..are we there yet?

That terrifying moment before the first class begins...

That terrifying moment before the first class begins…

So Week One of the new-and-improved, much harder version of Prep Advanced started this week.

I’d been dreading it with fear and loathing after hearing about all the crazy new tricks that have been thrown in, and shaking at the thought of learning them from the reigning Miss Pole Dance South-East-Asia.

You’d be scared too, at the thought of doing things like a Closed-Leg Handstand Pike, (on good days when I’m nice and warm, I can manage the normal Handstand) a Lefty DVD Cover, (Regular DVD is still my weakest Prep trick, and so help me God I can’t even get up into a Lefty DVD Pike) a One-Armed Kick-up Handstand, (Um.. Whuuut?!) and a freaking Handspring. (Can we please not even go there?!!!)

The Handspring in particular, was one of those big tricks that I had no interest in even attempting for at least another year and a half.

But apparently it’s now going to be in the current Prep Advanced Syllabus, so just kill me now already.

The only thing that keeps things happy for me is that for the first time in way over a year, all my pole bitchezz are signed into the same class with me!

Team SPLARCH for the win!

Team SPLARCH for the win!

We decided last term that we all needed to do at least one class together and so the minute after this term’s timetable was released, we snatched the thing up, scrutinized it for a suitable slot, and tried to sign up before anything even keyed into the system for booking.

Anyway, our first class wasn’t all thaaaat bad I guess… only we might have attempted about 10 DVD covers in total on both the right and wrong sides, which explains the photo below.

I’m just trying not to think about what I’m going to feel like in the coming weeks ahead…

and Destroyed after class

…just slightly destroyed after class

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Welcome to SPLARCH!

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Ok so maybe I also just wanted to take a photo of my fave palmtree-printed  leggings, but seriously. #splarch is a thing now.

Last year, I totally missed the Splits-September (Splits-tember) boat. Mostly out of laziness and non-motivation. Then Folly-Jang and I had a conversation about how technically every month could be a split-themed month.. like Split-Ober, Split-Vember, Split-Cember, Split-anuary, Split-bruary, and omg… SPLARCH!!!

Immediately, we decided that Splarch absolutely had to happen. And here we are!

So I humbly present to you the beginning of our very own movement: SPLARCH.

Yes, I mostly like it because it sounds wonderfully wrong and even slightly vulgar. Those are usually good enough motivating factors for me to do stuff. Oh yes, and there’s the part about improving your splits which is kind of neat too.

Even though there are currently all of 5 people who are in, (myself included) which hardly qualifies SPLARCH as a movement per se, we’ve gone ahead and created our own #splarch hashtag on Instagram. Just so you know,  the other 4 kind people whom we collectively know can potentially humor us by posting their own #splarch photos.

Anyhoo, you are most welcome to join our SPLARCH movement. Just think of it as a mini throw-back to Splits September which happened half a year ago already!

Peace out.

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The best lessons are the ones you don’t want to learn..

IMG_7545I thought I was going to spend Valentine’s day in one of the best ways, but instead I’m sitting here kinda heartbroken! *sad face*

One of my favourite instructors recently left the studio, which has been greatly upsetting because she was my go-to for pole privates!

So far there hasn’t been any trick I’ve gone to her with that she couldn’t help me nail eventually. She has a way of noticing exactly what you are doing wrong with your body, and explaining just what you need to tweak to correct it.

Naturally, when she first announced her resignation to her private students, we all panicked!

So when we found out that she was still accepting privates for the next 8 weeks, 3 of us who do privates together bought a new package with her.

We pushed really hard to make our 3 different schedules fit around hers, and found all ways and means to make it work: If our original 90 minute class couldn’t happen, we’d break it up and do smaller sessions of 60 minutes. If she couldn’t make it in the evenings, we’d rush from our offices to squeeze it in during lunch.

Because we loved her, and we loved her classes!

But sometimes, people just don’t love you back quite the same way.

We probably should have realized long ago that she didn’t really want to teach anymore, but we couldn’t see past our own interests. There were signs, but we just ignored them.

Plus well… you kind of assume that people generally like it when you put in effort to pay them money right?! But it turns out that’s not always the case.

We were supposed to do one last, 60-minute private that was scheduled for said instructor’s very last day at the studio.

We’d just heard about how the studio is drastically increasing the standard of Prep next term, and including big new tricks that were previously taught only in Advanced, (more to come about that later, I promise) so working on those brand-new tricks in a private class was just what we needed!

But 60 minutes before the private, we got a text from her saying that she wouldn’t be able to make it.

I was totally gutted when I read it, because I couldn’t believe she would literally let us down like that at the last hour! Especially after we had made so many arrangements with her to nail down this last available class slot.

