[Liz Dennerlein | Asbury Park Press]

Don’t settle for monotony when it comes to your workout.

You may not even realize you are in an exercise rut — going to the same gym every day or running the same route on the boardwalk every morning. Exercise boredom isn’t good for your body or for your soul. Everyone needs a change to invigorate them and work all the muscles in their body.

So mix it up with workouts you probably didn’t even realize existed at the Shore:


Shore Pole Dance and Fitness

Autumn Aponte first started pole dancing as a way to trim off a few pounds before her wedding a year and a half ago.

 “After my first class I felt extremely confident. I felt sexy. I felt more beautiful than I’ve ever felt before,” Aponte said.  “The thing I love most about pole is it’s personal. It’s expression. Some people specialize in spins, some perform more floor work.”

She wound up trimming off those extra pounds and gaining muscle in return.

Aponte is one of the instructors at Shore Pole Dance and Fitness in Long Branch, which offers 60 minute classes that consist of a warm up, dance based floor work, spins, transitional moves and conditioning exercises. The studio has five 14-foot dual-functioning static and spinning poles, five aerial silks and a lyra — an aerial hoop that hangs a few feet off the ground.

Melissa Gandy, the aerialist instructor, was first introduced to the art and workout five years ago in a park in Savannah, Georgia, when she came across a woman doing hanging from aerial silks. “She had a huge rig in the middle of the park and I just approached her and was like that’s badass,” Gandy said. “I was like, ‘So you’re hanging upside down and I want to do that.’ ”

Gandy essentially became a “guinea pig,” learning the art of aerial silks for five years. Her venture to the workout wasn’t easy at first.

“It was really, really painful,” Gandy said. “That’s why I always try to tell people when they first come to the class … you’re going to be hurting a lot. It’s a lot of upper body strength, but it’s deceptive because females are usually better at it because of the dance aspect.”

Aerial silks isn’t just a workout. It’s an art form, Gandy said.

“It’s an exercise in that it pushes you to keep working because if you don’t do something beautiful and right (at first), you’re going to do it a million times (until you do). It kills you because you’re tired, but at the end you feel so successful when you perfect the move.”

Inside the studio, there’s beautiful black and white photos lining the walls with pictures of women hanging upside down from poles and silk ropes. Jennifer Margiotta, a support staff member, can be spotted stripped down to her underwear in the middle of November, hanging upside down from top of a truck — just one leg supporting her body from falling.

“I was having a bad night, and (Autumn) was like get on the truck,” Margiotta said. Margiotta does more high stunt work and spins — anything that might make you nauseous, she added with a laugh.

“I got into pole after my divorce to feel better and build confidence, and then it just became a love affair,” she said. She then branched out into lyra.

Aerial silks isn’t just a workout. It’s an art form.

“People don’t realize what a sport it is … they don’t understand how hard this is,” Margiotta said. Aponte noted that at Shore Pole, clients get a well-rounded workout — they can focus on core strength, upper body, legs, cardio, aerobics. Clients can even wear heals for a more extreme workout when doing pole work.

“It’s very empowering,” Margiotta said. “Here, we don’t judge you. It’s not like a regular gym. It’s like, ‘Ok, you want to go upside down? I’m going to throw you upside down.’ ”

For more information, visit shorepole.com. Shore Pole Dance and Fitness is located on the second floor of Pearl Street Gym, 515 N Bath Ave. in Long Branch. Contact aerialmelissa@gmail.com for questions or sign ups.

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