Saturday, 4 June 2016

An accountability buddy

Today I became an accountability buddy.

Here's what happened...

In a shared conversation on my Grip And Squeeze facebook page, Amber disclosed feeling a disconnect with pole and not having her head space where it should be. Among the common themes of life getting in the way, tiredness, time, and apathy, we agreed to commit to attending two pole sessions per week. We share a joint one on Friday mornings, but differ on our evening sessions.

If Amber cannot make her class, she needs to be accountable to me. I'm not quite sure what that means, she did give me permission to yell at her. Unfortunately I'm not a yell'er... but I can give amazing face and have a pretty awesome scare-the-shit-out-of-you glare. I'm also a demon at typing in ALL CAPS, and I can type PRETTY BLOODY LOUDLY TOO... See!

So to avoid these scary events from happening Amber will attend her two nominated pole sessions per week. The reasoning behind this is:

  1. No one ever walks out of a pole class saying I shouldn't have come 
  2. It's consistency, even just twice a week it's still consistent: it's planned, it's do-able, and it will give results
  3. Every session attended is an achievement, a step forward towards her goal, towards our goal, to fan that spark that wants to burn brighter
  4. Every step forward is a positive that will lead to changing thought patterns, increasing drive, and increasing motivation


If you're struggling with your motivation, you've lost your pole mojo, and you're ready to fight to get it back, consider an accountability buddy. You've got nothing to lose.

Just do as was suggested by our instructor Karla and find someone you're not too comfortable with. You need someone not too familiar that you have to answer to, not someone who will let you make piss weak excuses, or worse still come up with them for you.

I've never done this before so hope I don't scare the shit out of my buddy with my new found sense of power. Maybe she doesn't realise I think I have power, oh but I do.

Mwah hahahaha

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Re-motivation

I have a voice that talks to me when I write. She's pretty cool and for the most part I really like her, she's informative, she makes me think, and she makes me laugh.

Unfortunately we go through bouts of silence too. I will have weeks and months where she just won't shut up and then weeks and months of nothing. Lately it's been nothing, and even worse than that, when there's been something to comment on or write about and another blogger beats me to it, and does a really good job of it too. So I make her voice be quiet and move on to something else to be distracted by.

But that doesn't get me writing, and I need to write. I want to write.

I have stuff I want to tell, to share, and to even just think about and process on the page; which was why I originally started blogging a long time ago now.

I'm wondering if my writing slump is having an impact on my poling too. My motivation has waned, the enthusiasm has dulled, and it's all become a bit 'meh'. I don't want it to be 'meh', I want my spark back, that hint of mischief, that bit of defiance I feel when I pole dance.

So I am trying a different approach, a pro-active approach.

Between Instagram, Facebook, and here I plan to report, in one form or another, something I did that was pole related.

Every. Damn. Day.

It might be in the form of a motivational quote, a thought, an activity, a blog post even, anything really that is pole related. All done with the intention of getting that motivation back and igniting that spark again.

This could get interesting.
Today's pole related activity... I wrote this post

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A beginners guide to pole shoes

The time has finally arrived. 

Your confidence has grown, or your curiosity has been piqued. 

Maybe you've secretly yearned for them, you've marveled at others on them, or you feel you may be close to being ready.

Perhaps you get a bit giddy at the thought of them, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid, you feel the adrenaline surge. Or that could be just me, I don't know?

Anyhoo, the time is closing in, or the time is now, whatever the reasons...

IT'S TIME TO BUY POLE SHOES! 
A variety of 6 inch heels
Your first purchase of pole shoes can be quite daunting, as well as exciting. There seems to be a huge array of styles, colours, and brands, and there is. The decision making process involved is mind blowing and can seem overwhelming. 

HOW IS A PERSON EXPECTED TO NARROW IT DOWN TO ONLY. ONE. PAIR! 

Chillax, I'm here to help. 

By no means do I consider myself as having the status of pole shoe queen or goddess... yet, I've reached double digits in my pole shoe collection and I've learned a few things along the way, practical and mistakes too.

