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Birthday Poling

my1stkneeholdSo Tuesday was my 28th birthday and I went to pole with the Kandy & Krome ladies at their Cirque Du Pole class and had a blast. I enjoyed being able to spend my birthday doing something that I really love to do! And it was definitely one of my best days of poling yet! What made this night of poling so special is that it was truly a night of multiple firsts and successes for me. I was able to hit new moves and hold some of my nemesis tricks longer than ever before.

During class we worked on a handful of things including: the 2-point handstand, knee hold, iron x and our trick of the week! I was finally able to get knee hold…which I thought would never happen. And although I’m happy that I can do it now, I don’t really see it becoming a part of my regular trick list…it’s just way too painful.

I’ve been doing the 2-point handstand for a while but using a small jump (really just a pop) to get into it. This time around I was able to dead lift into it which is a huge accomplishment. I still need to work on perfecting my ascent into it but this is a great foundation to build on. Plus I know that working to perfect this will help me condition and be in a better position to hit my dead lift shoulder mount and also my aerial inversions.

We also worked on the Iron X which I’ve been going back and forth with over the last year. My mind sees my body executing a beautiful Iron X, yet my body has never wanted to cooperate long enough to make it happen lol. With the help of my amazing trainer, over the last few months, I’ve been able to build up my core strength and enough endurance to finally make it happen…even if it’s only momentarily. Little-by-little I am getting there. In addition to core conditioning, my trainer has also been making me work on my Iron X and Iron X drills daily. My goal is to make sure that I do at least 2 Iron X’s every time I go to pole class.

I ended class with an impromptu birthday FreeStyle, which has quickly become one of my personal FreeStyle favs! It is definitely a FreeStyle that I am very proud of. Although short and sweet, I felt like there was more aerial action going on and more control in my jade then in any of my previous Freestyle dances. I documented the night’s successes, check them out below!

 

Deadlift handstand practice:

 

Iron X practice:

 

Birthday FreeStyle:

BUTI Fitness

image22So last week Vertical Fitness Dallas announced that they were offering a free BUTI Fitness introductory class, and always being up for anything fitness these days I recruited a few friends and decided to go. Before the class I checked out the demo video on YouTube and was instantly excited about this new workout. Dynamic Yoga movements, booty popping, hip shaking, deep stretching and great music…how much better of a workout could we get…well other than pole 😉

Now in my mind I was thinking that this was going to be a fun and easy workout (my emphasis being on the FUN and EASY part), but I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was. Five minutes into class we were all drenched with sweat and feeling the burn. It was definitely a high-intensity workout, with plenty of hip shaking and dynamic movement. If you’ve ever done yoga, think back to your first time and remember just how hard it was getting used to holding poses for extended times…and then add in continuous dynamic and cardio movements: that’s BUTI!

image25These days we are all on the hunt for new, alternative (yet effective) workouts and this is definitely one of them. If you’re looking to get pumped up with a quick and effective workout then BUTI Fitness just might be for you. There’s nothing better than a fun and sassy workout that will leave you your body feeling tight and dripping in sweat. Now, it’s not something that you can go to just once or twice and expect instant results, but doing it on a regular – combined with your other fitness routine and healthy eating – can definitely help you achieve a sexy, sculpted and toned body.

Beginning Thursday May 2nd, Vertical Fitness Dallas is adding BUTI Fitness to their weekly class schedule. If you want to give it a go grab your yoga mat and be sure to sign up here: http://bit.ly/10bKxJt

FiT or FaT?

FiT or FaT?

fitorfat

I want to share a little excerpt from a book I’m reading Leadership that Matters. The authors point out that “…[in regard to inaction] Actions could have had results. It is generally better to do something rather than nothing, because action just might have a positive effect. There’s even more to the advantage of action over inaction…it’s certain that inaction will have NO benefit.”

Originally I shared the above excerpt with my FreeStyle Friday group in my Wednesday Words of Wisdom post, but as I came back to write on this piece I realized how it also fits well into one’s desire to be fit and fab as well. I run into so many people that talk about wanting to lose weight, tone up, improve their diets, etc…but there’s an almost omnipresent pattern that I’m noticing: It’s mostly TALK. There is seldom any action to back that talk, and therefore there are no results.

When it comes to my personal fitness transformation, people always ask me how I did it and what I ate – assuming that this information will work for them too. The truth is it wasn’t as much about the diet or the exercise as it was about having desire and developing consistency and discipline. I knew that I wanted to be fit and not fat, and I used that desire to motivate self to achieve my fitness goals.

