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Pre-Compeition Tips from Pole Pro Natasha Wang

Pre-Compeition Tips from Pole Pro Natasha Wang

practice3Stress and soreness have taken over my life and my body over the last few weeks as I’ve been preparing for competition. I was surprised and honored to find out that I was accepted as a finalist in the Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma competition (next weekend) and then I decided to also enter a local competition going on this weekend…thinking it would be great practice. Let me tell you, this competition stuff is HARDWORK. I feel like I’m walking a very fine line between training and torturing my body. Every time I practice I feel like I hurt or pull something else…which only adds to my stress and pre-competition jitters. On top of that I’ve been trying to finish my weight loss goals because I really feel that it will help me in my pole work. I’m down 10 pounds but I still have another 10-15 to go.

I can only wonder how the pros do this day in and day out. I mean, they are always on the go – training, working out, offering workshops and private lessons, judging competitions, doing appearances and photo shoots…etc. How is it that they push past the hurt and the pain to still perform beautifully and motivate their fans and students? I know I’ve been struggling to find the proper balance of rest and practice, while trying to stay focused and motivated for my upcoming competitions. Then yesterday Natasha Wang responded to my struggle with her pre-competition tips….OK, well it wasn’t “for” me but her words were right on time. Knowing the way that I’ve been feeling, I know that there are many others that are in competition prep mode that are feeling the same way. Her experience and guidance was right on time for all of us. I knew that I needed to share these tips as soon as I read them and so I wrote to Natasha seeking permission to repost…and she said YES! I am so grateful to pros like Natasha Wang that take the time to encourage us. It is so important for us to grow as a pole community by sharing experiences, insight and support!

 

Natasha’s Pre-Compeition Tips
Having been there a few times, I know how nerve-wracking it is preparing for a competition. All those sleepless nights dreaming of choreography, the countless bruises and muscle strains, and our significant others wondering when they’ll have their wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend back! So I wanted to share a few pre-comp tips for those of you in the home stretch for Pole Sport Organization’s PPC in Los Angeles this weekend. I’ll be rooting for ALL OF YOU this weekend! Bring it!

1) Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s best to take the last few days off before a competition to ‘rest’ your body. Yes, take it easier – no more marathon 12-hour training sessions – but remember to run your routine at least twice per day in the days leading up to the comp so the movement is fresh in your muscle memory. It’s also important that you focus during these training sessions. Instead of spending 2 hours mucking around on the pole before you run your routine, thus wasting what valuable remaining energy you have, once you arrive at the studio, do a proper warm up, put on your music, turn on your video camera, and GO! Refine the passes and tricks AFTER you’ve done your run-throughs and can evaluate your performance on camera.

2) Make sure and run your routine in full, in costume, to ensure there aren’t wardrobe malfunctions. And if there are, there’s boob tape for that. No excuses for point-deducting nip slips — or worse — on stage!

3) Visualize your routine every second you get. In the car, in the shower, before you sleep, in the loo…lots of studies have shown that visualization dramatically improves your physical performance…and you can do it in your pajamas.

4) Eat properly the day before and day-of the comp. If you’re competing in the morning, eat a carb-heavy dinner the night before and a light, easily digestible breakfast 2-3 hours before the comp (my mainstay is oatmeal on day of comps). If you’re competing in the afternoon, eat a hearty breakfast and a light carb-based lunch 2-3 hours before you hit the stage. If you’re competing at night, have a hearty breakfast and lunch, and a snack 1-2 hours before performance. Some good tips can be found here: http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sportsnutrition/a/EatForExercise.htm

5) Pack up your competition bag the night before. Make sure you have your costume, grips, snacks, bottled water, boob tape, post-comp outfit, warm-up sweats, yoga mat, iPod with music, foam roller, etc.

6) When you’re at the event, be nice to your fellow competitors backstage and help create a supportive, convivial atmosphere. No cattiness or competitiveness! This will help you GREATLY in reducing pre-performance jitters, and thus will help your on-stage performance in the end.

7) Before you go on stage, reduce nervousness by taking slow deep inhales and exhales. I also always remind myself that I am so lucky and blessed to have a healthy, functioning body when there are so many in the world who do not. Celebrate how blessed you are by giving the judges and audience your everything on stage.

