Monthly Archives: October 2012

Push?

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How is this even possible? My heart rate monitor gave this reading as my calorie burn from tonight’s class. I let it run a little longer, waiting for my heart rate to drop, but still…

Tying it together

At today’s Lyra class, we worked on tying our tricks together and smoothing out our transitions – something important for pole, too! I’m still working on making combos mesh well and smoothing out the moments between tricks so that I get rid of the awkward, “okay, now I’m gonna do a trick” pause.

With Lyra, it feels like I know a lot of tricks for someone who started 2 months ago, but I don’t yet know how to full incorporate all of them. If I mount one way, I can get into this trick and that trick, but I haven’t figured out how to get back around to do these other three tricks, and then if I mount this other way…yeah, it goes on. So, in today’s class, Leigh had us working on transitions within a specific series of tricks off of the Mermaid. We had the option of taping ourselves, so we could learn a little more – video below! – and we also had to work in pairs at the end! She had us pair up to choreograph our movements – again, doing the same specific movements, but we could add more if we both knew how to do them – and then having to sync our movements while performing on different hoops. It was an interesting exercise! We also worked on center straddle mounts – Leigh makes it look so easy and stunning, but damn, it’s hard! I’d venture to say that it’s harder than straight leg inverts on the pole, but that’s also not my strong suit (still tweaks my back a bit). I was able to do the straddle mount better on the shorter hoop, so I ended up practicing more on that one. We did a fair amount of conditioning for that mount, so I am hopeful to get to continue and improve!

Anyway, here’s my video from today’s class – I’ve already launched up to mount the hoop when it starts, but you’ll see Leigh spin me – she wanted us to all work while the hoops were spinning, so she gave us each a spin just after we inverted. It’s such a challenge when spinning, and I had a momentary panic attack about getting dizzy, but the moment I focused very intently on what trick I was doing and where my hands needed to be, I was able to work through the spinning and not get dizzy – I’m still working on that with spinning pole!!!

Also, a couple of videos of Leigh, because she’s awesome:

This is her performance from CPDC 2012, which I loved:

How Many Calories Does Pole Dancing Burn?

Ah, yes. THAT question. :-)

One of the great things about starting a pole dance or pole fitness class are the health benefits – from weight loss to muscle building and toning, pole can have an amazing impact on your body. Add in increased flexibility, endorphins, and even the confidence and connection to oneself that pole can build, and you’ve got an activity that can change your life in many ways.

But, what about the calories?

Let’s face it – calorie burning is just one of those things that a lot of us think about. “Did I work off that donut? Those gummi bears? That extra bit of cheese?” (Okay, maybe not everybody eats as crappy as I do…) A few weeks ago, I posted about my quest to track my calories better. I’ve been keeping up with my food journal via the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, which has been a decent tracker – there are tons of foods already logged into the database, which can make it easier to find and track what you’re eating, but you can also add your own entries if you have a product label handy (there’s also an option to scan product bar codes, but I haven’t tried it). You also have the option of entering your workouts to track calories expended, but the totals are a little suspect – and the options aren’t great. Naturally, there was no option for pole dancing or pole fitness in the database. :-) The results that I found in running online searches weren’t great, either. In general, they quoted about 250 calories, but there was no way to really quantify it. I wanted something that I felt was more accurate for me. Also, since I started tracking calories in an attempt to shed some extra weight, I wanted more accuracy.

After some research, I purchased a Polar Ft40F heart rate monitor to wear during my pole and lyra classes, to try to get an average of calories burned in each class.

Polar FT40F White (Women’s Heart Rate Monitor)

I’ve been wearing it in every class for the last three weeks. The model features a watch band computer that logs and tracks the results, as well as a chest strap and monitor attachment to wear while working out. You have to enter your stats in the computer in order to get proper results, i.e. height, weight, age. So, keep in mind that this data is based on my specific stats!

