Cardio vs. Strength Training

Conventional wisdom equates “exercise” with “cardio”, but recently, many fitness gurus insist that strength training is where it’s at. When it comes to getting the body you want (toning, torching calories or improved health and fitness): should we focus on cardio or strength training?

Here are 3 myths surrounding cardio and strength training that will make you rethink traditional gym routines.


Myth #1. Cardio burns calories fast

Minute per minute, cardio indisputably burns more calories than strength training, but it may cause you to burn fewer calories overall. Strength training gives you a metabolic spike for an hour after your workout as your body helps your muscles recover. And it builds lean muscle mass, which fires up your metabolic burn throughout the day. For every 1.5kg of muscle you build, you can expect to burn an extra 500kJ a day – just vegging – because muscle takes more energy to sustain.

Dumb Bells Myth #2. Strength training will make women “bulk up”

Even if you’re using heavy weights, you’re not going to turn into a female version of The Incredible Hulk — really!Women typically have less muscle tissue and produce lower levels of testosterone than men, meaning we’re less physiologically prone to becoming bulky. Further, because muscle tissue is denser than fat, adding a bit more muscle to the body and decreasing your fat actually makes you look leaner – not bigger. So unless you are really working with the goal of “bulking up” in mind, the best women can hope for is nice muscle tone and a tight butt.

Myth #3. Crunches are not actually the best way to flat abs.

They don’t burn off a lot of calories, so they don’t help in a major way with fat loss. What is important to understand is that there’s a big difference between strengthening your ab muscles and losing the layer of fat on top of them. In order to lose fat, your body temperature must increase enough to trigger the metabolic effects necessary to burn fat. Using one small muscle group, such as the abdominals or the biceps, is not significant enough to create the amount of heat necessary for fat burning to begin. This is why high-intensity, full body activities that use multiple muscle groups more effectively engage your entire core and create a ton of heat in the body. These exercises will also help build muscle and give your body the toned shapely appearance everyone is after.


Pole fitness is a combination of strength AND cardio training. It demands the strength of gymnastics, the focus of Yoga and gets the heart racing better than any treadmill. One of the most inviting things about pole fitness is that those who are very seriously into the sport tend to develop lithe, toned, and flexible physiques that are more “cut” and less massively built. This is because many pole dancing moves require you to use your own body weight as a resistance, producing lean muscles that avoid the bulk that you might gain by using weights.

Pole Fitness

Despite its intensity and results, pole fitness is a fun and safe way to build strength in your body at your own pace. Through repetition and practice, your strength and flexibility grows and you are gradually able to undertake more advanced moves. It is also a great cardio workout that require every major muscle group in the body to work in synergy, so it benefits your weight management goals and helps keep the heart and lungs healthy. On top of all that, when your workout is also your hobby, it takes the boredom and monotony out of keeping in shape. It keeps you wanting more – the challenge of gaining more strength and endurance, and becoming more flexible. We’re confident you’ll keep coming back for more!

Featured in Elle SA Magazine

We’re thrilled to be featured in ELLE SA magazine’s April issue!

Grab your copy today! Much ♥ ♥ @ELLEmagazineSA

Elle SA Magazine April 2014

Elle SA Magazine April 2014


Let’s Take It To The Streets

Give us a jungle gym, a lamppost, a street sign, or even a train and we are in pole paradise. Pole dancing has moved out of strip clubs, into dedicated studios and has spilled over onto the streets. The city has become our playground.

Today we explore the origins of street pole dancing, or the more acrobatic style of pole. A little known fact is that ancient Chinese and Indians have been pushing the boundaries of acrobatic pole for thousands of years. The traditional Indian sport of Mallakhamb (meaning “man of power” or “Gymnastics pole”) requires the performer to turn, twist, stretch and balance on a wooden pole, wider in diameter than a modern standard pole.

