although on the surface I may not seem to have a type, my forays into alternative fitness regimens all seem to have something in common – they are challenging, require thinking on your feet, distract me from real life and make the time fly by – like those hours-long phone calls with someone who so engrosses you that you lose time. And music. Yes, there is almost always music, or the sound of a soothing voice.
Rather than preventing me from falling asleep, like those all-night phone calls, these activities have helped me sleep better, sending me to the pillow exhausted. In my early years, dance, horse-back riding, gymnastics, and musical theatre were my passions. I wasn’t a smash into people, high impact sports type of gal, however, I played field hockey, soccer and, briefly, volleyball, where physical contact was rare, but well earned when it did happen. I’m not averse to a good slide tackle, eyes on the ball, of course. And I was fierce with a field hockey stick, mouth guard in… splattered with mud and grass.
Running, on its own, never did it for me. I go out of my mind, but not in a good way. I wonder what I’ve done to deserve it – the whole time – and I count the minutes til I can stop. I never have that gleeful ‘burn’ and satisfaction people talk about – but instead have that ‘can I please not be doing this, can I please be done now’ feeling, followed by a wheezy sense that my lungs will come out my mouth if I bend forward. I was a long distance runner in grade school, but I also didn’t have J-Lo’s butt to carry around with me.
Strangely, I can dance for hours, while running for ten minutes makes me want to die. It’s partly the lack of motivation (why run?) and since I get no joy out of it on its own (except if I feel like running spontaneously and can stop when I feel like it), I really struggle to make myself do it for the sake of my health. The only time way I can reconcile the objective-less ‘running’ with my goal-oriented, performance-competitive side is to imagine what might provoke me to feel that running would be worthwhile. Answer: running AWAY from something. I’m seriously considering one of those zombie obstacle course races – where the undead chase you. That is a motive I can get behind.
So, all of this is to say, that I am newly smitten. After spending time enjoying long-term, non-monogamous relationships with hula hooping, circus school, yoga, hot yoga, salsa, contact improv and other completely engaging fit-but-fun ways of getting my body moving, once again I’m at the pole studio. It has all the challenge and reward of the other activities I love. The learning curve is hugely motivating. I feel an incredible burn and giddiness when I notice my own improvement. It has music and creativity, technical skill, problem solving (ever try getting your hips above your head by inverting onto a pole from standing?) and I get to dance around to music while sweating my ass off.
Pole Fit is a lovely balance of ‘muscles and mascara.’ And anything that can get me to put on a pair of shorts and not feel hugely self-conscious is getting an A+ in my books. I’m too busy wondering where my hand goes, fumbling with sweaty palms and hoping I look confident and cool to worry about how my butt looks. And when I’m smiling, it’s because I just did an awesome boomerang, diamond, hang ten or ballerina… even though my arms are burning and my abs hurt from laughing at the last five times I didn’t quite get it.
So, of course, I’m making another date.