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"The first rule of kindness is to be kind to yourself!"

Everyone is on their own journey. It's cliche but it's true. Each and every student who steps through our doors has a different reason for being here and unique goals and motivations. But what happens when these goals and motivations become unhealthy? Unrealistic expectations, over training, comparing ourselves to others. Can you spot the tell tale signs when you feel burnt out and lose your passion? Pole & Aerial are so fulfilling - exciting, challenging and a real adrenaline & endorphin rush. In the industry it has been joked about that it can be addictive. But obsessing over an addiction isn't healthy for body or mind.

Unrealistic expectations can easily creep in, mainly due to social media. We scroll through inspiring videos, seeing people make everything look easy and effortless. Then when we come to the apparatus we feel deflated that we can't recreate the combo with such ease & grace. This goes hand in hand with comparing our self with others, not just those we see online but other students in the studio with us. When somebody gets the trick first time, we cheer, we congratulate them. But that little green eyed monster might just rear it's ugly head, or our own self doubt might start whispering in our ear. But what you don't see is what goes on behind the scenes to attain these achievements. It could be the hours & hours of training, a background in gymnastics or dance, cross training in other apparatus or natural flexibility. If you do one class a week you'll progress differently to someone who trains 3 times a week. But it's still progress. It's YOUR progress for you to be proud of. Having goals and aspirations is fabulous, it helps you track your progress and motivates you to keep trying. But this requires patience, hard work and being fair on ourselves. When we start over training and under fuelling our body, we'll likely see regressions rather than progressions. It's proven by science that our body and mind needs rest days, we need to eat the right foods to repair our bodies and give us the energy to move and train. With Pole & Aerial being great exercise, it's often intrinsically linked to diet and weight loss. But without research into pre and post workout meals and sensible training plans, starving and over working your body will make you feel weak and mean you achieve less, not more!

Another common saying is to never compare yourself to others, but compare yourself to where you started, I always encourage taking photos and videos, having a visual aid to see how far you've come helps overcome the negativity in your head. We're our own worst critic, but seeing your first spins compared with your latest, you can actually see the improvement right there in front of you! Patience is important, Rome wasn't built in a day. Step by step, with repetition and reinforcement, you'll get where you want to be. But don't run before you can walk.

I'm also a firm believer that you can't directly compare one training session with another. There are too many variables! Pole & Aerial is hard work. Fact. And every body is different.

From your background, fitness ability, daily lifestyle and even down to what kind of day you're having! Did you sleep well? Are you stressed? Hormonal fluctuations, blood sugar, energy levels, mental health and focus - these all affect your performance in training. So one week you show up refreshed, well fuelled and rested and have an amazing session. Next week you turn up tired, stressed from the traffic, on your period, too many coffees and haven't grabbed a full meal. Of course you will struggle to do the same things you did on a day where you were firing on all cylinders! But will you identify that? Or will you just beat yourself up?

So step back. Take a breath, And give yourself a reality check! Be kind to yourself, be fair to yourself. Give yourself the best chance of feeling good by resting, fuelling your body and taking the rough with the smooth. Celebrate the little wins as well as the big successes. Enjoy the atmosphere, the support from those around you. Cheer for yourself as well as your fellow students, be proud you showed up. Laugh and don't take it too seriously. Remember why you started, remember how far you've come. Take time out if you need to, you know where we'll be when you're ready to return. And most of all, remember. You are unique, you are enough and you are doing amazingly. You've got this, and we've got your back!

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