Vancouver’s only pole fitness studio, Gigi Fit Fun, is owned by two friends, Amy and Candace. They first met as students in 2012 and continued training together, eventually becoming pole fitness instructors.
“We had been talking about opening a pole studio for years,” Amy said. “When [the original owner] Linda said the studio was for sale, we bought it.”
“We said to each other, I kinda like you. Let’s do this together,” Candace added.
Amy and Candace’s friendship reflects the culture of the studio. “It’s a really supportive environment,” Amy said, “There aren’t a lot of workouts where everyone is cheering other people on. You have a lot of fun and you leave sweaty. It’s like we trick ourselves into working out.”
Students at Gigi Fit Fun are all ages, shapes and sizes. The studio has two regular students over age 60. Candace lost 70 pounds through pole workouts and says she’s looking forward to shedding some post-baby weight after the birth of her second child.
“A lot of people think have to be certain body type or a certain way to do pole fitness which isn’t true at all,” Candace added. “There is also the stereotype that it’s learning to be a stripper and that scares people away. Pole fitness comes from stripping, but there’s a lot more to it. It’s really good cross-training.
“My dad is a personal trainer,” she said. “I sent him a video of Dimitry Politov and he was so impressed. He asked me to show him some moves.”
Amy described telling her mom about pole fitness for the first time, “Her first reaction was, ‘are you trying to tell me you’re a stripper?’ But then she saw how much athleticism is involved. It’s a really amazing workout. We’ve had people who do Crossfit try pole and really like it.”
In addition to physical benefits like flexibility, balance and muscle toning, pole fitness helps students build confidence. Amy described a student who told her pole helped her come out of her shell and feel better about herself.
Candace added, “You can see the transformation because people start to wear fewer clothes. They come to their first class in leggings, the next class they wear shorts, and pretty soon they’re in booty shorts like the rest of us.”
Pole Fitness: What to Expect
A pole class includes elements of yoga, cardio and strength training. Classes begin with warm-up stretches followed by learning moves on and off the pole. Though the movements have their roots in exotic dance, there is no stripping or nudity involved in pole fitness classes, and high-heeled shoes are optional. The studio environment is very private with curtains drawn over the windows and no spectators allowed. Women of all fitness levels are welcome.
Anyone who is interested in trying pole fitness can sign up for a taster class without buying a studio membership. Amy and Candace also do private classes and parties for bachelorette parties or a girls night out.
The studio is located at 9014 NE St. Johns Rd. Suite 112 in Vancouver. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Additional information and pricing can be found on the Gigi Fit Fun website.