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What Poledance taught me that CrossFit could not

"My neck, my back" shoots through the speakers, red lights are flashing, and I slowly roll my body up and down: stick, hands, chest, stomach, pelvis, knees, repetition. Suddenly I start to think – I do not look like a stripper, but I definitely do not see any CrossFit athlete that I normally see when I look in the mirror.

My body type and aesthetics might be described as part of Kristen Bell, part of Pitbull – Girl next door meets CrossFit warrior. But here I am, whirling and flinging my lightly clad butt with all the grace of an anteater around a 12-foot pole.

I signed up for my first pole dance class on behalf of journalism … but signed up for a second because I loved it.

The classes at Body & Pole, a studio in New York City, are 90 minutes long, including 30 minutes of stretching and mobility work on a yoga mat, 45 minutes learning the movements on the yoga pole and 1

5 minutes practicing everything you learned (For you to deal with your bad self.)

For most of my first courses, I felt that you would expect an inflexible jock with no dance background to feel like a Pole class: like a brisket trying to be Filet Mignon. But when the Khia song faded at the end of the lesson in Destiny's Child, I saw that my body was moving for the first time in more than two years.

I should mention: I love my body and what it can.

  What the Poledance taught me (That CrossFit Couldn <! – –

I am very proud of how quickly I can retire Burpees, my Fran's time and how fast I've learned to build muscle, but in the two years since I started CrossFit, my body has changed a lot, I know I'm strong – with a buck of twenty, I weigh exactly the same at the beginning, but these days my abs are blocked, my traps are bulging, and my forearms are roped off.

In CrossFit Boxes, there is literally Zero Mirror (19459007) – you do not have to crouch down, tearing or cleaning, because that's what the coach is there for, but in the Pole class, the walls are mirrored from floor to ceiling, and from my element I looked at myself and saw the body moving through football, swimming and pursuing in the sky he was high school, rugby in college, crossfit and now pole.

A Woman Wearing CrossFits and Proving All over her body, I have called many things: big, bulky, butch, strong, athletic, jacked up, masculine. [194559009]   What Poledance taught me (That CrossFit Couldn t) <! – Sure, sometimes the confirmation that I'm an athlete is valid. Sometimes it is undesirable and, at worst, intrusive and threatening. People are constantly assigning adjectives to my body – after all, I am a woman.

The other day I was in my coworking space and wore a goddamn turtleneck as a guy in penny loafers and a Vineyard Vine Polo said, "I knew you had CrossFit done before I put the sticker on Seen your water bottle – you have big shoulders for girls. " Mindful observation, Chad.

I'm sure many women feel that way, but I exist in a body that other people – especially men – look at and like to comment on anytime.

So, as I watched my muscles contract and bulge in the light, I tried to ask myself: How would I describe my own body?

Was I just strong (and all its synonyms), or could I be strong and female? Could I be bulky and graceful? Could I be a meathead and someone who takes pole dance lessons and does not suck?

What is this Whitman line? Oh yes, "I have masses."

I decided that I can be everything . So I signed up for another, and then another, and suddenly I'd bought a class pack and was almost as busy as I went to CrossFit.

If you're wondering if pole dance is heavy The answer is "Oh, damn it."

Sure, it's a challenge to move your body weight around a metal bar with the strength of your muscles. But the muscular difficulty of the pole does not bring me to the dark place CrossFit (also known as "the pain cave") does, where my body asks me questions such as: Am I tough enough to cope with this suffering? ?

Instead, Pole is hard for me because it's something completely new and it requires me to be patient with my body in a way I never had to be. [194559009]

  What Pole Dance taught me (That CrossFit Couldn t) <! – And – with the danger to sound cheeky – sucking is in many places The joy has come for me. As an athlete I just did not have the experience to feel like a real beginner . I went to my school rugby team and two months later I was in the starting lineup for Nationals. When I tried CrossFit for the first time, I was able to train the recommended weight (or Rx weight), and within a month, I was (and am) the best – or at least the fastest – in the gym

But at Pole I'm remarkably terrible. And I love it.

I'm not jealous of the graceful people who are in class with me, and I'm not embarrassed that I'm the least flexible girl in the class. With Queen Bey on the speakers and my fingers around the pole I feel good because I'm learning . When I pull down to activate my shoulders, then turn, whirl and run around the pole, I feel both pretty and bulky. I feel like a competitive athlete as well as a total noob.

Certainly swapping a barbell for a pole may not be so obvious to all. But when I do pole dancing, I'm not just a dodger – I learn to use her muscles in a graceful way. And as I get in the mirror and get better and better, you can put your neck, back, and so on, that I'm smiling.

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York based wellness author and CrossFit Level 1 trainer. She has become a morning person, has tried the Whole30 challenge, eaten, drunk, brushed, washed and bathed – all in the name of journalism. In her free time she reads self-help books, bench press or yes, pole dance. Follow her on Instagram.

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