8) Finally, once the results are announced and if they are not to your liking, do not ruin the triumphs of your fellow competitors by saying you were robbed, or the judges’ decisions were flawed or biased. We’ve all felt the disappointment of not doing our best, or not winning that trophy, but a sore loser isn’t inspirational for anybody. If this wasn’t your time to stand on the podium, use this as ammunition for your next competition, to work harder and more focused! Hard work will always be rewarded – even if it’s not a trophy, it’s the satisfaction of knowing you did your best (and having a killer video for YouTube.)

And if today was YOUR DAY, celebrate! And make sure you thank your choreographer, home studio, trainer, costume designer, friends and family, because they’ve all helped you get there.

Good luck everyone!!!!

 

About Natasha Wang
e.Natasha headshots -3332I came into pole dancing purely by accident. In 2004, a girlfriend who’d seen pole dancing on Oprah dragged me to an intro class at S Factor. I’d never been comfortable with exhibiting overt sexiness, so it wasn’t exactly love at first fireman spin, but it was a titillating curiosity; a little secret I could hide under my work clothes and my public-facing good girl persona. I don’t have a gymnastics or dance background, so pole dancing was also an opportunity to be that dancer I’d always fantasize being — without any of the judgment or pressure to be perfect.

I joined Leigh Ann Reilly’s Be Spun gym in 2008 and saw what was possible with the human body. Women and men contorted into unimaginable shapes, instructors and students seemingly levitated. These human beings were achieving the impossible – and I knew I wanted just a little bit of their superpowers. I began training every day, several hours a day.

What started off as something I did with friends for fun once a week, turned into a full-fledged love affair. I began competing in 2009 with little fanfare. Then I joined the cast of Kelly Yvonne’s Girl Next Door show and discovered the art of pole, in which emotion, storytelling, physical prowess and vulnerability came together on stage to create something magical: pole art. Under Kelly’s mentorship and coaching, I started winning my first titles — first East Meets West/Tri-Pole Challenge’s “Miss Pole-AM 2010,” then the 2010 California Pole Dance Championship followed by the USPDF West Coast Championships that same year. This past April 29, 2011, I cinched the USPDF National Championships title. Since then, I’ve put my nine-year career as a publicist on hold to embark on what surely will be a strange, surreal journey that will take me around the world. I invite you to join me on the road as this self-professed ‘regular gal’ starts a new chapter of her life.

Visit Natasha’s website at: www.natashawang.com

Check out Natasha’s Fan Page on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NatashaWangPole

Joining the Pole Freaks Team

Joining the Pole Freaks Team

I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the PoleFreaks team as a contributing blogger. This is a wonderful opportunity that will allow me to connect with more of the pole community. We are all on this journey together and I feel that it is important for us to help educate and mentor others. I hope that by sharing my experiences and insight, I will be able to help and encourage others on their pole and fitness journey.

polefreaksteammember

FreeStyle Dance: 8 Tips to Finding Your FreeStyle

FreeStyle Dance: 8 Tips to Finding Your FreeStyle

8tipfreestyle2Many of us are still trying to find our groove when it comes to freestyle dance. I hear the words: “I can’t freestyle” all too often from my pole sisters. And heck, I’ve even said them before myself. But I’m here to tell you that you CAN freestyle. If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be free styling and loving it, I would have given a hearty laugh and called you a liar, but to my surprise it is actually true! Now, I’m not saying its been easy…or pretty but it is possible. So I want to share with you 5 tips to help on your freestyle journey. I hope that you use these suggestions to help you find your freestyle and develop your own dance style.

1. Stop Looking At Everyone Else and Don’t Copy. This is especially true when you are recording a group freestyle. YOUR freestyle comes from within. So don’t let yourself get distracted by others and what they are doing. I know it may be hard, but fight the temptation that you may feel to emulate what you see or compare yourself to those around you. Now there’s nothing wrong with getting ideas from others and making it your own, just don’t try to copy someone move-for-move…it rarely comes out the same. And in some cases it may leave you feeling a little disappointed. I like to say “Observe, don’t obsess.” If you see someone do something that you like: observe. Point point what you really like about it. Deconstruct the trick, transition or flow and then make it your own. It will look a lot better in the end if you do it your own way.

