Plus-Size Pole Fitness: Get On Up There, Girl!

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Pole fitness is all the rage. But what about plus-size pole fitness?

I decide to find out, and hop on a plane to learn from the best. The interview is just about to wrap up, signaling the moment I will — for the first time — come face to face with a pole at the renowned Vertical Joe’s in Atlanta. “Wow. And now I’m going to try this, too,” I nervously say, cocking my head toward the camera.

My stomach is in knots and I am sure I will plunge to the ground. You see, I have traveled to Atlanta to interview one of the world’s most famous plus-sized pole fit instructors: Ro’Yale Da Queen of Curves. And now, I’m taking her class. However, I am going to do it on YouTube as a part of The Secret Sexy Project. In other words, millions of people are going to see. (Maybe I should have called it the Not-So-Secret Sexy Project, seeing as how I’m about to display my lack of coordination for all the world to see?)

Me. On a pole. Scary thought. To fill you in, I’m anything but graceful. I’m the one who would walk across a bar, knowing that some hot guy is watching — and slip, sliding head-first into a waiter.

Pole Fitness Curvicality Article

So here I am. Grace at its finest. Getting ready to “work it” on the pole.

Let me set the scene for you. There I stand, wearing black booty shorts that give me a creeper, hot pink heels that have never been a part of my work ensemble in the past, and a sexy black top, holding onto the pole for dear life. “That’s the biggest pole I’ve ever taken on,” I think, as the cameras began to roll. (No sex jokes, please!)

Sensing my nervousness, Ro’Yale shoots me the bighearted grin that has made her famous. Side note: If she can’t make you feel comfortable, no one can. Her entire platform is built on a concept that viewers have fallen in love with: Sexy truly has no size.

And with that, we are off to pole land.


Pole Fitness Curvicality Article

The first move reminds me of the “bend and snap” in “Legally Blonde.” It’s a sensual slither to the side, a stroke of the sexy pink heels I can hardly stand in, and a sexy snap upward. I flip my hair quickly, trying to mimic Ro’Yale’s moves. Unfortunately, I look like I’ve suddenly come face-to-face with a spider and I burst into laughter. How’s that for sexy?

“Pay attention,” she patiently says as she shows me how to do the walk around the pole that you see in, well, strip clubs. Sure, I walk. But it’s more like a slow, horsey clomp. I feel like one of those ponies that slowly walks in a circle at a kid’s birthday party, only less sexy. I wonder if anyone will give me a carrot.

We go through the entire routine. Not once, but twice. That’s when, as Oprah calls it, the “aha! moment” occurs. At the end of the second go-around, I remember something Ro’Yale had told me in our sit down interview. “You have to let go.” I realize I am too far into my head, worrying too much about how I look and not enough about how I feel.

In the third round, the magic happens. I can literally feel myself separate from the weight of anxiety as I get out of my head. Later, when I look at the footage, the difference is obvious: It’s very apparent when I start to actually feel sexy.

You see, the secret sexy appears when I let go of the insecurities that are holding me back. The pole is almost a metaphor for the lines we are afraid to cross with newfound confidence. I find when I embrace the pole, I feel a new sense of freedom. I can truly let go, and it feels good … much better than when I was in my head and comparing myself to a pony ride. And the difference isn’t just in my head. The proof is right there in the footage.

Pole Fitness Curvicality Magazine Article

What I Learned

Pole fitness is definitely something you should try. Not only is it a blast, it’s an absolutely awesome workout. You get much the same strength workout you would get with weights, but using your body alone. (My arms and thighs were sore for days.) It’s also great for balance. Plus, it’s an amazing confidence booster. 

If you’re looking for a new workout routine, check out a pole-fitness class in your town.  And if you’d like to be with other plus-size women, approach a studio to start a plus-size pole fit class. My friends and I are in the process of doing this right now.

Pole Fitness Curvicality Magazine Article

The Mental Takeaway

Sexiness is a state of mind. But it only happens when you let go of your preconceived notions of what you think you should be. Most of us will never go on a stage and dance on a pole in the literal sense, but we can do it in a fitness class. And best of all, it’s one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever had. (I really was sore for a week.)

What to Wear

Honestly, finding plus-size pole fit wear is the hardest part. I incessantly Googled the topic, but found few items I would truly feel comfortable in. So, I created my own look with the help of my favorite gals at Torrid.

Ro’Yale had told me that spandex pants or leggings wouldn’t be a good option because you need a little skin-on-pole contact to get traction. To get around the lack of booty shorts, I opted for a black Torrid swim short that looked just like them. You’d never know the difference! (Of course, you can wear any type of workout shorts. But remember, we were filming, so I wanted to look the part.)

On the top, I chose a black mesh Torrid bralette layered with a black peplum top. Not only did this make me feel super sexy, I can wear both again. I regularly pair the peplum with jeans, and the bralette has become part of my swimsuit look.

The bottom line is that if you can’t find actual pole fit wear, you have two choices. You can go for traditional workout wear, or you can create your own sexy look to feel the part. Or, you can do a little bit of both. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Putting together the outfit was half the fun.

Now I know you’re wondering about the shoes. I would be! The hot pink little numbers were a part of the Vertical Joe’s rental collection. I did learn something really important about pole shoes, though. They’re tight in the calves. (Luckily, these adjusted.) So make sure to check out your choice ahead of time. If you wear wide-width shoes, you’ll want to order them if your local pole fit studio doesn’t carry them. Do your research to avoid frustration later. 

The Moral of the Story

Girl, get on that pole. Check out a pole fit class in your town. And if you’re self conscious about skinny little things on the pole next to you, start your own plus-size pole fit class.  Just remember that you’ll get better with practice. Take it at your own speed. If you can’t climb, don’t fret. It’s the effort that counts.


Pole Fitness Wear Curvicality Magazine Article

Mary Beth’s Outfit:

Black Swim Shorts

Black Mesh Top

Black Peplum Top

Have you tried plus-size pole fit classes, or pole fit in general? Share your experiences below.

P.S. You can find Ro’Yale at or (Thank you, Ro’Yale and Vertical Joe’s for your amazing support on this project!) Our full interview with Ro’Yale will come out in our November issue.

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