August 28, 2012

Pole Class - a second review

PoleClass is tough. But like any great work out, the reward - strength, confidence, flexibility, friends - are well worth it.

I've been attending pole classes at PoleClass since they first opened in Jan (2012). At a burlesque show in late 2011, I saw the two owners handing out fliers - I'd been on the look out to start pole classes again and having tried the other two studios in Wellington that I knew of and not liking them, I was excited for a new place to be opening.

I spoke to the awesome Erin and instantly had a friendly connection there - being able to have a social side with your teachers makes such a difference. I signed up as soon as I could.

The classes are run by both Erin and the lovely Tild who have more than 13 years experience between them. Classes are $150 for 6 weeks and Erin and Tild usually teach a class each week for you so you get the benefit of both teaching styles, which compliment each other and help you in the best ways.

I also highly recommend Conditioning classes as well. These are on a Thursday evening, and the immediate strength you feel by the time its your next class - what you couldn't do last week, you suddenly can do now - just because of one conditioning (strength training, essentially) class. These are $15 each and anyone can attend if you booking.

Of the three pole studios I've been to, I will always recommend PoleClasss. Erin and Tild are so helpful and friendly; you never are made to feel like you're useless for not being able to do something.

Pole is tough, but the empowerment you feel in yourself is amazing.

August 22, 2012

I was super excited to do a six week beginners pole dancing class at Pole Class. Venus Star, producer of Carousel Cabaret, teaches burlesque and hula hoop and Willow Noir, Miss Burlesque NZ, trains there!

I had a wee panic my first night that it was somehow related to Dream Girls which is a couple of doors down. Thankfully, it isn't. The building is a bit old, but what building in Wellington isn't? Up a flight of stairs is the studio, shaped like a wide corridor with a stone floor. You'd think it would be cold but we only used the heater one night. Pretty touches like chandeliers and paintings of burlesque dancers (some of whom looked familiar but the titles underneath did not match the performers I thought they were) add to the atmosphere. The pole set up was impressive. The poles are slim, silver, able to change from stationery to spinning and to be swung up onto the ceiling to provide more space in the room - yet somehow manage to be perfectly secure.

There are two teachers with different teaching methods and backgrounds. One learnt on the job and the other learnt through classes. One is better at the connecting moves; the other at pole moves. Neither of them looked like I expected a pole dancer to look; they were both down to earth. They share the teaching though we had one teacher for five of the six lessons.

The classes were really well structured. Each move was shown by the instructor, once fast though so you could see what it looked like, then step by step. The students did the move step by step with the instructor, then twice on the left, twice on the right. Each move was practised leading with the left and right to keep you honest (or was it modest?). Before you could get sick of it, or too caught up in how well you were doing, it was on to the next move. Classes started with a full warm up and ended with a cool down comprised of yoga based movements.

Classes at Pole Class are organised into sets (beginner level 1, beginner level 2, intermediate 1 etc) which stretch over six weeks. Each set of classes leads on to the next; moves from the previous set are used as part of the warm up for the level above. Even at beginner level you start building your skill set for further classes, attempting to pole sit (wrapping your legs around the pole and sitting there), and pulling your legs up onto the pole (above your head) from a standing position.

I found the first half of the set of classes fun, doing spins and floor moves. The second half were more technical and preparation for future classes. To be honest I wouldn't have kept going if I wasn't writing this review because it was hard. I'm glad I did continue. I did progress but was jealous of the other girls in the class who seemed to find it so much easier. I was sore after each class, not so much that it hurt to move but enough to make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

In addition to the six weeks of classes students have the option of having an individual lesson as part of the package. I didn't take up this option as I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the teacher, when there was a class of students it was easier to hide.

There are a limited number of poles so it is always best to book for classes to ensure they have room for you, this also means that classes are small and you get individual attention from the teacher (not so good if you are like me and prefer to hide). I do think that it is confidence building so taking more classes would probably be good for me.

I would recommend Pole Class because they have well thought out classes including proper warm up and cool down, a structured training program, trained teachers and an excellent facility.

6 week beginners class
Price: $150
Location: Pole Class, level 2, 39 Dixon Street
Next set starts: Wednesday, 29 August, 6.45pm
You can find Pole Class on Facebook

August 16, 2012

Weight loss: back on track

When I was in high school I got sent to the principals office for passing notes in an exam. In my defense it was a practice exam and I had finished. I did not cheat. At the end of the year I discovered that I missed out on an award because of this. It wasn't worth it.

This week I ate off programme. It wasn't worth it.

It is awful that of all the things that have happened this is the one I focus on. So, let me start again.

I am back on Jenny Craig after two weeks off. I have new consultant (not that there was anything wrong with my last consultant) who I feel more comfortable with. I think we are more similar to each other. The biggest news I suppose is that I actually lost some weight. I didn't gain anything during my hiatus and my first week back, despite my hiccup, I lost 800 grams - that's close to a kg! I am really excited about it but it doesn't seem that important. Isn't that funny?

One thing my consultant has been drumming into me is that it's not just about the weight loss its about adjusting my body to the program and being in better health. I do feel better. I am eating, as I said previously, so much more than I used to. I don't get hungry the same. I do still want to eat junk food but it's less craving and more habit. This is something I will have to work on.

What bothered me the most about eating off program was that I was meant to be exercising. Saturday was the Nighttime Madness evening walk to Butterfly Creek. I had been looking forward to this for quite some but an old injury started playing up and I only got to the start of the course. Instead of going home my walking partner and I went to get coffee which became dessert. Sadly, it wasn't even good dessert. Having read this article I have a better understanding of my mindset at the time. In future I know to chose something healthier or to share, either way it is less damage to my goals.

