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Katherine Petronaci
I’m an International Pole Athlete. This is How I Went from Pole Teaching to Winning Competitions

Katherine Petronacis Stats When We Talked with Her 💪

United States
35 years
163 cm
(5 ‘4)
52 kg
(115 lbs)

Follow Katherine on Instagram and YouTube

👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training

My name is Katherine Petronaci, I’m 35 and currently live in Philadelphia, PA. I grew up outside of Manhattan in a town called Montclair, NJ. I started dancing there at the age of two and have never stopped. Dance is a fire you can never extinguish.

As I grew, I was a part of a teen touring company by the age of 11 and found pole dancing and aerials after college in 2007. Pole at that time was truly lacking a dance fundamental, it was more gymnastics based, less movement and flow.

I fell in love with the freedom, it was so new and I could really play and add myself into it, which landed me my first teaching gig. I currently teach at Flaunt Fitness, in South Philadelphia and I’m prepping to teach at the Local Pole Stars Workshop.

After a few years as a teacher, I was encouraged to start competing but I didn’t start competing until 2014 when I competed in the 3rd Pole World Cup (Arnold Classic) in Brazil.

After that, I went on to the PanAmerican Pole Championships, PSO Atlantic Pole Championships, Diamond G String and Platinum Pole Championship.

I’ve recently taken a break from competing due to life and quarantine really. I’m currently stuck in my house with my incredible boyfriend, our two pit bulls (Leroy and Cody) our squirrel (James Squirrel Jones) and our turtle (Turtle Jefferson aka TJ).

Even though we are in quarantine my training hasn’t changed. There are just a lot of four-legged creatures joining in on the fun.

⏱ Describe a typical day of training

I really focus on movement and constantly moving my whole body.

A typically training day for me is long…I start off with a run first thing in the morning. Followed by stretching and conditioning.

I don’t really use weights, mainly just calisthenics and body weight training. I really focus on movement and constantly moving my whole body.

After my run, stretch and conditioning, I usually do an across the floor series to start truly moving my body and then it’s off to the pole.

I do some on pole conditioning, which involves a lot of pull ups, inverts, dead lifts (sometimes with resistance bands). From there I start working on new movements, ideas, shapes, tricks, etc.

I usually don’t stop until I feel I’ve done whatever I’m working on well enough to walk away from it for the day. Otherwise I will keep thinking about it. Then I stretch again and go for another run. All in all I could spend all day training if I didn’t have other responsibilities in life.

👊 How do you keep going and push harder?

Other than the fact that pole dance and aerials are just way too much fun to stop. My students are a huge motivator for me. I need to get better to teach them more. And they learn so fast!!! So there’s really no break, if I’m not learning, nether are they.

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There is no such thing as perfection in pole, everything looks different on everybody, which is so cool!

The hardest part of training is everything outside of training: Family life, work, etc. — balancing that is a challenge, but I’m lucky that I have a pole at home and a partner who is also incredibly supportive.

🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I don’t look forward and make plans honestly. It never works out, something always comes up. I just focus on each day as it comes.

What does my body need that day? What does my mind need? How did yesterday effect today? It sounds stupid but it makes a difference to focus on the here and now and not set such high standards for tomorrow.

You’re bound to mess up.

🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?

I’ve learned to really listen to my body and respect what it needs to be healthy and strong.

Oh man, this is a hard one because injuries in pole come from the passion of pushing harder than your body can go that day.

I’ve learned to really listen to my body and respect what it needs to be healthy and strong. So I don’t use any supplements at all, I stick to a primarily vegan/vegetarian diet. But I guess you can classify me as a flexitarian.

The only animal products I intake are from farms that are completely transparent. I find what you put in your body directly relates to its function and recovery.

I also believe in stretching everyday for mobility and recovery. And when I get injured now, which is usually minor and rare, I visit my acupuncturist and my chiropractor.

Start PT and strength building around the weakened area and I’m usually back at it right away.

🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?

Again flexitarian, but mainly vegan/vegetarian. Only animal products I intake are from completely transparent farms and I don’t use supplements.

I drink a lot of water and my main vices are club soda and coffee. I do drink alcohol but no smoking or drug use.

👍 What has inspired and motivated you?

Music and dance…and really getting lost in both. My students and a huge inspiration as well.

✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?

  1. Take care of your body and mind.
  2. Be honest with yourself about your work and progress.
  3. Do NOT compare yourself to others.
  4. Take care of your body, meaning eating right and drinking plenty of water.
  5. Fitness fads are not the answer, if you don’t enjoy it you’re always gonna stop. So find something you really enjoy doing that moves your body and motivates you.
  6. Involving yourself in the community.

🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?

Yes, always. I have several clients currently but always taking on more. I do see clients in person and online, but with quarantine I’m currently only seeing clients online.

I use FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, whatever is easiest for the client. And anyone can contact me through email [email protected] or Instagram @Katherinepetro.

📝 Where can we learn more about you?

Currently just Instagram @Katherinepetro, I do have a YouTube but it’s was for competition submissions. But as the quarantine continues I may use that as another outlet for creativity.

All the photos are by Don Curry @donqphotography

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