Updated: Dec 5, 2018
For as long as I can remember, pole has intrigued me. I never took it up because I thought that pole was reserved for a handful of extremely fit and athletically competent people, and that wasn’t me. I was first diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2012 and never really found the right medication that didn’t come with a list of bad side effects, so I just tried coping without medication and looking for natural ways to manage it. I knew I had to make a change but didn’t know how to. The weight started piling on as I found a lot of comfort in just sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
I kept seeing regular adverts on Facebook for Altitude Auckland and in December 2017 I decided to send an email to get more info. Sarah invited me to come and check out the studio. I remember meeting Sarah and her incredible energy and passion was so inspiring, and made me feel like maybe I could find that same passion for something. I was concerned about my weight, my fitness levels and that I might be stuck at level 1 for years. She said to me “You have no idea how exciting this is, your life is going to change!” I didn’t quite understand the full impact of this at the time, or just HOW much my life would be changing in the next few months, but I had hope. I decided to just sign up for 2 classes a week on a 3-month membership – after all, I am usually someone who will give something a crack for two weeks and then give up.
I came back after a holiday in January 2018 not quite ready to take on this crazy thing that I had signed up for. I remember my first lesson, I was ready to die by the end of the 5 minute warm up and battled my way through trying a fireman spin and a basic pole climb. I walked out thinking “Wow! This is way harder than it thought!”, but the next lesson I was back for more and I had already felt a 0.01% improvement by the end of that session. This feeling of progression had me hooked! A few weeks later I had to take on more, and signed up for 4 classes a week.
My progression really started building up; I was totally addicted to pole dancing and ready to take on an unlimited pole membership which meant I could spend as much time as I wanted at the studio every week.
Fast forward a few months later and I have fully immersed myself in this hobby; I have performed in two Showcases and I have dreams of attending NZAPP in the following year.
Pole has really helped me get my mental health back on track. I still have bad days but once I get to the studio I am beaming. Along with that, pole has helped me to lose 10kgs in 8 months. Although I have also made changes to my diet, pole has been the catalyst in finding the consistency and balance in my life that I needed in order to stick to something long enough to see results.
Outside of pole I am a Recruitment Business Partner for a big construction company, recruiting engineers etc. This often sees me out of the office wearing a hard hat and high viz vest!
I am currently working on really nailing my inverts and chopper, as I’d like to see myself move up to Level 3 before the end of the year. I am also working on getting flat front splits. While training for showcase I started pushing myself to learn spin pole, and now my favourite moves are the pretzel and vomitron.
I don’t think I could ever imagine going back to a life without pole. Altitude has been a safe place where I could try, fail, try again, improve - and eventually succeed. It has helped me face my insecurities and made me realise this only existed in my head. I have made fantastic friends - real, kind and amazing friends!
My wish is that every person could find their own ‘Altitude’ in life, whatever that may be – something that can help them find the best version of themselves.