An elliptical, a treadmill and a pole?

Why go for a run when you can pole dance?

Why go for a run when you can pole dance?

If you’re my mother, stop reading this right now. Because it’s about pole dancing.

I recently joined a women-only gym. It’s nice. It’s clean. There are no boys. That’s probably why it’s so clean. Tonight, the gym held an open house to inform its members of all the great things going on—classes, promotions, etc.—in the hopes that its members would bring friends with them who, in turn, would become members.

It offered 2-for-1 memberships, discounts on spa services and new personal training packages. There were tables covered in jewelry and workout gear for visitors to browse through. There was food. Healthy food, of course. Guests also received the chance to try new classes. Classes like belly dancing, Zumba and pole dancing. That’s right. Pole dancing.

I was cycling away when women dressed in black began carrying pieces-parts into the studio. Parts of a platform and a pole. A giant brass pole.

Now, the pole-dancing workout has been around for a while. 2003, I think. And I don’t mean the art or science of pole dancing. I mean strictly pole dancing as a method for increasing one’s fitness level. I believe its other use has been around for many, many, many years. And, no, I haven’t tried it. The fitness workout OR the career. It’s simply one workout that I haven’t quite felt comfortable adding to my routine. Not because I’m shy and without a confident demeanor. But, mostly because I equate pole dancing with, um, strip clubs.

I find it fascinating that an activity long-associated with female degradation is being touted as an amazing workout AND is not only taught in classes but is the foundation for entire studios like Aradia Fitness. Aradia claims to be the first Pole Dancing for Fitness Studio in Canada and offers instructor training programs in the U.S.


I understand that it’s important for women to have self confidence, for women to have self esteem, and for women to be able to hold their heads up high. It’s important for women to feel really good about themselves. But, by teaching them to wrap their bodies around a pole in an overtly sexual manner? Surely there are better ways.

I do enjoy Aradia Fitness’ description of its Mental and Spiritual Benefits:

Aradia Fitness has taught thousands of women nationwide and intends to unleash that sexy, confident, beautiful, woman inside of you! Besides learning sexy dance and fitness moves, you will also come in contact with a growing community of fabulous, like-minded powerful women who, by getting in touch with their sexy side, are changing and empowering their lives. We offer this to you in a fun, safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment where we are all different ages and sizes. There is no nudity, just bring your smile and sense of humour. Classes and parties are taught by women just like you!

Translation: “Come to class! We’ll show you how to make moves on a shiny pole in a manner that won’t be awkward or bizarre or cause people to look at you strangely because, let’s face it, it’s kinda weird, and we’ll all look very weird doing it, and hopefully, at the same time, you will drop weight while trying to stay on the pole while hanging upside-down and gain a new, sexier confidence that will ooze out of your pores and soon all of your friends, and family members, too, will want to give pole-dancing a try.”

What a sign of the times. Pole dancing offered at the gym nearest you. Pretend to be a stripper. Burn calories.

Who would have thought?

Perhaps I should have brought my mom as my guest.

[Note: Without a doubt pole-dancing workouts, for some, may be the only form of physical activity that they find enjoyable. Good for them. They ARE being physically active, and that is nothing to turn my nose up at. You simply won’t find me sashaying around a giant brass pole. Even if it does burn calories.]


9 thoughts on “An elliptical, a treadmill and a pole?

  1. Freelance Boss lady says:

    Who knew Canada would be a cross cultural experience for you. Maybe you could be a group leader for an excursion next May!

  2. Krystal Wall says:

    I had the same questions before starting with Aradia. With Aradia Fitness Classes, the pole dancing is a great workout, but the studio is also an environment that allows women the opportunity to help each other be the best that they can be. The empowerment found within these classes is amazing to say the least. Women also meet other women as friends, which how much time to we spend creating female friendships in our lives? Along with having fun working out, no longer does fitness have to be a punishment where you go put in your time at the gym. Many women go and workout and then the healthy lifestyle doesn’t reflect in their eating habits or daily lifestyle, they just go to the gym because they are supposed to. Society has now opened up the door to fitness being fun, and truthfully when you are having fun and laughing with other women, it doesn’t feel like a workout (until the next day) and you leave feeling good, which makes you eat better, which makes you become more healthier, and improves your entire lifestyle. I have seen women that haven’t worked out for 10 years, come take a pole dancing class and get fitness back into their life..and feel better about themselves, that is fantastic. Some ladies come for fitness, some come to meet friends, some come to feel sexier, some come to improve self esteem, but it is the environment to improve our lives as women, by empowering ourselves to care less about who is judging us. Women who have the courage to become healthier and happier, and judging less and doing more, the experiences of life will leave you amazed. Pole dancing also caters to a unique need that women need to meet goals and achieve them, who wants tot do the same fitness routine every day..boring..Aradia Classes offer you a new fitness moves every week and challenges you to become stronger and healthier. So that is my view, Aradia Fitness offers much more then pole dancing techniques, and for the stories that I have heard and the lives that it has changed for the better, I am glad that society brought pole dancing into main stream fitness. Regular women do have the opportunity to have fun with fitness and also meeting their sexy side at the same time.

    • jilladuling says:

      Thanks, Krystal! I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts here.

    • Sparkes says:

      Pole or not, I totally got a workout reading your blog comment Krystal.

      p.s. aren’t Google Alerts great!

  3. Joshua says:

    I’ve always wanted to work pole dancing into my cardio routine, but haven’t been able to find a pole that is rated for my height/weight.

    Also, I have reservations about falling off a pole, directly onto my head, and dying.

  4. Roxanne says:

    Your post sounds like some of my friends when I told them I was taking pole dancing. However I am doing pole dancing as a work out, not for money (not that there is anything wrong with that either IMO). When finally a few friends came to try a class, everyone had the same reaction. It was not at all what they expected, they had a lot of fun and they could not belive how sore they were the next day. Why not try a class instead of judging? Just my 2 cents.

  5. The gal formerly down the hall says:

    Yea – hubby has been suggesting that I try this workout. That and belly dancing. Somehow I don’t think either has anything to do with exercise – in his mind anyhow. Doh!

  6. Margaret says:

    If you get your mom to go let me know. You will have to videotape it to share with the fam!!

    Your cuz.

  7. Mom says:

    Josh, Afraid of dying might keep a lot of people from this unusual exercise. Margaret, I’d try it just for a video for you but you have to hold on by your skin, according to the picture, so my long-john’s workout suit just won’t cut it.
    The whole thing about enabling a woman to find her sexier side;what happened to it in the first place? Empowering her, to do what? Leap tall buildings at a single bounce? Does woman’s lib know about this?

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