Toledo exercise venues offer varietyWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Paulette’s Studio of Dance looks more like a stylish salon than a standard workout venue. Moreover, poles run from the ceiling to the floor and strips of silk flutter down from the beams.
At her studio, 4853 Monroe St., Paulette offers pole dance fitness and aerial fitness, a yoga-based workout in which students use silks to suspend themselves in the air (all while in graceful positions). Paulette’s studio is one of several Toledo workout venues offering unique exercise options in the season of New Year’s resolutions.
Rita Yunker of Whitehouse started pole fitness at Paulette’s about a year and a half ago when she was looking for a unique dance class.
“I needed something for me because I’m a mom and a wife. I needed something to do for myself and hopefully get my happy hormones going,” Yunker said with a laugh.
“It perks me up if I’m having a bad day. … I’m much more confident now than I was. The social aspect in wonderful. All the [fellow students] are really friendly,” she added.
That social aspect is important to many of her students, said Paulette, who has offered pole fitness since 2006.
“They like the camaraderie of the class. … The support is what they’re telling me they love. It’s a workout in disguise. So you’re having fun; you’re dancing; you’re doing cardio/strength training, but it’s not the monotony and the repetition,” she said.
Increased confidence is another benefit, Paulette added.
“That comes as a surprise to people. They come here to get fit and the benefit is they find themselves walking taller, feeling more confident as they go about their day,” she said. “Everything gets a little sparkle to it.”
The family-friendly studio also offers ballroom dancing, belly dancing, hip-hop/lyrical dance for kids and yoga, among other classes.
Paulette, who was a dancer in Las Vegas, started teaching ballroom dancing and “that led to pole fitness, which led to the aerial fitness.”
“Pole fitness became big quite a few years ago and out of my own interest for it, I was intrigued,” she said.
“I tried it for myself and I fell in love with it, like all the students do,” Paulette added. “I learned of aerial fitness and I love trying new things so I saw it and heard of all those benefits and thought it would be a nice addition and nice complement to the pole fitness classes.”
The dancer said she does see a spike in class attendance around the New Year. Paulette said that many of the resolution-season students do stick with it.
She advised, “Nothing comes overnight. You have to work hard and I think that’s why having a group around you, working out with you, keeps you coming back.”
Studio Fitness, aka Pole-Licious Fitness, 1413 Bernath Parkway, offers pole fitness in addition to Zumba, chair dancing and belly dancing. There is also a pole fitness class designed for fuller-figured women.
Karen Everage, co-owner of Studio Fitness, said she gravitated toward pole fitness because she was bored with the standard gym workout.
“[I] just decided this was a fitness I could stick with because it was a little sassy, but it also built core strength and upper-body strength so it gave me what I was looking for at the time and it didn’t feel like I was working out. It was more like I was having a good time,” she said.
She emphasized that the pole classes are a fitness regimen above all.
“[Pole dancing] does have a negative stigma to it, but I try not to use sexy; I use sassy. And I always say this is a pole fitness class … the dance part is a plus. The emphasis is on fitness,” Everage said, adding some of her students are older than 60.
Studio Fitness does get an influx of new students come January, Everage said.
“The people who come in January, they may last to February and then they fall off. And then you might see them again next year,” she said with a laugh. “I think they’re a little less dedicated, although they all have good intentions.”
Everage said that making a resolution to work out is something that needs to be thought out.
“Being in shape is a mindset. You can’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I’m going to start a fitness program.’ You have to train your mind to accept that for some time and get it in your head, that this is something that is going to stick,” she said.
“Just like the time you put into purchasing a home or changing jobs, you have to put that energy into, ‘I’m gonna get fit; I’m gonna get healthy.’”
Todd Ovall, owner of CrossFit LifeSport, 1121 Water St., said he is wary of taking on new clients during the beginning of the year.
“If someone comes in January or February, I’m very dubious of their drive. I’m not going to turn them away, but I really grill them a little bit more about where they are in life, how serious they are about it,” he said.
In 2000, Greg Glassman founded CrossFit in California.
“It’s constantly varied functional movements done at high intensity,” Ovall said, adding that intensity varies depending on where students are psychologically and physically.
Patrons of CrossFit can expect a different workout, outlined by their trainer, whenever they enter the “box,” or gym.
“It could be anything. It really changes up a lot. One day we’ll do bear crawls and another day, we’ll do sort of like sit-ups and push-ups, body weight stuff, and then one day it could be all Olympic lifting or power lifting,” Ovall said.
“[CrossFit] came up through military, police and fire personnel because the nature of their job is they don’t know what the next day is going to hold for them.”
The program has three categories: metabolic conditioning, which could include activities like running, rowing or jumping rope, weight lifting and gymnastics, which includes exercises like push-ups that utilize body weight.
CrossFit students can also expect health and wellness education in addition to their workout.
“All the movements are biomechanically efficient so we teach people how to move better. It’s very educational first and foremost. We teach people about movement. We teach people about food. We teach people about sleep and then just try to push them down the road, get some concepts clear in their head,” Ovall said.
The owner said the gym might move soon from its current location because more space is needed. When Ovall started his gym four years ago, his was the 984th. Now there are about 4,500 worldwide.
“[CrossFit’s] on ESPN now and I see in on Reebok commercials,” Ovall said.