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Once upon a time I decided to give pole dancing a try, and long story short, I’m now addicted. Strong is the new sexy, however when it comes to this incredibly athletic yet acrobatic form of exercise the sexy makes getting strong so RAD. I recently had a RAD pole dancing 101 experience with one my favorite NYC FitGirls Courtney Alexander of Flaunt Your Fitness, so enjoy this beauties.
First things first, pole dancing is not a strippers only sport. “Because of where it originated (in the strip club) some people still view this form of exercise as taboo,” says Alexander. But lets not be fooled, pole dancing “is genuinely a great total body workout,” she adds. So whether you are looking for a new way to sweat or just want to unleash your sexy side ladies you absolutely must give pole dancing a try…and here is why:
1. You Will Sweat
The first thing I noticed during my pole dancing 101 session with Courtney was, “Yo this is cardio!” My roots were instantly damp and I loved it. So don’t let those sashays and turns fool you girls, in one single class you can burn up to 250 calories.
2. You Will Be A Buff Babe
I lift weights, do push ups and sometimes pull ups, so I was blown away by how sore I was after my first pole dancing class. I mean hello, you have to support your entire body weight with your upper body most of the time, your quadriceps and inner thighs are used to grip the pole during climbs, and lets not forget your core–mine was on fire throughout. So there you have it, total body strength training.
3. You Will Be More Flexible Than Gumby
If you’re not able to bend and touch your toes, pole dancing may be the solution to improve your flexibility. The warm up in an average pole dancing class involves plenty of stretches to reduce tension in the body. Also, moves like splits and backbends are incorporated into some pole moves that significantly improve the body’s flexibility.
4. Your Confidence Will Soar
Once you get the basics down and strengthen your muscles a bit, you will quickly begin to develop some serious skills and a body that makes heads turn. Being confident isn’t just about your state of mind – you will actually start to walk tall and improve your posture.
5. You Will Give Your Mood A RAD Boost
Pole dancing can greatly boost your mood, because well, it’s exercise and like any other form of sweat, your body releases endorphins – the feel good hormone. It also can be an excellent stress reliever. “I started pole dancing about a year or so after my mother passed away and it became my happy constant,” shared Alexander. I could totally relate to this and post class I too felt mentally high for several days to follow.
RAD Tips From Courtney Alexander (Flaunt Your Fitness Pole Instructor)
So now that you know more about the physical and mental benefits of pole dancing, allow me to leave you with a few more RAD tips from Flaunt Your Fitness owner, Courtney Alexander:
HelloBeautiful: So do tell Courtney, what made you get into pole dancing?
Courtney Alexander: I started about 5-6 years ago. A friend of mine invited me to take a class and I’ve been addicted ever since. I ran track in high school and college so it was great to be part of a “fitness community” again. My love of pole dancing is what initiated my fitness career.
HB: What advice would you give someone who is brand new to pole dancing?
CA: I would tell them to keep an open mind and to keep at it. People usually think pole dancing is easier than it looks. But with anything, it takes time and practice to master. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
HB: So what if you are shy or uncomfortable being all sexy and stuff?
CA: The sexy dancing that is incorporated within pole dancing is uncomfortable for some in a group setting. So, get an alter ego, name her, and get ready to dance!
HB: So I’m getting a pole for the house ASAP! Do you recommend practicing pole dancing alone?
CA: Pole dancing is mainly offered in a group/class setting however there are also private one-on-one and semi-private options available as well. It’s always a good idea to have another person (a spotter) present because some of the moves can be very difficult and potentially dangerous if done alone. When a gymnast learns a new move her coach is present. The same mentality should be used with pole dancing.
HB: Ok, last question – what are some the safety precautions and risks one should know before they start a pole dancing practice?
CA: No lotion! You want to stick to the pole, not slide off of it. Also, don’t rush a move, have a spotter when trying difficult moves, and remember to engage your core. Form is important with all moves. You will have (pole) bruises from some of the moves – but that’s normal. And of course, remember to keep it fun (and sexy)!
Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!
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So, RSVP for your class at any of the links below.