Here are my results (so far):

Pole Class 1: 561 calories burned, 100 minutes in length

Lyra Class 1: 491 calories burned, 60 minutes in length (private session)

Pole Class 2: 586 calories burned, 90 minutes in length

Lyra Class 2: 423 calories burned, 96 minutes in length (full class)

Pole Class 3: 523 calories burned, 100 minutes in length

Each of my pole classes is scheduled to be 90 minutes in length – I start the monitor as soon as we begin our warm up and keep it on until after our freestyle at the end of class, when I notice my heart rate falling again. My class spends about half an hour on our warm up, which consists of stretching, calisthenics, and some aerobic activity from things like ab sets, planks, leg work, etc. Our warm up is tough and meant to condition for aerial – it’s less about connecting to the music and the flow of dance and expression, and more about getting you to the point of being able to get your butt over your head.

We work on a lot of pole tricks at my level – fewer spins and floor work (although, it is included depending on the lesson for the class), more climbs, inversions, mid-air tricks, lifts, and aerial training. While we’re not constantly moving, when we are moving, it’s usually in larger, more difficult movements. So, there’s a lot of up and down with the exertion – which I’ve heard burns more calories, but I’m not a trainer, so I can’t attest to that for sure. :-) An example of what we worked on in my last class: our warm up, followed by revisiting the junkyard swing so we could attempt it in mid-air, then some work on shoulder mount flips (taking the mount into a pencil, then flipping the legs back down to a pole sit), multiple goes at conditioning our aerial twisted grip pencils and ayeshas, a big Chinese grip full body spin, various inversions, and then our freestyle, which was two songs with everyone dancing (4 students in class that night).

I took two different types of Lyra classes in the last three weeks – an hour long class that ended up being a private (I was the only student registered) and a 90 minute class with six students (and two hoops). I worked harder in the hour class because I was the only student (and boy, did I feel it later), but I still got in a good work out in the 90 minute class. I worked on a variety of tricks in both classes, like splay leg inversions, front balances, and a number of different poses.

Based on my personal data, I burn an average of 557 calories per pole class. I don’t have enough data to do an average for Lyra classes on their own (and I had two different kinds of classes), but when factored in with the pole classes, the average for calories burned doing an aerial arts class is approximately 517. Lyra burns less than pole overall, but a more intense Lyra class (i.e. my one hour long private class) can burn as much as a pole class, even if the Lyra class is shorter in length. All of the pole classes I took were not super packed with students, enabling me to have more opportunities to get on the pole – I also tried to be mindful of staying still for too long, making a point to try to keep busy so I could burn more calories. Obviously, I would get more accurate results by factoring more classes, which is something I intend to do – I want to continue to track my aerial classes from here on out and see what I come up with!

Now, as I said, these results are based on my specific statistics…which, after some consideration, I’ll share in the spirit of full disclosure. But, if anyone asks, I’m totally the weight it says on my driver’s license. :-)

Age: 32, Weight: approximately 156lbs, Height: 5’6″

Also, in the interest of full disclosure: I started tracking calories because I wanted to lose a bit of weight. Yes, I want to slim down for vanity related reasons, but I also wanted to see if it made my transition into aerial easier. I have gained a lot of muscle since starting pole, but I don’t appear to have lost fat. In fact, my weight has fluctuated up and down over the last two years. While I’m definitely stronger and fitter, I’m not any thinner – I’m a size bigger than when I started. Now, this is not to discourage anyone thinking about pole dance or pole fitness as a weight loss exercise – because people DO lose weight doing it. I just really like candy. And bacon. :-)

I hope this helps answer some of the questions surrounding how many calories are burned in a pole dance or pole fitness class! I’ll update again in the future, when I have more results, but in the meantime – Happy Poling!

Jenyne Tumble: An excellent breakdown

I recently posted about my attempt to learn The Jenyne Tumble for the first time, and to my surprise (and delight!), the wonderful Aerial Amy commented on my post with a helpful tip – as it turns out, she has an amazing breakdown of the trick on her blog (which is an incredible source of info for pole dancers!).

