👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi hi! My human name is Peter but my stage name is weirdgayspider!
I’m from Philadelphia (which isn’t entirely true because technically I’m from Connecticut but I consider Philly my home) but I’ve recently relocated to California.
I only started pole dancing about a year and a half ago after buying a groupon for what I thought would be a fun one time experience.
The class itself was unfortunately a letdown but a couple months later I decided to give it another try and I took my first class at Flaunt Fitness in Philadelphia.
I just fell in love with how challenging yet fulfilling the experience was and I really resonated with the positive and diverse community at the studio.
Next thing I knew I was trying to go almost every day and now I can’t imagine my life without pole.
What’s funny is that before pole I had never been into fitness or dance or flexibility or anything like that.
The last sport I played was probably baseball or soccer in middle school when my parents tried to get me to like sports, which was a fruitless attempt.
I’ve never been a particularly good dancer and I had never stepped foot into a gym, still haven’t if you exclude pole studios.
Something about pole just clicks in my brain and I love how it requires you to be diverse to really excel.
You can’t just be strong or just flexible or just a dancer, you have to bring all of those elements together and blend it with personal style and creativity and a willingness to do it all up in the air, upside down, sometimes in high heels, and spinning.
This year I made a move to San Diego to start teaching at Volare Pole Studio and to start competing but unfortunately Miss Rona seems to have derailed those plans for the time being.
Thankfully I still have opportunities to perform virtually which is one of my favorite things to do (although I prefer a physical audience).
As someone who loves horror I usually bring some sort of creepy element to my pole routines. Most recently I performed as a sexy Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas with a mask I made myself.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
Training for me tends to be split into flexibility and pole sessions.
I usually start by just warming up every muscle from my head to my feet, for example flossing my shoulders with a band or perfecting my toe point.
After that I alternate between head/hand/forearm stands and lower body focused stretches (lunge sequences, strap assisted middle split sequences, foam rolling into a split).
I’ve been working very hard for my split this past year as it’s something I have never come close to having and I know once I get it, I’ll be too powerful.
Seriously, I want it so bad I’m nervous I’ll just go around hitting splits in the grocery store or something.
For my pole sessions I start with conditioning exercises like inverts, muscle ups, or deadlifts.
Then I’ll play a song and freestyle to warm up the pole and get myself moving and to just enjoy dancing without worrying about anything else but my body and my movement for those 3 and a half minutes.
Then I’ll typically work on experimenting with some combination of shapes, practicing for a performance, putting together a dance routine or teaching myself a new pole move I spotted on instagram.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
With training I find it important to limit the time I spend, I really have to set a hard end time for myself. Especially with the Rona freeing up my schedule, I first found myself spending hours training without being productive.
What does it matter if I check my phone every 5 minutes, it’s not like there’s anything else to do anymore?
Also, as a perfectionist I will keep attempting a pole combination a hundred times because “my foot looked ugly for .5 seconds I need to try it again”.
Now that I have a set time limit it keeps me on track with my stretching and it means that I don’t always get a combination looking perfect.
Even though I’m not happy to walk away from it, the next day I’m even more motivated to keep that foot pointed and I usually have more energy because I hadn’t attempted the combo 167 times already.
Dedicated rest days are also incredibly important for me, I know there is one or two days a week that I set in advance so I can make time for friends that I don’t see at the studio.
I also tend to use that time to focus on crafting if I have a performance coming up, so even though I’m not at the studio I’m still taking some time out of the day to help further my pole adventures.
If I don’t have a performance approaching, my rest days will usually include some horror movies which are enjoyable and relaxing for me but also research for my next nightmarish pole routine.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Right now I feel like I’m stuck in limbo if I’m being honest. I moved to California with all this excitement and motivation, but due to a…minor global pandemic or something…it’s been a bit disappointing.
The first day I was going to start teaching at my new studio was the day we got the order that we had to close. I was also set to perform at a pole convention and had just submitted for my first competition, both of which are now up in the air.
I’ve been trying to stay positive and be thankful I’m able to train even more than I was before, but it’s definitely been difficult.
Thankfully I have a solid support group and I know there will be more competitions in the future.
In the meantime I’ll be twirling around, probably in some fake blood, on Zoom and coming out of quarantine in an oversplit.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I’m very lucky in that I haven’t experienced many injuries.
One day I saw someone fall off the pole and seriously mess up their collar bone. It was a wake up call for me, as by that point, pole had become so incredibly important in my life.