And, just because we know you want to keep your fitness goals throughout February, we’ve partnered with Crunch to give R29 readers a free one-week trial membership and one free personal training session at select Miami, SF, LA & NY locations (does not include Essential clubs). Pretty great, huh? Just use your email address to sign up in the box below and you’ll immediately see a link to sign up and access your free gym time. And, then get on it! Your free pass and training session must be redeemed within two weeks of signing up.
In the meantime, we’re walking you through an exclusive six-move class preview. Click ahead to get started!
Last March, Shekinah Monee, a publicist who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was surprised to receive a text and a phone call from her ex-boyfriend, whom she dated from 2006 to 2008. She says her ex thanked her for always supporting him and said, “I’m sorry for any pain that I caused you and I always loved you.”
It turns out he had recently proposed to another woman. But instead of offering comfort, Monee, 29, describes the pre-wedding mea culpa as “mind-boggling.”
“He’s probably doing it so he goes into his marriage clean and he’s not bringing any bad karma into it,” she says. “But I definitely think it’s selfish.”
Ah, modern romance. First comes Tinder, then comes love, then comes the flash-mob marriage proposal. And now? The passive-aggressive apology call to all your exes.
Last week, Us Weekly revealed that Maroon 5 rocker Adam Levine has been begging his ex-girlfriends for forgiveness before his July wedding to 25-year-old Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo.
Like a 12-stepper dutifully making amends to those he harmed in his reckless dating days, “The Voice” mentor is offering the equivalent of “Sorry! (But not enough to get back with you!)” to former flames Anne Vyalitsyna and Nina Agdal, both models.
(Levine, 35, infamously dumped Agdal by first ignoring her calls and then informing her, via text, of his speedy engagement to Prinsloo.)
Even royalty have played the pre-wedding sorry game. In 2005, a prominent bishop forced Prince Charles to apologize to Camilla Parker Bowles’ ex-husband before Charles was allowed to marry her.
But rockers and royals aren’t alone on the grand apology tour. Many New Yorkers say they’ve noticed a “forgive me, former lover, for I have sinned” trend emerging on the city’s dating scene, underscored by Levine’s publicized entreaties.
When Amelia Blanquera, a lawyer and writer who lives in Fort Greene, opened her work email a few weeks ago, she was less than thrilled to find a message from her former fiancé, whom she hadn’t spoken to in two years.
“I thought, ‘Either he’s getting married or he has some fatal illness,’ ” she recalls.
In a note full of odd detail, he announced he was, in fact, betrothed and then took pains to express gratitude for his relationship with Blanquera and all that she had taught him.
“It was sweet,” says Blanquera, who’s in her 40s. “But it was a little strange. I didn’t really need to know that. And who’s it for? It’s not really for me, it’s for him.”
Her friends were even more indignant on her behalf. “It presupposes that I’ve been pining away for him all these years,” she explains, noting that she’s very happy in her current relationship.
“I think it’s a terrible, horrible idea,” she adds. “If any of my guy friends said, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about doing this,’ I would say don’t do it. Absolutely not.”
Relationship experts agree that the new craze for atonement often causes more harm than good.
“Ask yourself one fundamental question: Is this benefiting you, or them?” advises Richard Gallagher, a marriage and family therapist in Ithaca, NY, and author of “How To Tell Anyone Anything.” “Some exes might find it very healing to have a sense of closure, but for others it reopens old wounds. Your gut will tell you who this is really benefiting.”
Gallagher underlines the critical difference between making restitution and simply making yourself feel better. He says that while 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, encourage participants to make things right with those they’ve harmed, the process itself should never cause further damage.
“The timing of any apology shouldn’t be driven by your wedding, but rather by what your ex wants, needs and deserves,” he says. “Whether they need an apology or need to be left alone.”
That’s advice that Josh, a 34-year-old who works in finance and lives in Westport, Conn., probably wishes he’d taken. (He asked that his last name not be used because of an office policy.)
Several years ago, he called his former longtime girlfriend to share the unexpected news that he had become engaged and was expecting a baby. He says he wanted to “make things cool” with his ex before he became a husband and a father.