2. Dance Often. Practice makes perfect and the only way to improve your freestyle dance is to practice. I suggest that you dance daily if possible. Try out different music and different movements. Don’t feel like you have to do a full routine every time. Maybe you’re at home cooking or doing laundry, just take a moment to go by your pole and do a few spins or dance around it…again, no need for a full production. This kind of impromptu dance can really benefit your freestyle journey.

3. Do What YOU Know. When dancing, I’ve found that Less is More. Some of my best freestyles have turned out to be the ones that had little to no big tricks in them. “Less is More,” keep this in mind when you set out to dance. Don’t feel the need to pack a routine with every trick that you know. Be confident in the moves that you know well and execute them to the best of your ability. It is better to see 3-5 beautifully executed tricks (from any level) than to see 10 tricks that are rushed and poorly executed. If your new to pole or comfortable with spins only, then build your freestyle around your spins…and if you want to spice it up then try some on your left side (usually our non-dominant side). Often with routines we might be excited and tempted to throw in something new we learned, but if your still a little shaky with the trick then it can backfire and instead throw you off…so it’s best to hold on to it until you can execute it flawlessly.

4. Always Use Proper Technique. Regardless of your experience or level in pole, there is no excuse for poor technique. You should always use proper technique no matter how easy or hard the trick/transition you are doing. Proper technique will also make your overall flow better. Not only does this help your lines, balance and flow, but it will also help you in avoiding injury.

5. Finish Your Moves. This is super important in helping you to achieve clean and balanced dance. When moving up, down our around the pole (floor, chair, mirror..etc) be sure to fully execute each move to its maximum potential. A few key things that you can easily put to work starting today:

8tipfreestyle1
  • You want to elongate your body so be sure to extend through your toes and finger tips.
  • Don’t cut your spin rotations short. Let yourself flow into and out of your spins.
  • Make sure you hold your tricks. At least 5 seconds is a great place to start. This does not include the time you take to get into and out of the trick.

 

6. Back Every Move You Make With Confidence. The confidence that you show when you execute your moves makes your dance more believable and shows intent. No matter how well you can point your toes (something I still struggle with), how long you can hold a trick or inversion, how high you can climb, etc…just be sure that you believe in the movement that you do – and your audience will too. Displaying intention and confidence in every motion you make will help you make a powerful and memorable statement in your dance.

7. Have A Safety Trick. This might be your favorite trick, the first trick you learned or maybe just the easiest trick that you know. This trick will be your safety net in your time of need. If you ever come to a point in your freestyle where you just have a total brain fart or maybe if you stumble or fall out of a trick, quickly put your safety trick into action to help you get back on track. Going into this trick will reenergize and refocus you, so that coming out of it you are ready to flow back into your freestyle and finish your dance. The key is to never stop moving!

8. Record and Review. It is hard to know what is working and what is not working if you can’t see yourself. Often watching yourself in the mirror while you dance can be more of a distraction, so I strongly encourage you all to record your freestyles. This will allow you to review your dance to see what you like about it, what you want to try the next time or what you want to stay away from (like unpointed toes). Recording yourself also allows you to track your progress. If you’re in class then ask your instructor before class if they will record you at the end of class…I guarantee that they will be more than happy to do so. You don’t have to post or show your videos but do keep them for yourself and review often. And even if you don’t share your videos in the FreeStyle Friday group but want some feedback then again use your instructors – they are perfect for helping your critique your dance and for offering suggestions. (Myself and our FreeStyle Friday Admins: Tricia, Kim and Mindy are available to help as well!)

Handstand Training

Handstand Training

handstandfebI’m part of a group on Facebook called Dallas Handstand February. Everyone in this group is dedicating the month of February to getting or improving their handstands. What’s neat about this group is that there is a scavenger-like hunt thrown in there as an extra challenge to get us to do our handstands in fun locations. I’m really enjoying this challenge because it is helping me get closer and closer to that wall-free handstand that I used to have so many years ago. Along the way I’ve also learned some new handstand variations that have really helped me push myself.

