By LOIS KINDLE
There are many places these days offering ways for men and women to gain strength and stay in shape, but let’s face it, very few offer a unique variety of options that are both highly effective and fun.
The Gibsonton-based business is owned and operated by Tampa Bay native Jeannie Armstong, who has more than 25 years of experience in health and fitness. The former personal trainer took his first pole lesson when he was 46. This was in 2015; been hooked ever since.
Armstrong has since performed all over the country, including the International Pole Convention three times.
Aries opened Pole Fitness in September 2021 and teaches from a studio in his home at 9903 Alafia Vista Drive, Gibsonton. He is certified to teach lessons from beginner to advanced level. No matter how old you are or what shape you are in, the instructors are committed to working with you.
“At Aries Pole Fitness, we are passionate about empowering people through pole dancing and fitness,” said Armstrong. “Our certified and experienced instructors provide a positive and safe environment for people of all ages, shapes and sizes to discover their inner strength and creativity.
“Our studio is dedicated to promoting body positivity, self-confidence and inclusivity,” she continued. “We believe in creating a supportive community where our students can challenge themselves, learn new skills, and have fun while doing so. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your pole journey, we’re here to guide and support you every step of the way.”
Here’s what his studio offers: Connected Stretching, a program that allows for greater flexibility; Aerial Yoga; Lyra Circus Circle; Pole Dance; Armstrong said that Pole Sport, which is accepted as an Olympic sport and will soon be added to the Olympic competitions, will also take part. Strength and conditioning classes are also available.
Sessions for lessons or private training are by appointment only. Working hours are 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. One-time admission to any class is $25, and first-time students can take unlimited weekly classes for $75. Otherwise, classes are normally $32 each, and there are membership options that offer discounts.
Armstrong and three other award-winning instructors are on staff.
Attendees rave about the venue.
Gibsonton resident Jovi Ferman, 48, has taken a variety of classes over the past year and a half, including strength and conditioning, aerial yoga and pole dancing.
“The atmosphere and instructors are so amazing,” he said. “Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. I’ve made so many friendships and the classes have helped me stay fit and build self-confidence.”
Carol Keith of Apollo Beach agrees.
The 62-year-old took aerial yoga, connective stretching, lyra hoop, pole fitness and pole dancing classes.
“I met Jeanne four and a half years ago at Impulse in Brandon, started pole and followed her when she opened her own studio,” Keith said. “She is a very motivating person. “I never thought I could do all of this, and now I’m in the best shape of my life.”
Last summer, Keith won gold in pole dancing in his first competition.
“Anyone can do this with the right instructor,” he added. “The quality of the instructors is incredible and they offer classes for women of all levels. It’s like a family. I highly recommend it.”
Then there’s Meg Smith, 27, a Ruskin resident; She takes gymnastics classes and signed up for classes at Aries Pole Fitness three months ago.
“I was looking for something new,” he said.
Smith has already tried lyra, pole fitness, pole dancing and aerial yoga.
“It’s harder than it looks, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “When they say they are inclusive, they mean it. They want people to be successful.
“I go at least twice a week and I can’t say enough about it,” he added. “They make you feel very comfortable.”
This is exactly the atmosphere Armstrong wanted.
“The ladies who come here are very supportive of each other,” she said. “Sometimes we end our sessions with a hug.”
To make an appointment or get more information, call 813-382-1586 or visit: www.ariespolefitness.com/.