Sliding down and shaping up
Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor
With the recent wave of influencers and viral fitness personalities, the world is slowly being taken over by fitness communities. With the gym-going population growing, those looking for alternatives to traditional workouts are always keeping their eyes peeled. From shake weights as seen on TV to Crossfit expanding through worldwide competitions, fitness crazes are coming and going, with some being more permanent than others. While plyometrics, calisthenics and other bodyweight exercises are not new in any way, one of the quickly growing ways to workout is through pole fitness, an acrobatic full body workout.
Allure Fitness Inc. opened in 2009 with the mission of creating a safe space purely for women to exercise freely at any fitness level. Specifically, their pole studio offers a challenge that is unavailable in community gyms or classes.
“Being a woman is challenging, because there are so many conflicting expectations put on us . . . This is a space for the exact opposite of that. We want women to do what feels best for them, and to walk out of our studio with their heads held high and feeling better than when they walked in,” said Michelle Kriedemann, owner of Allure Fitness Inc.
Kriedemann focused on ensuring that her studio served as a safe space that was focused on health and uplifting clientele. Part of Allure’s appeal is its focus on inclusivity — taking extra effort to make sure no matter what your current life situation is, you feel like you belong.
“Allure is a space that welcomes women of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels and a mission of taking the work out of your workout. We have friendly staff and instructors and small sized classes so we can provide you with personal attention and ensure that you are getting the most out of your exercises,” said Kriedemann.
Pole dancing is a great alternative from traditional workouts and the payoff is a very rewarding form of exercise. The activity utilizes every muscle in your body, allowing you to control your movement and challenge your coordination and flexibility. The ability to use body weight and acrobatics provides a full body workout since you are mostly using muscle groups that you would have to individually focus on at a conventional gym.
Although this alternative style of exercise has many pros, the stigma surrounding pole fitness leads many people to unfairly link the activity to stripping and erotic dancing. Kriedemann hopes that this does not deter people from enrolling in classes. Once people get involved, the barriers around pole dancing often break down.
“The simplest thing that I can say about it is that the negative connotation and stigma that surrounds all things pole comes from fear and a lack of knowledge,” said Kriedemann.
Allure Fitness has expanded and evolved into a well rounded fitness studio in Hamilton. Part of Allure’s rise in popularity is due to the variety of different classes they offer, which are not confined to pole-focused fitness. For example, they offer seven levels of “Aerial Hoop”, where each class includes a full body workout and a chance to work on hoop skills. They also offer various classes that target specific muscle groups, such as “Extreme Abs”, for those who want to pursue classes similar to what they may see at gyms, but in a safe and women’s only space.
“Pole is a big part of Allure, it is about 30 percent of what we offer. As I mentioned, we specialize in all of the fun kinds of fitness we can get our hands on at Allure because if you’re enjoying your workouts, you’re going to be inspired to stay on track,” Kriedemann mentioned.
Allure is extremely beginner friendly. Drop-in classes are a great and low commitment way to get started on- work around a flexible schedule. Some of Allure’s highlighted drop-in classes are TNT Ballet & Pilates, Twerk Out, Circus Tease and Glow Yoga. Once you find what speaks to you, you can sign up for their six week commitment courses. Prices range anywhere $20 to $399 depending on the type of classes you take and the length of the program; however, students receive a 10 percent discount with a valid student ID.
One of the common issues with commercial gyms can be the overwhelming environment, from seeing multiple unfamiliar contraptions to the intimidation that comes with large group classes. Smaller studios like Allure Fitness Inc., help to eliminate these difficulties and allow for more one-on-one time with instructors.
What do you need to bring for the classes? Comfortable workout clothing, a bottle of water to keep you hydrated and a yoga mat — if you don’t have one, you can rent it from the studio for $2. If you are taking the zumba classes, it’s recommended that you wear clean indoor running shoes; as well as kneepads for twerk out and poleflow. If you’re taking their aerial and suspension classes, leggings or long pants are recommended for comfort.
Allure Fitness Inc., hasn’t lost momentum since it opened 11 years ago, and doesn’t look like it will stop anytime soon. With the wide variety of alternative workout classes catered specifically for women, Allure can provide the alternative for those who hate to go to that big public gym down the street, or for those who are looking to switch up how they work out.
This article is part of our Sex and the Steel City, our annual sex-positive issue. Click here to read more content from the special issue.