Staying Accountable

Icon - Pen and paperSo the first part of October, when I was so frustrated with my back, Samantha and Brandi were also unhappy with their bodies, and wanted to change.  So they started a 90 day program together.  My back wasn’t (and still isn’t) well enough for me to participate in this program, but I decided that I would do what exercises I could.  We would do this together, to keep each other accountable and support each other.  There’s only one problem.  We all live 30-45 minutes apart.  And with work and families, that makes it hard to get together to work out.

So my friend Samantha found a useful purpose for facebook.

I know.  I thought it was only for finding cat memes and wasting time while I’m bored at work, too.  Who knew?

So anyway, the Groups feature has turned out to be really awesome for this.  She made our very own secret group, so every day, we could post about our workouts.  There’s only three of us in the group, so it makes it really easy for us to keep up with each other, unlike some of the larger groups I’m in.  It’s great!  We all work out when we’re able to during the day, and post after.  It’s got a lot of the benefits of working out together (except bitching to each other during the hard sequences) when we can’t actually physically work out together.  It’s great.

I know me, and I need a workout buddy to help keep me accountable.  Surprisingly, this has worked out really well for me.  I do what I can, when I can, and still get the positive feedback, or a little push when I need it, but having to check in is usually all the mental ‘push’ I need to get me to exercise.  I do admit, I had a few small issues with my back, and fell off the bandwagon a little bit, but they kept going, and seeing them succeed, and seeing them change has kept me inspired.  I’m a little sad I can’t keep up, but I’m doing what’s right for my body, and moving at least a little every day has really helped speed my recovery greatly.

Samantha, you’re a genius.

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A pain in the… back

So I’ve been dealing with back injury for most of this year.  I posted a while ago about how I was so frustrated and depressed, jealous and unmotivated and surly.

I’ve started poling once a week with Samantha, and I feel like I can’t do a whole lot, but I have noticed that I am starting to get a little stronger.  I still have to be careful.  I still have to make sure and stretch and do my exercises at least every other day, if not every day.

Last week, I noticed that after a few days of gentle exercises and stretches that I was still having issues with achy, unhappy back muscles, so I stressed them a little.  I did a single round of an ab and butt circuit (crunches, rev crunches, bicycles, side planks with leg lifts, squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc).  I was TIRED after that one round.  But my muscles weren’t sore and achy the next day like they had been for the previous few days.  So I am making progress.

Until Monday.

My job occasionally requires lifting, which normally would not be a problem.  But the problem came when I was swapping out fire extinguishers (big 25 lb ones).  The first problem is that I had to carry them from my car into offices, and secondly that  I was having to bend over to get them out of my trunk.  I was in serious pain – I wanted to cry.  But Tuesday was a little better, and the work Dr is chalking it up to muscle strain and says I should be fine by Monday.

Until this point, I was doing really well with my recovery – it’s been slow, but there has been some progress.  Enough to keep me hopeful, and the hope keeps me going, keeps me thinking that maybe, just maybe, by the time I hit the one year mark, I’ll be back to where I was pre-injury, back to normal.

I’m trying to be safe and smart about the way I’m recovering, and it’s hard.  Patience and consistency are not two of my strong suits when it comes to personal goals and accomplishments.  But I’m learning, and it’s paying off.

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Filed under Injury, Strength Training

End of the Multi-Piece Pole Battle!

So I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Platinum Stages posted a press release on their Facebook page Nov 5 stating they will no longer be making multi piece portable and stage poles. They go on to state that they fully support X-pole and their products.
I’m shocked.
Platinum Stages built their business on single piece, permanent poles, especially catering to strip clubs, and to my knowledge, they are still the industry standard for competition poles in the US. They manufactured the first stage pole – the Star stand-alone, which was received by the community with rave reviews.
I don’t know what spurred this change, but I personally think they probably weren’t selling as well because of intense competition from X-pole. They also earned a reputation for bad customer service with their portable poles, and I think this drove many buyers and potential buyers away.
I’ve never had a platinum stages pole, but I’m sad to see them go – they offered stainless steel and brass poles, two metals xpole does not offer, and many people liked the ease of switching between static and spin on their poles (you only have to pull out a single pin at the base of the pole).
I never planned to own a platinum stages pole, but I’m a little sad to see them leave the Multi Piece portable pole market.

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Disappointment, Discouragement, and Depression

Icon - For the BirdsThis has been a bad year for blogging.  So much has gone on, and I haven’t made time for this.  But mostly it’s because I’ve lost my interest in pole.

There.  I said it.  I’ve fallen out of love.  What started as burn-out the first part of the year became full-blown apathy following my car accident in April, which put me off the pole due to whiplash (my right trapezius was totally screwed up) for about 4 weeks.  Then, when I was finally released to start doing some light work with it, I suffered a work-related back injury that stuck around for months.  The doctors still don’t know exactly what I did, but they think I sprained a ligament in my low thoracic spine (base of the rib cage).  My job was very physically demanding, and I was put on light duty.  And I couldn’t pole until it healed because your back is tied into EVERYTHING.  This issue was exacerbated by trying to get me back to work before things were healed, which lead to minor reinjury TWICE, and kept me off the pole.  But I switched jobs and was finally released by my doctor and physical therapy the end of August, free to exercise as tolerated.  But the new job was accompanied by a move (for which I could lift/carry barely anything) and my new home has no place for my pole.  My work schedule did not allow me the time to go play with my pole pals (and it doesn’t help that they live 45min-1hr away).

