Every month we feature an Aradia Fitness Calgary student who we feel embodies our community of positive, supportive, powerful and fabulous women! For the month of April we are featuring Karen! She is so much of an inspiration to our instructors, that she was the overwhelming favourite this month!. Karen took her first pole class with us in June 2016 and since then has been committed and focused on her progression (which is outstanding by the way). Even with her busy career in property management in real estate, she manages to take at least one if not two or three classes per week. She is an absolute joy to have in class and always has a smile on her face. Here is her story.
Student Spotlight for April 2017, KAREN! Here she demonstrates her Swan with beautiful technique.
Favourite Pastime (outside of pole): Cooking and doing Hot Yoga.
Where were you in life before you joined and became a student at Aradia? How were you feeling?
I was so bored! I was literally running and not going anywhere, but more than that, I was desperate for something new. I wanted a change and I had ALWAYS wanted to try pole (I tended to hang off of door frames and twirl around – even as a kid). I have my own pole now so at least it’s more legit!
What was your turning point when you decided to take action and come to your first pole class?
I was actually lacing up my runners when it hit me how much I needed to do something different, something that was fun and completely for myself. I googled Pole Dance Calgary and found Aradia – that was nearly a year ago and I have loved every single week since that intro class!
What surprised you about pole dance and fitness?
I felt like I had finally found the “tribe” I had been searching for – like maybe these fantastic women who came here and the amazing instructors also hung off of door frames as kids and pretended to pole dance! It was fresh, it was fun and it fit perfectly.
What keeps you motivated to come to classes consistently?
I can challenge myself – the harder I work and the more I am willing to push myself, the better I am. I like that it keeps me focused. I love it! 🙂
October of 2016 was a month of many decisions. We were already in the process of refreshing our curriculum in the new year and I wanted to add new classes to compliment our Pole Dance classes. October was also when Dakota Fox (Aradia Fitness USA) was coming to Alberta for workshops and so we decided it would be a great time to meet, train and also go to our sister studio’s Showcase in Edmonton! We met at the Aradia Sherwood Park studio and gathered the owners to review some ideas and events in the new year. I mentioned that I was looking for a new and exciting class and Dakota immediately jumped in. She said that she had added POUND® to her studio earlier in the year and it was AMAZING. After looking up the program, I decided to become aPOUND® Pro.
POUND® was one of the hottest classes in the US and Dakota encouraged me in getting my certification. The first thing I did was check out videos online. I also checked out the program on their website and read that it burns up to 900+ calories per hour, improves your rhythm, timing, coordination, speed, agility, endurance, and musicality and that drumming has stress-relieving effects. I signed up immediately. The first certification session in Alberta would be in Airdrie in January 2017 so I registered and waited patiently for 3 months. We would be the first pole studio in Alberta to offer it!
The training day finally arrived. I didn’t really know what to expect but I headed to Airdrie to find out! Ira McNamara was our Master Pro and would be teaching us everything we needed to learn to give our students a great workout and experience. He was fantastic. An exceptional instructor with so much knowledge and his energy was infectious. It was quite the experience trying it out for the first time. I was all over the place and I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself (and out loud). I was surprised and encouraged my Ripstixs (POUND® lightly weighted exercise drumsticks) didn’t fly out of my hands and injure someone. The first thing we needed to learn was how to read the sheet music. Initially I thought “how hard could this be?”. It was hard! In retrospect, I’ve never done a certification and started teaching right away. As with all certifications, the preparation and commitment after training is just as important which was exactly what Ira told our group. By the end of training, I was a ball of sweat and exhausted but I was so excited to add this to our Aradia Fitness Calgary studio!!! I bought 15 sets of Ripstixs that day and headed home to rest.
In late January, we started advertising our new class and the response was immediate! Students were asking when the first class was going to be. I decided on mid March because I still had to build and learn a routine with the help of the POUND® Label (their internal website for POUND® Pros). I practiced and practiced and with every day that passed, I got better and better! I could read the sheet music no problem and I even tested it out with some friends at home. It was all coming together!
March 19th at 3:15pm was the day! I have to say I was nervous but so excited. We had 11 people registered in our first class! I headed to the studio early and eagerly awaited students to arrive. To start, I reviewed the POUND® Positions and also how the class could modify the movements to suit them best. We began and the 45 minutes flew by! Thankfully my Ripstixs remained firmly in my hands as did the Ripstixs in my students’ hands 😉 . We had so much fun! The students all told me how great it was after class! It confirmed everything that Dakota said about this workout. One of the best things about this workout is that you just get better and better throughout the class and every time you attend. That is true of any workout but in just one class we all saw a lot of improvement in ourselves!
I’m so glad I did this! In fact, it is so infectious and fun, another instructor of ours is becoming certified this month and our sister studio in Edmonton is also getting certified! I want to thank Dakota Fox for telling me about POUND®. After our first class, it really confirmed what an amazing, fun and exciting workout this is. There is so much energy in the class and that comes from our students ROCKING IT OUT! You were all fantastic and I can’t wait to see you next week!!!
(Many thanks to my Master Pro, Ira McNamara and the entire POUND® team!)
Every month we will feature an Aradia Fitness Calgary student who we feel embodies our community of positive, supportive, powerful and fabulous women! For the month of March we are featuring Sasha! Her commitment, strength and beauty, inside and out is undeniable and we are so proud to be part of her pole journey! Even with her busy lifestyle, Sasha is at the studio working hard and taking at least one to two classes per week. She has been our student for over 2 years and a VIP Member for over a year and a half! Here’s her story.
Student Spotlight for March 2017, SASHA! Here she demonstrates her Gemini with strength and grace.
Why did you decide to start pole dance and fitness?
A friend of mine wanted to try it for fun. I had always wanted to try it because it looked like a blast but I had just never found anyone who was motivated to go with. I also knew that I needed to take better care of my body and that I needed to find a fitness activity that felt more like play than work.
What has kept your interest in pole?
I’ve stayed interested in pole fitness because it’s always challenging and there is always something to work towards. There’s always another move or combination that may seem impossible at first but is completely achievable with practice. The rewarding feeling of mastering a tricky move feels awesome too!
What would you say it has helped you the most with?
The classes have helped me develop coordination, confidence and strength. It’s a great stress reliever, pushed me out of my comfort zone and into a place where I got more comfortable with taking risks and believing in myself. It’s also helped me learn a lot about myself and how my attitude sometimes holds me back or pushes me to achieve something great!
What advice would you give new students?
I would advise new students to take risks and not shy away from a challenge. You need to be goofy, just go for it and don’t hesitate to make friends along the way!