First up my go to brand is Pleaser. I fully agree with the adage "You get what you pay for". With Pleaser's you expect quality, and I've not been disappointed yet. The Pleaser pole shoe is designed for the rigours and demands that pole dancing will place upon the shoe. They are light, and under the circumstances reasonably durable. Non pole shoes just can't handle the demands you will put on them. 

Pleaser's range of shoes and variety of styles is HUGE. And when I say huge do not for one second think I'm exaggerating. By huge I mean load the website, make a cuppa and a small snack because your arse is not going to lift off the chair your sitting on for a few hours.

The start off heel height I recommend is 6 inches. 
The classic glass slipper: Pleaser 6 inch
I know some people reading this are squirming, and not with excitement, instead it's fear, trepidation, or anxiety. 

Now let me explain a secret that will help calm your nerves. That height and that anticipated awkwardness, it's all an illusion. It truly is a good old trick of the eye and comes down to the platform under the ball of the foot. With the six inch heel the platform is almost at two inches which really gives you the equivalent heel height of wearing a four inch heel. A four inch heel is your standard women's high heel. See, you can do this.

Selecting a style you like is very personal. Pole shoes come as a slide, a strap sandal, ankle boots - open toe or closed toe, knee-hi boots, thigh-high boots, or chaps.
So many styles and only two feet... *drool*
When you're starting out I say go the strap sandal. The reasoning being inexperience can lead you to fling off a slide during a routine - so not sexy and very dangerous to anyone else in the room. The boots are a bit dearer and too lovely to be destroyed which makes them a good second buy when you're more experienced and know what you're doing, or a buy you save for performances. 

Did your heart skip a beat there at the word destroyed? Unfortunately it's true. Your pole shoes, as gorgeous as they are, are essentially the equivalent of gym shoes, and we all know how they end up over time.

Remember your shoes will be dragged as you sashay about the pole. They will be banged together as you master clacking and floor work. They will slide and drag when you do rollovers and any sort of tumbling, and they will knock into the pole intentionally or unintentionally. Basically your beautiful high heels will cop a beating over time. But then you're not buying them to look at them right, they're a functional piece of equipment for you to dance, and move, and be sexy in.
My first pole shoes *sigh*
These are my very first pair of Pleaser's. They lasted two years before I had to stop wearing them. I love the style, the chrome base with the black top. The colour variety available in the chrome is like a rainbow, just gorgeous. The chrome hardly marked at all considering the significant amount of time I spent banging the crap out of them with leg work. 

As you can see I have worn the front down from floor drags, but even that's not so bad. What made me have to give them up was the black covering stretching through wear and my toes sliding forward. Instead of dragging the tip of the shoe I was dragging my toes and that hurt like a bitch. Fortunately for me the time was right and I also went up a heel height as I felt very confident in the six in heels.
Toe overhang took a while but the material will eventually stretch... ouch
Yep, I now dance in eight inches, I train in them when I can, and believe it or not I'm very fortunate that I get to wear them to work. Working as a receptionist a my pole studio has some wonderful perks - like shoe wearing to showcase the different shoes I have... just because.
I know what 8 inches is ;)
Now here's something to remember... YOU CANNOT ORDER PLEASERS DIRECTLY FROM THEIR WEBSITE, they wholesale only so you need to find a retailer. A lot of pole studios are able to order in shoes for you, but not all. If you find yourself in this situation I have the PERFECT retailer for you! 

See, I've even taken the hard work out of this bit.

If your pole studio cannot order your Pleasers then there is a WONDERFUL online business I've been dealing with for well over four years now. I actually got my very first pair of 'real' high heels from her (Ramarim) and I haven't looked back; I started late with this whole shoe thing, my 40's, up until then I was a 'practical and safe' shoe wearer (boring) which really means I wasn't confident in my own skin to give high heels a go.

What is this wonderful business of which I speak? It's Shoe Me Gorgeous run by Jess Brown. Jess's customer service is OUTSTANDING, and delivery is quick - if there are delays she will get in touch and it is pretty much always a hold up at the other end. Another bonus is if you're not sure of your shoe size and you haven't been able to wrestle someones Pleasers off them to find out your correct shoe size (Pleasers are sized USA which is different to Australia and Europe), Shoe Me Gorgeous does offer exchange. One off pole studio orders may not be able to offer this.
Yes, be that chick!
I hope you like the information above and do note it is by no means exhaustive, it's just a beginners guide - something to get you started, just a tip of the heel that is pole shoe wisdom.

