Anyone who knows me, knows all about my relationship with cardio exercise.
I don’t have one!
At school I was never one for racing around the hockey pitch, and as I’ve got older I’ve only been known to drag myself around the block on occasion for a token run when I feel like I should be doing more to burn off last nights nachos. Sport was never my thing until I began taking pole fitness classes in 2009 and haven’t looked back since. The benefits of pole are countless; I can climb 10 feet in the air using only my hands, I can flip myself upside down and I can hold a pose using all manner of body parts. But make me run for a bus and I resemble Darth Vadar taking his last breaths.
Unfortunately in the last few months I have let what should be a balanced training regime tip somewhat significantly in favour of strength work. With 2 competitions coming up, it is vital I up my cardio capacity if I’m going to make it to the end of a routine in one piece, and as an avid hater of gym machines, I am always on the quest for any alternative to get my heart racing.
I had taken a hula-hoop class 2 years ago in a similar bid. Pure enthusiasm led me to ordering a hoop of my own (before I’d even taken the class!) and I was all set to become hula goddess. That didn’t quite go to plan. The class was exhausting, but that was probably due to the fact I was bending down to pick the hoop up every 5 seconds as it clattered to my feet. By the end of the hour, I had managed to keep it going for a few rotations as a time and was feeling suitably impressed with myself. Unfortunately not enough to return, and the hoop spent its future gathering dust under the stairs, until we moved to London a few months ago.
Seeing a free class offered at a local pole studio, I thought give it a second chance. The class began with a simple warm up led by a very enthusiastic teacher – all well so far. There was only 1 girl who had hooped before and for once I wasn’t the worst in the room! I even surprised myself keeping the hoop on a spin around my waist, and even venturing in the other direction and spinning it over my head and around my arms! The 45 minute session flew by – by the end I could already feel the muscles aching around my waist and arms, my hips were feeling a little bruised and I’d taken a few flying hula hoops to the head but all in all I had broken a sweat, achieving what I had set out to. It might take me a while to make it look vaguely graceful, but I’ll definitely be back for more.