The shiny pole stands in the middle of the studio floor, but you won’t find any bystanders ogling the action here.
Pole fit instructor Karen Currie says her female-friendly classes are designed to be non-judgmental, fun and a great way for people to shape up.
While pole dancing is usually associated with nightclubs, pole fit concentrates on using the techniques involved while shedding the seedy image that’s built up around it.
Karen currently runs classes in Waterlooville and Chichester and intends to launch a new weekly session in Portsmouth next month.
Having made the transition from student to instructor herself three years ago, Karen set up her Princess K school and five qualified instructors now oversee classes.
Karen’s own love of pole fitness began late in life at 46 and, despite having no dance or gymnastic background, she attributes her strength and flexibility to this form of exercise.
‘I’ve been amazed at the change in my body shape and it’s purely the result of pole fit,’ says Karen, from Hayling Island. ‘I enjoyed the gym and various classes but pole fit is the only one I’ve stuck at for so long because there is always something new to learn and progress towards.
‘It was daunting being an older student and I never thought I’d be able to do some of the things that the younger students could, but in time, learning to invert [the term for going upside down on the pole] was great and it felt like such an achievement.
‘Apart from the fitness, the body confidence that comes from pole fit is amazing. We insist on a non-judgmental atmosphere in our classes, it allows our students to let their inhibitions go which is very empowering for them.
‘They can have fun discovering what we call their inner goddess or diva.’
The sessions primarily work on improving people’s upper body strength and core stability. Once participants have progressed into doing more routines, they’ll see an increase in the amount of cardio work they’re doing.
Karen says the moves are particularly good for toning abs, arms and shoulders – all areas that many women often find problematic.
Complete beginners can join hour-long classes on Wednesdays at 7pm at Fitness First in Waterlooville as well as Monday or Friday night sessions at the Nuffield centre in Chichester. A Saturday afternoon top-up session in Chichester is designed to help those who’ve reached a more advanced level.
And Karen is now extending her repertoire to include burlesque classes from next month, combining dance moves with a workout designed to burn calories.
‘I’m not a purist with pole fit,’ says Karen. ‘I like to embrace some of the moves that make it sassy and sexy, it adds an element of fun.
‘The addition of burlesque classes recently to our programme is a perfect complement to what we do. They’ve added the element of tease to the fun.’
She adds: ‘The idea is that we’re getting fit, having a bit of fun and a lot of giggles.’
A four-week course costs £32 or £10 per session if paying on a week-by-week basis.
For details on class times or what to expect, call Karen on 07769 896155 or e-mail email@example.com