So where does this desire come from? It comes from within. What is it that motivates us to do anything? Success, contentment, recognition, popularity, wealth…? Think about it, when you want something you’ll pretty much do whatever it takes to get it. If you want something new that’s not currently in your budget, you save money until you can afford it. If you see a hot guy/girl that you’re interested in you approach them or do something to get their attention in hopes that they will approach you. If you’re hungry but there’s nothing in your house to eat (or that you want to eat) you hop in your car and go pick something up…I think you get the point. Once you desire something and you start working towards it on a continuous basis you are able to develop consistency and discipline. We all already encompass the ability to be consistent and disciplined, just think about your daily routine and what all it entails – brushing your teeth, putting on makeup, going to work, checking your email, cooking dinner, etc.

 

underconstructionDo you recognize any of these habits? (Don’t be ashamed…I’ve done them all)

  • You see the scale numbers slowly inching up. It might only be a pound here or there but remember those pounds ADD UP.
  • You’re persistently tugging at the back of your pants to keep them up.
  • You’re repeatedly pulling your shirt back down after its crept up over your lower belly chub.
  • You have conscious and unconscious habit of covering your belly with your hands, your purse or something else you’re carrying to hide the bulge.
  • You get out of breath walking up the stairs.
  • You always wear a jacket to “hide” your body.
  • You go to the edge of the pool covered by your towel and quickly hop in before anyone can see you.

 

This list could go on and on, but these things don’t matter. What matters is each of us stepping up and making the decision to TAKE ACTION and make changes in our lives so that we can kick these body-hiding habits to the curb. And knowing that you already have the ability to achieve/obtain the things you desire and the ability to be consistent and disciplined, then why are you still allowing yourself to slack off and be inactive in the area of your health and fitness?

 

10 reasons why it pays to get fit and why you should do it sooner rather than later…

1. Your body is the ONE thing that stays with you throughout life. People, cars, clothes and other things come and go, but your body is the one thing that will always be here with you. The better you are to it the better it will be to you and the longer it will last.

2. Being healthy saves money. For the same price as a fast-food or restaurant meal (that many of us indulge in daily…sometimes even multiple times a day) you can buy a bag of chicken, fish, frozen veggies and fresh fruit that can last you a week.

3. It gets harder the longer you wait. As we get deeper into our unhealthy habits they become harder (mentally and physically) to change. And face it, we aren’t getting any younger, our bodies, energy levels and metabolism are changing as each day goes by.

4. Consider everything else we spend money on (especially us ladies). We drive fancy cars, live in big houses, wear expensive jewelry…and we want our hair, nails and clothes to look their very best, but not your body?

5. Consider everything you do faithfully on a daily basis. Facebook, email, texting, that nightly glass of wine…why not add a workout into the mix?

6. Being healthy and fit can help eliminate some health issues.

7. Being fit and fab improves confidence and can boost personality.

8. The way people perceive you can have serious effects on your life. Make it a point to be attractive all around (behavior, looks and attitude). It opens up a range of new options and opportunities in life.

 

Take the First Step
Have many times have you thought about getting back in the gym, changing up your diet and improving your health? And how many times have you started the process but fell off? No matter where you are in life its never too late to make healthy changes for yourself. Once you’ve made up your mind to make a change to get your health and fitness back on track, don’t think that you have to do it all at once or alone. First, have a goal in mind that you want to achieve. Maybe there’s a pair of jeans you want to fit back into, a bikini you want to wear, a contest or event you want to do, pictures you want to take, health issues you want to improve, etc. Then start by making small changes:

  • Clean out your refrigerator and pantry and get rid of those “feel good” foods
  • Drive PAST the drive-through and eat at home
  • Skip that second helping
  • Cut down on the sugar and sweets
  • Skip the soda and juices and drink more water
  • Starting working out or doing some type of physical activity once a week (and then slowly increase to 2x, then 3x a week)
  • Find a fitness buddy, mentor or trainer that can help push and encourage you on our fitness journey

 

So I’ll end this the same way I ended my Wednesday Words of Wisdom post by saying: Stop putting off what you can do today and TAKE ACTION to be FIT.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

wisdomteaI just wanted to share a little excerpt from a book I’m reading. The authors point out that “…[in regard to inaction] Actions could have had results. It is generally better to do something rather than nothing, because action just might have a positive effect. There’s even more to the advantage of action over inaction…it’s certain that inaction will have NO benefit.”

So, how does this apply to each of us and our participation in FSF? Well think about this…How many of you have said to yourself that you’re waiting until you “get better” to do FSF or that you’re waiting for a “different type of song”? And in hindsight what has really been accomplished by waiting? How many weeks have gone by where we’ve skipped working on our dance? Consider the fact that there are 1,440 minutes in a day and 10,080 minutes in a week, so what are our reasons for not taking 5 minutes out to just let go of all of our inhibitions and dance? Think beyond the reasons of work, injury, family obligations…etc. What I hear most often from my fellow pole sisters are:

  • “I don’t know how to freestyle”
  • “I’m not good at it”
  • “I don’t know enough tricks”
  • “I’m not ready”
  • “It won’t look good”

Although, I would certainly disagree with each of those statements no matter who you are (we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we do know and are able to do). The fact that you are a pole dancer, you’ve been to classes, you’ve learned tricks and transitions means that you are ready and YOU CAN do it. There’s a lot that we can learn about ourselves and our dance just by doing it. No matter how good or bad we think we are, there is always something to be learned and growth that can be achieved. So ask yourself: what’s the harm in trying?