I haven’t exercised in so long that I’ve lost the motivation.  I see other girls post about new pole stuff and all I feel is jealous.  I’ve been off the pole for 6 months, and lost everything.  I was finally able to go see Samantha last Friday, and the little pole stuff we did HURT.  All my callouses are gone, all my built up pain tolerances are gone.  I feel like a beginner again because everything hurts.  I feel weak because even though I haven’t lost too much strength, I have zero stamina.  My endurance is non-existant, and I was shocked I was able to invert (even if it wasn’t pretty) but the outside leg hang when I got up there, one of my favorite moves) was so incredibly painful I couldn’t even let go with my hands.

I’m trying to be nice to myself.  I’m trying to understand that I’m not quite back at point zero, I have done basically NO exercise (except for some gentle yoga and PT) for the last six months.

I ran across this a few months ago:
Starting Over

I’m trying to keep this in mind, but it’s hard.  I have no motivation to work out, and when I do try, I tire so easily.  I feel so weak.  I can’t pole in my house, so it’s not like I can spend a few minutes a day  toughening back up.  Everything is so crowded right now, I don’t have the space to work out even if I wanted to.  I can’t even find a space to do Sun Salutations without having to work around some piece of furniture.  Gym membership, you say?  Fuck that shit. I don’t have the motivation to go.  And even WITH the motivation, I know that without a workout partner to keep me accountable, I’m not going to go consistently for more than a week or two.

I hate that I’m not where I once was.  I hate that I can’t even attempt the new tricks I see popping up.  I’m jealous, so I don’t even want to watch.  I’m so depressed and discouraged that I don’t even want to try.  I just want to go hide in a hole somewhere.

And I know things will get better.  This week my work schedule is changing, and I’ll get to see Samantha every Friday, and slowly, I will get back to normal.  But right now, my drive, my desire, and my interest are non-existant.


Filed under Injury

Ruby Pumps

You may remember a couple years ago I bought myself  these babies:

A couple months later, I glittered them red on the platforms, and they were pretty awesome.

But this past fall, I stumbled onto something phenomenal.  I had been unhappy for a while with the lack of shine and sparkle on my shoes. The jelly-based paint I used just wasn’t as sparkly as I had hoped it would be, and the platforms merely looked red.  I wanted BLING, not just color and a muted shine.

When I was in Michaels, I ran across some strips of self-adhesive rhinestones in a myriad of different colors.  I figured, why not give it a try? If nothing else, I could always rip the strips off and use loose rhinestones if I had to.  So I got a tube of E6000 glue, an Exacto knife, and set to work.  Here’s an image I’d then in progress, so you can see the red glitter that was on them before:

Red shoes 1

Red shoes 2

Aren’t they gorgeous?  In the second image you can see the strip of rhinestones I was using. And the “stones” themselves are a pliable plastic, so I could cut the stones themselves in half or at angles or however I needed to make them fit.  When I finished both shoes, I was overjoyed.  I sealed them with a spray glitter sealant (for shine).  I’ve danced in them several times since, and they’ve held up wonderfully, with only a little rubbing on the toes, the top of the heel and bottom of the stiletto.

Samantha admired them so much I ended up making her a pair with electric blue rhinestones for Christmas this past year. 

Fabulous, right? And she loves hers as much as I love mine.  So if you want to bling your shoes without having to deal with a zillion individual rhinestones and are a little crafty, give this a try.

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Absence makes the heart grow… fonder?

Icon - For the BirdsDid you forget about me?  I know I’ve only made one post in the last year.  It makes me feel like a bad blogger, but I had a lot happen in my life last year, which I detailed in the last post.   And except for the lack of pole in my life, things couldn’t be better.

Up through the first of March, I was still going to see Samantha about once every couple of weeks to play.  For some reason, since the first of the year, I just haven’t been feeling it.  The joy has been lost. We do yoga, and some fun spins and new combos, or flexibility work and strength training because we were both lax over the holidays about working out.  But there’s no joy.  I feel unfulfilled.  I don’t feel the fierce pride in my strength, or the joy of taxing my muscles and feeling them shake with fatigue when I’m finished.  It’s nice, but…  I have no motivation. I went, and worked out with Samantha, and managed maybe one other short workout with Jessie during the week.  But it’s hard to be motivated to work out when you already walk 10 miles a day at your job pushing patients on beds and stretchers.  But I spent time once a week or so with Samantha, and worked out a little with Jessie.  But that was the first of March.

