Pole Position - The Alternative Workout Designed To Boost Your Confidence
Originally found only in dive bars and strip clubs, pole dancing hasn’t always had the shiniest of reputations. These days, however, it is one of the UK’s most popular alternative workouts (PLUS it's VBO Founder, Tina’s, favourite pastime!) So, what is it about pole that people love so much? We had a chat with Pole Emporium owner, Colleen Budd, to find out.
“I was always into fitness but never really had the guts to try out pole. Then my best friend emigrated to New Zealand and my dad was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and that pushed me into taking my first class. I’ve never looked back!” Colleen began doing pole as a hobby during a period of big changes, and fell in love with the confidence boost it gave her. She then branched out into selling clothes and pole accessories which were otherwise only available in the States. Fast-forward a few years, and she now owns Pole Emporium, one of the UK’s leading pole-wear vendors.
But pole has given Colleen a lot more than a business. “It's taught me a great deal. I have discovered that I am capable of amazing things – I never realised my body could bend the way it does! It’s made me so much more confident and I’ve become stronger than I ever thought possible.”
And here lies the secret to pole's popularity. More than the physical benefits, pole's power lies in the confidence you gain. Pole lovers will tell you that it teaches you patience, strength, discipline and – quite apart from anything else – it’s really, really good fun. A challenge for the mind and the body that almost anyone can undertake, regardless of gender, fitness level or body shape.
Don't believe me? Last month, 35-year-old Allison Sipes was in the news, because she carried on poling through her pregnancy! Still going strong at 38 weeks, her doctors not only signed off on it - they encouraged it! Because keeping fit helps delivery and recovery, and because a pregnant mum deserves to work out in the way that she chooses.
It does not get more kick-ass than that. Pole has fans of all backgrounds and ages, and a good teacher will be able to coax unexpected movement out of every single student.
Which is why it can be particularly frustrating that people still believe its only place is in strip clubs. Yes – pole can be sexy – but it doesn’t have to be! And to push it as a sexy workout runs the risk of intimidating a large section of the population and stopping them from having a go. “Some people will always have tunnel vision about pole” says Colleen, “and it’s a shame because they are not seeing it for what it really is. It’s a demanding and challenging sport which can be used to portray a variety of emotions – just like any other form of dance.”
Which brings us to the question of the future of pole. In the autumn of 2017, Pole dancing was given “observer status” by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) – which basically means it can now (provisionally, at least) be called a sport. This new decision means that we could – in theory – see pole being taken to the Olympics in the coming years. Exciting times!
Anybody else feel like giving it a go now? If you do – we’ve got a couple of tips for ya.
Do your research to make sure you pick a qualified teacher and a club with happy students. Avoid lathering up pre-class with any lotions (unless you fancy an undignified slip off the pole) and be sure to dress appropriately – Colleen recommends a supportive sports bra, close-fitting shorts and socks for warming up. Be prepared for bruises, aching, and a deep-felt sense of achievement. Most importantly, try not to be nervous - the one thing pole classes have in common is that they are full of happy, supportive people, who want to help you feel like the glorious bad-ass you are.
Bring it on.
Colleen’s Top Pole Picks
Bandurska Arabella set – classy and practical, but super-feminine and sexy!
Cleo The Hurricane Tropical hot pants - they have converted me from basic pole shorts to colours and pattern, love them!
Gale Lux Velvet sets - super soft and gorgeous! Plus, the shoulders are bare which makes them great for shoulder mounting!
Booty Candy t-shirts - great for going to and from pole. My personal favourite is the “I Do Epic Cosmic Shit”, because - as a poler - I do!
Cleo The Hurricane Cleotards - they are incredibly bold but very fierce!
...and Colleen and Tina's weapon of choice....I mean Pole Studio & Teacher of choice?
The fabulous Chloe Anderson at The Pole Lab in Brighton & Hove!