August 2010 - People Magazine

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Celebrities are not the only ones taking to the poll for a good workout

Pole Fitness

Celebrities are not the only ones taking to the poll for a good workout. We chat to Julie Swart, owner of Vertical Vixen, for the low-down on pole dancing, aka pole fitness – and find out why it’s actually very good for you (even outside the bedroom).

How long have you been pole dancing and what got you started?

I started pole dancing in August 2005. I joined when I came back from the UK as I was overweight and pole dancing seemed very intriguing and a fun new fitness technique.

How has your body changed since?

I am more toned and much stronger. I have also much better muscle control and coordination.

What, in your opinion, are the benefits?

It is a full body workout that is always changing.

Is pole dancing for a specific age group?

I have women aged from 16 to late 50s attending classes. The most popular age group is between 20 and 40s.

How fast do girls see results?

Within the first month they will notice an increase in their strength. In terms of body toning usually within the first two months they will notice the body firming up.

How often should one do it to see results?

Two to three times a week.

How safe is it?

It is safe as long as you are with a reputable school and instructor. People only get injured when they do things their bodies aren’t ready for like with any other sport.

Do you do any other form of exercise?

I do yoga alongside my pole training which I try to incorporate into our fitness classes. I am busy with my Yoga teacher’s course at the moment.

Tell us how pole dancing includes the benefits of cardio, toning, strength training, safe weight loss and gymnastics?

In a Vertical Vixen pole fitness level one class a student will learn strengthening techniques and tricks which incorporate most muscle groups in the body.

This is where the strength training and body toning comes in. Each pole move uses the students own body weight and the body adapts quickly to the strains placed on it.

In a Vertical Vixen pole dance class the moves that they have learnt in the level one class will be combined into a dance routine.

This routine gets practiced repeatedly in the hour class and is the cardio part of the fitness regime.
I have a student who has lost 20kg since she joined at the beginning of the year. No funky diets or crazy pills, just regular attendance.

Because we build more muscle in pole dance classes, it uses up more energy in your body than fat and you will automatically start to lose weight.

What are the advantages, and if any, disadvantages?

It improves overall body tone, strength and endurance. It’s also sociable, fun and helps give the students a self-confidence boost. There are always disadvantages to any sport – this one is that you get bruised when you start out.

Why would you recommend it?

Because it is so much fun. It’s challenging and there is never a dull moment! It has so much to offer in terms of a fitness regime and it is definitely worth giving it a bash.

Stars like Teri Hatcher, Lindsay Lohan and Kate Hudson are bringing out their inner stripper, using pole dancing as a form of training.