There is so much for me to tell you and teach you in the many months ahead about pole shoes. Until then what are you waiting for? Put the kettle on, rummage up a snack, open the website and get to it!

Happy pole shoe shopping... xox
This one makes me smile every time ;)
P.S. If you do go ahead and buy pole shoes please, please, please take picture of them and post it to Grip and Squeeze's facebook page. I'm always up for a bit of shoe porn <3

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Support Pole Dancing competitions


I wrote a brief comment on the loss of two significant annual pole competitions held in Queensland for the past few years, on my Facebook Grip and Squeeze page that I'd like to share here.
Just for the few misguided ones of you who have yet to 'like' the page on Facebook ;)


With Queensland having recently lost two outstanding pole competitions, Queensland Pole Championships and Miss Pole Dance Australia - Queensland heat, (Queensland entrants will now qualify through video submission) it is VITAL that we financially support the competitions and events we do have left. Yes, I do bring up the dreaded 'F' word - financial is the word for those naughty ones looking for another f-word in the last sentence :) 
Events and competitions are not charity or voluntary services offered by our community. They are expensive exercises involving many, many work hours, coordination, and significant up front costs in the months leading up to their date: venue hire, insurances, staff, equipment etc. If we want these events to continue we have to put our money where our mouth is and buy the tickets and get bums on seats. There is no other way. 
It truly is quite simplistic... you want it, you've got to go to it, and bring as many others as you can. It is a demand driven, financial enterprise. 
We need to let event organisers know, those people who are crazy enough and able enough to put these events on, that they will get the support they are so deserving of.
SO BUY THE DAMN TICKETS people, dress up, wear shoes to impress (I do make shoe contact before eye contact), and lets support our pole family and those of us driven to compete... they're special and need our love ;)

I added a further comment later in the discussion:
... and while a video submission may qualify you for the heat to travel interstate to compete at a National comp; video qualifying doesn't give you the pre-competition build up, the crowd experience, the shivers, the nerves, back stage dramas, tech runs, having to cope with a live audience, instant feedback, and learning to use your adrenaline to bring the performance home.
That live experience is truly NEEDED by those undertaking competitions. 
It's not just about the competition or competitors either. Every time I step away from an event I'm re-inspired, re-motivated, and fall just that little bit more in love with our community. It makes me want to be a better pole dancer, and flows in to various aspects of my life beyond the pole too <3
To wrap up, I don't believe all is lost, but then I AM an eternal optimist and ALWAYS look for that silver lining.

I think the competitions' absence, of however long but hopefully not too long, plus the huge growth we are seeing in poling, will drive the demand to bring these competitions back. But it will need to be demand driven and will need to become truly financially viable before anyone should consider investing in these once again.

So start saving you ticket money, and when the time is right make sure you're there and bring support with you. Make sure to support the competitions we do have left, and encourage those within your communities to do the same.

They will be back, better, brighter, shinier than before... for now we just hold on to what's left and we wait.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Revealing your belly

I did it.

I poled in a crop top.
I exposed my midriff.
People saw my tummy.

No one ran away screaming.
No one looked repulsed.
No one pointed.
The world did not end.
I did not die.

Hmmmm...

First let me explain if you're a non poler reading this. The reason pole dancers expose midriff, thighs, a bit of butt, hips, upper arms, and shoulders, is skin is needed to 'stick' to the pole. Unlike fabric which slides, slips, and doesn't hold grip at all, skin does.

Think about it. Could you pull yourself up on a pole with cotton gloves on? No. Now take them off and use your bare hands, your skin. You grip, you stick, you can climb.
Because of the tricks pole dancers do, the gymnastic type moves, the heights, the speed of some of the moves, the poler needs to stick to stay attached to the pole, so skin it is. The more challenging or difficult the trick, at times the more skin is needed to stick. Multiple tricks, different body parts need to stick to grip on and that equals less clothing worn to be able to accomplish these beautiful moves.

