Who doesn’t love Summer Fridays? (What’s not to love, it’s free classes!) Seeing all of the new faces around the studio takes me back to when I first began pole dancing. I decided to make a handy list for all the newbies finally making the leap!

1. Enjoy the process.

You are starting something new! At the beginning it’s exciting, fun, and you feel confident and sexy. Then slowly, more challenging concepts or movements are introduced, and you find yourself being more challenged than excited. That’s totally normal and expected, but go easy on yourself. Enjoy the not-knowing, and being able to experiment. It’s all apart of the process. Relish in it.

2. Explore.

If your studio has a variety of different classes, take advantage of that! You may not feel connected to each class you take, but taking classes that you wouldn’t normally take, like conditioning or flexibility, can be a great way to cross train! Trying new classes can also improve and inform your movement in a totally new way. Who knows, a random class might even lead to a new obsession.

3. Monitor (and Celebrate) Your Progress!

For most, keeping track of progress means taking video and photographs. Visually seeing your growth is imperative, and in only a few weeks you can usually see improvement.

For me, monitoring my progress means keeping a journal. Since I used to have an old phone with very little memory left, I had to get creative. After each class I write at least one thing I did well in class, even it that just means showing up that day, in addition to movements I’ve learned in class. I advise this “positive affirmation method” to new students because it helps when you’re feeling frustrated and upset. Recognizing at least one positive thing helps to reframe what it means to be “successful” in class.”

4. Find your allies.

Find your people and hold onto them! Finding supportive people is helpful no matter what, and pole and aerial is no different. When you don’t think you can do, whether it’s nail a certain move or perform for the first time, having folks to provide words of encouragement can make a tremendous difference.

Also, having a few pole or aerial sisters (or brothers) can provide financial support as well when renting spaces, or booking semi privates.

5. Realize it’s a lifestyle change.

If you are serious about performing and competing, there probably has to be a shift in your lifestyle.

Once your body becomes your livelihood there isn’t much of a choice. Will you be willing to slow down on the partying and drinking? How can you reassess certain situations, people, relationships in your life that provide a unnecessary stress, that your body is then holding onto? Do you have a back that needs extra attention by getting a massage once every two weeks? All of this will show up in your body, your performances and make you prone to injury.

Reexamining your lifestyle in a holistic manner is imperative to becoming more serious (or even to compete) in this world.

Did I miss anything? Is there anything you wish someone you would have told you when you first began pole or aerial?