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Mind, Body and Pole

Pole fitness has made its way to Egypt. We talk to founder of the first Pole Fit studio in the country about dispelling the stripper myth and giving Cairo's women the bodies and the confidence they've always dreamed of.

Usually associated with stripping, the seedy underworld of many a Red Light District and, now, Rihanna, pole dancing is not just a dirty word, it’s a taboo that’s yet to even be addressed by the most advanced of cultures. What many don’t know, however, is that pole dancers have banging bodies as a result of pole dancing, and one woman is bringing the intense work-out to Cairo (perverts need not apply). Pole Fit is now open in Garden City and founder Manar El Mokadam is determined to change the perception of the exercise-cum-art form.

“I got into pole fitness when I joined my university’s society in my first year. By the second year I was teach. I became addicted!” El Mokadam explains of her interest. Very much aware of the taboos surrounding the humble pole – “Most people equate it with stripping,” – she’s on a mission to show Egypt, and indeed the world, the fabulous effects it can have on one’s physique. “Going to the gym is BORING!” she exclaims. “I don’t know about you, but I can’t just sit there and repeat the same move over and over again, it kills my brain. The good thing about pole fitness is you don’t realise how much muscle pain you’re in until later. It is the only sport that I have enjoyed enough to hurt for and still keep doing it.”

Combining resistance, cardio and stretching, pole fitness is suitable for anyone no matter how much they weigh or their exercise experience and can do wonders for one’s self-esteem. “You do need good coordination, though. The best ‘Polers’ are ones who can connect their mind to their body,” explains El Mokadam. You also need to watch out for bruising as you work the pole, though your skin tends to quickly build up an immunity to it. Though El Mokadam and her fellow instructors around the world want to dispel the sexuality surrounding the sport, she does admit that some women do sign up to be able to put on a show for their husbands. “Just today I had a lady come in saying that she’d persuaded her husband to let her attend classes in return for installing a pole in their bedroom!” With the Pole Fit studio having just opened in Cairo last week, the trend hasn’t quite taken off yet but here’s to hoping there’ll be more banging bodies and less hang ups in Egypt.

Find out more about Pole Fit Egypt on their Facebook page here.