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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
I am Christina Dy, most people know me by CD. I am 44 years old, and I’m a dancer and artist from Manila, Philippines.
I am the founder and creative director of Polecats Manila - a pole dance school and performing group, and we are celebrating our 11th year this year!
I started my fitness journey pretty late. I took my first pole dance class in 2007 at age 31.
I was so heartbroken, my friends took me to all sorts of things to take my mind off the pain. I was a couch potato and of course my first class was terrible! But it was fun so I kept coming back.
I saw all the amazing possibilities of pole dancing so I put up Polecats Manila in 2009, 2 years after my first class.
My fitness life has changed so much over the years. It started with pole, then I tried aerial silks and rope, and also tried yoga and some weights.
I explored a lot. I was always looking for something that was fun and didn’t feel like a workout. I kept coming back to dance.
December 2018, I found out I had breast cancer, and I had to go through surgery and radiation, which meant I was out of training for a year.
My surgeon did not want me to carry heavy things, so I focused on doing floor work and chair, and heels. December 2019 I went back to pole training.
Now I have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis on both hands, so I can’t do anything with my hands, not even a down dog. So now I am just dancing, trying out different dance styles.
What a rollercoaster ride! It’s been tough recently, but I’ve learned that no matter what the situation is, I always have a choice about what to do. I might not like it, but I always have a choice.
I’m also a visual artist and I’m now trying to combine my love for drawing with my love for dancing. I’ve done some projects! Let’s see how things turn out :)
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I used to have a bodyweight program from my trainer, and a regular yoga practice aside from pole and dance training, but because of De Quervain’s, I’ve set that aside and just make sure I move everyday.
Sometimes I’ll do the parts that don’t require hands, but now it’s mostly just dance.
I always dance early in the morning, around 6 or 7am. I like training alone, I find I can concentrate more.
Then later on in the day, I’ll take a dance class, whatever genre and schedule that is. I try to make the most of De Quervain’s and quarantine by taking dance classes I normally wouldn’t be able to take!
The most used items for me now are: my yoga mat, sneakers for dancing, heels and kneepads for dancing. That’s all I really need.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I’ve been dancing for 13 years. It’s super fun!!! It’s the longest workout I’ve stuck to. I think you have to find the workout that you like. What’s the point of doing something if you hate it?
I’ve also developed some habits to make training more automatic: I put out my workout clothes the night before (even now during quarantine!), I fill my water bottle, I make sure my yoga mat is out in the open before I sleep.
So when I wake up, everything is ready and I take out a roadblock to training. I also put everything in my calendar. I pre-pay for online classes, so that I have some level of commitment.
I set a goal every week — learn a new floor work trick, or come up with new choreography, and I write it with a red marker that I stick on my wall. I’ve realised that if I write it down, it gets done, plus it frees up brain space for other things.
There are days I’m not motivated. Ever since cancer, I’ve found that I get tired easily. And now that I’m wearing wrist and thumb braces on both hands because of De Quervain’s — there are days I really feel like, what’s the point?
When I feel demotivated, or resentful, I make a deal with myself — I allow myself to feel it, but I give myself a deadline.
Like, ok, I can cry and bitch for 30minutes, but after that I’m doing an afrodancehall workout on YT. When I feel tired, then I have to listen to my body and rest.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I am very fortunate that quarantine has not hit me so badly. I have food, and shelter, and even the mental and financial capacity to take online dance classes.
My training now consists of dance classes at least 5x a week, in styles I am not used to. (Dancehall, Femme, Urban, Vogue whatever class is being offered that week).
I had quarantine training plans and goals, but I had to scrap them. Given that, I will just make the most of this time to train what I can, and also to reflect on the future.
My goal for the next 5 years is to be able to combine movement/dance with my art practice. That still remains as my goal, but let’s see how I can go about it with the current condition of my hands.