Since then, I’ve been in a small car accident – I was rear-ended.  I threw my neck and right shoulder out badly, and didn’t exercise at all for two weeks straight because the muscles were so inflamed.  But I was able to go see my dad about 10 days after the accident, and he spent the whole weekend realigning my spine.  That was a couple weeks ago now, and I feel pretty much back to normal, but I still haven’t been working out.  And stretching regularly?  That went out the window weeks ago.  I’m terrible at being consistent with things – I need someone to keep me accountable.

I know I need to work out, to pole in some respect, even if it’s just a twirl a couple times a day.  But I’m just not interested.  And I think it’s because I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  This session at school has been extremely demanding, but this is thankfully the last week.  I’ve been dealing with trying to get my car fixed from the collision as well, and it’s finally in the shop getting repaired this week. Work has been more and more frustrating recently as well, with a lot of politics and favoritism, and me becoming more and more disgruntled.  Add to that trying to balance time with the boyfriend, time with my roommate/best friend, and I have just enough time left to sleep.

So it’s no wonder pole and exercise have taken a back seat.  I have taken the first step though – I’ve started to change my diet back to something healthier, and am working on cutting out sweets, excessive carbs and fats.  It’s not there yet, but I have to make changes gradually or I backslide.  I’m thinking about starting to work out again, and have started doing some yoga and light stretching a few times a week.  It’s not much, next to nothing, really, but it’s a start.

And I’ve had a breakthrough with my straddle stretches.  When I straddle, I always end up rolling my arches onto the floor so my knees and toes face the wall in front of me instead of up at the ceiling. I can get a wider, deeper straddle this way.  When I roll my knees and toes up, my abilities are greatly reduced.  I asked my father about it, and he said that the tendons in my inner thighs and medial hamstrings are tight, and that’s why I can’t go as far with my toes up.  That if I want to straddle with my toes up, I have to practice it.  *sigh*  Something else that will require consistent work and effort.  But he said as long as it’s muscle pain and not joint pain, then the only thing stopping me is my muscles.

I will get back to it.  And I will get back to blogging consistently.  I think I’ve just been stressed and overwhelmed.  My next day off work I’ll try to get together with Samantha again, now that I’m no longer injured.  It may be one good workout/dance session is all I need to get the spark back.


Filed under Exercise, Injury, Strength Training


Icon - Sakura - Bloom in AdversityMay.  I haven’t posted since May, and it’s now October.  I feel like a bad blogger.

I know, of course that I’m not.  And don’t take this to mean that I haven’t been poling, because I have.  I’m still working full-time, in school full-time, and once a week go pole with Samantha.  I’ve had a lot of things going on in my personal life, too, getting rid of an old boyfriend who wasn’t contributing to our relationship, getting a roommate who’s turned out to be one of my best friends (got her addicted to pole, too), met a new guy who’s become my boyfriend, and spent months working to rehabilitate my adductors which finally got too bad to stand.

My roommate Jessie, after some coaxing, has finally gotten addicted to pole just like I did.  I’ve taught her basic strengthening exercises, and she can successfully climb, Cupid (on the floor), Dip Spin, Fireman Spin, Back Hook Spin, and Pole Sit.  When we have days off from work together, we now both go to Samantha’s to play.  And I’ve discovered that I LOVE to teach.  I love seeing her succeed, seeing the joy that lights her face when she gets it, and the sheer FUN of slinging herself around the pole.  She says to me, ‘You make it look so EASY!’ and I just laugh.  I remember just a few short years ago when I was in her shoes.  I never imagined I’d get to this point, but here I am.  And I love it.

I haven’t made a lot of progress personally, lately.  In late June, I injured my right adductor so badly that it hurt for days, and had issues with it for weeks after, unable to straddle at more than a 90 degree angle.  I went from just fine to severe sharp stabbing pain in a matter of a couple of degrees.  It was at that point that I started going to a massage therapist for rehab.  She worked on me every other week for two months (if I could have gone more often I would have) before I felt back to normal.  She did muscle stripping and cross fiber friction along with other techniques to break up the scar tissue that’s built up in my adductor muscles and the surrounding connective tissue.  This, along with regular stretching and strengthening exercises, restored the elasticity to my muscles.  I’m not 100%, and I had a setback the end of September when I did a sidekick and my adductor decided it didn’t like that movement and I again hurt for days.  So I’m back to rehab, stretching and strengthening, getting massages when I can afford them and otherwise doing pole moves that don’t require contortionist level flexibility.  Unfortunately, from what I’ve been told, since I have scar tissue in the muscles, I will always have to be extra careful with them, and make sure I regularly stretch and strengthen to maintain the elasticity and flexibility.  With this more than anything, if I don’t use it, I lose it.

But I’ve been working on some back flexibility stuff this summer with Samantha that was great fun, if not always successful.  We can both successfully perform forearm stands, and lower down into a full scorpion pose.  We even tried chest stands one day – not fun.  I don’t think I’ll ever be doing that again.  And the flexibility in my legs is coming back.  Very slowly, but it is coming back. I’ll get there.  I just have to be careful and patient – not two of my strong suits.

I’m also noticing my lines are cleaner than they were last year, and pointing my toes has become almost second nature.  But enough for today.  I’ll write again soon, I promise. I have a new pair of shoes to show  you!

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