Heather and Kaitlin are a mother-daughter duo who share a love for aerial sports. Heather is celebrating her 4-year “pole-iversary” this May, and Kaitlin has been practicing aerial silks for two and a half years. As we celebrate Motherhood this month, we’ve asked them how aerial sports have brought their family closer together.
In 2011, Heather was driving down Madison Road in Cincinnati when she saw a gym advertising pole fitness. Fast forward four years, and she considers Bella Forza Fitness her second home.
Heather is a 52 year old project manager and mother of 3. Thanks to pole fitness, Heather is less self-conscious about her body. “I am always happy at Bella, and especially at pole. Yes, it can get frustrating, but what isn’t? It’s kind of like motherhood: it can be scary, but totally worth it…and it feels marvelous to learn new things.”
Aside from pole, you’ll find Heather at yoga, Zumba and Surfset fitness, a class using specialized platforms that look and behave like surfboards. She started teaching Surfset last year and says she “loves challenging students to push it to the next level.”
Her daughter Kaitlin isn’t your average 16-year-old. This 10th grader has a passion for costume design and dreams of one day performing in Cirque du Soleil.
Kaitlin started taking hula hoop classes when she was 13. She saw silks hanging from the ceiling and asked to try. She instantly fell in love and has been taking silks classes ever since, including at Bella Forza, where Heather often watches her practice.
One year into silks, Heather recommended that Kaitlin also start taking pole fitness classes to help build her strength. Kaitlin was apprehensive at first, but Heather showed her how pole fitness could help her silks practice.
“In silks, you’re upside down a lot,” Kaitlin explains. “So pole fitness wasn’t as fun at the beginning because all I want to do is be upside down!” She stuck with it and has quickly progressed to the advanced level classes.
Heather’s older daughter, Casey, also shares an interest in aerial sports. Before Casey went to college, she took pole fitness classes alongside her mom, and now looks forward to resuming classes once she finishes school. Heather’s son, Preston, even joined her for a class when students were invited to bring guys to the normally all-women’s gym.
Heather has always encouraged her kids to pursue the things that make them happy. Although there is still a stigma associated with pole fitness, she personally sees it as a form of gymnastics, dance, and fitness. It’s given her the opportunity to watch Kaitlin grow as a young woman and step outside her comfort zone.
Kaitlin has noticed the difference in herself, too. “I used to be nervous and shake when I had to speak in front of people,” she recalls. “Now that I perform, it’s not a big deal.”
Even some of the students in her silks classes said “She used to be quiet, and now she talks all the time!”
Heather says that she has always been close to her daughters, but their mutual love for aerial sports has brought them even closer together. They spend time together, teach each other new tricks, and continue to challenge each other.
One of Kaitlin’s favorite things is just hanging out with her mom, watching TV or YouTube videos of aerial athletes and talking about what they want to try next. Heather’s husband has learned that if he hears noise in the next room, his girls are probably watching pole videos!
Heather didn’t find pole fitness until she was 48. Although she says she rarely thinks about her age when she’s at the studio, she wanted to tell other women interested in trying a new activity: “It’s never too late. Live your life. Nothing bad will happen from trying. And if you have a daughter who is interested in trying pole fitness, encourage her!”
Heather is so proud of her daughters and how strong they have become. She is also grateful for everything that has come as a result of the supportive community at her studio. Heather and Kaitlin inspire so many people around them, and we can’t wait to see what comes next!