My stretch and contortion coach B from Vertical Fitness Dallas has been helping us by sharing tips and tricks on improving our balance and flexibility in our handstands. Check out the mini series below. I filmed one and helped demonstrate in another. Happy Handstands!!!

5 Tips to relieving sore muscles

Bendability Fitness posted some great tips on relieving sore muscles and I thought it would be great to share it with you.

1. Apply Heat to the sore Area.
Applying heat to the area increases blood flow to that area, which helps the small muscle tears to heal faster. Examples: Sauna, hot tub, steam, hot pads or soaking in a hot bath tub. To increase the benefits of your bath add 2 cups of Epsom salt and 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil! This combo is great for relieving sore and stiff muscles.

2.Stretching.
After an intense workout or stretching session it is always good to do some light cardio and mild stretching the day after! This helps with blood flow to the sore areas and helps loosen up stiffness. This increase in blood flow helps to repair the muscle tissue more quickly and will leave you feeling more limber.

3.Rub away the pain.
Get a professional massage, have a friend rub your sore and stiff muscles or use a foam roller and rub the pain away yourself. Having sore muscles worked on helps to bring blood flow to the area which helps to repair muscles and move toxins out! Bendablility’s Foam Roller DVD is great for relieving, lengthening and stretching sore muscles! Also using an Arnica Oil or lotion can be beneficial when rubbed into sore areas. Aveda makes a great Active oil that is targeted at helping sore muscles.

4.Post workout Ice pack.
The cold temperature constricts blood vessels which reduces swelling. When you remove the ice pack your body warms up quickly, improving circulation which helps with the healing process! Cooling the muscles works best right after a hard workout. Use the Ice pack on a specific area (ex. Sore neck, shoulder, wrists etc). Some also swear by cold showers and/or baths for quicker recovery time.

5.Rest and Diet.
Your body needs rest to recover and re-build! Get lots of sleep when training hard and make sure to have a day off in your routine. Drinking a lot of water is also very important (8-9 glasses a day minimum)! Without adequate water your body will not function at its best and even with mild dehydration you can feel a lack of energy. Water also helps to flush toxins out of your muscles and keep the recovery process moving smoothly.
Eating food that helps to bring inflammation down is also a great way to support your training. Examples of foods that bring inflammation down (but not limited to)are: Ginger (great as tea or juiced! You can add ginger juice and lemon to your drinking water for a kick), turmeric, walnuts, olive oil, veggies and non-acidic fruits and green tea.

Cool Spin Combo

Phoenix Kazree is one of the most beautiful pole artists I’ve seen. She produces some of the most stunning and original pole combos that leave you in awe and she executes them so gracefully. Last week Phoenix posted this really neat spin combo and I am determined to learn it! Check out her execution of the combo below..

 

This clip below is of one of my attempts. I modified the end just a bit to make it my own. I really like the way that it came out. Now I just need to work on cleaning it up a bit. I reached out to Phoenix to get some tips on cleaning up the trick. Hopefully I’ll hear from her soon and I’ll be sure to post the details!

21 Days of Change

21 Days of Change

Yesterday I started a new diet in hopes that I can finally get the rest of this weight off. I’m tired of being in this weight limbo, not knowing if I’m a fat skinny girl or a skinny fat girl…and not being able to buy new clothes that actually fit. So needless to say, I am really determined to finish up this weight loss journey. I’m on a low calorie diet which means that I really have to watch what I eat. Lots of veggies and chicken for protein, some fruit and water galore. Not being able to eat any of the foods I like (which includes french fries and bread) is dreadful but I know that this temporary sacrifice will be worth it in the end. While I’m not exactly sure what my final weight will be, I do hope that I can at least break 170 by end of this 21-day phase. Eventually I would like to get down to 150 but I’m going to take it one step at a time and focus on making it to the 160’s. To dedicate myself even more to my goal I have decided to find other healthy and positive changes that I can make in my life along the way. I am hoping that these additional changes (big and small) will help keep me focused, motivated and that they will result in a better me overall in the end.