Think about this…Do we skip pole class each week because we can’t do a trick? No, we go to class and work on that trick until we nail it. Do we avoid stretch class because we are unable to do the splits? No, we go get our stretch on (maybe even make our own daily stretch routine) and do this until we master that split. So I wonder why don’t we apply that same approach to our freestyle dance? Working on your freestyle dance will produce positive effects. Practicing will bring you more success and learning than not working on it would.

I want to emphasize that what’s important is NOT your activity here in the FSF group, rather, what matters most is your efforts and motivation to work on your Freestyle Dance “offline”. Challenge yourself to a personal Freestyle battle…recording periodically and comparing your videos to see your growth. This group serves simply as a form of motivation and structure. While it is also a platform for those that wish to share videos (although there’s nothing wrong with keeping yours private) it’s also a prosocial opportunity for us to support one another by asking questions, giving encouragement and offering feedback.

Stop putting off what you can do today and TAKE ACTION!

Trick of the Week and FreeStyle Practice

579072_894093163517_1259139590_n For the last few weeks we’ve been working on this awesome pole split (shown right). You can never go wrong with splits! You can go into it from a jasmine or right before you flip into your superman. It’s a great pose to use in a routine as it makes for a great photo op. Just make sure you point those toes!

Last night at pole class I went to record my attempt at the trick of the week (video below) and it turned into a mini freestyle. During my trick attempt I removed my bottom hand from the pole and extended it out past my shoulder which made for a neat variation of the move. I was thrilled because this was my first time back on the pole in two weeks (since Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma) and during my freestyle I was even also able to hold my iron-x (variation) for a few seconds. It seemed like forever in my head though lol.

Evolution of a Pole Fitness Competitor

mpdo_pencilI think I’m definitely starting to get addicted to the pole competition scene. I remember telling myself after my first competition (back in 2011) that I would never do it again…but somehow I found myself drawn right back to competitive pole. It’s almost crazy to think about the weeks and months we spend putting wear and tear we put on our bodies (not to mention the stress and mental anxiety) just for 3-4 exhilarating minutes on stage. Yet there is just something about the challenge, growth and budding confidence that makes competing so addictive.

Just a few weeks ago I competed in my third major pole competition and I feel that it was by far my best competitive performance yet. I felt so much more prepared and confident this time around, so much so that I plan to start training more competitively to see what I can really do with my pole career. That means upping my workouts with my trainer, dropping 20 more pounds, diversifying my pole classes to encompass more training in my weaker areas and even more stretching/flexibility work.

In addition to training on and off of the pole to prepare my body, I’m also spending time studying a variety of competitions and past winners to gain some insight on what it takes to become a winner. What I’ve realized is that there is definitely a formula to being successful at competitions and I think I’m well on my way to figuring it out. So, in addition to my fitness journey, I will also document and share my competitive pole journey here with you! It’s been interesting to see my progression thus far and I’m looking forward to being able to compare my future self to my current self.

1st Major Competition – 2011 Miss Texas Pole Star (Amateur Division)
Tryout Routine:

 

Competition Routine: I actually don’t have a recording of my first competition back in 2011…I’ve been trying to find out if anyone recorded it but it doesn’t look like it. I do however have my tryout video (above) for that competition, which still shows my “inexperience” lol.

 

2012 Miss Texas Pole Star (Fitness Division) I didn’t make the finals but below is my tryout video.

 

2nd Major competition – 2012 Southern Pole Championship: – Tryout Routine: No tryout video required. My competition performance is below.

 

2013 TGR St. Patrick’s Day CompetitionThis was a smaller competition here in dallas that I did for fun. I was actually preparing for my MPDO competition and didn’t have time to properly prepare for this one, so I actually ended up just freestyling.

 

3rd competition – 2013 Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma:
Tryout Routine:

 

Competition Routine:

MPDO Recap and Recovery

MPDO Recap and Recovery

mpdo I’d have to say that Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma has been my best competition yet. My goal with this competition was simple: to do better than I had done at my Houston competition…and I feel like I was successful in meeting that goal. My MPDO competition journey started off with a last minute decision to submit an audition video and ended with what has proven to be a tremendous improvement in my competitive performance ability.

