Name: Michelle Qubrosi
Height: 5ft 4inches
Current city: Dubai
Occupation: Co-founder and Lead Instructor at Pole Fit Dubai
Have you always lived a relatively fit lifestyle?
No, not at all. I can say that before I discovered pole I would very rarely exercise.
How did you get into pole dancing and how old were you when you started?
I started Pole dancing when I was 22. I had just graduated from university and was desperate to find a fun and healthy hobby. I had read an article about the health and lifestyle benefits of Pole Fitness in a magazine in England (it has been very popular there for a long time now) and I was so surprised when I saw that there were classes being offered in Dubai.
I was too afraid to start by myself, so I dragged my roommate along with me, needless to say it definitely changed my life.
Were you already quite flexible before starting the pole dancing?
I would say that I was moderately flexible, I could touch my toes which is better than most people that don’t work at it. However, once I started taking pole fitness seriously and knew that this was something I wanted to do professionally I soon realized the important role flexibility played in the more advanced positions.
That is when I stated putting in the time and effort to increase my flexibility by stretching 2 – 3 times a week in conjunction with my pole practice.
Did you do any other forms of dance or any other specific training before you started?
No, I have no past experience with dance, gymnastics or anything like that. I wish that I had, as it would have made the journey a lot easier now.
Do you do any other forms of training in conjunction with the pole dancing?
People ask me this question a lot, as I mentioned earlier, I definitely stretch as part of my pole practice and an additional 3 times a week. However I don’t feel the need to do any other type of training.
Pole Fitness keeps me strong, toned, lean, fit and flexible and it totally consumes me, its like an addiction. Any free time I have I want to be on the pole, not in a gym.
What do you think are the 3 most common misconceptions people have about pole dancing?
The most obvious misconception I can think of, is the social stigma attached to Pole dancing as being a form of strip-tease rather than fitness. Yes pole fitness can be sensual and can definitely increase your self confidence in that way but primarily it is a form of exercise, very similar to calisthenics. It is a sport and the women who train should be respected as athletes.
As a teacher and studio owner, I am always faced with the question by beginners “can I do this even though I have no upper body strength?” This leads me to the next misconception about pole fitness, that people need to already be fit before coming to a class. This is totally untrue, all of our instructors, and myself included, all started pole dancing as beginners, and most of us have no fitness background what so ever.
Just to make it clear, everyone can do pole dancing, no matter your age, weight or flexibility level. Our beginners classes are designed to help you learn basic techniques that allow you to build upon as you get stronger and stronger.
The last misconception, which is kind of linked to the first, is that people tend to associate Pole Fitness with women. Men feel like only women can pole dance, and they will be seen as less masculine by participating in pole classes. In the Pole world we have many famous and incredibly talented male pole fitness world champions. These men have unbelievable core strength and power, as I mentioned earlier very similar to those who do calisthenics. Nowadays, more and more men are seeing the value of pole fitness as a solid work out programme and are starting to get on board.
What are your future plans?
I definitely plan to compete internationally soon. I intend to start with England and see how it goes from there. I really enjoy training doubles with my friend Sarah, and we might compete together as a doubles act next year.
Take us through an average day of yours:
- I will normally wake up around 8 am, make myself a hot water a lemon, take my dogs for a walk in the morning if I have time, have some breakfast (cereal or eggs) and then head to the studio.
- I am definitely a morning person, and normally do my own personal training sessions in the morning before my classes.
- Then I’ll teach classes for 3 hours or so, normally 2 pole classes followed by some admin work at the studio.
- Then I would usually leave to have lunch or order in if I have evening classes. I will finish work around 9 pm, get home, make some dinner, walk the dogs, and normally go to bed before 12 every night.
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet? Do you pay close attention to what you eat?
I am definitely aware of what I put into my body. I never stop myself from eating anything that I am craving, I think life is too short to deprive yourself of the foods that you love.
I have to admit, I do enjoy the occasional Shake Shack as a treat, especially after a long day of classes, however I try to keep them to a minimum.
I do try to minimize on carbs and to eat yummy substitutes like cauliflower rice and zuchini noodles. I also moderate my sugar intake, moderation is key. There is no need to give up on anything if you enjoy it.
What are your top Nutrition tips for staying in shape?
It obviously depends on the Individual and their fitness goals. As a woman, I don’t want to bulk up too much so I don’t eat too much carbs and I wont eat excessive amounts of protein either (of course I need some to maintain my strength).
But my one piece of advice would be,
Don’t let yourself get too hungry. If you miss a meal, especially breakfast, you might find yourself starving by the afternoon and this is when you make bad decisions about what to eat. You crave a quick fix and normally healthy food wont satisfy you.
If you want to diet, then it is best to plan your meals the day before, prepare and make sure you eat regularly.
How often do you practice and train and for how many hours at a time? And what does a typical training routine look like for you?
I usually train pole 3 times a week for about 2 hours at a time, and then stretching another 3 times a week for about an hour. That might surprise you, people usually think that I train more than that however, teaching is definitely a workout in itself and takes a lot of your energy, it takes away from my own training sometimes.
