Valentine's Day has now passed but why not celebrate it everyday when it comes to your relationship with your body? Own what you see in the mirror with attitude and pride. Like Marlo and Tia, 2 women who have gone against the grain to inspire women to feel sexy, uninhibited and energized by their sexuality. What they're doing for women is incredible, and even more fascinating is that they've made careers of it. Meet these extraordinary ladies who are pioneers of pole fitness culture and enter my BOOTYFUL GIVEAWAY( courtesy of Vertical Edge) at the end of this article.
Marlo Fisken had been a dancer for years before she started "poling", which is the accurate term for the sport of pole. Calling it "pole dancing" makes it sound like stripping, and poling is by far more dynamic, beautiful and challenging than anything you'd see at your local strip club. Although, Marlo does admit that the naughty correlation of poling to stripping did initially draw her to the sport, in addition to hearing it was very athletic.
Marlo has been in the fitness industry since she was 18, working as personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She received a B.S. in Anthropology which she uses to structure class warm-ups and pole routines taught to her students. She tells me:
Key concepts about locomotive patterns among monkeys, apes, and early humans have shaped the way I understand human movement potential. Swinging by the arms is quite important as a pole dancer. My studies have enriched my relationship with what I do. Anthropology has helped me understand how we should eat, how music has developed and disseminated over time, and how that cross-culturally influences dance movement.
You could say Marlo is intellectualizing a practice of movement tied to many stereotypes (good and bad) that have intrigued both men and women for years. By making poling smart, cool and relevant, Marlo is helping women get in shape and connect with their bodies in a sexy-fit way, unapologetically.
The path to poling, though, isn't so simple. Marlo spent years doing yoga, pilates, dance, high intensity interval training and gymnastics-style conditioning to prep her body for this next-level sport. The physical and often brutal challenge of poling compelled her to be one of the best in the world:
I suddenly wanted to be known as an innovator in this field. It was an opportunity to combine all of my strengths from fitness in dance into something novelty that you can climb and spin on.
I recognize assertive words like this because they come from ambitious people who make it to the top. And that's exactly where Marlo is headed. She currently teaches at the popular Body & Pole studio in NYC while traveling worldwide for pole performances. Marlo also appears regularly in films, commercials, music videos and on the stage, showing off her craft as if it takes no effort. But as a student of poling myself (video), I can tell you this: IT AIN'T EASY! Marlo's amazing strength and skill allows her to stay up for jaw-dropping periods of time.
Like any performer, she feeds off her audience and says:
Nothing else compares to the adrenaline rush of finishing a routine, and knowing that I was able to stir the emotions of my audience.
When I ask Marlo about the real workout behind poling, she explains it to me as an inner strengthening routine because of all the confidence it brings out in the people who try it. It's also a workout where the allure of sensual movement blends with unconventional body-building that doesn't require weights...except for your own body weight ('cause you better believe you're lifting that when you get on the pole).
(photo by Little Shao Photography)
I had to ask Marlo how she tells people what she does for a living...because we live in a society where people love to judge. She says people most often inquire when they fully see her physique at the gym (fyi she's ripped) or when she's jump-squatting into handstand hops for fun.
I usually just say that I am an acrobat/dancer. I know that I could raise awareness by telling people about the art and sport of pole dance, but it's quite hard for many people to understand unless they are able to see a performance right away.
When she's performing, less is always more as far as clothes go. During warm-ups, Marlo prefers stylish cover-ups and funky sweatpants because it's better for your skin to be warm before you take to the pole.
Marlo aimed to be the best and that's the category in which she now finds herself. Need proof? WATCH THIS! She has a self-branded workout in development but will continue teaching her local NYC classes because she enjoys teaching women (and men!) the luxury of "taking care of themselves" through poling.
Her post-Valentine's day advice?
Whether you are trying to give love to others or one special person -- you should pay attention to yourself first.
Tia Robinson is the founder and designer of Vertical Edge, a pole-wear collection that caught my eye at IDEA FIT last year. I fell in love with both the cutesy and romantic features of Tia's line. Her use of mesh paneling and ruffles is fun and feminine rather than overtly sexual.
Tia's fashion design lends a sweet and positive vibe to poling, which makes sense considering how she fell into the sport.
About 4 years ago I was traveling and eating out a lot because of my corporate job and decided I needed to get back into shape. I started off with more traditional forms of exercise before hearing about pole fitness on a TV show. I thought this would be a great way to “liven-up” my workouts, so I found a local studio that offered intro classes and fell in love! This sport has not only helped me lose weight, increase my flexibility and build muscle, it has also help me with my confidence.
Her only issue with poling was finding the appropriate clothes to wear for class. At that time there wasn’t a pole fitness active wear brand, so Tia decided to create her own. Opening the door of opportunity to Vertical Edge was just the beginning for Tia because, as you know, 1 open door leads to many more. Tia coaches and speaks on the topics of empowerment, resilience, entrepreneurship and healthy living. She's not just a pole fitness enthusiast, she's living proof that exercise can inspire you and take your life in new, exciting directions.
Tia wants all women to feel this way, especially plus size fitness women. She's currently hard at work producing pieces that range in size from XS-XXL.
The pole community is full of women of all sizes and they should have clothing to accommodate them. I created styles and silhouettes for various different body types, so there is something for everyone.
A PEEK AT VERTICAL EDGE - POLE-WEAR FOR ALL SHAPES & SIZES:
Vertical Edge apparel fuses function and style. Tia brilliantly weaves "less is more" into her designs without stripping it down too much. No one wants too feel naked in class as body-baring active wear is already a big step for most.
Typical workout wear is too bulky and loose for pole fitness, dance and other fitness disciplines like bikram and aerial yoga. Too much fabric interferes with your body and skin from making direct contact with the pole, and sticking to it. That's why Vertical Edge features gathered straps, drawstring side and cut-out details. It's also constructed with breathable fabric that wicks away moisture because SWEAT, YOU WILL during pole fitness class! Especially if you go see Marlo.
So what's Tia's post-Valentine's Day advice considering she's a self-help guru?
Being yourself IS sexy! There is nothing more appealing than a woman that is comfortable in her own skin. Own THAT confidence and you are guaranteed to exude sex appeal on any day!
Get started with this love yourself treat: Tia is offering a special promo code to MizzFIT readers! MIZZFIT2013 gets you 20% off your purchase at Vertical Edge at checkout.
AND NOW FOR MY BOOTYFUL GIVEAWAY!
Stick to the pole bootyfully in Vertical Edge Pole-A-Rina Bottoms. See the butt shot above? You can recreate it with your own bottom by entering my Bootyful Giveaway. Here's what you need to do to win these Pole-A-Rina ruffled bottoms in a size medium:
- Like both MizzFIT and Vertical Edge on Facebook
- Leave a comment below telling me if you think fitness is a good way to unleash your sexy side. Are you too shy OR ready to give it a spin?
I'm picking a winner on March 4th, 2013 and it could be YOU! Good luck!