 

Day One: New Diet. OK so much like everyone else I don’t really care for the word “Diet”…so let’s just say I’m cleaning up my eating and making better decisions in the kitchen. As I mentioned above, today marks the first day of my 21 days of change. The basis of this 21-day phases is to eliminate the rest of this weight – hopefully in time for my competitions. The from there I can get back on a regular training schedule so that I can tone up my body, get some abs and maybe even some more booty! food
Day Two: Natural Nails. Over the last year I’ve really enjoyed getting a little wild and sexy with my nails – longer lengths, fancy designs, bold pink tones and more recently black tips. I guess it was my way of having a little personality and freedom at work (since Pink hair was out of the question lol). I really enjoyed wearing the long, bold and unique designs, but I also hate the pain that comes with breaking them. Instead of getting the plastic tips, I usually just get the colored powder over my own nails…which means when I break a nail: I REALLY BREAK A NAIL. I was on Pinterest the other day and came across a more natural looking style that I really liked so I decided to give it a try. And since I’m currently training for two upcoming competitions I decided to go shorter as well. photo
Day Three: New Shoes. New Brand. A peek in the gym section of my closet will tell the tale of a woman that adores her NIKE gear. Pretty much all of the gym clothes and shoes I buy are NIKE…except for a few pieces of Under Armour that I really like. I had a gift certificate for DSW and finally decided to go check out their shoe selection. Since my focus is currently on getting fit, I decided to go with what I needed most: comfortable gym shoes. No normally, it’s NIKE or nothing, but today I decided to try on something different…and to my surprise I really liked they way they felt. And they were PINK! While I’m not giving up my love for NIKE gear, I think I may be a little more open to trying out other brands of gear. newgymshoes
Day Four: New Tunes. I’m a big fan of music. I listen to music all day everyday and I actually don’t think I could survive without it lol. And I have an even bigger appreciation for musical variety since I’ve been pole dancing. Many times I find myself listening to a song while planning a routine or thinking of what moves would fit best “here” and “there”. So needless to say that it’s always a great day when I discover new music and new artists. Today is one of those days. I came across an artist by the name of Emeli Sandé and I am totally diggin her vibe. After one of her tunes caught my ear (and my SoundHound) I decided to look her up on iTunes and sample her album…I instantly fell in love and added it to my collection. emeli-sande-our-versions-of-events-artwork
Day Five: PoshMark. Today I discovered PoshMark. It’s a new iPhone app that is designed for individuals that want to buy, sale and trade clothing and accessories…basically like an eBay for Fashion. This app makes it easy for you to shop other people’s closets from anywhere. The items range from gently-used clothes, new clothes that are no longer wanted, new clothes that didn’t fit properly and an endless supply of new and gently-used accessories. What’s really neat is that it’s built in the form of social media where you can make posts, set up parties, upload pictures, comment and chat about the various items. I’m a big fan of online shopping myself, so I think this is a really neat way to clean out and add to your closet. And I think it just might come in handy in the near future with cleaning out my closet since many of my clothes no longer fit. poshmark-500x320
Day Six: Homemade Strawberry Lemonade. With the diet I’m on, my options for snacks and drinks are seriously limited…well more like nonexistent However in addition to an unlimited amount of water, there are a few fruits that I’m able to have (in moderation of course). I decided to use my fruit options to make a fresh and yummy lemonade…and to give myself just a “taste” of something other than water. I used strawberries, lemon, ice, water and stevia to create this quick and easy drink. I simply cut up a few strawberries and added them to my tumbler cup, along with some fresh squeezed lemon juice, the ice and a few packets of Stevia…just for a little natural sweetness. Super good and still healthy! I actually found an article last week on how to create your own naturally flavored water using various fruits and herbs. Once my diet is up and I can consume some additional fruits I think I’m going to give a few of the recipes mentioned in that article a try! IMG_2378
