Sunday,15 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)
Sunday,15 July, 2018
Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Pole fitness hits Egypt

Pole fitness classes are now available in Egypt, encouraging many women to break the taboos surrounding this new form of workout, discovers Omneya Yousry

Al-Ahram Weekly

“At Pole Fit Egypt, the pole is not regarded only as a form of exercise or dance, but also as a medium of getting to know your body more intimately.” This is how Pole Fit Egypt describes the pole fit sport that has arrived in Egypt.

While some people used to relate pole dancing to doubtful clubs, all of this has now changed, as pole dancing has become a way to get your body in shape. It’s a great way to work out as it helps you improve your core strength, lose weight and tone your muscles.

Before you let your opinion about pole fitness get the better of you, try reading the comments below from women for whom it has been transformational.

What are the main benefits of pole sport? Eager to find out more, we asked the founder of Egypt’s first pole fitness class, Manar Al-Mokadem. “It’s fun, in the first place. You won’t be going into training looking at your watch every ten minutes wondering when this self-inflicted torture is over,” she said.

“Women who join Pole Fit always enjoy it, and with enjoyment come commitment, dedication and, ultimately, results. I believe pole dancing is the thing if you want to see quick results in a very short time.”

Al-Mokadem started pole fit training in 2010, when she was studying at university in the UK. She came back to Egypt after finishing university and wanted to do pole fitness with other people in her home country.

“Since I was already an instructor, it made sense to teach here and that was the first step. The biggest obstacle at the beginning was that people who booked might not always attend. However, we soon got over that. Then I was surprised by the amount of interest. I didn’t expect so many women to be so interested so soon.”

Pole Fit Egypt is the first private pole studio in Egypt. It’s a space where women can connect with themselves and express themselves freely and comfortably using their physique. Members are from all ages, circles and walks of life, but they all share one common trait: the desire to pole.

“Our classes are a continuous learning process that inspires women to go outside their comfort zone, subconsciously helping them to learn to embrace themselves,” Al-Mokadem added.

For Pole Fit classes you’ll need to wear shorts and have bare legs to grip the pole, as this helps you pull off more moves. Don’t worry though — it’s a women-only class.

“Are you scared you won’t know how to do it right? You shouldn’t be, as this is what the professional instructors are there for. They won’t leave room for you to do any of the moves wrongly. It’s not difficult, though. Once you learn how to do the moves this will be when you learn how to set yourself free,” said Al-Mokadem.

Regarding the negative stereotype of the new sport, she commented, “It’s a global misconception, not only in Egypt, actually. Pole fitness is a very new form of dance, acrobatics, exercise and performance art. There are many pole dancers, studios and campaigns all over the world working to build awareness of the differences between exotic dance and the acrobatic art of pole fitness. I think being in a Middle Eastern country makes Pole Fit’s role essential. I don’t think Pole Fit is going to correct the assumptions alone, but it certainly is adjusting them.”

Aya Wagdi, one of Pole Fit’s trainees, shared her experience. “A few months ago, I heard that one of the gyms had started pole fit classes, and I was very tempted to try it out, not knowing what to expect,” she said.

Wagdi, who loves trying out new and unusual sports, went ahead to see how bad she’d be at it. “To my surprise, it was great fun, beyond what words can describe. So I started to find out more about it until I found the Pole Fit Egypt studio and started my classes there.”

Pole fitness mainly depends on body strength, and that’s something that can be improved from one class to the next. “I think it depends on the coach or instructor as well. What started off as my not being able to do much at first soon turned into my doing much more advanced moves than I thought I could.

“So if you’re thinking there’s no way you can pull this off, think again! It’s not as hard as it looks, and you’ll be able to do some crazy and fun moves in a very short period of time,” Wagdi said.

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