Fitness craze is a ‘pole’ lot of fun

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part

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CITIZEN reporter Emma Mason went along to the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March to have a go at the fitness world’s latest craze - pole dancing.

WEDNESDAY nights normally see me sat on the sofa in front of the television, but I decided to give up my viewing time for one night and go along to a pole dancing class.

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Florence Cliss

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Florence Cliss

A self-confessed couch potato, my first reaction was: “No, it’s not for me,” when the idea came up. I may only be 25, but I’ve got a bit of a “mummy tummy” and I didn’t fancy donning a pair of skimpy shorts and swinging around a pole.

The world of fitness pole dancing is a mysterious place, full of exotic names like ‘Pixie’, ‘Sunwheel’ and ‘Gemini’. Previously, my only contact with poles was watching ‘Fireman Sam’ with my son or putting out the washing.

Instructor Jane Cole was keen to put us at our ease and as she showed off some moves, she made it look effortless.

You might think swinging around a pole is not that difficult, but add to that sweaty hands and an audience and it suddenly gets a whole lot harder.

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Emma Mason and Jane Cole

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Emma Mason and Jane Cole

The most basic of moves took several tries to master and even then, left a lot to be desired. I definitely looked more Fireman Sam than Sam Fox.

Feeling self-conscious, I chose to wear tracksuit bottoms. Although I kept my dignity – it’s easy to flash more than intended – it meant I couldn’t grip the pole with my legs. Any attempt saw me sliding rapidly to the floor.

The dress code is not for the faint-hearted and exposes a bit more flesh than I’m comfortable with myself. Jane and the more regular dancers at the class wore shorts and some wear cropped tops.

For those who want to do pole dancing regularly, you need to wear those clothes in order to grip the pole with your legs and on occasion, your stomach. The exercises will help you tone those problem areas, but you have to be willing to go through that initial embarrassment barrier to get there.

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Stacey Parrish

Pole dancing feature with Citizen reporter Emma Mason taking part'Stacey Parrish

One hour later, I can testify that pole dancing much harder than it looks and my tender thigh muscles the next day reminded me of that fact.

The beginner lesson I went to was not a challenging workout – the cool-down routine wore me out more than the pole moves – and I didn’t break a sweat. However I hurt in places I didn’t know I could, so it obviously did something.

I can see how pole dancing can be a good workout but I don’t think I will be taking it up. After being at work all day, the sofa is an attractive place and I’m not quite ready to give it up. I’m not quite ready to give up my tracksuit bottoms either.

• For more information on Jane Cole’s Pole Perfect Fitness classes visit www.poleperfectfitness.co.uk