Day Seven: AM Pole Class. Typically my schedule keeps me on the GO 24/7, which means that I don’t usually have as much free time and pole time as I’d like. Right now I’m lucky to have just a little bit of ME time each day that I’m able to steal for myself although I usually end losing it back to work in the middle of the night. With my ME time today, I decided to go check out a morning pole class at The Girls Room – Frisco for the first time. With the exception of a few Saturdays, I’ve only every poled at night. So being able to take a class during the day was new and exciting. Being able to pole so early in day actually made for a really great start to my day. The class was small but lively. I was able to get in there and really focus on tackling some moves that needed my attention. This is definitely something that I want to try and do more often! jade_ip50269bf59c78e.jpg
Day Eight: Sweet Treat. Being limited in my food options during this 21 day phase is starting to take its toll. I miss food variety and eating what I want, when I want. While I know that having a clean and healthy diet is best for me, I’m still human (and a woman) and have those sweet cravings. I’ve been eating a handful of strawberries as a snack here and there, but tonight I thought I’d try and sweeten them up just a bit to help with my sugar craving. Since I am able to have Truvia and Stevia sweeteners, I decided to sprinkle a bit over my bowl of strawberries and boy was it Yummy! strawberries
Day Nine: Closet Organization. My closet is one of those places in my house that gets a lot of action. Typically, I’m buying new things and trying to make room for it in one of my closets – which are all pretty packed. But lately I’ve found myself getting rid of a lot of things that are now too big and no longer fit (yay weight loss!). So while doing laundry today I went on a cleaning binge and decided to organize my drawers…which have spent the last few months packed with unfolded clothes. I’m happy to now have a little less clothing clutter and more organization and order in my closet.
Day Ten: Watch Lust. In the past I’ve never been much of a watch fan. I’ve had plenty of nice ones but never really wore them. Then last year I bought a nice Rolex for that special man in my life and have been a little envious of his new piece ever since…it just looks so damn good around his wrist! In addition to the physical transformation of my body, I’ve also noticed that my style is starting to change and mature as well. Which is probably why I really want some dazzling wrist gear of my own. Then by chance today I ran across an image of a watch that I’d seen a few months back and realized just how much I liked that watch. I love the fact that it has both PINK and diamonds. I’m thinking that I might add this to my accessory wardrobe to help further evolve my new style and look 🙂 photo
Day Eleven: Stage Poling…and in public. Last night one of my pole sisters invited me to a local event she was performing at that featured a handful of fun local bands. The invitation to tag along gave me the opportunity to practice poling on a stage pole and performing in front of a crowd…of people that I don’t know. In the past I might have strayed away from the opportunity but I decided that I needed to do it. I have two competitions coming up in March and one of them will be using stage poles, so this was a great chance for me to really test out my courage and ability to perform on a mobile pole. I’m glad that I didn’t pass up the event because I was able to run through my list of tricks that I was considering for competition and get some real practice experience on the stage pole. I might even invest in my own stage pole in the future. oliveandashree
Day Twelve: Aerial Yoga. I’ve been trying to make sure that I’m being active every day, which means cardio, pole or dance of some sort. This morning I decided to check out the Aerial Yoga class at Vertical Fitness Dallas and OMG it was amazing! It was the perfect blend of stretching and strength – without the usual pressure that traditional yoga puts on my feet. And when you’ve had 4 broken feet and had surgery to put in a screw then any foot-friendly workout opens a window of new opportunity and possibility. I was able to get in a great stretch to undo some of the damage of last week’s workouts, worked my core and enjoyed some relaxation. I’ve already signed up for class again next weekend and I’m looking forward to making Aerial Yoga a part of my weekly routine and my ME time. vfdaerialsilks
Day Thirteen: Snacks! Decided to try out a yummy snack idea to help calm some of my cravings. Since I am not able to go out to a mexican food restaurant and enjoy a bowl full of chips with salsa and guacamole, I came up with a pretty good, easy-to-make substitute. My version of chips and guacamole uses wheat Melba toast topped with home-made avocado spread. To create the spread, I mixed avocado, lime, cilantro, onion, pepper, cayenne red pepper, and minced garlic together. It was a great way to get a taste for what I’d been missing…without going overboard. melbaguacsnack
Day Fourteen: Handstand Variation. I’m part of a group on Facebook called Dallas Handstand February. Everyone in the group is dedicating February to working on their handstands. This is a great way for those that are new to get started and for those that are already experienced to really push themselves to the next level. Today I was able to push myself to a new level with this handstand variation that includes a super back arch. Despite being super sore I felt accomplished. I am still hoping to get my handstand balance (no wall) back soon…haven’t been able to do that in years. photo-1