In other news I've found a new site to encourage me to write my posts. It shows you a picture of a kitten every 100 words. How cute is that? Maybe next time I won't be day late (which has been becoming a nasty habit).

How do you get yourself back on track when you make a mistake? I'd love to hear from people who actually completed the walk/run on Saturday too. What was it like?

Keep reading and you'll be seeing less of me next time.

Special thanks to: Ian Tilley Photography and Jenny Craig

August 10, 2012

Charlaine Harris author talk

If the settings of her novels didn't clue you in then her Southern drawl and excellent manners would; Charlaine Harris is a true Southern Belle. The South tends to be portrayed as backwards and racist but Charlaine says they are now only five years behind the rest of America (instead of 30) and inclusionism is a theme of her most popular series.

The Sookie Stackhouse books, which have garnered her international fame as well as a television series, were initially rejected by publishers. I can smugly say I knew of her before True Blood thanks to a copy of Shakespeare's Christmas I found in the return section of Wellington Central Library.

The TV show is not how I envisioned the books. The differences bother readers more than the author. She is careful not to criticise the work others do; saying several times that Allan Ball (True Blood's creator) chooses the best actors for the parts. She also declines to sign True Blood graphic novels (comics for those who aren't up with the lingo) because she has no part in making them.

Unlike some writers Charlaine doesn't start with an outline, her writing process consists of sitting at her computer and letting the story take her where it will (I think she would disagree with my wording here, in answer to a question whether her characters surprise her she replied that it was the ideas in her head the surprise her because that's where they come from). Her husband, who would love if she described him as 'studly', has been a great support. She wrote full time before it was profitable and now she has returned the favour; with a wife as a successful author he is able to retire early. On her 34th Wedding Anniversary, it was good of her to be with us rather than celebrating with her husband, though no one asked, she might have brought him with her. Her next novel is something new and will involve several of her previous characters at a cross roads in Texas, I assume the cross roads will be metaphorical as well as physical.

The function was held at the Amora Hotel, which try as I might I still think of as The Duxton, in one of their ballrooms. There is a stage with a podium that Charliane didn't use, a distractingly shiny ceiling and a bar where you could exchange your ticket for a drink. The back of the room had a Whitcoulls table with copies of Charlaine's books you can purchase for her to sign if you dared the enormous queue.

The Dominion Post also did a live chat online with her. My one complaint is that I wish it were better advertised, I only saw it because I subscribe to Livewire the Dominion Post's email newsletter, I didn't see advertising anywhere else. It's not often we get international authors here, although Jodi Picoult was in the country recently she only visited Auckland. Thank you to the Dom Post for bringing Charlaine here, I'm glad she tried again after cancelling last year.

Look out for the last book in the Sookie Stackhouse series Dead Ever After in May next year.

August 2, 2012

Weight loss: I watch too much TV

I am a day late posting this because.... I didn't want to post. I had thought this whole thing would be easy, that I would merrily go along losing weight each week. But it hasn't been like that. As you know my first week did not go as planned, my second was worse. In addition to only losing 200gms, my condition (the one for which I take medication) got worse. The only thing that had changed was starting Jenny Craig. My doctor suggested that I go off Jenny Craig until I stabilise. Already being behind where I had planned to be I was disappointed. But, as we all know, life does not always go as planned. I took my doctors advice. I am off the programme for the moment but I hope to be back on it next week.

One reader asked about the qualifications of the Jenny Craig consultants. The consultants at the office I attend have been there 5 years (with the exception of one who has been there 3) so they are very experienced. They have full knowledge of the programme from being on it themselves and they have continuing training throughout the year.

You may wonder what I have been doing. Um, not what I should have been. I have been enjoying the freedom to eat what I like and watching a lot of TV. There are some great shows about being overweight, although what I think is great is probably different from what other people think.

On Saturday afternoons there's a new show called More to Love which is pretty much a plus-sized (how I hate that term) The Bachelor. I'm not sure why they needed to have a new series. Why could they not have a larger than life Bachelor? I think every female contestant cried at some point during the first show, because it's so hard being fat. After five minutes of them being on screen you forget that they are "fat" because they all look perfectly normal; like someone you would see in the street rather than the stick figures that usually feature on TV. The show has more diversity than you expect from these sort of shows; in addition to the weight thing not everyone appears to be white (though there are no obviously Asian or Black participants) and one girl is a little bit goth (punk? I’m sure someone will set me straight).

Another show also on Saturday afternoons but shortly coming to an end is Too Fat for 15: Fighting Back a reality show (do you notice theme here?) about teens at a fat camp in America. I will miss this when it has gone; I feel attached to the teens the show follows.

Did you happen to watch Golden while it was on? I saw the previews for the show at the time I was thinking of losing weight. I had hoped it might follow Shelly’s weight loss but instead it joked about her size and the size of her trainer (and ex-boyfriends) appendage. I did watch the whole series but overall I was disappointed.

I haven’t only watched TV. In the last week I have organised with two of my friends to walk with them (separately) once a week. And coming up next week I have the Butterfly Creek Nightime Madness. There is still time to register if you want to participate.

What sort of weight loss TV do you like? Will I see you at Butterfly Creek?

Keep reading and next time you’ll be seeing less of me.

Special thanks to: Ian Tilley Photography, Jenny Craig