Listen to this interviewThe Bulk Hackers robot can read Jordan's interview aloud for you (playtime 8 minutes and 45 seconds) 🤖
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Jordan Wheatley and I just turned 29. I live in Indianapolis, IN with my husband, four dogs, and two cats. I work in healthcare and the entertainment industry as an actor, photographer, and filmmaker. I have been training since 2018 in the aerial arts. I started with silks and then moved to lyra.
I’m currently training in pole as my main apparatus. I am supposed to be competing in my first competition in August as a level two competitor (quarantine permitting). I started training as an aerialist initially because I wanted a work out that taught me a skill and didn’t feel like a work out.
I had always been an athlete through school. I did cross country, swimming, diving, track, and dance. After high school, when organized sports ended, my health started to decline, which set me on a five or six year journey to find out what was wrong.
In 2018, I finally got diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and my “prescribed treatment” was physical therapy and strength training, which is what led me on my current path and has greatly improved my quality of life.
When I’m not training, I enjoy reading, painting, clay sculpting, and spending time with my loved ones and pets.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
My training program probably looks a little different than most people’s because of my physical disability. I can usually only pole train three to four days a week and one to two hours at a time. It’s usually a mixture of pole and conditioning training.
I have found, through trial and error, that my body absolutely has to have a day in between training or two lighter training days if they have to be back to back. My EDS does not let me recover very quickly. I really have to listen to my body and let it dictate my training.
I am so mentally motivated that I have pushed myself too much resulting in overuse injuries. I’ve really had to reconcile within myself that some days my choice to not train is for my health and safety and not because I’m lazy.
On a typical day of training, I go to my pole studio and take the classes offered there or do open studio training. I chose this studio because I knew someone who is an instructor there. It is the most uplifting and supportive environment I’ve ever been part of.
Everyone is welcome and respected there, which I think is the reason the students are so successful. We have permission to fail and permission to succeed and a room full of people cheering you on regardless.
My strength has doubled since I started poling. I very quickly had gained enough to deadlift straddle invert which I couldn’t do in my previous training.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I stay motivated because of my competitiveness to always better myself and because the environment is so friendly and uplifting, it’s such a great way to wind down after a stressful work day. I know that the more I go to classes, the better my skill set becomes.
My best hack for succeeding in the gym is to just throw my thoughts out the window and prevent negative self talk from getting to me. Instead of thinking “I can’t do this” I try and tell myself “This looks hard but I want to learn this”.
You can’t expect to automatically succeed or unlock new skills on new gains on your first try. It wouldn’t be called training if you didn’t have to work for it. Success wouldn’t be as sweet if you didn’t have to shed blood, sweat, and tears along the way.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training, at the moment thanks to the rona, is very stunted. My home pole is quite short due to my ceiling height and I’m very allergic to my pole. So, I am focusing on skills that require less skin to metal contact. I’m really happy I’m still able to deadlift invert. I just am not drilling that skill quite so much because of my allergy.
Over the next five years, I’d like to be a solid pole competitor and move up in levels. My plan to achieve that is to just stay the course I’m on. My studio’s curriculum and training program is so solid that I have no doubt I can reach my goals under their leadership.
The only thing I would change about my fitness journey is that I wish I would’ve had the courage to start poling sooner than I did.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
My process for recovering from injuries and setbacks is a bit different than the able-bodied athlete. I am nursing a rolling five or six injuries at any given time. I have to really listen to my body to determine if this is a “rest” injury or one that I can ignore, which probably sounds crazy.
My body injures itself very easily. A “rest” injury for me is something acute that I probably need intervention on. An “ignore” injury for me would be like my chronic rib dislocations. They get really sore and I take it easy for a few days but the best way that my treatment team and I have to combat that recurring injury is by strength.
So I don’t rest things like that for too long because I need to keep the area strong. I try and avoid these injuries by keeping my muscles engaged and training myself to have better proprioception so I don’t accidentally hyperextend. I sleep anywhere from seven to nine hours on average.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
The diet plan I follow is one provided to me by a dietitian for helping manage my eating disorder recovery. It does not exclude any food groups and gives me serving quantities for each group.
In pole, cutting and staying lean isn’t a focus of the sport which is great for someone in recovery. I actually have a very finicky GI problem. So couple that with my meal plan from my dietitian and it leaves me a bit limited.
My typical breakfast is a muffin and two to three halos/cuties/mini oranges, maybe an egg or two. For lunch, I typically have some kind of combination of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cucumbers and chips with some dip or leftovers of a sort to get rid of those (lol).
My dinners will consist of chicken, beef, or pork, a veggie (usually broccoli), and some kind of starch or carb. I pretty much eat the same thing every day to ensure my food groups stay consistent and to control my exposure to foods my body can't tolerate.
In social gatherings, I've actually had to get firm with relatives when it comes to what I can or can't eat and explain that my inability to eat garlic, for example, has nothing to do with flavor but everything to do with my quality of life.
I've just gotten really blunt and started to demand respect instead of people trying to shame me into eating or shame out of eating whatever the food may be.
In some scenarios, I'll pack myself a bag of snacks or plan my day around being able to eat before or after a function if I'm concerned.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
The biggest inspirations to me are my fellow classmates, the instructors, and basically any kind of acrobat, aerialist, polerina, etc on social media. I’m inspired by incredible feats of the human body. That’s what keeps me going.
Seeing my peers who started a few years ago and how amazing they are and where they’re at now is my motivating factor. Because if they can do it, I can do it too.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The best advice I could give to someone looking to get involved in the movement arts or any sport really is to research the industry, choose something you feel passionate about, and don’t be afraid to jump in and give it a try.
If anyone is in a similar position to me and in recovery for any kind of eating disorder, I definitely recommend checking out the pole community. The environment has improved me mentally and physical in ways that I cannot explain.
I think a lot of people make mistakes by looking for the cheapest coaches/studios/gyms/etc instead of choosing the place who will have the most to offer you or train you or who knows their stuff with safety.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am not a trainer. Maybe someday. I would love to.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
💬 Jordan Wheatley quotes
Jordan shares some great, motivating insights in this interview. Feel free to share these quotes on your Instagram, Pinterest and so on 😍