Day Fifteen: Inversions and Conditioning Class. To help myself get prepared for my upcoming pole fitness competitions, I’ve been attending pole and dance classes daily. Tonight I decided to try out the new Inversions and Conditioning class at Vertical Fitness Dallas. We started off with a 10 minute run, then moved on to some light weight lifting and then finished off with a few really awesome pole combos. I really liked that the class had a mix of pole and a real gym workout. I was especially excited about the pole combos that we learned, which included a run that I’d seen Amy Henderson do at her Burlesque performance. Now my attempts at the combo drop weren’t nearly as awesome as hers [Amy], but I’ve got the mechanics down and now I just need to work on cleaning it up. chopstix
Day Sixteen: More FOOD! Being on this VLCD diet and trying to come up with snack and food ideas that don’t violate my diet has reminded me of how much I really like to cook. Over the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to have a special guy in my life that also likes to cook and handles most of our meals…but now I’m back in the kitchen and loving it! Tonight I took my daily chicken lunch/dinner and added in some bell peppers and onions. I cooked the pepper and onion blend on the stove and then added in the chicken and a little avocado on top. It was a nice change from my usual chicken and asparagus matchup…not as good as a plate full of sizzling fajitas but still yummy! stirfrymix
Day Seventeen: They FIT. This is actually more of a celebration post. Last night I decided to try on a pair of old (as in I bought them two years ago) but new (as in, I’ve never worn them) shorts. I bought these shorts about two years ago and couldn’t get them up around my thighs and over my bum. I’m usually a big picture freak and take pictures of myself daily, but for some reason during this 21 day phase I’ve been either a little camera shy, lazy or just more focused on food and working out. So anyways, I randomly decided to try on these shorts – figuring that would be a true test of my progress…way better than a picture right?!? And to my surprise they FIT! So excited that I wore them to pole class. Celebrating my success! Mission get fit or die trying. shortsaremine
Day Eighteen: Aerial Yoga Saturdays. So today I went to my second aerial yoga class at VFD and fell in love with it all over again. Today was more challenging for me than last week’s class. I know that part of it was because I was tired and feeling weak from the diet and all of the physical activity I’ve been doing. But this class is so helpful and rehabilitating. Once school starts back I won’t be able to go to the Saturday classes, so I’m going to enjoy them as much as I can for now. At least I have the sunday classes!
Day Nineteen: Leg warmers and Leggings. So my last few classes I’ve been wearing leggings…mostly because that’s all that fits these days (yay weight loss). Anyways, I’ve found that I’m really liking the combination of leggings and long leg warmers to dance in, and as long as I’m not doing any serious pole work that requires leg to pole contact then I’ve been able to get away with my new look in my dance and pole classes. It actually works out great for Aerial Yoga as well, as some of the poses we end up in will make the silks tug and pull on your skin in uncomfortable ways. To top it all off I threw on my heels today and really set the look off. Loving the my new pole style…it makes me feel super sexy. leggingsandlegwarmers
Day Twenty: New Sites and New Ventures.I have a couple of new projects that I’m working in for my pole adventures and also my photography. One of them (FreeStyle Friday) is already in motion and the other in still in the planning phase. I am super excited because I’ve been keeping a log of notes and plans for both (a mix of sticky post-it notes all around my house and also on my phone and iPad) and I can finally see that things are coming together very well. I am looking forward to really getting these ventures off the ground, sharing them with you all and watching them grow!
Day Twenty-One: 10 Pounds Down. Today is a day of accomplishment. During my 21 days of change I was able to drop 10 pounds and reach another milestone in my weight loss. The last few weeks have been challenging and tiring. I worked really hard to stay active and keep my workouts intense. The change in my diet had its ups and downs…and some intense moments of cravings. Thankfully I didn’t fall off course too much and was able to stay focused and achieve this wonderful goal. I’m going to take a few days off and then go at it again. If I can lose 15-20 more pounds and tone up I think my body will definitely be beach and pole ready!

