Pole & Aerial Fitness of SWFL
Sexy and fun workouts, hanging out in Bonita fitness studio
What started as a simple girls’ day turned into something much more for Monica Guttenfelder. “I immediately fell in love with it,” Guttenfelder says of the fateful night she was hooked on a fitness craze. “It was new and exciting.” It could be argued that any new workout routine provides certain excitement, but the class Guttenfelder visited rose to completely new heights, perhaps because it involved a pole, as in fire or flag. Only this pole is to keep fit, sometimes well above the training floor. The same studio also offers aerial workouts. “Women at work poke a lot of fun at me for it,” Guttenfelder says of pole fitness classes in Southwest Florida, “but I’ve been doing it so long now that it doesn’t bother me.” Guttenfelder is a regular at Pole & Aerial Fitness of SWFL. The studio, located off Old U.S. Route 41 in Bonita Springs, has been around for about seven years and has been creating a splash. “It’s definitely mixed reactions!” explains Mikal Mount, the studio owner. “In the past, many people instantly associated pole fitness with exotic dancing, not a workout. People are now much more familiar with the workout and realize we are just a ladies' gym, with a touch of sexy!” For Mount, it really was about finding and creating a fitness program that not only held her attention, but also motivated others to keep in shape, to explore outside comfort zones and also one that revolves around busy lives. Pole and
aerial fitness are a perfect fit. “We do it because it’s a great workout, but it’s also fun,” Mount says. Pole classes can run from an hour up to 90 minutes, taking your body (and confidence level) to new places. “Many ladies are anxious to try it out but are always nervous their first time,” Mount says. “Once they are there and realize they are with other ladies who are feeling exactly the same way, a bond is created. They realize it’s tough but they are all going through it and they all are genuinely supportive of each other.” Guttenfelder acknowledges the program was at first difficult, but real physical and emotional changes happened. “Slowly but surely you become stronger and your skin thickens up,” she says, “and before you know it, the pain is nothing, you’re comfortably hanging upside down 10 feet off the ground while transitioning from move to move while hanging by nothing but the skin of your thigh!” Pole basics include learning how to spin, how to grip the bar, how to align your body and proper strength training. From there, there are a number of eyecatching classes that include “Floor Play,” “Cleo’s Rock N’ Pole” and “Floor Twerk.” But Mount’s studio offers more than just pole dancing―aerial silk classes and lyra, which is an aerial hoop or ring. “We teach all the basics of these aerial activities and, of course, more advanced training for those who are ready to take it to the next level, she says.” For Terri Davenport, the benefits of aerials are tough to ignore. “I don’t weigh myself anymore, because even though I’ve gained weight, I’m more toned from the muscle growth,” she explains. Davenport says aerial training also boosts confidence and self-esteem. “You don’t need to start strong,” she explains. “Aerials will make you strong! Every class there is progression. I started when I was 40. Now I’m 43 and stronger than I’ve ever been … I feel younger and sexier at 43 than I did at 23.” And feeling better about themselves is perhaps the biggest benefit Mount says her students notice. “Many of my clients are looking for a new workout, a harder workout or something that they will stick with,” she says. “Others are just looking for a confidence boost or to feel more feminine and sexy. “But the reality is this is one of the only workouts that does both.”
And feeling better about yourself is perhaps the biggest benefit.
Aerial and pole fitness stretches and tones the muscles we don't often reach in traditional workouts.
Along with pole fitness, aerial silks and lyra classes (left) are among the hottest workout trends in Southwest Florida.
At a Glance Pole & Aerial Fitness of SWFL 28380 Old U.S. Route 41, Unit 2, Bonita. 239-410-4105, poleandaerialfitness.net