Award winning Mallakhamb troupe

Award winning Mallakhamb troupe

It isn’t pole dancing as we have come to know it, but it’s intense, jaw-dropping routines utilising similar principles of endurance and strength. Whilst pole is practiced today by both men and women alike, Mallakhamb remains a very male dominated environment in which women do not participate. Check out Mallakhamb Acrobats Vijay Ashok Bhojane and Rajesh Amrale as they perform on a wooden pole in the lead up to the Sydney, Parramasala festival in 2013 here.

Pole dance has furthermore been influenced by Chinese pole.

Example of Chinese pole dancing

Example of Chinese pole dancing

This form of acrobatics is most notably performed in the circus, with performers executing “gravity defying tricks” leaping from pole to pole, at approximately twenty feet in the air, similar to that of Cirque Du Soleil.

Chinese Poles Act as part of Cirque du Soleil's traveling Saltimbanco show

Chinese Pole act as part of Cirque du Soleil’s travelling Saltimbanco show

Pole dance is becoming an increasingly popular sport across the globe, with people from all walks of life seeing it as a means to improve their strength and fitness, but it still has a long way to go before it is taken seriously for the astounding art form that it is. Taking this incredible combination of acrobatics, gymnastics and fitness to the streets can help dispel any negative connotations about pole dancing. It is an easy forum for us to showcase to the public the strength, flexibility, balance and core control required to perform pole tricks.

The Pole Project team take it to the streets of Cape Town

The Pole Project team take it to the streets of Cape Town

And it’s not just us that love street pole, people have taken to it across the world to showcase their talents in places ranging from the streets of Mexico City, Poland, Argentina and Hong Kong to the London underground, creating a stream of double-takes and admiration from the general public. Who would have thought that everyday street fixtures could have so much joy to offer?

Look! Even Jason Statham is a fan:

Look! Even Jason Statham is a fan

Tips for exercising in the heat


Boy oh boy it’s been hot, damn hot, real hot lately! Like why-do-I-bother-to-straighten-my-hair hot.

With the heat wave hanging over the wonderful Cape, we are still trying to workout on a regular basis to counteract all of the summer braai, boerewors and ice cream we have been eating lately. Whilst working out in heat actually helps you burn more calories, here are some tips for how to deal with the heat when you still want to get a good workout, without passing out at the end of it:

  • Stay hydrated!

Continually drink water before, during and after your workout. Dehydration can cause light-headedness and nausea. Whilst it’s crucial to drink enough water while working out in the heat, making sure you maintain your body’s balance of electrolytes and salt is important too. Bringing along a sugar-free sports drink can help avoid confusion, nausea and muscle cramps associated with low electrolytes.

  • Avoid temperature peaks

Working out in the morning, before the sun has a chance to kick up the heat is the best. If you can’t work out in the morning, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day from noon to 3 pm. Always check the weather forecast before leaving for a workout. If the weather forecast indicates another scorching day ahead, now’s the time to dust off that gym membership and keep your exercise session indoors. If you don’t have one, test out a facility for a day. You can sign up for a free trial class with The Pole Project here.

  • Wear light-coloured, loose absorbent clothing. Not cotton!
  • When you’re feeling lightheaded or fatigued, take a break.
  • Alter your workout.

If you usually run outside, change it up. Go swimming, try pole dance, do yoga, go for a bike ride and enjoy the (hot) wind on your face as you breeze up and down hills.


Has it been unbearably hot where you are this summer? What tips have you found helpful to beat the heat this summer while staying active?

The Pole Project featured in Cape Town Magazine


Thanks to Cape Town Magazine for an amazing first article on The Pole Project! Check it out here –

Doce Freire graffiti on our walls

The Pole Project is all about creativity and freedom of expression. This is what we had in mind when we commissioned Doce Freire, a young and talented artist from Brazil, to create something crazy and beautiful on one of our walls. Watch her work her magic at The Pole Project studio.


Building The Pole Project

Things are coming together fantastically and we are excited to have installed and tested sixteen 3.7m powder coated and chrome poles, state of the art of course made by X-Pole!

Time to have some fun!