I’d dabbled with Pole Fitness as a student back in my early 20s, and we’d been peeked at through shut curtains and complained about by members of staff. It was a shame because I really enjoyed it, and it made my legs and core incredibly strong. My re-introduction came in the form of an invitation from founder Chantal to come and try out her class at Gymbox Stratford. First class is a tenner, £15 thereafter, and packages are available.
I was a bit nervous if I’m honest, despite her friendly tone. I’m 10 years older than when I last shimmied up a pole, and although I feel more comfortable in my body now than I did then, I wondered if I’d be exercising alongside girls who I felt intimidated by. Would they all be young and glamorous? Would they be judging my body or abilities? It seems like silly old insecurities never really sling their hook, ay?!
Anyway, I was preparing myself for a pretty scary class when I arrived along with fellow HB Beth. You can guess the next bit- yep, we needn’t have worried. Everyone in the class was so welcoming! Chaltelle our instructor was open and warm, and the other girls in the class varied from shy to confident, were all shapes and sizes, and were wearing normal workout clothes rather than latex mini-dresses and clear heels (I’m an idiot for expecting anything different, I know).
Most importantly I guess, all the girls in the class seemed up for some fun through moving our bodies on a Saturday afternoon. I felt instantly at ease, and Beth gave me a big smile which told me she’d done a big “phew!” in her head too!
We did a lot of warm up stuff first, especially around our wrists and shoulders. I was itching to get onto the pole, but without getting our bodies ready, we could have actually really injured ourselves.
When we did get onto the pole, we were sharing them between two or three. Let me tell you now, if it’s your first few classes, you NEED those breaks when your fellow HBs are trying out their pole moves. It was incredibly challenging but enormous fun!
After a few of the same move, you really need a little break to squish your muscles and rotate your wrists and shoulders. It’s also fun to use this time to watch your new friends swinging around with giggles on their faces!
After the warm ups, the bulk of the class was spent being given a new move by Chantal who broke it down into easy steps, and then we had 5-10 minutes to practice it before we advanced to the next one. Once we had a few under our belt, we started learning joining moves to make it less of a clunky sequence.
Alongside the newbies, girls who had been there a few times worked on more advanced moves, which was fun to watch out of the corner of our eye and wistfully wonder if we’d ever be that good!
One thing I really, REALLY appreciated in a class like this was the fact that our instructor Chantal was clearly very good at pole fitness, but never once did she make us feel inadequate, or do that thing that flashy instructors do sometimes which is fail to help you, and instead just show off how good they are. She was humble, encouraging and really thoughtful. It made all the difference.
The class lasted for a couple of hours, but it seemed to fly by! We left with shaking arm muscles and happy faces. There was no sleaze or intimidation- a highly recommended, really nice and fun, body-positive way to spend a Saturday afternoon with a good friend.
(And you can check out my little shimmy on video here!)