Today is the day I have decided to be British Pole Dancing Champ, and this is the diary following my journey to success. As it stands I am in the process of moving house and so have 3 weeks of living out of a bag. This means that all I can do is work, go to the gym and Starbucks. Luckily my gym has a pole studio in it, as my pole is currently in storage (even if it wasn’t, I don’t have any walls, ceiling or floor to put it up). I’m not too sure that I’m allowed to use the poles at the gym without asking but I’ve decided to risk it, hoping that if they try to kick me out, they will be wowed by my pole skills and forget all about it.
My time in Starbucks is spent watching pole dancing videos on-line, drinking tea and hoping no one steals my laptop while I pop to the toilet. (So far so good!) Watching these videos over and over is where I started to get a little cocky. It’s so easy to say ‘I can do that spin’ while sitting down all warm and cosy. Quite another thing when you’re in a pretty cold, mostly empty room in not much clothing. So I decided I wanted to start entering Pole Dancing Competitions. Not only would this give me something to aim for but it would get my fitness levels right up, especially as I’ve just entered the London Marathon. (I’m not a great runner – just 5k so far, but that’s another story for another time) I decided to aim for Britain’s Champ rather than the World Champ…I didn’t want to aim too high too soon!!
At this point, I feel it is important to point out that I am not of Champion status…yet. I’m pretty confident with spins and upside down tricks but when I start griping on with the inside of my elbow, the pain really starts! Step one of my road to Champsville began not with training, but with me telling everyone about my aim. I figured the more people who knew, the more likely I was to succeed. Not so. The more I told people, the more they stared at me in utter confusion. Nevertheless, my journey had begun.
I wrote a list of a few moves that I’ve been half-heartedly working one with the aim of perfecting these and then joining them all together. I wanted to do the Ayesha with an elbow grip, Shoulder Mount to a Seat and the Half Flag. Ouch. Day One saw me fall to the floor (with grace and skill, of course) rather than perfect my skills. I immediately realised that my task might be very, very difficult. One week later my body was covered in bruises. The way I see it is that every bruise I get, I’m one step closer to that trophy. (I hope there’s a trophy…)
A Few Months On…
So the training went like this.. wake up, cycle to the gym and pole for an hour. Go to work. Go back to the gym and pole for an hour. Cycle home. I did this pretty much every day with Saturdays off as I was teaching dance classes – usually pole dancing! I got so battered and bruised, it was ridiculous.
Every day that I poled was different to the last. I found that I was not so good in the mornings and so would do a lot of stretching and some practise with my dead lifts. When I came back in the evenings I was a lot better. I had to share my pole space with a lot of inquisitive spinners. (RPM class was held in the same room) While I was finishing my session, they were getting ready to start. I had a lot of men asking me to show them how to get a stronger upper body… This was great for them, but not so good for my training!
A great day came when I figured out how to plug my iPod in to the sound system and had my music blaring out.. brilliant. A not so great day came when my iPod broke and I had to listen to old school tunes from about 10 years ago. This did not help my ‘cool’ rating at the gym!
In between working out on the pole I was also training for the 10k Race for Life… which meant lots of running in the streets. Needless to say I was worn out! Luckily I did this in record time…for me: 56mins – just under my 1hr hope! Although when I hit the 8k mark I wondered why anyone would ever run a marathon!!
I decide to look on YouTube to see if I could find videos from the same pole competition that I was taking part in, but just a different heat. I felt like I was cheating somehow but I wanted to know what I was up against! I found it a little hard not to copy their combinations! I did a lot more research and watched a lot of competitions from all sorts of levels. Some days I would feel confident knowing I could do all the moves but then I’d find a move I’d never even see before. Enter the panic!
I wrote another list of moves that I wanted to try and kept adding to it everyday. I managed to progress very quickly completing move after move. My dream of a shoulder mount flip was only a little closer… but more often than not I took some sort of graceful tumble!
When I got home I would imagine how it would feel to win… that little ‘oh me? Did I really win? I wasn’t expecting this at all…’ played over and over in my head. Some days I thought that with an imagination like mine, it was just cruel not to let me win!
As competition day got closer it suddenly dawned on my that I hadn’t actually worked on a routine! The strength training and moves were done to death but the routine not so much. I put short routine pieces together and somehow joined them up. The hardest part was the realisation that I am not as good on a spinning pole as I thought I was! I just about managed to jump onto it and hold on for dear life. I decided that by this point I would have to make do with my skills and hope I didn’t fall!
With the routine just about finished, competition day was upon us…