“Things hadn’t ended well: I basically told her it wasn’t meant to be,” he explains of his prior relationship. “So I wanted to wish her well, and maybe I’d get a wish of good luck in return.”
In retrospect, that was perhaps not his best-laid plan.
“It was like throwing a spark on a powder keg,” he recalls. “I think she’d been hating me the whole time after the breakup. She completely flipped out — she wished my soon-to-be family ill!”
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — and then apologized to via a joyous wedding announcement.
Interestingly, it seems men are more often initiating these bids for forgiveness than women.
John Kador, author of the book “Effective Apology,” says that while American women are more apologetic in general, it’s likely that ladies are making their amends privately or via a conversation with a therapist, rather than picking up the phone to actually call an ex.
“These men, I suspect on some level, still want to have the last word, and I think that undermines their contrition,” Kador says. “One of the definitions of apology is giving up the right to have the last word. I’d be much happier with these statements if they were private and didn’t posture as much.”
And when women do push for forgiveness from an ex, it might be on behalf of a man. When Marie, a 37-year-old publicist from Park Slope, began dating her now-husband, she was appalled to learn he’d dumped his prior (very serious) girlfriend by going radio silent on her calls.
“I was mad on her behalf — there was no closure,” says Marie. “So I made him call her and apologize.”
Her husband’s defense? “I’m not a good breaker-upper,” George, 44, admits. “I thought I’d hurt her — and I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Although he didn’t pick up the phone before his 2006 wedding, he finally bit the bullet last summer after further prompting from Marie. (She and George asked that their last names not be used to protect their privacy.)
“It was awkward, but I felt unburdened,” he says of the hour-long conversation with his ex. “She wasn’t angry at all and I felt better after I cleared the air.”
Indeed, some women welcome such peace offerings with open arms.
“I was so relieved I cried,” says Kate, a 26-year-old actress who lives in Union Square and received an email apology from her former boyfriend last spring, a few months after he proposed to someone else. “It’s rare that someone will swallow their pride and apologize, or even acknowledge, ‘That wasn’t my finest hour and I still care about you.’ ”
Kate, who asked that her last name not be used for professional reasons, dated her ex-boyfriend (“slash best friend”) during college and even moved to New York with him. Soon after, in 2010, he asked for a serious commitment, but she wasn’t ready. And while she thought their breakup was amicable, a few days later he lashed out in a bitter tirade.
“He said I made the past year of his life miserable,” she recalls. “I was shocked — we didn’t talk for three years after that.”
But she was moved by his out-of-the-blue reconciliation note last April. “His email wasn’t showy or grandstand-y; it was warm and personal and genuine and heartfelt,” she says, adding that she’s more suspicious of bad-boy Levine’s apology tour. “I don’t buy that it’s genuine — his publicist probably told him his Q score could use some juicing.”
Carmen Alicia Belcher, a 29-year-old wardrobe stylist and founder of the thehommegirl.com fashion blog, is similarly dubious of the prenuptial apology she received from a former college fling.
She hadn’t seen her former “Mr. Big” in four years, so she was surprised when she received a Facebook private message from him in 2010. Although he didn’t mention it in his note, it was clear from his wall that he’d gotten engaged just a few days before he reached out to make amends.
“I guess that’s the guilty conscience,” says Belcher, who lives in Park Slope. “Maybe for a man who’s kind of a dog, when they decide to get married, they start to think about all the people they used to have. It really doesn’t make any sense.”
Blanquera, the lawyer, blames the ex-conciliation trend on Hollywood’s obsession with happily-ever-afters. “Movies tell you to do nice, clean endings,” she says. “But that’s not real life. Real life is messy and emotional and things just peter out. And I’m OK with that.”
So what’s the best approach for anyone feeling guilt toward a former sweetheart and itching to “pull a Levine” before walking down the aisle?
Author Kador recommends writing an apology letter but never sending it. And relationship expert Gallagher says making restitution will take more than a quick call.
“The best strategy of all is to simply become a better person,” he says. “And then do what that better person would do.”
Additional reporting by Doree Lewak
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