Walking through the studio last week I heard two comments. “Chrissy is so strong” and (insert whiny voice here) “I hate this move” in relation to some type of conditioning exercise. And the disconnect between these two statements gave me pause. Chrissy is strong BECAUSE she does conditioning. Chrissy does more conditioning than she does pole tricks. No joke. So does pole goddess Elizabeth Blanchard. The truly strong great polers don’t spend all their time doing tricks, they spend their time using the apparatus to conditioning and then the tricks come. The whole point of conditioning is to help you get the tricks.
So why the “I hate this move”? Do they really? No, it is ATTITUDE. 100% And I know, because I was that person and struggle HARD to not continue to be her. I used to look at conditioning as this dreaded thing I had to do in order to get to the fun part. Conditioning was the veggies I knew I should eat so I felt like I could have dessert. But conditioning doesn’t have to be that. You can decide to have an empowered relationship with conditioning. I did. And every morning when I go to the studio I check in with that empowered relationship because it is still forming. Some days it’s easy and other days I have to reframe “I hate this move” into “What am I gaining from this move”.
What does an empowered relationship with conditioning look like? Make the connection between the conditioning exercise and the skill you want to achieve. Recognize that the exercise is preparing your body. Ask your muscles how the exercise is helping you get closer. Pay attention to how your body feels in the exercise and then how the move seems to flow as an extension. For me a BIG part of my relationship with conditioning is recognizing that it is providing my body with HEALTH. I think about how each rep is making me a little stronger. I think about how it is helping me prevent a future injury by training smart. I focus on all that I’m gaining and not that I have to do this boring exercise when I’d rather do the cool trick. Because the conditioning IS the step stone to the trick. By celebrating that stepping stone I am more able to cross the river to reach the trick. And if you every what Chrissy’s training videos, she makes conditioning FUN. Your instructors make conditioning fun, they turn it into games and challenges, you can do that too.
Here’s the painful truth: If you have hit a plateau on your pole/aerial journey, check in with your conditioning. Are you doing it? Are you giving it 100%. I bet you that the answer is no. Most of our students (and I used to be here too) phone in conditioning. They half ass it. They do it but they don’t do it fully and with passion. If you want to bust off the plateau, reframe your attitude about conditioning to be one of joy AND do it with everything you’ve got. After the 15 minute warm-up and conditioning you should almost be too tired for class!
Negativity is contagious. The second someone says “I hate this move” or “I hate conditioning” or “can’t we skip conditioning” the entire room just caught your bug. I challenge you to help your studio sisters reframe their relationship to conditioning by showing them your empowered one. What phrases can you adopt in class and your training to help you celebrate the benefits of conditioning and pursue it with passion?