It might not be every woman’s cup of tea but VIVIENNE DUCK discovers a growing number of Echuca-Moama women, especially mothers, are hanging from poles in a variety of postures as part of a flourishing fitness movement.
EMMA DUX IS a strong woman. And the women of Echuca-Moama are all the better for it.
When Emma Dux and her family moved here from Queensland she identified a gap in the fitness market – and went for it.
“I started going to a local gym and met Andrea Munro who had done pole fitness in Melbourne and had done it in Queensland,” Emma said.
“We kind of just took the plunge and launched Pole Instincts.
“Basically on our opening day we were in a shed and there were poles – there wasn’t anything else.
“Echuca-Moama is quite diverse but we took it right to the edge.
“From there I took it over myself and started Chick Fit.”
Emma said although pole fitness is about being strong and realising you can do anything you put your mind to, the perceived erotic reputation that comes with it has been their biggest hurdle.
“It can often hold people back from even coming and trying,” Emma said.
“But if anyone is hesitant about pole, I always tell them to come and try for a casual session and go from there.
“Just getting them in the door is the hardest part.
“But there aren’t any expectations in my classes – and don’t think there aren’t options.
“We have blended classes with all body types and ages and the scale is huge. Once you start seeing progress and feeling stronger that is when sass comes out.”
As a mother of four, Emma also wanted to give mothers an opportunity to work out without worrying about where their children would go.
“We offer a free area for kids to play while their mums work out with us,” Emma said. “As a result it has become a very social gym. It is a lot of fun and we are always laughing.
“I think the mothers motivate each other and by watching their mums work out and be healthy it mentors their children.
“We are really a hidden gem.”
Emma has expanded the gym from just offering pole fitness to being a complete female fitness centre.
“We offer a range of different services to the women of Echuca-Moama,” Emma said.
“We have pole fitness twice a week, and Chick Fit runs 15 sessions a week at the moment.
“We also do personal training sessions which have become a more popular option in recent months.”
Chick Fit fitness classes have largely grown by recommendation from those daring ladies who were game enough to be first through the door when it all began.
“Women just come here to have fun and feel good about themselves, and that is something women want to tell other women about.
“As a trainer group fitness sessions are my favourite. It just blows you away, the progress people achieve by working out with others.
“They all push each other and the connection you build with each one of them stays with you as a group trainer although the bond you make as a personal trainer is undeniable.”
Now supported by fellow trainer Kristy Serpell, Emma said finding someone who was similar (but slightly different) to her has been helping the centre excel.
“I wanted to find someone who has the same morals and essence of fitness that I did,” Emma said.
“She started coming from our first days as a pole student and I approached her asking if she would be interested in taking some classes.
“She said yes and here we are nearly two years later.
“We are both mothers and are supported by our family. She always has my back.”
For Emma whole body strength is the most important part of training women.
“I focus on customer TLC whenever I train a woman,” she said. “It is all about body confidence but before that it is about building the mind strength.
“The external confidence flows after a woman has a strong mind. The women build their own glow and spark when they become strong internally.”
When asked if the mirrors situated in the gym can sometimes be confronting for women, Emma had to think.
“That’s a good question – I haven’t been asked that before,” she said.
“The mirrors are used in pole to help with body alignment but I have never thought about it as a deterrent before.
“Women are never pushed into different exercises for that reason.
“There is always another way to do each exercise to ensure they are feeling comfortable.”
Emma and Kristy are always looking for new women to meet and train.
“There is something about girls getting together that makes training so much more fun,” Emma said. “Girl time is important.”
Looking ahead Emma is continually trying new things and said it is important her clients don’t get bored.
“Group fitness classes can sometimes be very repetitive and that is where people lose interest,” she said.
“I like to do different things and love having a mixed bag.
“All our circuits are different and I try and choose the ones with the most spunk and personality because I know that is what my ladies love.”