Her full breakdown can be found here: http://aerialamy.com/blog/2012/02/21/tuesday-tips-tumble/

I *highly* recommend reading the tips she gives on the page, but here’s the video, too:

She’s awesome, right? (Let me tell you, I maaaay have geeked out a bit when I saw her comment on my post!)

Happy Monday, everyone!

Lyra: secret cross-training

I was back in my regular Lyra class today, and it got me thinking about the benefits of picking up a second aerial art. Pole is hard on the body. It’s a beautiful sport, but it’s not an EASY sport – the bruises, the conditioning required, the knots you get in your shoulders once you start inverting regularly and going aerial…it’s not gentle. So, adding a second form of aerial seems insane. More pain? More bruising? More stiff muscles? And, with Lyra, you add in occasional scrapes from the hoop, plus terrible calluses – it’s on par with when I started using the 45mm pole more often, but almost worse, because your hands are not only callused, but rubbed raw all over.

Now, I don’t tell you this to dissuade you – because I LOVE Lyra. It has given me more than I expected. For one, it renewed my love for pole and my interest in pole. For a while, I felt like I had plateaued in pole – I was working the same tricks over and over, trying to get them solid, but not feeling like I had clear progress from week to week. Was I better than I was a year ago? Yes, for sure. But even six months ago? I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t loving the process of learning anything. I just wanted to get to the next level. I think plateaus are pretty common – it certainly wasn’t my first with pole.

Cut to Lyra. I found myself LOVING the process of learning (which I found carried over to my stretch and flex class, too – the ridiculous smile I have on my face when I’m in there – that is, when I’m not in pain – is hilarious). I loved that the conditioning from pole helped to make me better. I loved that things just made sense to me. I loved the feeling of success that came with it – the feeling of getting a trick again!

All of that happiness while learning was something that I brought back into pole, and I think it has re-energized me. I’m happier in class, I’m more interested in learning new tricks, and I walk away from class with a higher level of satisfaction. I really believe that I owe that to Lyra.

In addition to the mood and outlook changes, Lyra has also helped to cross-condition me. I started the classes while still healing from my dog bite injury from my day job, and it accelerated my ability to use my left hand in the old ways. I still have some lingering pain or weakness, but overall, it’s great. The grip required for Lyra is different from pole, and there is often less direct pressure placed on the hand, but the strength of grip is better – because the hoop is smaller than the pole, the grip required causes my hand to contract in a way that strengthened it faster. It’s been great.
Lyra has also really helped improve my back and shoulder strength. Prior to the classes, I had a lot of issues with straight leg inverts – my back would tweak whenever I did certain tricks, and I would abort the mission for fear of hurting myself. Since starting Lyra – and getting a pull up bar to do Lyra shoulder shrug conditioning at home – my back is A LOT better. I try to do shoulder shrugs every night, to help with it. The added strength has helped me with going aerial. I’m still not 100% solid, but I’m noticeably better than I was two months ago.

I look forward to seeing what else it holds for me. If I can muster my discipline (oh, to have it…it’s not my strong suit) and be diligent about working on my flexibility, I hope it’ll help me advance in both pole and Lyra. :-) In the meantime, I’ll keep happily trying new tricks – and, of course, taking photos whenever possible.

In these photos, I’m wearing the sexy tank from our Poleitical Clothing collection – it was great for the class! It stayed in place well, even during inversions, and the length kept my tummy covered for photos. :-)

Poleitical Clothing Contest with Pole Dancing Adventures!!

I’m so excited to share that the wonderful Leen Isabel, creator of the adorable Pole Dancing Adventures comic, is running a contest on her blog in conjunction with Poleitical Clothing! Here are the details:

 

Pole Dancing Adventures Giveaway!

 

To enter, head over to the PDA blog and follow the steps in the contest widget! The direct link to the post is http://pole-dancing-adventures.blogspot.com/2012/10/pdas-poleitical-clothing-giveaway.html

There are multiple ways to enter, which means more chances to win!! One winner will receive a Poleitical Clothing shirt, tank top, AND shorts – a $68 value!!! The contest is open to US and International contestants! The full rules, terms, and conditions are listed on Leen’s site – please be sure to check them out! Contest ends at 12:01am on October 27th, 2012!