Other goals will be how to make sure our company flourishes amidst this pandemic. I will also focus more on learning and creating, and just see how everything goes together.
I’d say the future looks full of possibilities. :)
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
Ever since cancer, I sleep more and rest more. Also because I get tired so easily. I sleep before midnight, and I wake up around 5 or 6 am. Travel or this quarantine has not changed that.
The physical part of recovering from cancer surgery and De Quervain’s is tough - but it’s the mental struggle that’s tougher.
I’m a pole dancer, I need to hold the pole, and now I can’t use my hands — now what?
I think is is where my meditation practice helps. It brings a certain sense of clarity. No, it’s not instant inner peace, not at all, but at least it gives me a clear lens from which to view my situation.
What my challenges have taught me: I always have a choice. There is always something I can do. I can’t use my hands? Then I’ll dance with my legs.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I’ve been a vegetarian for a year now, mostly because post-cancer, different doctors would tell me to avoid different food groups, and the common thing they allowed me to eat were veggies.
I used to be very strict with my food — no gluten, no sugar, no dairy etc- that was the only way to alleviate my eczema. But now, post-cancer, I’m a bit more flexible with my food. Hey, life is short, I’m gonna eat cake on my birthday.
I don’t really “diet”. I started counting calories during quarantine though, just to make sure I don’t go overboard with the quarantine snacks haha, and also since I can’t workout so much.
I stay at around the 1500 calorie mark. I don’t really count macros. With my lifestyle, I pretty much stay at around the 100lb mark.
Except for when I started hormone treatments for my cancer, I ballooned, but I got that under control after several months.
I don’t do cheat days, I pretty much eat the same thing everyday— coffee and oatmeal in the morning, eggs veggies and rice for lunch and dinner, plus a couple of quarantine snacks in the afternoon (chocolate, fruit, cake, whatever is available).
I don’t have the mental bandwidth to think of new things to eat haha!
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
Throughout this fitness journey (and life!), I’ve had an incredible group of friends who inspire me to get better at whatever it is I do.
Some people in fitness that inspire me:
- My yoga teacher Martin (no social media) and my trainer Luis (IG: @demesatraining) are two of the smartest coaches that I’ve met. They both train smart, and I learn so much every session I spend with them.
- Everyone at Polecats Manila. I love that I go to the studio and everyone is training in their chosen specialty/apparatus, and that everyone is eager to share their knowledge.
I’ve been checking more IG stuff because of quarantine. These are the people I follow on IG:
- @_alexnino_ for mobility— I learn so much with each class! So sad I can’t take classes now, but will do so again once my hands are better.
- @galenhooks for choreography. So amazing. Each movement has intent.
- @syatfitness for fitness facts and because I find him funny.
- @amandahowellhealth for nutrition and health facts.
- @cirque_physio @the_artist_athlete @marlofisken @ginjapoleninja for pole/aerial arts/ movement things.
- @timferriss for general motivation and productivety.
However, the best advice I’ve ever received was from my nephew, when he was 8. He finally beat me at an arcade racing game after a year of losing, and I asked him what his secret was. He said: Never give up.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
This is my advice for improving yourself… just go do one small thing, right now.
So many people think if they can’t be 100%, then they just won’t do it. Or that if the circumstances are not perfect, they just won’t do it.
People overthink as an excuse to not take action. I find that when I do something, I feel better, and in turn I want to do more things.
But also, side by side with doing, you have to reflect. Be honest. You have to figure out what’s important to you, or else you’ll waste time doing things that don’t matter.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Right now I take on private dance classes, but very few, just because I need to rest and recover.
However, we have ongoing online classes at Polecats Manila. Clients can also hire any of our teachers for their specific needs.
My specialty though is sexy choreography with a bit of acro thrown in- whether with the pole, chair, floor, with or without heels.
So yes, if you want a fun sexy time while getting stronger — I’m the person to go to!
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Christina Dy quotes
Christina shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