By Savanah Mandeville
“When you’re having fun … that’s when you don’t even realize that you’re working out.” – Shannon Strahan
“For me, pole fitness is always a fun hour, it’s expressive, there’s a dance element, it’s great comradery and there’s something about the pole that just gives you confidence,” said Shannon Strahan, a pole fitness instructor at Girlfriends Boutique Fitness & Spa.
Strahan co-owns Girlfriends with Missy Pargen. The two friends have always enjoyed working out together, and in 2012, they took their passion for fitness and opened Girlfriends, building their gym around the motto: “No judgement. No pressure. No boys.”
“We have so many ladies who come in for class and tell us ‘This is the only hour I have for myself,’” Missy said. “It’s our ‘me time,’ and we have also seen so many great friendships be formed in our classes. The hardest thing when you’re working out is finding something that you enjoy and look forward to, and pole fitness is that for a lot of women.”
They added pole fitness two years ago and were the first to offer it in the area. When they moved from their original location in Carl Junction to their new building in Joplin, they incorporated a specialized pole fitness room complete with eight poles.
Pole fitness classes at Girlfriends are not only a fun way for ladies to blow off steam and make friends, it’s a serious workout, too!
“It’s a tough workout and a great calorie burn,” Stahan said, noting that one of their clients has lost 40 pounds. “Sometimes weight lifters will come in and think it’s going to be easy, and it always takes them off guard.”
Pargen said one misconception about pole fitness is you already have to be fit to start because certain advanced moves and poses can look pretty intimidating. Girlfriends offers beginner classes to help newcomers ease into their new fitness program.
“I teach the basic and beginner classes for those who have never, ever done it before,” Stahan said. “I tell them, ‘you will be amazed at what you can do.’ And they won’t realize how hard they worked until the next day.”
“Even girls who don’t get their feet off the floor for several classes will be sore the next day,” Pargen added.
Stahan and Pargen agreed that all you have to have to start is a willingness to learn and a sense of humor.
“There’s an element of silliness to it, and we’re always laughing,” Stahan said. “Some funny stuff happens in pole fitness, so you can’t be uptight. It’s all about laughing at yourself and having a good time, and when you’re having fun … that’s when you don’t even realize that you’re working out.”