Pole fitness is a fitness trend that has been catching on like wildfire across the globe. It’s a great way to tone and strengthen and have a bit of fun too! Although dancing on a pole has long been seen as a more erotic and seductive form of dancing; it has nonetheless slowly become quite popular for its proven results and great impact on mood and self-confidence. Pole Fit
After being introduced to pole fitness in the UK in 2010, Manar ElMokadm, who goes by Mint, became an instructor in the UK for about two years before returning to Egypt to share her newfound passion for the pole. We talked to Mint about Pole Fit Egypt, and how she pioneered bringing this form of fitness to women here in Egypt.
By Farah ElAbd
What is Pole Fit Egypt?
Pole Fit Egypt is the first aerial and pole fitness school in Egypt, offering classes to women of all ages and backgrounds.
What prompted you to launch it here?
I had moved back to Egypt from the UK after finishing my university degree, and I was already a pole instructor for about two years in the UK before I returned to Egypt.
So when I moved back, a lot of my friends started asking me to teach them, and then they started bringing their friends and their friends started bringing their friends, and so on. It was then I realized, I better open up a studio and start to do this thing properly!
What are the physical and mental benefits of pole and aerial sports?
Pole and aerial sports obviously do the basic things that this type of training typically does: increases your strength, increases your flexibility, increases your coordination, and improves the relationship between the mind and the body.
But the special factor about pole and aerial sports in comparison to other types of activities or types of arts is the fact that there are a lot of mental challenges that you go through. So, there are certain moves and specific tricks in particular that can actually be very scary.
Pole fitness helps you believe in yourself; believe that you can hang upside down and be very strong in that move, and get over that fear. And so, getting over your fear physically translates into your life in different ways, and it translates into your life mentally; you become stronger. You feel more confident, sexy, and powerful.
Who can do Pole Fit?
Pole Fit Egypt is open to all females. We have studios in Garden City, Sheikh Zayed, New Cairo, and we have an online studio as well. Our youngest student was as young as six-years-old, and the eldest we have taught is 62, so it’s open to all ages, all levels of fitness, and all shapes and sizes. I would say anybody who doesn’t have a serious structural injury can definitely come and pole with us!
What obstacles do you think are still facing the pole industry in Egypt?
The one obstacle I find exclusive to the pole industry in Egypt is that we don’t have an abundance of instructors to pick from because pole has only been in Egypt for 9 years, that’s when we first opened up. Pole Fit
But that’s still a quite young industry, and most of the instructors in Egypt are still young and don’t have an insane amount of experience, so I’d say one of the biggest struggles of teaching pole in Egypt is that you don’t necessarily have a lot of instructors with a lot of experience.
How have you seen pole change people who practice it?
I have seen people change ridiculously through pole, and actually, that’s the reason why I’m in this industry, I’m not in this industry to make the women of Cairo acrobats. There are many women who discover their strength through pole, there are many women who discover the beauty of their true nature through pole, and there are many women who go through lots of healing through pole.
We’ve had women who came to us to get over breakups, we’ve had women who’ve come to us to get over grief after losing people in their lives, and we’ve had cancer patients who have come to us to connect again with the feminine parts of themselves which was a relationship that was fractured during their chemo treatments and breast removals.
We’ve had students who came to make peace with their bodies, and since pole doesn’t need you to be any specific shape, size, or fitness level to practice pole, a lot of body image work gets done, so this question really explains everything we do.
Pole teaches you how to appreciate what your body can do as it is, rather than work out to judge how your body looks like.
To what extent can people with physical injuries practice pole?
There are many different types of pole. People with injuries can certainly practice pole choreography, or pole in the form of dance for sure. The tricks and acrobats, however, the pole tricks, would have to be adapted to those people. Pole Fit
It depends on the injury really; some people with certain injuries would be able to practice specific tricks and avoid other ones, so it really depends; it’s very tailored depending on the person. People with injuries that are not mild, like more severe injuries, would definitely train with a personal trainer who tailors the class specific to their injury.
As it says on your website, “You don’t need to be fit to join Pole Fit,” how can different body types practice Pole Fit?
Let me say this, if you had to be fit to join us I would be out of a job by now, there’s no way I would still be in business 10 years later. Because let’s be frank, we’ve taught 6000 women in Cairo, and I can assure you that these 6000 women are definitely not ex-gymnasts or professional athletes.
So you don’t have to be fit to join us because it’s our job to get you where you need to be to become an excellent, well-rounded pole dancer.
We have coordination and strength classes to get you stronger to be able to practice more advanced moves, and also to protect your body from injuries. We also offer flexibility classes that are specifically tailored to get the type of flexibility that a pole dancer would need on the pole.