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👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi! My name’s Marina and I’m 33. I live in Italy with my husband and our son but I come from Russia. I work as a pole dance and aerial arts instructor, so I teach pole dancing, aerial hoop and aerial hammock group and private classes in Milan Pole Dance Studio. I also teach workshops in Italy and Europe.
I take part in competitions as well (I have won in a National Aerial Hoop competition in doubles category, placed 3rd in a European Pole Sport competition among professionals and 2nd in World Aerial Athletics Championship in aerial silks among professionals). It’s 9 years that I’m into aerial arts.
I started with pole, out of curiosity, just because I wanted to find an alternative to a classic gym, and it was love at first class. Later on I discovered other aerial arts. I’ve always been quite active and as a teenager I practiced ballroom dancing for eight years. I am a brand ambassador for Super Fly Honey Pole Wear and several other brands.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I normally train in the morning or early afternoon since in the evening I often have classes. I start with a good warm up, which always includes stretching and conditioning exercises. On some days I only do stretching (once a week), and once a week I do Pilates (I love it because it helps me work on deep muscles).
I normally have two hour sessions three times per week, but since I often teach, I’m physically active almost every day, I normally try to have one-two days off during the week, so if I plan to teach workshops or perform, I try to plan my trainings in such a way that I could have at least one day off per week (not always it is possible). I eat clean and do not use supplements regularly.
My fav exercises are those that are done with Pilates reformer machine, I absolutely love the stretching part as well as how it works on core. I do not do cardio workouts but I still include some cardio exercises into my warmup (such as jumping jacks, jump squats and dancing).
I love both training alone and in company, it really depends on what I have to work on. Training in company gives me more motivation and new ideas, but sometimes I have to work on my own to really nail something.
Water, towels, pole outfits, liquid chalk, back warmer and myofascial peanut ball are always in my bag.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
It is not easy to always stay motivated so you have to learn to be disciplined. I know that if I want to get better, I have to train, especially if I have competitions or performances in program, so I just go to the studio and start training.
Not always I’m happy with my trainings and wish I could be more productive and achieve better results, but it is a process with its highs and lows, so I just accept it and try to stay positive. I always train with the music on, it inspires me and helps in the creative process.
Sometimes it is not easy to make everything fit (family, trainings, teaching, etc.) but I try to do my best, at the end, I am lucky to have a job that I really love and a very understanding family.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is getting back to training after giving birth to my baby. I had a C-section and in the beginning it was really difficult to start to train again, my muscles seemed to have disappeared, I didn’t recognize myself and was about to quit, but with support of my students and family, I managed to overcome that period and I am very happy I did.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At the moment I am training for Elevation, a theatre pole show in Milan. It is a big event that involves amazing artists and athletes and I am very happy and proud to be a part of this show. So it is quite a busy and physically demanding period.
If I could start all over, I would have started much earlier with pole and aerial and would have concentrated on basics more (I started to do advanced exercises too early and did non pay enough attention to basics and conditioning, because I found it boring, only later I realized how important it is).
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I try to stay focused not to get injured, but minor problems (like muscle pain) often occur. I get treated regularly by a physio and it helps me a lot.
Also, Pilates helps me equilibrate my body and makes me feel better. I also have anatomical problems with my neck (that’s a long and boring story so I will avoid speaking about it here), which often disturb me, but I have learnt to live with them and to plan my trainings in accordance (I just avoid some exercises and try to listen to my body).
I try to sleep at least seven hours per night because it helps me to have enough energy and stay active.
As for traveling, it depends on how much time I spend traveling. I try to give my body a one week rest, twice per year. In all other cases if I travel, I always find a gym or a pole studio and train there (and if I cannot, I do stretching and conditioning in the place where I stay).
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I do not follow any specific diet but I try to eat clean. I only use supplements if I am overtraining and normally they are just vitamin complexes. I try to get all I need from products I eat daily so I am very attentive to what I eat.
I have to admit though that I love sweets and pastry so I have to control myself under that subject. I do not count calories because I do not need to. I do drink coffee, but not more than three times per day, and I completely avoid alcohol.
I do not go out often, actually almost not at all, so since it doesn’t happen often, I can eat something that doesn’t match my diet in small amounts and not feel guilty. It’s all about quantity in my case, if it’s not too much, it’s ok.
I do not make regular use of any supplements, just clean diet and organic food.
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I am inspired by my colleagues and all the amazing artists I see. I try to go to theaters to see different kind of dancers and performers (like Momix, ballet dancers, Cirque du Soleil). I follow many artists on social media and get everyday inspiration from them.
I always listen to the music when I work out because it inspires me. I like all kinds of music but my favorites are r&b, dance music, acoustic, flow, pop and symphonic metal.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
I would advise everyone who wants to improve (especially those new to pole and aerial arts) to be patient. Sometimes it is not easy (very often actually), and we tend not to see the progress that we are making. We want to achieve results in the fastest possible way (which is often not safe).
It is important to train off aerial apparatus even more than on it. We have to prepare our body properly, it is extremely important to do stretching and conditioning exercises, aerial arts are wonderful but they are hard on our body so we have to prepare it properly.
Many students ask me how they can get better or be able to do a specific trick, and I say that we are all different and our bodies are different, so we have to train regularly and be patient because results will come.
And it is always nice to practice different disciplines because other activities open our mind and enrich us.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I currently work with groups as well as individual students. I also prepare my students for different kind of competitions. And I really love this aspect of my job, it makes me meet many amazing people, and some of them have become my close friends. My biggest satisfaction speaking about my job is seeing my students achieve their goals.
The most frequent question that I get is about how much time it takes to do a specific pole or aerial trick (I get it extremely often, especially on social media). And actually there isn’t a specific answer to it because we are all different, we all have different sport (or no sports) background and genetics. All we have to do is train and be patient.
For example, for beginner pole dancers/aerialists inversions can be quite challenging (and when I speak about inversion, I mean doing it in a correct and safe way) in the beginning, some students struggle with it for months and others nail it on the second class (especially when they come from gymnastics or other related sports).
So we just have to respect our body and listen to it, with correct training nothing is impossible.