It was a real-life case of ‘judging a book by its cover’ for one Chorley teacher.
Before beginning classes herself, Tracy Mculluch saw pole dancing as a form of fitness that carried a huge social stigma.
But after her kneecap started wearing away, she knew she had to change her fitness path, and give the gym and aerobics classes a rest.
Her friend suggested the world of pole dancing, and apprehensively Tracy agreed to give it a go on her 42nd birthday.
Tracy, now 44, who admits that the journey to her first class was a ‘dubious’ one, said: “I went to my first class, and I loved it. After my fourth class I was hooked.
“I have got a bit of strength from going to the gym, so I could hold my own body weight.
“After 10 months, I changed school, and that is where I met Michelle Jackson.
“She was very supportive, and she said ‘I think you’re good enough to teach’.
“At 42, I was like, ‘are you alright to have an older instructor’, and she said that it wasn’t an age thing. She said that I have good banter and that everyone likes me.”
Starting at an older age has not only improved Michelle’s confidence physically and mentally, but it has also helped other members to embrace the challenge of pole fitness.
She is now fully qualified to teach at Xfit Gym, on Friday Street, where she runs a variety of classes throughout the week.
She said: “I think pole fitness is absolutely brilliant.
“My confidence has grown and I feel like I have really achieved something. It’s my passion now.
“If it hadn’t been for Michelle, I don’t think I would have been interested in going into teaching. She saw the potential in me.
“There is every age, every shape, and every size in each class.
“A lot of the girls I have been training with have really improved.
“They like the exercise, the banter and the confidence that training brings.
“Even if people don’t have strength to start off with, we can still teach them techniques – there is always something they can do.”
Chorley Pole Fitness was founded by Michelle, 30, two years ago. After seeing Tracy in classes, she knew straight away that she not only had the potential to be a fantastic pole dancer, but a wonderful trainer as well.
She said: “Tracy had the special ability about her and she is a real people’s person.
“People have this perspective that pole fitness is something you can only see in strip clubs, and it’s definitely not.
“Chorley Pole Fitness is fantastic, and it just keeps on building. It’s a form of fitness, and anybody can do it.”
For more information on Chorley Pole Fitness, visit www.chorleypolefitness.co.uk.