In the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love, Ryan Gosling tells Steve Carell that the war of the sexes is over and men claimed victory the moment women started taking pole dancing fitness classes. Ryan Gosling has never seen this gal pole dance.
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright.
I'm back at Brass Vixens for this class. Owner and instructor Shannon is once again at the front of the room, closest to the mirror to lead me through the embarrassment that is to come.
I enter the class already at a disadvantage. Instead of cheeky, sexy shorts, I'm in baggy not-hot grey sweat pants. They sag in the butt and that's just going to have to suffice. My hair isn't wild and Whip-It-Back-And-Forth worthy but instead in a messy ponytail with short pieces sticking out. The most glaring of differences between myself and the reoccurring clients is that I'm barefoot. Even the other newbie has worn wedged heels.
What you'll need: A tank top, shorts and heels (they're optional but you'll spend the whole class on the balls of your feet anyway so why not try to feel sexier?)
Contrary to my initial beliefs, all the work is not done on a pole. We start the class on the floor with super soft foam mats to warm up. Leg stretches, arm stretches, sexy planking, sexy bicycle legs...it's all pretty intense and painful. Especially planking, which I do half-assedly and Shannon totally takes notice.
Once we move onto the pole, it just goes downhill. Not the class...my sex appeal. We dance around it, body wave on it, slide down it and even pull ourselves up to swing around it. I don't know if it's the fact that the pole can't dance back or if I'm just uncoordinated but the girl in the mirror is dancing mechanically and with no rhythm.
Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:
11 a.m. -- Great start. Everyone is taller than me and already sexier. Ugh!
11:02 -- This mat is so squishy! I feel like I'll hate its existence soon though.
11:10 -- OWWW. That burning, tingly feeling in my shoulder is pure, unadulterated evil.
11:15 -- I'm pretty sure V-shaped legs in the air would look a lot better if my knees weren't bent and shaking.
11:18 -- Finally! Let's get on the pole!
11:22 -- Nope. Off the pole, off the pole, off the pole.
11:30 -- Oh my god. Is the music weird or can I just not find a groove? Look away!
11:35 -- Weird. My body is sliding down the pole but my hands are staying put up there. Weird and painful.
11:45 -- This whirling around the pole move really isn't working out. The bar keeps getting in the way of my limbs.
11:50 -- Putting it all together in a dance is simple enough. Making it look hot and like something people would pay for is a completely different story. Ouch! Pole.
End Result: I feel way less sexy than when I walked in and I'm kind of doubting myself as a dancer. But I feel good and stretched. And slightly bruised on the shins that had continual contact with the pole.
Effort: A lot, actually. Not to the point that you'll be out of breath like you would with a spin class but you'll definitely feel all the work you did radiating in your legs and arms. Especially the next day.
Return Trip?: For the first time in this series, no. This workout was just not for me. I'm nothing close to a prude and yet felt extremely uncomfortable having to gyrate and spank my own tush in front of an audience. One who isn't tipping at least.Read other entries in the series
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow. Read the full story
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to. Read the full story
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Read the full story
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright. Read the full story
I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. Read the full story.
I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching. Read the full story.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. This week I was excited to try out MisFit Studio after being recommended by a friend. The studio can be found in an alleyway in a stunning converted old coach house. I initially signed up for a "Kick Ass Mat" class with no expectations whatsoever. When I arrived I was taken for a tour of the studio (did I mention it's gorgeous?) and came face-to-face with The Reformer. Read the full story.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Read the full story.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. You've probably seen women at trade shows standing in a booth repping the new workout wearing boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. If you haven't, go to more trade shows! Free swag! Anyway those ladies sell Kangoo Jumps boots to be used while you run, walk or generally work out. Read the full story.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo. A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me. Read the full story.
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