After trying some of the regular fitness classes at my gym and not enjoying them very much, I decided to try the pole classes I had seen advertised there. I attended my first lesson in 2015 with Sue Thompson in Bognor and was hooked straight away, knowing that this was something I wanted to stick at.

Initially attending weekly pole lessons, I really built my confidence and strength, and found that I enjoyed and was quite good at the more flexible moves, so I decided to try some of the extra classes run by my instructor to help my progression such as stretch & flexibility, strength & conditioning, Pilates, and choreography.

I started to take the occasional second weekly pole lesson after around 6 months having built up my strength and dabbled with some doubles pole, aerial hoop, silks, and trapeze. I quickly progressed to 2 lessons every week alongside any additional classes being run (the pole addiction is real!) and found that I enjoyed helping others during the lessons too. I have also started attending weekly aerial hoop lessons to build my strength and skills. My favourite pole moves are cocoon, tinkerbell spin, and a hip lock drop thrown in for good measure!

A little over a year after starting lessons my instructor Sue suggested looking into apprenticing. I was pushed into the deep end in 2016 and began apprenticing in a class of students at a similar ability and strength level, but I enjoyed the challenge and having my comfort zone pushed. I qualified as an instructor in April 2017 and since then have really enjoyed covering odd classes. I am hoping to start teaching a regular class soon. 

I enjoy pole because, as cliché as it sounds, it really is a very accepting group of people. Having fairly low body confidence to begin with, I worried that I would feel uncomfortable, however I felt accepted right from the start and have built up enough confidence to since perform pole routines in front of an audience. Pole is just as much part of my social life as it is my fitness regime and I have made some close friends along the way. I also enjoy pole because there is so much freedom to express and develop yourself, others may excel at a complex spin you find difficult, yet you can drop head first down a pole (as I often do..) while others find that a step too far! There are moves for every ability level, you can work towards your strengths and your weaknesses will follow.

Outside of pole, I enjoy weight and strength training at my gym a few times per week, baking when I can, going back to the gym because I ate everything I baked, rock climbing, hiking, and camping.

Jess Smith 

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