Challenge Accepted

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This summer I was in the mood for something new. I was interning in New York City and decided to maximize my time there. I challenged myself to be more active. Hard to do, but not hard to do. Get it? It wouldn’t take much for me to be more active, but just as quickly as I felt the urge to get up and move is as quickly as the urge moved. 

Getting active is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time but let procrastination get the best of me. How ironic, right? Procrastinating about getting active. Anyway, to do this, I wanted to find something that was fun, convenient to get to (from work) and was a “one-stop-shop”. That way, I could work on strength, flexibility, and cardio all at once. So what did I choose?

Pole dancing. Yup.

And it was FUN! I signed up for a 6-week beginners course at Shockra Dance Studio in NYC. I must admit I was pretty nervous about starting. I hadn’t danced in over five years, I’ve lost most my flexibility, I have little upper body strength and I don’t like being embarrassed.

Luckily, when I arrived for my first class I noticed that it was pretty small, with a total of eight poles in the room. I signed up for the Tuesday evening class which shrunk the class size down to three, and one student dropped out leaving me with the instructor and one other student. Awesome, if you ask me. The instructor, Rica, was super fun! She is skilled, super flexy, and hands on (which I don’t mind). She is very big on having the correct form. Pole isn’t a risque activity with a sexual connotation. Pole is a workout and Rica treats it as such.  

To start every class, Rica asked about any new injuries (very important) and there was a 15 minute warm up. Typical stuff: stretch, crunches, more stretching and you’re ready. The first class was the most challenging because I wasn’t sure what to expect and when Rica challenged us to do a simple spin, I immediately doubted myself. Don’t do that!

Mid-blog life lesson: Do not ever doubt yourself!

Carrying on. On the pole is not the time to doubt yourself because outside of it being fun, you have to be careful not to fall off or hurt yourself. Luckily, neither happened for me. After 45 minutes of actually being on the pole, I left wanting next Tuesday to come. I was warned about how addicting pole can be and I never believed it.  Aside from the happy hormones that are released post workout, I was genuinely looking forward to getting better at pole dancing. I wanted to share the experience with everyone, and finally, I was very proud of myself for actually going through with my personal challenge. I was also happy that it was everything I was looking for in a “be more active challenge”; it was fun, full body workout, and only a few blocks from my internship.

Here are a few things you should know before starting a pole course:

  1. Make sure you do not apply any lotion, body oils, or greasy hair products within 24 hours of your class.

This was easy for me because it was summer and I can get away with not moisturizing for a day. I usually moisturized my hands but I washed them at least twice, thoroughly, before class.

  1. Make sure that your pole studio doesn’t over book their classes.  I’ve heard rumors about some studios assigning two people to a pole during the same class session.
  2. Short shorts, a tank top, and a sports bra is appropriate attire for class.

You’re allowed to be barefoot. In fact, my instructor taught class barefoot, as well.

  1. If you need the extra help, Dry Hands is a pretty good grip aid to help you gain more traction on the pole.

There are some controversies with using a grip aid when learning, but I think it is beneficial for a beginner. As you advance you’ll learn to distribute your weight and learn that sometimes you don’t even need your hands to grip the pole. Use your better judgement. I used it about twice and it helped a lot!

  1. Do not compare yourself to others.

No matter how good or bad you think you’re doing, stay in your own bubble. People advance at different levels and sometimes one person may naturally have more upper body strength or coordination than someone else.  Grow at your own pace!


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Shockra Dance Studio and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a class in NYC. I am even going to continue my training, as soon as I find someplace in my area.

I hope this post and tips were helpful and informative. What have you recently challenged yourself to do? Has anyone else tried pole classes?

August 21, 2015
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