Learning those new tricks for next term in our last private was really important to me, but something more important to her came up at the last minute.

..What can you do, right?

And then it dawned on me… after we tried to propose possible alternative solutions to her, that there are no possible alternatives when someone is simply no longer interested.

You just have to let them go and bid them farewell.

And so of all the things I’ve ever learned from my wonderful instructor, this is probably the most important thing:

When it gets too difficult to keep someone around in your life, for whatever reason you want them there, just let go of them. Because if you don’t, they will eventually let you down in the end anyway. Be it a lover, friend, teacher, or otherwise.

Sigh. Lesson learned.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Help, I’m falling for another expensive addiction!

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This is how I felt when I found out how much Pilates Reformer classes really cost

No, I’m not on coke and I haven’t started collecting Chanel bags yet.

I’ve just come to realize that I really love Pilates! Like maybe even as much as I love pineapple tarts.. (and if you know me, you’ll know that I take pineapple tarts very seriously!)

The class I attend most regularly at my regular yoga studio is the Mat Pilates class, and if I could afford to do regular Machine-based Pilates classes all the time too, I would.

But they are soooo expensive!

I just finished my last Groupon Pilates Reformer Machine session at a boutique Pilates studio and I’m seriously contemplating signing up for their promotional starter package of 5 Reformer classes for $180.

It works out to $36 per class! *Ouch!* But considering that most drop-in Reformer classes cost between $50-$60 each, and never drop below $40 even in bundled packages, it’s a pretty good deal.

So why are Machine-based Pilates classes so pricey?

My guess is that besides being really good for isolating muscle groups with minimal impact on your joints, those damned ‘torture machines’ are probably bloody expensive.

So why am I so in love with them?

Well, my main goal for this year is to strengthen up my weak upper body and core, (which I really hate doing!) cos it’s the key for me to make real pole progress. But during the last  yoga flow class I attended, my palms and wrists started to hurt mid-way from all the planks and push-ups which my body just wasn’t quite prepared for. 

My palms started to get so red and swollen that I had to resort to doing the planks and push-ups on my fists instead, which is even harder on your muscles.

It was intense. I felt sore for days even though I drank a full serving of my protein shake! That’s the first time I’ve really ached even after drinking it, so you can imagine how hard I pushed through that damned class. And how wasted I’d have been if I hadn’t drunk any at all…

Which is why I’m liking the Reformer machine. It works my upper body just as hard but its gentle on my weak little wrists. And I love how my inner thighs feel like they’re on fire with the targeted leg exercises.

Class sizes are also limited to the number of Reformer machines that the studio owns and they tend to be small so that the instructor can observe each student. Even though the studio I bought the Groupons from has 12 machines, so far the classes have always been smaller and the instructor gives lots of individual attention. And who doesn’t like that?!

The other thing I really like about Reformer classes is not directly related to fitness at all, but I love how clean and hygienic the culture is! Everyone wears socks so that they’re feet never touch the equipment directly, and everyone is given a clean cloth and alcohol spray to wipe down all the surfaces of the machine that they lie on as well.

I recently started bringing my own mat towel for hot yoga classes just so I have the peace of mind from knowing that the sweaty towel I’m lying on is only covered in my own bacteria and not someone else’s. I try to bring a tee shirt to warm up in before pole too, so that my back doesn’t have to touch the floor too much. And when we’re doing floor work in routines, I just try not to think about the dust and germs I’m rolling on.

So I totally appreciate the cleanliness of Reformer machine classes! And all the other benefits of it too.

But damn, they come with a hefty price tag…

And the promotional starter package I’m agonizing so hard over is purely offered as a first-timer price! Which means that should I decide to continue, I’ll have to suck it up and pay the normal class package rate of about $42 – $47 per class, instead of $36. *Super ouch!*

Machine-based Pilates Groupons are pretty hard to come by, though I will be keeping an eagle-eye out for them from now on!

In the meantime, I might just have to take the plunge and sign up for those extra 5 classes… on top of all the pole classes and practice sessions I already constantly shell out for. Oh, my poor bank account!

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Happy New Year, and yay for muscle recovery!

Just figured how to X-man down with control. Now to work on holding the damn thing!

Just figured how to X-man down with control. Now to work on holding the damn thing!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

Okay I know I’m a little late but hey, it’s still January!

So far, January has been pretty awesome.

Heck, December was great too… I took 2 weeks off just before Christmas and did a bunch of Bikram’s yoga with my bestie who quit her fancy corporate job to become a full-time Bikram yoga instructor.

Let me tell you, that Bikram stuff is hard core. 90 minutes in 40 degrees is no joke. My body doesn’t just sweat doing Bikrams, it weeps. It weeps hard.