If you aren’t already a fan of PDA, you can “like” Leen’s fan page for her artwork here: http://www.facebook.com/LeenIsabelArtist

I promise, if you look through the PDA blog, you’ll absolutely fall in love with her work!!!
BEST OF LUCK!!

California Pole Dance Championship 2012

[updated with new video 10/12/12]

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to be a vendor at California Pole Dance Championship – not only did we have a great launch for Poleitical Clothing, but we also ended up with killer seats thanks to Anjel Dust! It was such a great night – being a room with that many people who love pole dancing is amazing. The joy for it is infectious – I’m always fascinated to see the differences between the competitors, to see what speaks to me, to see what tricks people bust out. It’s so much fun!
I did a live tweet of the show after seeing Natasha Wang post a shout out, requesting that someone post updates – figured it was an easy thing to do, and the pole gals who were not able to attend might like it! While I missed a couple of the early competitors because I was still selling at our table – and I was without a program, so I butchered some of the names (sorry, ladies!) – I still tried to add a little something about each performer. I created a Chirpstory of my tweets, if anyone would like to check it out! (The embedding isn’t working on here, but if you click on the link in the previous sentence, it’ll take you there.)

Congratulations to all of the competitors – you were all SO inspiring and amazing to watch. For those who missed it, the results were as follows:

~Professional Category~

  • 1ST PLACE – Nadia Shariff
  • Runner Up – Mary Kolacinski
  • 3rd Place – Sergia Louise Anderson

~Amateur Category~

  • 1ST PLACE – Lily Huang
  • Runner Up – Stacey Craven
  • 3rd Place – Uyen Hoang

Most Athletic - Nadia Shariff
Most Flexibility - Sergia Louise Anderson
Most Entertaining - Nadia Shariff
Most Artistic - Mary Kolacinski

I will post some videos below of a few of the performances!

As I mentioned earlier, Poleitical Clothing had a successful launch at the show! We sold a number of items, actually selling out of one size of the shorts! It was so lovely to meet everyone that stopped by the booth, from David C. Owen to Leen Isabel from Pole Dancing Adventures – we had a blast! Thank you to everyone who came by and purchased something! For those of you who were not able to make it to the event, we do now have an online shop open on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/poleiticalclothing (our website is still under construction). We’ll be re-ordering for what we’ve sold out of and should have it in soon, and we’ll be updating the listings as soon as we have some better photos! We will also be switching up some of our stock to include other styles in the near future! For now, here are our three staples: the comfy tee, sexy tank, and perfect pole short!

Poleitical Clothing KEEP CALM line: comfy shirt, sexy tank, perfect pole shorts

And, now for the CPDC videos!

First up is Amateur Division winner Lily Huang. Apologies for the quality of the video – the song is SO gorgeous (the cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that was used for the trailer of the film The Social Network), but the screaming from the gals nearby is earsplitting. I’m serious. Consider yourself warned. Unfortunately, a head is also blocking the view for a portion near the end, but you can catch what she’s doing on the video feed displayed on the wall in the back. It’s a beautiful performance! I can’t wait for the professional video!

Next is Pro Division winner Nadia Shariff. She was the crowd favorite to win, especially after coming in second the last two years. She’s a ton of fun to watch! I loved her opening combo – such a bitching move.

Here is my favorite performance of the night, from Mary Kolacinski (aka Mary Ashton). Stunning!

And, last but not least, I gotta give a shout out to my pole mama, Drea Roers! We were all so proud of her. She had a couple of costume malfunctions that prevented her from doing a few things in her routine, but she worked around it, gave it her all, and presented a beautiful performance.

Love you, Drea!!

