Columnist tries popular class that separates the men from the women.
I am clinging as if clinging to life itself, muscles I didn’t know I owned now straining, parts of my body previously unfamiliar to me suddenly calling out, begging for a break.
Or a Valium. Or a Budweiser.
I am feeling many things at the moment, not one of which is sexy.
“One of the great things about this,” Collette Kakuk says, “is that it caters to you as a woman.”
This is when I realize I probably should point out to my instructor that I am not, in the most technical sense, female.
But there’s no time for that now because now I have to execute a spin, hooking one leg and twirling the other while lifting myself off the floor, all the while exploring my sensuality and expressing my flirtation nature. And trying to protect my groin.
You know, men really shouldn’t pole dance.
“We have noticed,” Kakuk says, “that it doesn’t look right.”
No, it doesn’t. Personally, I resemble a square-dancing primate, my moves not from The Great Gatsby but more from the Grape Ape.
Thankfully, this isn’t about being a good dancer or really about dancing at all. This is about toning muscles, burning fat and building serious self-confidence, even if it’s sometimes done while wearing FootUndeez, a product that bills itself as “underwear for your feet.”
This is OC Pole Fitness, a company started in Aliso Viejo 21/2 years ago by Kakuk, who recently opened a second location in Huntington Beach.
The program is geared toward women — they do offer couples classes designed to work core muscles — but is not a boot camp (or booty camp, if you prefer) for strippers.
Still, you’re free to take your best verbal shots at Kakuk and her instructors, who already have been called everything from exploiters to bad mothers to she-Satans.
Not long ago, one of Kakuk’s employees received an e-mail asking if these classes were intended to be practice for an orgy.
“If we came from the stripper world that would be different,” she says. “I guess there are some classes at other places where there’s more booty shaking going on. But we’re running a very mature program here.”
She is 40, the mother of two and University of Michigan educated. She served in the Army National Guard and worked as a business consultant and then as a vice president of a marketing firm.
Kakuk, a former college softball player, has worked out all her life and, until discovering pole fitness, found the conventional gym experience to be as mundane as most Monday mornings.
“I was working out just like men do,” she says. “It was the same environment, the same equipment. A big part was missing for me as a woman. I have a little ADD, I guess, too. I was bored.”
One day, she asked her friend Natalie Hamilton what she was doing to work out. Hamilton said she was driving to L.A. every week to take pole fitness classes.
Asked how she heard about the new fitness trend, Hamilton says, “One day I was watching Oprah …” and how many times has a woman opened a sentence with that phrase?
“The show was about stepping outside your box,” says Hamilton, now an OC Pole Fitness instructor. “This was as far out of my box as I could possibly get.”
A mother of three, Hamilton, 39, is a regular at PTA meetings and is as much a mom as Carol Brady ever was.
The clientele at OC Pole Fitness includes lawyers and doctors, Christians and Republicans. They have had girls as young as 15 and women as old as 74. The average age would fall somewhere in the mid-30s.
If these women are training strippers and polluting our society along the way, I’m in line to be the next Dalai Lama.
“We don’t take our clothes off,” Hamilton says. “In here, you’re not performing for anyone but yourself.”
The studio is dimly lit, featuring seven poles extending from the floor to the ceiling and plenty of mirrors in which to observe one’s sultriness. Unless you’re a sportswriter, in which case one can observe one’s monkey-ness.
The outfits generally are skimpy but that’s because skin sticks to the pole and clothing does not, an important consideration when attempting to hold yourself upside down using nothing but your will power and inner thighs.
These workouts are serious. So is the sound flesh makes when it scorches against a brass pole. Many of the women do work out in 6-inch heels, but that’s to promote posture, not themselves.
Executing moves with names like “Superwoman” and “Inverted Drama Queen” can alter lives, one muscle group at a time.
It’s about leverage and flexibility, and if you doubt that it’s demanding, try suspending yourself horizontally on a telephone pole for a minute or so.
“It’s a metamorphosis, a transformation,” Kakuk says. “The difference in confidence is amazing. Women walk out of here carrying themselves differently. They stand taller, are more sure of themselves. We’re changing bodies. Women are finding their six-packs here.”
And at least one man is in need of a six-pack here. This stuff isn’t a joke, even if me trying to do it is laughable.
Kakuk likes to call pole fitness “vertical ballet,” making me a vertical ballerina. I’ve been called worse, not sure I’ve ever looked worse, though.
I better stick with the more traditional workouts. I’m simply not man enough to keep up with these women.
Source: OC resgister. Orange County’s News source