Julie Swart is an approved pole dancing instructor at Vertical Vixens in South Africa, looking at her body now you would never believe she had suffered from being overweight but Julie’s body has changed dramatically since she started pole dancing.
We spoke to Julie to find out why pole dancing is such a great workout.
When did you first start to lose weight and why?
I came back from UK in 2005 and I started to work on losing weight the minute I stepped off the plane. I found a pole school in my area, joined their fitness classes and a few months later their pole classes. (The following year I opened my first studio teaching fitness and beginners pole classes.) I also started attending bikram yoga classes and I went to the gym for cardio.
What sort of changes did you have to make to your diet and exercise regime?
I did Pole almost every day, 5.30am Bikram Yoga and regular cardio gym sessions.
I tried to maintain a balanced diet, I started to eat less of the rubbish (sweets chocolates etc) and drank less alcohol. I drank lots of green tea & water
How difficult has it been to keep the weight off?
I always fight with a few kilos here and there but generally it has been easy to keep the weight off. I managed to lose the last few kilos in 2010 after visiting the USA to do my Unnata Aerial Yoga teacher training course.
How has pole dancing changed your life?
It has changed my life in so many ways, but what started off as just a fitness class for me grew into a business and a lifestyle. My confidence grew and I decided to change my whole career. I gave up my office job in 2011 and now I run Vertical Vixen® studios full time alongside my other passions, Aerial Yoga®.
When did you start pole dancing and why?
I started pole as a form of exercise back in 2005. I was looking for something fun and light hearted to do instead of a mundane exercise routine.
What advice would you give to others thinking of trying pole to aid weight loss?
Just keep working at it. Pole is one of those things that needs to be practiced and worked on all the time. It doesn’t happen overnight and you have to be patient. Keep persevering!
What are your pole plans for the future?
I am hoping to visit the UK in July to compete with my pole partner at the IPSF Competition. We are also looking at doing workshops in South Africa and hopefully make it through to IPC in Singapore in October 2013.
What is your favourite type of pole to work with?
At the moment I love working on a 38mm powder coated pole but I am trying to ween myself off it and go back to a stainless steel 45mm pole. Steel was always my preference due to the lack of pole burn when doing drops but the grip on PC poles really does help you stay on.
Julie Swart’s Pole Dancing Biography:
Julie Swart is a pole artist, aerial performer, pole fitness instructor, the founder of Vertical Vixen®, a member of the Pole Dance Community Syllabus Steering group, the co-founder of The Pole Fitness Association of South Africa and the co-owner of Aerial Yoga®.
Julie started her fitness career in 2005 upon returning from the UK by joining some pole and bikram yoga classes. The aim of joining these classes was to shed some unwanted weight gained whilst travelling… 7 years later she is still going strong. Julie found her passion in dance, yoga, aerial acrobatics and pole and made it her full time job in 2011.
Julie has trained with many different instructors in South Africa and she has also had the honour of training with some top international pole stars. She is currently ranked as one of the top pole dancers in South Africa and runs her own pole studio called Vertical Vixen®. Vertical Vixen® has grown from strength to strength and is a well-recognised studio in the pole industry.
In 2009 Julie completed her Vinyasa Yoga teacher training and then travelled to New York to complete her Unnata Aerial Yoga training. Together with Carly Bowden, they opened the first Aerial Yoga® studio, in South Africa, in April 2011. Together they offer the first Aerial Yoga® teacher training certification in South Africa and hope to open more studios of this kind in the future.
In 2010, Julie co-founded The Pole Fitness Association of South Africa with Tracey Simmonds. It was set up to establish standards for pole studios across South Africa and to encourage a community of sharing and growth in Pole fitness and dance.
In amongst all these developments in business, Julie has competed on in local competitions has won a few pole titles. Her aim for the future is to compete internationally as well as to perform as often as possible.
Julie Swart’s Pole Dance Competitions Titles:
- Miss Pole Dance SA Trixter 2012
- Miss Pole Dance SA 2012 – 2nd Place
- Miss Pole Dance SA Duet Division Winner 2012
- SA Pole Dance Championship 2010 Winner
- SA Pole Dance Championship 2008 – 2nd Place
- Miss Pole Dance 2007 – 2nd Place
If you want to try pole dancing to help you lose weight, keep fit and have fun then use our Pole Dance Community map to find an approved pole dancing instructor in your area.