In 2019 there are more ways to workout than there are not to workout. If you’ve been searching for your ‘special something’ to get swimsuit ready this summer, we’ve got an interesting one for you: allow us to introduce Pole-la-teaz—a pole and aerial dance fitness studio! I know it sounds intimidating, but according to our on-the-scene source, it’s much more than a risqué recitation.

The idea of pole dancing can be traced back over 800 years to the Indian sport “mallakhamb” in which athletes would use a wider, wooden pole to test endurance and strength (ouch!). In America we may be more familiar with pole dancing being associated with gentlemen’s clubs and Burlesque dancers, but according to the International Pole Sports Federation (yes, that’s a thing) these athletes are not to be underestimated. The first group to ‘sensualize’ the pole was a popular touring company called “Little Egypt.” As their name implies, they were an Egyptian troupe of belly dancers and acrobats who decided to spice up their tent scene before the start of their show, hence the scantily clad women we identify with this art form. From there the act of gyrating on a pole has now found its way into many famous music videos, movies, pop culture events, etc. and now takes its rightful place alongside Zumba and Pure Barre as possibly the newest, most electrifying fitness trend!

Here, DiG’s brave intern Ashlyn reports on her experience attending this exercise class that is all the rage and quickly gaining popularity:

“First of all, it is incredibly difficult to book a single class. Because pole dancing fitness is a very particular type of class with specifically required (obvious) equipment, there aren’t many studios that offer it and the classes fill up quick! If you’re interested in beginning your journey as a striptease amateaur, they recommend planning and booking a couple weeks in advance. Next, I have to mention that it was a really cool environment. Walking into the studio the lights are dim, the poles glisten and the music is soft… it feels like a gentlemen’s club. But it does set the mood! You are ready to begin, the instructor leads a stretch to get those muscles warm and from there they break down the basics in a one-hour class. Thankfully, I was able to take a beginner level so I wasn’t alone in the awkward sweaty pole squeaks and the uncomfortable looking positions, but we were told to ‘just go for it’ and that we did!

A notable and very encouraging aspect of this experience was all of the wonderful self-image positivity this studio evoked. Walking into class they had ‘body positive’ signage and quotations on the walls and entrances. And with dim lighting and distant mirrors it’s easy to imagine yourself as a real performer! The choreography was energizing and the music was animating—one hour was not long enough! The receptionist had warned me before signing up for a single class that I’d want to book again, and she was spot on! All the students were begging to do our short, choreographed routine over and over to get it exactly right. All the moves were super adaptable which made it easier for students of different ability levels. The main idea was to make everyone feel as confident and comfortable as possible, and honestly I left feeling so inspired! The ladies were all so kind and everyone was there to just let loose and get our blood pumping. It was so much fun!

The pole targets specific muscles that you otherwise don’t necessarily use, and that is why it is such an incredible workout. It wasn’t easy and it certainly didn’t always feel sexy, but it was without a doubt a kick-butt workout.

So, would I do it again? Heck yeah! The instructor looked amazing up there and all the professionals do it in HEELS! But this exercise is not for the weak of heart or the lack of humor-ed. I would recommend it to anyone who thrives off embarrassing moments, loves the burn, and is open-minded to new experiences. This workout has the potential to really change your body (I’m still sore) but only if you’re giving it your all!! Otherwise, if you would like to give it a go just for the fun of it, I’d say it’s definitely a hilarious story to share and will no doubt force you to never forget about tipping those exotic dancers next time you’re out on the town!