Dakota Fox was the first pole dancer, whose tutorials I watched on YouTube and attempted to copy. Unfortunately, of course, I often could record only limited success because Dakota Fox is a real power bundle. Nevertheless, her videos are very well explained and definitely achievable with a little practice. Even today, I love to watch them when I need a bit of inspiration.
I am very happy that she has answered a few questions about training as a beginner, what makes a good instructor, and a healthy diet with little effort …
- When I started Pole Dancing, I especially loved your YouTube Videos that show easy, beginner to intermediate trick combinations. I admire your accessible style. What is your Pole mantra?
Thank you! I love that Pole Dance Fitness offers a never-ending range of possibilities, no matter what our skill level is. There is ALWAYS something new to learn or try. I especially love teaching and helping others achieve their physical goals and overcome their emotional hurdles at the same time. I try to continually remind my students (and try to keep in the back of my head as well) that pole dancing is about the JOURNEY. Enjoy each moment, each little success… and do your very best to not negatively compare yourself to others. Our journeys are our own – each one unique & different, from start to finish. We find ourselves being held to unreasonable standards enough in our day-to-day lives that allowing your pole journey to truly be a safe, non-judgmental and FUN part of your life is the most important thing!
- How does your perfect training session look like?
In a perfect scenario, I would love to be fully rested and have an uninterrupted 3-4 hours in a studio… with some Pole friends! I am terrible about practicing on my own. I end up sitting around for a good hour before getting motivated to actually work! I would spend the first hour getting nice & warm with a good stretch, then rolling around with floor work and maybe some hand-balancing practice. Then the next 1.5-2 hours hit the Poles hard, working on some wish-list techniques… fine-tuning my favorite go-to tricks with new transitions… and then knocking out some conditioning on the Pole as well. Then end it all with a good long deep-stretch session. And lots of snack breaks throughout!
- What is your ultimate power move?
I love anything related to aerial handstands in any of the grips – elbow grip, cup grip, twisted grip, and handshake grip. It is always fun to explore new & exciting ways to transition into them (deadlifts, or flips & pops, or sneaky thread-throughs). It is such an exciting way to show off the true strength & power that can be found in Pole!
- Which moves should a Pole beginner start with to build strength?
I believe it is very important for beginner students to establish a strong foundation and good practicing skills from the start. A focus on using good technique (controlled lifts – no kicks or jumps; identifying the right muscle groups to activate for a spin or hold, etc). Drilling things like pole holds, pole ups, invert prep exercises and climbing prep exercises will do wonders. I also find that supplementing some Yoga & Pilates mat-inspired exercises along with Pole training can really benefit beginner students & help them build strength faster.
- Do you follow a certain diet to support your strength training?
I am lactose intolerant, so have not had cheese or dairy in my diet for a very long time. Last summer I discovered my thyroid disorder (Hashimoto’s/hypothyroidism) was being triggered heavily by gluten in my diet, causing sleep, digestive, muscular and even emotional/cognitive issues. Since then, I have been (mostly) gluten free as well for about 7 months now.
It took a while for me to figure out how to supplement my diet better while eliminating products with wheat in them (I love pasta and bread and beer, so this was HARD!). I teach and train A LOT, so if my body is not properly fueled… I really feel it and will crash hard. I have mostly got the hang of it now. It just requires a lot more meal & snack planning as food on the go is hard to come by. And now I feel like I eat & snack ALL the time! I try to focus on snacks/meals that have some sort of protein & carb combination. Usually for breakfast, I will have three eggs with spinach, potatoes & onions pan-cooked in coconut oil and a few slices of turkey bacon. An easy go-to snack I love is apple slices & peanut butter. I do not eat a lot of a red meat, simply because it just does not sit well in my tummy, and I tend to gravitate more towards chicken and turkey substitutes.
I do not like the word “diet” as related to losing weight. I am not concerned with that. I eat when I am hungry and until I am full. I just pay better attention to what I am putting into my body! I lead an active lifestyle so muscular tone, strength and maintaining a healthy weight is a wonderful side effect.
- How do you balance your training albeit your preference for strength moves?
This was a struggle for me for a long time! I listen to my body and try to only do big power trick training once or twice a week. The other days I try to mix in low-level flow dancing, floor work, flexibility training, etc. Training smarter (not necessarily harder) is very important to avoid unnecessary injuries. Besides – all the crazy strength moves are great, and I love them but they look TERRIBLE if we do not develop the grace & fluidity of transitioning into and out of them!
- Is there something you have not tried in Pole yet, but definitely want to?
I am always open to trying & learning new things and learning from anyone & everyone! Whenever I travel, I try to be a student somewhere no matter the “level” of the class. It is just as fun to go back to basics as it is to take a beast mode workout. And I love to grow & develop on a personal level as an instructor so I can continue to become a more effective communicator & leader at home.
- Being a great Pole Dancer does not mean being a great Pole Teacher. Which qualities make a great teacher? Are certificates necessary?
This question could be an article all in itself! To keep things short – you are right, a good dancer does NOT always equal a good teacher. An effective teacher is someone who can communicate to all types of learners (auditory, visual, etc), someone who can break-down a technique to offer safe & reasonable progressions or training points that students of all levels can work through. Teaching is not demonstrating. It is taking a student on a path to success and giving them achievable stepping stones along the way.
While a certificate is not necessary, I strongly feel that even as an instructor one should always be looking out for opportunities & trainings to further their repertoire of instruction techniques & abilities. Pole related or not! I absolutely love helping other instructors & studios as whole take their Pole program to the next level – something I offer through the Aradia Fitness USA studio licensing program!
- How would you describe your teaching style and what do you pay attention to most when teaching?
I am not quite sure how to describe my teaching style! I try to mix things up constantly, from silly classes to more serious ones – from classes focusing on tricks to those focused on dance or movement principles. I hope only to be an effective communicator and to rally my students to excitement & success!
Thank you so much, Dakota!