Which is why I thought that I’d be well prepared for the super-challenging hot Pilates class that I have a love-hate relationship with at my regular yoga studio. After all, it’s only 60 minutes long.

Not even!

Omg I had to pause twice during the class just to catch my breath, amidst the burning of my arms, chest, abs, glutes, thighs, calves and big toes. Seriously, that class is crazy tough. And not just because I hadn’t done it for months…

About 8 people walked out half way through, so it can’t just have been me who was struggling to keep up. But I like classes like that, because you feel like a champion at the end of it as you stumble your way out into the changing room.

Then last night, I did a machines-based Pilates reformer class from my last Groupon purchase. Man, those reformer machines are really effective modern-day torture devices! I can’t even remember the last time I felt my inner thigh muscles shake so much from exertion. I do recall incredulously staring at the giant clock on the wall in front of me, marveling at how time stands still when you have weighted pulleys strapped to your feet with 7 more reps of core crunches to do.

I’m going back for another session new Wednesday, and when that’s done I’ll do another week of Bikrams before settling down and committing to doing the difficult hot-pilates class twice a week at my regular yoga studio again.

Why am I torturing my body silly with all these workouts, you ask?

…Because its JANUARY, and that’s when I promised myself that I would put my lazy ass back into Prep Advanced Pole, that’s why!

So yes, I’ve been back in Prep for the past 3 weeks now, trying to get back into the swing of doing pole tricks at this level. After spending the past 2 terms cruising through with dance-based classes, its been no walk in the park.

Also, the extra 2+ kilos I gained over Christmas probably isn’t doing me any favours. But a little extra booty isn’t a bad thing except that I need to suck it up and work a little harder every time I lift myself upside down.

Why the container has to be so big, I have no idea

You can’t tell but the container is massive

Thank goodness I just discovered the magic that is protein powder! Normally the Pilates classes alone would be enough to make me ache for 3 days straight, but now I just drink a serving of chocolate-flavoured Whey goodness and I wake up feeling just fine, as if nothing ever happened.

Seriously though, this has got to be the best thing I’ve discovered for pole since Brazilian IPL. I’ve been waking up the past 3 weeks feeling amazed at how not-sore I feel. Why didn’t anyone tell me before that I could reduce my muscle recovery down time by a fraction?! I sure could have used it back when I was still mastering my basic invert!

But I’m not complaining. It just means I can now train harder a lot more frequently and without all the usual soreness.

Apparently you can even make brownies with protein powder which sounds like total WIN to me, but I’m still happy just washing it down with milk for now.

How’s your January been? And what workout-boosting supplements do you use?

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Aint no friends like pole girl friends

Every girl needs a pair of 7" super shiny shoes

Every girl needs a pair of 7″ super shiny shoes

One of the things I enjoy most about pole is hanging out with my pole girl friends. We affectionately refer to each other as our ‘pole bitchezz’.

This is us posing as retarded happy reindeers...

This is us posing as retarded happy reindeers…

It’s been about 3 years since I first stepped into Bobbi’s Pole Studio Singapore, and in that time I’ve made a whole new bunch of girl friends from al different walks of life. Our collective obsession binds us and transcends all age gaps, occupations, and personalities.

...and then as sad reindeers

…and then as sad reindeers

I can chat with them on What’sApp all day and night, and sometimes we do! But it’s not all about pole of course.

In the past couple of years that I’ve gotten closer to all my pole bitches, we’ve opened up about all the other parts of our lives too. Work, love, family, etc.. We’ve been to each others’ homes, met up for non-pole related outings, and eaten about a hundred times of our own body weights in food together by now.

Looking all ladylike before the massive food we order covers the entire table

Looking all ladylike before our massive food order covers the entire table

Pole was a social activity for me right from the beginning, and it still is. When an activity is shared with a friend, it gives you extra motivation to keep at it. And when you share it with an entire group of friends, it becomes so much more enjoyable!

But I’ve having some separation anxiety right now, cos one of my fave pole bitchezz (who happens to share the same name as me in real life) is flying to Hong Kong for a while to chase a big pole-related dream. (Whoo-hoo!)

Go, team SueAnn(e) !!!

Go, team SueAnn(e) !!!

This, happening on the same week that our beloved, long-term studio front-desk manager  is leaving Bobbi’s!

Sunshine! Don't goooooo!!

Sunshine! Don’t goooooo!!

Heck, it being holiday season, lots of my friends are flying or have already flown off for  extended vacations as well!

But that’s okay, cos I have more than enough beloved pole bitchezz here to keep me company and go for pole practice with. And in the meantime, we will all be chatting away on What’sApp anyways!

Why hold a pole when you can hold a booty?

Polite pole bitchezz will just hang onto your shoes, but I’m not one of those

Happy holidays! xoxo

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