I suddenly was scared to do moves I had no problem trying just weeks prior. I became scared of the height, scared of the idea that I would have to stop doing this thing I loved so much, even if just for a week, it was unfathomable.
I started really paying attention to what I was doing and making sure I was doing it safely: crash mats whenever I try something new, and not relying on strength over proper technique.
I think for men, when we get into pole we have a tendency to use our upper body strength to muscle into things, I was guilty of this too, but it’s so important to take the time to learn how to do things safely.
For minor strains and soreness I think self care is super important, foam rolling has done wonders for my body, tiger balm when needed and self massaging is something I do almost every training session.
It’s also a huge mind game, I have to remind myself that my body will heal and focusing too much the injury will only make it worse because now I’m carrying all this extra tension.
It’s crazy because I didn’t really care about my body all that much before pole.
Now I’m so much more aware of my muscles and what feels right and what needs a break, so I try to diversify my training, like adding in a different hip flexor opening exercise if my shoulders are feeling exhausted.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
6 years ago I made the best decision of my life, even better than the decision to start pole dancing, I started eating vegan.
I’ve always been averse to animal products but just never understood why and one day I decided to try being vegetarian because I had a friend who was.
From that point I never looked back, a couple months later after finding out too much about the dairy/egg industry I made the full jump to veganism.
There’s nothing I miss because we live in a world where you can find a vegan version of just about anything.
I’m also someone who doesn’t like to be an inconvenience, so if I have to go out to eat with friends, I’ve already researched the menu extensively and prepared accordingly.
Maybe I’ll eat before and just get a small side at dinner, or I’ll find places that have vegan options but aren’t entirely vegan so I can casually suggest a restaurant without dealing with people being freaked out by the “scary vegan food”.
I take a daily multivitamin but otherwise I just try to make sure I eat a diverse diet.
Do I get a vegan donut almost every morning? Maybe, but I also make sure I get a mix of fruits and veggies for my next meal. Nuts are my preferred snack food but I will go to town on a vegan milkshake from time to time.
My biggest vice is probably caffeine. I’m waiting for my Red Bull sponsorship as I’ve probably single handedly paid for the CEO’s vacation every year. I’m also at the point of having iced coffee in an IV drip just to save time.
I don’t smoke and I dont drink very often as I worry it will leave me groggy for my training the next day and as I said before, that time is precious.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
My biggest inspiration definitely comes from my friends and students in the pole world. I remember seeing my instructors doing moves and thinking “omg I will never be able to do that” and now I can do a lot of those things I thought were impossible.
So to see new students who get dumbfounded when I do something that I don’t think is all that special, like climb all the way to the top of the pole, it reminds me just how special this journey is.
There’s also no better community than the pole community, I’m willing to die on that hill.
It’s amazing to see people of such varying age, race, body types, genders, sexuality, etc finding themselves and getting more comfortable in an environment that people still think is “inappropriate”.
It’s incredibly empowering and it bonds us in such a unique way, which is why you can hear a chorus of cheers and applause when someone in the class finally nails a move we’ve all been working on together.
I also have to say how inspired I am by strippers. Pole dancing would not be where it is today without strippers. Point blank.
Even though this has become more mainstream and some people see it only as a sport, you cannot take away the fact that strippers are the reason we are able to enjoy pole dancing the way we do today.
You can enjoy pole for your own personal reasons without diminishing the sacrifice of the sex workers who came before you.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I encourage anyone who wants to improve themselves to give pole a shot. It doesn’t matter if you “don’t have any upper body strength”, most of us started that exact same way.
Everyone’s body excels at different things in pole, for example I could invert very early on, but it took me months to feel feel comfortable in a layback, which is when you squeeze the pole between your thighs and drop your torso, because I was a walking skeleton with little thigh meat for gripping.
I also encourage people to go to an actual studio rather than teach themselves on a home pole. It’s so much safer especially in this practice where a wrong hand grip can cause serious injuries.
Also nobody in your house will yell at you to point your toes like a pole instructor will.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am taking clients right now, obviously only online, because of a miniscule troublemaker called corona.
I’m comfortable teaching all levels but I prefer beginner/intermediate polers as well as anyone who wants to learn more exotic style pole dancing, because there’s nothing more exciting than the sound of a heel clack.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
My email is [email protected] (can’t imagine why nobody had claimed this email before??)