At Exotic Fitness, clients learn the ropes of pole dancing to improve strength, flexibility, and overall fitness. The studio houses exercisers of all abilities who maneuver sensually around poles, picking up dancing techniques and building muscle. Exotic Fitness lets clients schedule classes every day of the week in order to fit workouts around 9 to 5 jobs or long stretches of watching paint dry.
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1–2 hours
Pro Tip: www.risingdragonmartialarts.com has info and videos answering many questions prior to first visit
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Training DVD's for practice at home
Recommended Age Group: Adults
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our teachers maintain high standards, being required to continue their training and as well as receive monthly instruction on how to teach from professionals in the business. They attend teacher workshops throughout the year. All our staff is versed in four different martial arts – kung fu, kenpo, tai chi, and kickboxing – and weapons, of course.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Seeing the pride students accomplishing new techniques and mastering self-discipline that impacts their whole lives. Watching them obtain their goals in health, confidence, discpline, protection as welll as seeing them make new friends and develop stronger self-respect.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Our training is credentialed through the White Lotus Association, which strives to achieve better self-defense through diversity of training. [It also] focus[es] on the internal codes of faith, love, honor and courage which brings the essence of martial arts –"a warrior with compassion, seeking peace and protecting all in need." The master teacher at Rising Dragon has won numerous international tournaments in forms, weapons, tai chi, as well was the gold medal in 2002 in the USCKF full contact fighting. He has done numerous seminars for law enforcement agencies including the Milwaukee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Snap Fitness, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneakers to treadmills or lift their first weights, staff meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting personalized fitness plans based on clients' strength, cardio condition, and bionic-limb manufacturers. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthful eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists. Staff also forestall exercise-routine boredom by working individually with clients on a routine basis.
As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
When Jon Hinds was designing Monkey Bar Gym, he drew inspiration from the playground to create a unique type of exercise that focuses on full-body workouts. The fitness regimen at the gym combines six simple skills learned as a child: running, jumping, crawling, climbing, rolling, and reacting. Jon Hinds and the certified trainers at Monkey Bar Gym have combined these principles into a high-intensity routine that was featured on Fox 6 news and in fitness publications such as Men’s Fitness magazine. “The workouts are intense, but you won’t see any training partners screaming their buddies through forced reps here,” says a reporter from Muscle & Fitness who visited the gym. “The challenges come in making the exercises as efficient as possible and constantly working to a higher level of skill and movement.”
At MBG Milwaukee, sunlight filters in to a fitness studio that resembles an industrial loft, and a set of monkey bars looms in the center of the room. Trainers Jeffrey Winzenried and April Miles helm the classes, walking students through boot-camp, yoga, and strength classes that focus on movements people make every day. Moves vary, but students can often be found doing pushups, pull-ups, resistance-band training, heavy-rope training, and gymnastics-inspired moves on suspended rings. Personal training sets patrons on the quickest path toward fitness goals, and staff at the gym also provides advice for healthy plant-based diets.
The perception of pole dancing is changing. When Maureen Metzger and her business partner DJ Hamilton started Blush Pole Fitness & Dance six years ago, Maureen says, "people thought [the instructors] were strippers." Since then, she's seen attitudes adjust as pole dancing went from taboo to a possible Olympic sport. Maureen equates pole dancing with aerial arts, on par with performances seen in shows such as Cirque du Soleil. She leads a series of classes and workshops that focus on upper-body and core strength or hone in sensual spins and dances. "You can be sexy and sensual," Maureen says, "and it doesn’t have to be tasteless . . . I watch Dancing with the Stars, and I think that is way more sexual than anything we do."
Occasionally, she still has to spend some time fighting inaccurate stereotypes, including an episode in early 2012 that involved inviting Jim Stingl of the Journal Sentinel to studio for a fact-finding mission. But mostly, Maureen and DJ concern themselves with empowering women to be "strong physically and emotionally." There comes a time, she says, when "you stop feeling sexy, you age, you gain weight, you get so busy with other parts of your life. . . I think we lose [that] and [pole dancing] reminds us to be women." She credits pole dancing as a vital ally in boosting her self-esteem during a double mastectomy in her battle against breast cancer.
And though Maureen is the first to tout the power of pole dancing, she is also one of the first to undercut some of its weightier connotations, much like a doctor who uses a stethoscope that squeaks. "[We're] totally willing to laugh at ourselves," she says. "Nobody is taking this too seriously." The lighter mood, in particular, helps welcome shy students, who Maureen and DJ witness transform into "strong, confident, sexy, and feminine [women]."