The Jenyne Tumble

If you’ve watched a lot of Jenyne Butterfly performance videos on YouTube (God knows I have), you know she’s amazing. She has such astounding control in everything she does. One of the things I have seen her do a lot is a specific “tumble” down the pole, and every time I see it, I’m equal parts impressed and envious. I don’t think I’m alone in that respect. :-)

While watching elite competitors, I tend to automatically look for the tricks I know how to do, or tricks I think might work for me, in hopes I can learn them or perfect them, or learn how to effortlessly put them into a dance (as opposed to, “Okay, gonna invert now.”) The Jenyne Tumble is one of those combos that I didn’t think I’d be able to do for years. Literally. It just looks so hard to me!

Cut to class last night at TPG. With Drea absent from teaching (Happy Anniversary!), Jo was subbing. We had a small class, since none of our usual students showed up for whatever reason – it was me and a gal doing a make up (Michelle). It was SO their loss! We had a great class with the three of us. Jo ran us through some spins, including a few I hadn’t learned, which was fun, and then she worked with us on the Iris (I think that’s the name?), which I had learned the week before with Drea – it’s a variation on extended butterfly:

Learning the Iris

As you can see, Drea is spotting me in the first attempt, but I moved along to doing it on my own by the end of the class! I got it fairly quickly for me – it was good to try it again in class this week, too! It comes from the extended butterfly (which I’m doing with twisted grip), and once you’re in that trick, you bring your outside leg back to the pole, hooking at the top of the foot/toes, then you bring your inside leg down into a tuck/crunch inside your upper arm. It’s a pretty pose, and if you’re strong at aerial, you can throw it into an aerial sequence. I think it’d also be pretty on spinning pole. I’m not quite strong enough in my aerial to include it in a combo, but I’m close!

The big project of the night, however, was learning the Jenyne Tumble. She does it in this video around the 1:58 mark:

So pretty, right?

Now, on my first attempt, I got confused after the sit on what to do with my bottom arm and aborted the mission. Second attempt? Quite nearly fell on my head. Jo had to catch me, and she did so about a foot off the ground (Thank you!). My mistake in that run – after watching her break it down again – was that I released my top leg before securing my lower arm. So, you know, DON’T do that. :-) But, I kept at it, and by the third or fourth time, I was so much better! I damn near cried when I got it right after falling. Persevere, y’all. Anyway, this video was my final attempt at it. While I still have work to do on making it fluid, as well as on the control issue (I’m still shaky on the “leap of faith” moment in the middle), I’m still thrilled that I went from falling on my head to being able to work through it. :-)

Also, if you’re curious: I am wearing the new tank and shorts from our pole apparel line, Poleitical Clothing! We had a great launch at CPDC, and I’ll post on that soon. But, in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and Etsy, which is where you can purchase items from us! The full link for the online store is here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/poleiticalclothing We’re still working out the kinks in that system (i.e. delivery costs), but it is open for shopping! I also am wearing my wrist wraps from Vertical Swag, which have been helping stabilize my wrists while I work on aerial, and my heart rate monitor to track calories – that’ll be a new post soon, too!

Sneak Peek!

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Here is a sneak peek of the shorts we will be selling this weekend, at California Pole Dance Championships! They are super comfy, provide great coverage, and have sides that scrunch & tie, so if you’re feeling cheeky, you can adjust them for a little more skin!

Announcing the launch of Poleitical Clothing!

I’m so excited to announce that POLEITICAL CLOTHING, my apparel company with my friend Courtney, is launching this weekend, at California Pole Dance Championships!

Poleitical Clothing

 

We’re SO excited to be vendors at the event and hope to see you there! We are scheduled to have our new tanks, shorts, and a limited amount of tees available for purchase at our booth. In the meantime, please check us out online:

http://www.facebook.com/PoleiticalClothing

https://twitter.com/PoleiticalCloth

Our website – http://www.poleiticalclothing.com – is not yet up and running to take orders, but it will be soon. We’ll be posting photos of our items on Facebook and Twitter, so if you see something you like, please email us at poleiticalclothing  [at ] gmail [dot] com to purchase or to be added to our mailing list for future items!

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