Julie Anne Gniadek
Meet miss Julie!
A day in the pole life of
Julie Anne G.
When and how did your fitness journey begin?
There was once a time in my life when I was unhappy, unhealthy, and heavier. I had very poor self esteem, and felt very alone and lost...
After finding the courage to make changes in my life and getting rid of the negative forces that continuously brought me down, one of the first things I started doing to change my life for the better was exercise.
Why did you choose Sky High?
My first pole class ever was in June 2013 at a local pole studio in Bellingham, MA. I was a member of that studio for approximately a year and a half before it closed. For the next year and a half, I practiced pole at home by watching YouTube videos—it was still great exercise, but I learned some pretty bad habits. And because I didn't have regular instruction, I started to lose interest. In a desperate attempt to rekindle my love for pole, I reached out to my first pole instructor - Alicia Ann - and asked her for pole studio recommendations. That's when she told me about Sky High. The rest is history...g.
What did you hope to accomplish?
I wanted to attend regular classes again and become part of a project. I wanted to receive quality instruction, learn new tricks, diversify my skills, learn more about dance, advance levels and expand my dance repertoire with the hopes to one day compete. In less than 3 years, I have accomplished all of these goals, and more.
What do you do for a living?
I am the owner/founder and president of my own digital marketing, project management, and business management consulting business.
This is super fancy for: I am a writer. I am a project manager. I am a marketing consultant.
What were your biggest struggles before/while starting pole/aerial?
Before beginning pole, I had 0 self confidence, 0 self-esteem, 0 core and upper body strength and absolutely NO dance background. So, needless to say, pole was pretty intimidating for me in the beginning—but its beauty, grace, and badassery are also what attracted me to it.
Did you exercise before becoming a Sky High student? If yes, what did you do?
Exercise was always something that I wanted to do in my life, but I always seemed to struggle with finding and sticking to something that I enjoyed. For years, I bounced back and forth between gyms in search for... something that I never found. After a few months, I quickly grew bored of the gym scene, and stopped going.
How do you deal with the physical strain that pole/aerial has on your body? (i.e. how do you treat injuries? diet? physical therapy or clinical massage?)
I admit that I only recently began to understand the importance of stretching, conditioning, eating the right foods and taking care of my body outside the studio. When I'm not at the studio, I work on flexibility, stretching, and conditioning at home in front of the TV. I also started seeing a clinical massage therapist on a monthly basis. Not only is she great at what she does, she actually attended our studio birthday party showcase in September 2017 just to understand what pole is and how I use my body so she can better serve me during my appointments. Her and I are also now great friends.
Do your family and friends think pole/aerial is cool or crazy?
Crazy. When I first started pole, I received very little support from my friends and family. However, now that I'm more than 5 years in, my family and friends are just now starting to come around... In fact, our studio showcase in September 2017 was the FIRST time any of my family came to watch me perform.
How has a Sky High instructor helped you?
One of the things I love most about Sky High is how each individual instructor has his or her own teaching style, strengths, and specialities. Over time, I have developed relationships with many of the instructors, and I look forward to working with and attending their classes each week.
How has aerial/pole changed your life?
Pole has certainly changed my life—but it's Sky High Studios that made the biggest difference. It has changed my life—for the better—in every way imaginable. I am in my 30s and I'm in the best shape of my life. I have met many different people and made many new friends. I have been awarded new opportunities and made new connections. And I have learned and fell in love with something that I never thought possible.
We know it hurts! Why do you keep coming back?
Sky High Studios is by far one of my favorite places to be. It is the place I run to when I'm feeling angry, upset, sad or stressed. And I always leave feeling better. No matter what. When I'm not working, I'm at Sky High.
Favorite Pole Style
I really love all styles of pole. One of my favorite things about going to class every week is the different areas of pole that I get to work on: tricks, combos, heels, spin pole, floor work, conditioning, freestyle—I truly love it all.
My favorite moves are the cupid, the marley, the teddy bear, body and leg switches, and most recently—foot presses/mounts. The moves that are still the most difficult for me are anything involving handstands or headstands. They have been and continue to be my arch nemesis.
Over the last 5 years, pole has become my number one hobby. But when I'm not poling or running my business, I love music, baking, running and reading.
As a former musician, I really love all kinds of music. I love everything from 60s/70s psychedelic blues rock bands to 80s hair bands to even modern day rock. But above all, my favorite band in the entire world is Bon Jovi.
In college, I sang on stage with Kenny Rogers.
I LOOOOVE peanut butter. I eat it every day. If I were to develop a peanut allergy, I would probably die, either from the peanut butter or from living without it. I can't decide.