 

Time To Turn Up the Training

Time To Turn Up the Training

tallsplit So last night I found out that I was chosen as a finalist for the Miss Pole Dance Oklahoma competition and I’m thrilled about this opportunity. I am one of three wonderful ladies that will be going there to represent Texas. I’ve dubbed us as TEAM TEXAS, which consists of myself, Tricia Lauerman (2012 Miss Texas Pole Star Masters Champ) and Stephanie Brinlee.

I’ve grown a lot since my first pole competition (MTPS 2011) and I am looking forward to showing everyone. Last November I competed at the Southern Pole Championships in Houston, but I don’t feel like I was as prepared for it as I would have liked. This time around I plan on crossing all my T’s and dotting all my I’s – this means actually having a plan for makeup and hair before the day of the competition! And I’m lucky to have a great support system behind me to help me along the way.

With the competition literally just around the corner I know that I need to turn up my training. Over the last month I’ve been going to Stretch and Contortion class at Vertical Fitness Dallas twice a week, and also going to Pole After Dark at Zensual once a week. I can already seen progress in my flexibility (as seen in the photo) and my dance fluidity. In addition to keeping these classes as a part of my weekly practice routine, I plan to also add 2-3 additional days of pole practice into the mix. This past week, I’ve also started a new diet and hope to drop a few more pounds before competition. I think I’m off to a good start for competition prep! Now I just need a song and a few good runs!

2-Point Handstand to Chopper

Trick of the week is a continuation of last week’s 2-point handstand. If you missed it last week or if you haven’t gotten it all the way down then continue working on it this week. Here’s the how to: http://bit.ly/VmhSAw

Transitioning into the Chopper
Make sure that you’re in a stable, well-balanced handstand. Rotate at the waist as you own your legs to a straddle position to allow your inside leg (hint: the one closest to the pole) to move behind the pole. At this point you should be in a straddled 2-point handstand. Making sure that the hand on the pole has a firm grip, go ahead lift your floor hand and bring it up to the pole to meet your other hand in a traditional chopper position.

Watch and Learn!

Things to keep in mind when doing this trick:
1. Use your CORE to control your movement.
2. Do NOT bend your arms when doing handstands. Bend (also called “breaking”) your arms that will cause you to buckle and hit the floor head first.
3. If you feel like you’re falling out of the trick lower your feet back to the ground or tuck your chin into your chest and then roll forward.
4. Before trying the transition into the Chopper be sure that you have a STABLE 2-point handstand.
5. When you start the transition to chopper be sure that your pole hand is secure.

Also, if you’re doing the February Handstand Challenge then this is a good way to get your handstand for today in! 😉

Back to the Books

books

So school is officially back underway and I’ve literally been buried in my studies. In the last 3 days alone I’ve read two books (over 500 pages) and written 11 pages of reports. Despite all of the reading and course work, I must say that I am very much enjoying grad school. My current course is Management Operations and it has been the best class of grad school so far. In addition to gaining a wealth of new knowledge and practices, I’ve also been able to gain deeper understanding, appreciation and history for concepts that had previous been introduced to me by others. I knew the “What” but now I better understand the “Why” and “How” of things, and I am looking forward to applying these concepts and methods to my business endeavors.

What I finding most interesting about grad school is that despite the amount of work it requires, it’s not all that hard. Though at the beginning of this graduate program, I almost feel as if this has been more beneficial to me than my undergraduate coursework. I really think that this should have been the level of learning and work endured during my undergrad years. Or maybe it’s just the maturity and experience experience I’ve had since my ACU days that has better prepared and equipped me for this journey of educational development. Regardless, I am really happy that I finally got myself back into school…and that I have a 4.0! Grad school has always been a goal of mine. Unfortunately because of my foot problems (4 breaks in 4 years and a surgery) I had to keep putting school off. Now I am finally back on track towards earning this Master’s degree, even more so looking forward to putting the information, concepts and methods I learned to work.

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