I’m not here for pole dance “influencer” spiel

Recently, I have seen a few posts from professional pole dancers with huge social media followings (we are talking in the 50k plus region here) chatting about how in order to meet your training goals you need to massively cut back on your down time (screentime, watching Netflix, basically anything that isn’t pole dancing/exercise) and put your training before anything else. Now, I know these posts come from a good place with good intentions, but for the love of god shut up.

The majority of us pole dancers are not professionals. Fact. We are busy people with jobs to go to, homes to run, children to look after, houses to clean and dinners to cook. Personally, if after a long, hard day of dog walks, work, cooking dinner, house work and trying to catch up on my messages I want an hour from 9pm-10pm of just watching Netflix I’m going to fucking well have that hour – and you should too! Down time and rest are essential.

As always, I am going to be brutally honest, acknowledge my privilege here and say that compared to some of my pole buddies I have it easy. I work from home, my working day is only seven hours long and I do not have any children to look after. Aside from training my dog and housework, my time is pretty much my own, and even I think this “put pole before everything and train daily” bullshit is ridiculous. What about pole dancers who work 12-14 hour shifts? What about pole dancers who have children to look after? What about pole dancers who are carers for family members? What about strippers, who have worked until 6am and need some sleep?  What about pole dancers who live with chronic conditions, whereby it’s just not viable for them to commit to a daily training schedule? It is neither fair nor feasible to expect an amateur pole dancer, who anyone who uses pole as a hobby, to get off the sofa and get to the studio no matter what life throws at them.

X-POLEDisclosure: The link above is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.

I understand that pole dancers with a larger following are posting this sort of content to try and be positive and motivational to those who want to train, and I guess in their own way they think they’re using their platform for good, but it’s unfair and borderline physically impossible for pole dance professionals, who it’s their day job to train, to expect us pole hobbyists to do as much as they do. We are doing our fucking best and don’t need to be nagged to be more productive when we’re innocently having a dump and scrolling through Instagram.

Furthermore the cold, hard facts of the matter is that pole is not cheap. Classes are at least £10 each and practice sessions usually half that. A decent home pole costs around £200. Therefore the luxury of being able to afford to train on the daily is not something everyone will have access to. And let’s not forget that finances aside, you need to be exceptionally time rich to fit in daily pole training as mentioned above.

This sort of attitude turns our hobby into a chore and to me feels a bit like one of those weird, unsustainable crash diets. By taking the fun away from your hobby and feeling compelled to train daily, you’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and adding stress to your life. For a good few months now, I have been boring anyone who will listen to me about how I have been seeing steady progress in pole since devising a training schedule that easily fits into my life. I am not putting pole training before my day job and tasks that I need to do to live, those being housework, essential shopping, my dog’s welfare and most importantly, down time with my friends, husband and family. I commit to two pole classes per week tops and two stretch classes per week absolute tops and that’s it, and one of those classes is online so I can do it in my house.

Also I’m going out on a limb here and stating that the majority of us pole dancers are not from sporting, dance or gymnastic backgrounds. We are regular people who took up pole as a hobby and something to enjoy in our spare time, not something to beat ourselves up over if we don’t get every fucking move correct. Also, we started pole because it was an accessible form of exercise to those of us who were not the sporty kids in school.  If we encourage and nurture a culture in pole full of elite sportspeople who are hell bent on being the best and coming first in every competition, pole will no longer appear as fun and welcoming to those of us who wanted to start a new hobby, make friends and find some confidence. This is not meant as any criticism to those of you who are super dedicated sportspeople, you do you, but flooding the pole industry with the toxic narrative that one must train every day and put your training before anything like a professional athlete would will alienate pole from the very people who loved it so much in the first place. Coming first in a competition is a wonderful, incredible thing and those who have come first or placed ought to be deservedly proud of themselves. But it really isn’t life or death. Fuck, I came 7th in my first, non-video entry comp and was chuffed to bits!

Ultimately, I believe the mentality of sacrificing everything you possibly can to reach your goal can become very toxic. It doesn’t happen always, but it definitely can turn that way. Encouraging people not to rest, practice self-care and put achieving their pole goals above basic needs and requirements doesn’t sit right with me. Pole dancing is a fabulous hobby to be enjoyed at your leisure, not a chore to agonise yourself over until you reach perfection.

Disclosure: The link above is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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