Having finally moved on from level 6 to level 7 at my pole studio, the tricks in this new level are harder, higher, and consequently require more skin to be exposed to be able to maintain grip to the pole during the trick. They are tricks which need midriff exposed to grip, and inner upper arm, just down from your armpit. So that means I NEED to expose my tummy, as squirmy and uncomfortable as it made me feel, if I want to do these new tricks and poses then off comes the top, so to speak.

The bruises are fresh, the muscles are sore, and my skin is once again slowly toughening, very slowly, at the main contact areas where these tricks are performed. And more skin equals more 'conditioning', which is a nice way to say it hurts until it doesn't.

Here's my suggestion if you're reluctant like I was to bare you midriff, show off your tummy, or even lift your top a bit for your skin to grip more... take a deep breath and DO IT!
Every one else is so busy concentrating on themselves and what they're trying to accomplish, focusing on where to place their hand, their foot, grunting and lifting into position, staying put and not crashing to the ground... honestly no one notices!

I will confess to you it's a bit of a let down even, after the self talk, the "You can do it!" in your head, the deep breathing as you peel off your clothes... and no one notices.

For me the following week at the end of my class my instructor casually walked up and said she noticed and she was proud of me for doing it because it was something she wasn't comfortable with herself. Mind blown! I would never have known if she hadn't told me. A classic example of being wrapped up in my own little bubble of insecurities and neuroses that other people's hang ups go by pretty much unnoticed.

So take that as the predominant position of most of your class members and go for it. Show your beautiful skin, as flawed, scarred, marked, or damaged as you think it is, it's not. It's a tool to use to achieve beautiful moves in pole, it's part of what makes you the beautiful poler you are, and it's part of the story that makes you uniquely you. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Five weeks of lazy

I must confess I'm quietly shitting myself. I've had five weeks break from poling, from fitness, from any activity that could potentially give me a bit of a sweaty sheen to my skin. 

Yep five weeks of complete lethargy, and it's been totally by choice. 

I've loved it but the time has ended and tonight I return to the pole world. Tonight I have two, one hour classes back to back. 
Tonight, well basically tonight my expectation is I will die.

Okay, okay, I'm going for the dramatic here... maybe not die but I will feel like death I'm sure. 

And it's all my own doing so I don't expect any sympathy what so ever, but if you do offer me some I will grab that on to it and cling desperately for dear life.

For five weeks I've been a gluttonous sloth, and I've loved it. 

I've eaten whatever the hell I wanted whenever I've wanted. I have over indulged, I have enjoyed Christmas and New Year. I've celebrated with family and friends. I've sat in front of the television binge watching Supernatural. It's been wonderful, but now the reckoning happens, now I pay the price.

And it's no surprise, it is what it is, and I am okay with it. I have a long year with lots of hard work ahead of me: physically, nutritionally, intellectually, emotionally. 

Bring it, it's going to be brilliant!

But tonight, that first night back at training, the reality check at just how far I've let myself go... it's going to hurt so bad.

The next day it will hurt a bit more, because the second day is always a bitch, and then it will lessen. Day by day after that it will lessen until eventually I return to the constant state of having a dull ache somewhere, a niggle here, a bruise there. Those things bring their own rewards though. They signify strength returning and increasing, flexibility unfolding, new skills being mastered, and old ones refined.

So bring it, listen to me bitch and moan, laugh as I suffer, and then join me as we kick some serious pole goals in 2016.

Yeah baby!


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

My First Pole Challenge - THE RESULT

Well, let me start by openly confessing I'm a bit up myself right now.

The 6 week Pole Challenge is over, I won a prize, and I'm incredibly happy.

Yep, I got the prize I was after, but more than that I got some pretty awesome results.

