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A Double Whammy! Kristine and Michaela's Journeys

3 minutes
07 September 2020

Kristine from Altitude Pole North Shore

I was training for my first Spartan Race when I came across Altitude Pole. I am a gym buff and was pretty into calisthenics at that time. Poling intrigued me - I thought it was a way to further build up my upper body strength – so I thought I’d give it a try!

On my first day of class, boy was I petrified! It felt weird being there and actually holding a pole. I was so self-conscious and felt awkward doing the moves. I was 50/50 after the first class, but thought I’d give it another go. From that point on, there was no turning back for me.

I cannot explain how addictive it was. Perhaps it is because there is always something to rejoice about after every class - those little achievements are exhilarating!

Over time I realised that the benefits of poling extend beyond just the physical. Pole made me have a greater appreciation for what my body can do – I feel strong, powerful and alive! I’ve also realised that all bodies are beautiful in their own way. For many years I worked my butt off in the gym because I was trying to look a certain way. Sometimes I got frustrated because my mummy pooch and stretch marks wouldn’t go away. Altitude brought me to a headspace of positivity, where I feel safe, acknowledge and challenged all at the same time.

It is a place for learning and liberation – where we are allowed to look however we want and be assured we will not be judged. I feel so incredibly blessed to have found a pole family that it so supportive and encouraging. This is now my squad and I am mighty proud to be an Altitudian.

Kristine Smaller

Michaela from Altitude Pole Wigram

I started pole around June in 2019. It was suggested by a friend as something fun and different to do for exercise and boy were they right – it was the most fun I had ever had exercising!

It was so much harder than I expected, but seeing the way my body could move inspired me to keep going back. After a few months, I was still there for the exercise but I realised that it had become more than that too – my confidence was growing and I felt that Altitude was my safe space, a judgment-free zone where I could be me. There is always a friendly vibe in every class and in the waiting room. Everyone is so friendly – the moment you walk in the front door you feel like a part of the community.

Since joining Altitude, I have overcome challenges with confidence and accomplished moves that I am in awe that I can do. I remember in one of my first few pole classes, I watched one of the students doing an invert and I was so inspired. My confidence was different back then – I never thought I would be able to do anything even close to an invert – but as I progressed through Level 1 I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Now I’ve managed not just my crucifix, but a cross-knee release as well, and there are still so many more exciting moves to learn! Nothing seems out of reach now!

I’ve never done a performance before, but after watching Altitude Wigram’s Throw—it-back to the 90s Showcase I am inspired to set a goal to work towards doing a showcase eventually- that would really push me out of my comfort zone!

Looking back, my only regret is that I didn’t join Altitude sooner. It has improved so many aspects of my life for the better. I am motivated, confident, and proud of myself and my body.

Michaela Smaller
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