"It's been two very long, and very miserable years since I last attended a pole fitness class. If I'm not upside down twisting my poor body into randomly named positions while spinning like a ninja warrior, life is just not worth living."
Pole fitness isn't for everyone. Some feel it's just not classy, others see it as a 'girl thing', fun, silly.
The truth is (before I decided it was a good idea to create small people), I spent over 15 hours weekly training in my lounge on my reliable little metal stick. My gains were mainly bruises in nasty places, and my weightloss was purely the lack of skin left on my palms.
Yes, pole fitness is that beautiful - a mixture of determination combined with absolutely no self-belief that my body will hang itself upside-down by its ankle to a Kelly Rowland remix while my teacher shouts at me that my moves are on fire. No, teacher. The only thing on fire is my inner thigh, but I don't care - because I'm hanging, upside-down, by my damn ankle, like a boss.
I always say I'm about as graceful as a hippopotamus on a cocktail stick, and my first move didn't disappoint. There were no six inch heels, no lights, no cameras, no thumping music. Just me, holding on for dear life, fearing for my life. 'You'll be upside down before long!' my teacher said. I cried with laughter. Over my dead body was this lump going anywhere other than KFC after that class!
But she was right. I was upside down before long. After suffering from M.E for six years, my body was weak but my perseverance wasn't. And my teacher was fantastic - she stayed with me, held me, laughed with me, cursed me, caught me. She pushed me beyond my limits. She also pushed me home after class, desperate to keep practising that move I'd just mastered. KFC was soon forgotten, healthy eating crept in, the bug had bitten, and I had become a fully-fledged health freak.
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Losing weight wasn't really my goal, but it helped my confidence massively when my post-baby wobbly bits started to tone up, shedding five stone over two pregnancies. The lessons stopped after my second child, but my craving for the spin didn't. Moving over to Eastbourne, Sussex, the pole was up in my lounge once again, and in between laundry and nappy sessions, I'd often find myself slathering up with the sports chalk and nailing a few of my old favourite tricks to the theme tune of CBeebies, while my little boys would stand underneath me and giggle that 'mummy was the wrong way around'.
"You'll lose interest in it eventually," my friend told me over coffee one morning as we looked at exercise classes around the area. By this point I was already on the payment screen to join Active Cherry, a pole fitness class in Eastbourne town. I needed that rush, that encouragement, and that sanity that I felt when I was doing something ridiculously dangerous with parts of my body I didn't know I had.
So, here I am. Six hours before my first advanced class at Active Cherry. Sweating, panicking, and drinking copious cups of coffee. Triple checking that I've packed my reliable Bangarang crop top because I can't afford for my potential new friends to meet my body parts on the first date. I'm not sure if my heart is thumping from the caffeine - or the excitement that I'm finally returning to my little metal stick of joy dressed as a Power Ranger! Wish me luck - and keep in touch with my pole fitness adventures here on our webpage, and under our Instagram #wildbangarangfitness.
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Liz - Marketing Manager, Wild Bangarang Fitness