I believe that a big part of my personal success with this competition had to do with preparation; I was more prepared for this competition than my previous competitions. This time around I had a better game plan and a great support system. I knew from previous experience that I needed to pay extra attention to the small performance details that I’d overlooked with previous competitions. This included working on my toe point, attention to lines and direction of tricks, facial expressions and also planning and styling practice for my costume, accessories, hair, nails and makeup. It was all of these little things that helped me put on a better performance.

competitionface I did the majority of my competition training at Vertical Fitness Dallas…even adding in Aerial Yoga classes to help supplement my flexibility and strength training. The Vertical Fitness Dallas team was great in helping me get my routine together and working on my overall presentation. I also took quite a few level 2 classes which allowed me to work on the fundamentals of pole, as well as Pole After Dark at Zensual which helped me improve my fluidity and dance transitions. In addition to pole training, I put in work at the gym and was able to drop an additional 10 pounds…which made a huge difference on the pole. I do think that I was a little behind in getting my routine together and think that I should have scheduled things out a little better. At least now I have a better handle on developing my own competition timeline that I can use for future competition prep. Unlike my Houston competition routine, I was able to run this competition routine from start to finish several times before the competition and felt comfortable with every part of the routine.

Jumping forward to competition day…
Our ride to Oklahoma was fun. I always have a great time with my travel buddy who gets us to each destination safe and sound. A few hours of great conversation and our favorite jams… well at least the part of it that I was awake for lol. Upon arriving in Oklahoma, we had just enough time to check into the hotel and get in a quick nap before I had to be at the competition venue. From the moment I walked through the door of Will Rogers Theatre it was Go, Go, Go! Warmup, practice, pictures, interviews, makeup and more. The only hiccup was that my contacts wouldn’t cooperate and I had to get help putting them in, and in turn left me doing my competitor pictures and interview without my makeup done. I was second in the competition lineup and surprisingly calm (compared to my past competitions).

At my last competition in Houston, all I remembered from my performance was bright lights and lots of screaming in the audience. This time around I was more in-tuned with my audience and my surroundings. I remember smiling and actually seeing people in the audience and connecting with them. My honey was sitting front and center which also helped give me a positive point of focus during my performance. Overall I was extremely pleased with how my competition routine came out. Now, I didn’t perform it as well as I would have liked (my mind went blank after my twisted grip flip over), but I did improve on some key performance areas that had previously been an issue for me.

Despite the stress, sleeplessness, soreness and occasional frustration, I was proud of myself. I’ve decided on a little bit of rest & recovery, then time to catch up on some work, drop a few more pounds and then it’s back to the pole drawing board!

Check out my Performance Highlights! and watch my MPDO competition performance below:

MPDO Performance Highlights

MPDO Performance Highlights

I’m really proud of my performance routine at Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma. Even though it was my 3rd major competition, it was the first one where I felt like I actually belonged and was good enough to be there. Below are some amazing photos caught by Minh Visual at the competition that highlight some of the key moments of my performance.

mpdo_performancehighlights_900px

Performance Practice

Performance Practice

ashley_lindsey_stephanieThis past Saturday, The Girls Room hosted their second annual St. Patrick’s Day competition, which featured beginning, intermediate and advanced level students. The competition also featured a special showcase portion where no-competitors also showed off their pole moves. There was even an impromptu surprise performance from Miss Texas Pole Star Ultimate Division Runner up AND Miss Sexy: Lindsey Dement. As always she gave us a high-energy performance with her signature style and that fiery red hair.

I was a part of the Advanced group and my routine was actually a freestyle. I literally picked my song minutes before the competition started, glanced at the list of required moves and went for it. Normally I would have done a choreographed and practiced routine for a competition, but my preparation for Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma this coming weekend has had all of my time, energy and attention. So instead of dropping out of this smaller competition, I decided to really put my FreeStyle Friday experience to the test to see what I could pull off…plus I figured I could use the performance practice to work on pointing my toes, connecting with the audience and watching my lines. My routine turned out pretty darn good for a freestyle and I was happy that I pointed my toes and didn’t get lost behind my hair. Overall it was a lot of fun to pole without pressure and I enjoyed watching all of the other students perform. Check out my performance below!

FreeStyle Friday Playlist

FreeStyle Friday Playlist

musicalOne of the things I enjoy most about FreeStyle Friday is all of the new music that we are all exposed to. Our song request/suggestions list has brought new music to my attention that I might not have have otherwise come across on my own. And I’ve found that the music from our past FreeStyle Fridays makes a fantastic pole playlist that you can use in class, at pole parties or when practicing at home. I keep a list on iTunes and on Spotify so that I have quick access to my pole jams where ever I go.

I made my FreeStyle Friday playlist on Spotify public so that you all can keep up with our jams too. This playlist also includes a variety of remixes of the past FreeStyle Friday songs and my hope is that you’ll find a version that really fits your style and personality. Click here to listen to the FreeStyle Friday playlist.

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