Don't look to the tag on your clothes to tell you what you're worth!
Let me take you back 10 years ago. I was 26 and had a 6 month old baby. I was feeling pressured into "bouncing back" after pregnancy and to lose my post-baby weight. The media was filled with diet and exercise, how to lose weight quickly and pushing the ideology of our weight equalling our worth. Get that summer body, that bikini body, fit into your Christmas party dress. So much pressure and obsession with that number on the scales.
Just like today, I was solely responsible for marketing and advertising my Pole & Aerial classes. So I chose the route of making our advertising tagline begin with "Get fit, lose weight, make friends..." Unsurprisingly due to the media climate, this was hugely popular and really worked for us. Classes were really busy with people wanting to get fit and change their body shape and there was much chatter about weight loss and dieting within the Studio.
Pole was still seen as being rather risque, lots of negative connotations and derogatory comments. Many instructors were desperate to be validated and we pushed "Pole Fitness" over Pole Dancing, trying to distance ourselves from the strip clubs and argue that we were a legitimate fitness class. Now this in itself brings me a lot of sadness and regret, but I was young and uneducated. As we grow, we learn. With my personal growth and a good few years behind me, I've come to realise that weight loss is one of the least important elements of Pole & Aerial. Do classes help you lose weight? Well that depends. Do you *want* to lose weight? How hard are you pushing yourself in sessions? What are your diet and lifestyle choices like? I am in no way saying that if you want to lose a few pounds that's a problem. Not at all. Looking after your body, eating well and exercising are great for physical health and mental wellbeing.
But for me, the Studio is a place of inclusivity, a place to celebrate the amazing things your body can do, not just how it looks. Our classes will definitely increase your physical fitness, they provide a full body workout and improve your strength, flexibility and build muscle. Combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet you can burn fat and will see a change in your body shape. But not everyone who attends classes wants to lose weight! Many just want to feel confident and fabulous in the skin they're in. And for some the conversation and narrative around weight can be very damaging, for example those struggling with their mental health, with an eating disorder, those who may be trying to gain weight or who have body dysmorphia.
I firmly believe we should be focusing on all the other amazing things that Pole & Aerial can provide! Classes will increase your confidence and self esteem, boost your mood and release endorphins, build your tenacity and motivate you, allow to explore movement/dance and find your own style and be part of a supportive community, without judgement. You can explore the sexier style and You'll build friendships that can last a lifetime, become part of the ultimate cheerleading team where everyone supports each other (loudly and emphatically!) your own sensuality, or you can focus on tricks and engaging beast mode! Everybody has their own unique journey and it feels great to celebrate your achievements. The benefits for your mental health and wellbeing are just as important, if not more so, than the physical benefits.
And the best thing? Pole and Aerial doesn't have to be a competition! Want to push yourself and compete? Awesome, we'll have your back every step of the way and we'll be front and centre cheering you on! But if you just want some me-time and a fun, rewarding hobby you'll be just as welcome at the Studio. Everything can be done at your own pace and we don't always have to be the best at something to enjoy it! Am I the best singer? Absolutely not, ask my poor husband! But do I enjoy belting out power ballads in the car? Damn right I do!
So what point am I trying to make with my rambling? That yes, Pole & Aerial are amazing for your physical fitness and can be a great way to lose weight. But I no longer lead with this information in our marketing. Because there are so many more benefits to what we offer that should take priority. I am incredibly proud of the inclusive, welcoming, supportive atmosphere at PPD, which each and every instructor and student amplifies. Know that whoever you are and whatever you want to gain from Pole & Aerial, you will be welcome here. But remember, your weight may fluctuate. But your worth will not! <3