Typically a training routine for me would include a 20 minute warm up including stretches. Then I would get onto the pole and do some conditioning exercises and maybe some additional drills to help me achieve the next trick I’m aiming for, this will take another 30 minutes. Then I will have a look at my phone at all of the newest pole moves I’ve saved from flicking through my Instagram and decide on a couple that I want to work on.
I will take some time trying to figure them out and put them into a nice combination, find interesting ways to transition into and out of the moves. Then I will end by playing some inspirational music and just doing some improvised freestyle, this is my favorite part.
Can anyone of any fitness level start with pole dancing classes and training?
Yes for sure, our Pole Intro classes are designed for complete beginners, participants don’t need to have any current fitness level, flexibility or strength to start a class.
What exercises and tasks could someone expect in their first pole dancing class?
Our classes are 1 hour long. They start with a 15 minute warm up including basic stretches and exercises (lady pushups, planks etc). Then we will introduce participants to the pole and show them some basic strength exercises like learning to hang on the pole, this will take an additional 15 minutes. After this we will start to learn the basic techniques, such as how to hold the pole, climb, sit and spin for around 25 minutes, followed by a nice 5 minute cool down stretch at the end of the class.
If you would like to try out a class or want to know more about the pole fit classes and schedules please visit our website: polefitdubai.com or email us at info[at]polefitdubai.com 🙂
How often would someone need to practice to become relatively good and how long does it normally take?
We would recommend coming to classes at least 2-3 times per week as your schedule would permit. Of course it depends on the individual’s determination and drive, but usually after 10 classes students will be strong enough to begin doing inversions (going upside down) and after 6 months will be learning to do some very impressive more advanced tricks such as a handspring.
Your core must be extremely strong to do some of the things you do (like the human flag on the pole) very similar to what people do in callisthenics. How do you get your core to that level? And what are some of the best exercises to strengthen your core?
Yes, pole fitness requires a lot of core strength, however that all comes from practicing pole, not doing any other forms of training. Continuing to do the exercises using the pole, develops the core and enables you to eventually do tricks like the human flag.
What are your most important tips to becoming more flexible?
Consistency. It is very important to stretch regularly, especially after exercise. If you do regular gym training or cardio, you need to stretch even more. People think that a 10 minute stretch after a run is enough, however you should stretch for a minimum of 30 minutes after doing any muscle building or cardio exercises, ideally 1 hour.
Stretching after exercise is called maintenance stretching, just keeping your current level of flexibility, if you don’t stretch after exercise your muscles will become tight and stiff and you will loose whatever flexibility you currently have. In order to gain flexibility you should stretch separately from your workout a couple of times a week for at least 30 minutes. If you stretched for 30 minutes everyday you would notice a dramatic change in flexibility in as little as a month.
How often should a person stretch and for how long (when wanting to get to the splits)? Also how long should they hold each stretch for?
As I mentioned above, if you are serious about stretching and want to reach those hard to achieve goals like splits and deep back bends, you should think about stretching at least 3 times a week for about an hour and hold each stretch for at least a minute, the longer the better.
People always ask what is the best stretch to get your splits, the answer is doing your splits. No matter how far away from your goal you are, working the pose you want to achieve is the fastest way to getting there.
Can anyone at any age start stretching in order to do the splits for instance or do you need to start when you are young?
Of course, the younger you are the more supple your body is and the easier your journey will be. However, I have taught many young and older individuals in stretching classes and have seen that anyone can get flexible if they are consistent and work hard. Sometimes stretching can be painful, but those people who push through the pain and hold the positions longer will always see better results.
So in answer to your question, yes I believe there is no age limit on when you can start stretching, anyone of any age can achieve their splits if they put the work in.
When stretching deeply, if you feel pain or stiffness should you stretch through the pain or ease out of it and rather not go so deep? Some people say pain is part of the stretching process.
Yes, as I mentioned above, pain is all part of the stretching process. In yoga practice, you are taught to listen to your body and let gravity stretch you, this approach to stretching normally takes a lot longer to see the desired results. A gentle push from your instructor can make a world of difference to your results.
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” ~ Walt Disney
What is the most common question you get asked?
All of the questions you have asked above I get asked a lot, but I suppose the most common would be “can I do pole without any upper body strength” my answer is always “yes, everyone has to start somewhere.”
Best piece of advice you ever received?
Never say “I cant.” If you resign yourself to that fact then you will never achieve your goal. It’s better to say, “I will, maybe not my first try, but someday I will.”
Advice for someone wanting to get started to get fit by participating in pole dancing classes?
Don’t think twice, just come and try it and you will never regret it.
What tips can you give to other athletes for building a great social media following?
Post about what you are passionate about, people can really feel that you genuinely love what you do. Make sure you use relevant hashtags so that other aspiring athletes will be able to find you.
Where can people get hold of you?
- Instagram: michelle_polefitdubai
- Email: michellequbrosi[at]gmail.com