If you've not read my previous post, my pole studio ran it's first ever six week pole challenge where individual attendance at pole classes and casual classes was tracked... we had a wall chart, I LOVE CHARTS! There was a weigh-in and measurements taken of all participants before the start, at the halfway point, and just before the end. The prizes on offer included winning a 6 week pole course, or winning a photo shoot. To win the pole course you had to have attended the most pole sessions during the challenge. To win the photo shoot you had to have had the most outstanding result. I desperately wanted the photo shoot, not only because it's lovely to get some nice pics but because the photographer is one of the instructors at our studio and she does amazing pics.
 
So how was the six weeks?
 
"Interesting" is a word that sums it up pretty well.
 
One of the best things about this challenge was learning more about my fellow competitors. We had a separate group page set up just for us to whinge and complain, to boast, to support, to nag, to show pictures of our food, and to jolly about, I loved it. I loved showing what I could do, I loved telling people to keep going - one slip doesn't wreck your whole day was a common theme, I loved complaining, and I loved goading. I just really enjoyed communicating and sharing... no surprises there I suppose, hey.
I loved how this interaction with my fellow competitors kept me motivated. It stopped me from sticking my head in the fridge, or ordering something I "shouldn't" because I'd feel the need to confess. It made me accountable I suppose. I felt how could I encourage others if I didn't practice what I was preaching, that helped me immensely, and helped me get the dramatic results I got.
 
I also loved being at the studio so frequently during the week, it was fun. The vibe was amazing, people knew we were the challengers, they asked about the chart and how we were going. It engaged us more with our pole sisters. I didn't hear one negative comment, only support and encouragement, and I wouldn't expect anything else from these babes.
 
The hardest thing about the challenge... being at the studio so often. I know this completely juxtaposes the previous paragraph but I have this terrible affliction called guilt. I believe it's common to a lot of women, especially mothers, though not exclusively I will add.
 
My family were very encouraging of wanting me to ping off out of the house to get my pole on. They could see the benefits that were happening, my changes, my growth. But, that never really stops you feeling guilty for stepping out and leaving the kids (18 & 14, yeah I know, big kids) home alone. Or hub having evenings to himself, even though he was doing late nights with work and not home much before me it turned out.
 
I did find it hard cooking two sets of meals. I ended up stepping back and made the family's meals very, very basic, or left them to their own devices. There wasn't too much junk, only because we're rural so not much close by. But kids don't see food, they see ingredients, and that's just too much effort to turn into food, so basic is a good way to describe how things were a lot of the time for them, especially towards the end.
 
So what were my specifics, my dramatic result? For those wanting details here they are....

I lost a total of 7.4 kilograms, that's a bit over 16 lb's for those non-metric people.
Yep, in six weeks it just dropped off and there were only two days where I could have chewed the leg off a cow, the rest was pretty smooth hunger-wise all things considered.

I shrank my body by lots of centimeters.
  • Chest: - 5 cm
  • Waist: - 9 cm
  • Hips: - 6 cm
  • Arm at bicep: - 3 cm
  • Thigh at widest part: - 3 cm
I attended almost 40 classes during the six weeks, averaging six classes per week. I also attended The Australian Pole Festival during week four of the challenge, this equalled 12 pole or pole related workshops during a three day weekend, yes it was hectic but it's pole!
 
I built muscle and lost body fat, and my upper body strength is developing along nicely.
 
I've debated the past few days about putting the following comparison pic up, you know trolls and well - internet, but it's also a pic of my 6 week achievement so "Fuck it!" Being honest there's already pics of me in my underwear out there from a previous blog so not much different really. Do remember with the before pics I was in a month long binge prior to starting, stress and issues. I still have them, stress and issues that is, I just manage them differently and will continue to I hope.
Yay me ;)
So what now?
 
ANOTHER CHALLENGE!

Yep, the studio is doing another six week challenge, same prizes, and I have signed up and am continuing. I'm not expecting the same dramatic results, but I know I'll get good results regardless. My motivation is high and my goals are realistic. I don't think I can attend six sessions a week, but I can do things at home to help. I have the above pics as my guide of where I've come from and I know where I want to go to. I want to be stronger, fitter, able to do more complicated pole tricks and moves, pole better overall, and just feel better and healthier... and I think I'm well on my way.
Keep going babe
 
P.S. Thank you Roly Poler for making me edit, decide to put in my pics, and hit the publish button... xox