Looking out the window on a cold, bleak February day, it's easy to notice the fitness resolutions of new year have already dwindled and we find ourselves reaching for that choccie bar and Disney film under a blanket. This collection of home comforts immediately favours the prospect of donning some Lycra and Nike's to brace the icy breeze waiting outside or the familiar smell of bleach and sweat at the local gym. It's not hard to see why Britain is fast becoming an obese population with such depletion in drive and motivation to get fit.
I'm not here to say I'm an angel. I count calories and frown as I stuff another Lindt truffle in my mouth when I step through the front door after work. Changing from a dress to pyjama bottoms and a baggy sweatshirt and nestling down on the sofa to catch up on Hollyoaks, before filling my face with a carb-enriched dinner before falling in to bed.
However, I do motivate myself with pole. Call it what you will, pole fitness or pole dancing, I'm not prudish. So, I will term it purely as "pole" so avoid controversy or offence.
The addictive fitness craze seems to be everywhere I look nowadays. My Facebook newsfeed is crammed with videos of polers, poses in professional photographs and adverts for the latest stripper-inspired shoes.
So, why is "just another form of fitness" so addictive and highly motivating?
Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I am saying "I never miss pole class". I have those chilly days where I've stressed myself out at work and find myself making every plausible excuse possible to hide away. The faintest sign of a headache turns to a migraine. The twinge in my back makes me paralysed. The puff of air as I get out my car turns to a blizzard. However, when I do go, which is 90% of the classes, I remember why.
The term "addiction" can be defined as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice. This is true of pole.
I grew up attending an all-girls school where I was bullied, beaten up and picked on for trivial matters such as having long hair, being under weight or having a blemish. I've found myself saying that familiar "I get on better with guys" quote and realising most of the time that it's true. Put me in a room full of bitchy girls and I panic. Imagine a room full of girls, where you have to strip down to vests and shorts and perform moves on a pole. Yeah, ok, that's a classic recipe for disaster. Imagine trying a move and somebody sees that one-too-many-Snickers roll of fat flop down over the waistband of your leggings, or that you don’t really need to wear a sports bra with a chest that flat but you thought you'd wear it too look the part...
Well, I’ll be honest, these were MY fears. But, wait! No bitchy girls? No whispering? No pointing? No laughing? Hang on, I heard a clap? I heard a "wow you're awesome!" comment.
At pole, you feel empowered, motivated, elated. You try a move for the first or 65th time and you nail it, and you look around at your fellow polers who are all smiling and cheering on your progress. Who care's that they got that move 3 lessons ago, because you got it now. You whip out your smart phone and get a snap. You can see a squidge against the pole, a cheeky tongue poking out in concentration and an inch on your thighs you wish weren’t there, but you also see a strong, happy woman smiling back, oozing confidence.
No matter what happens these ladies have our back, figuratively and literally. And nobody will let you fall......