I started writing this post at the tail end of 2019, a year that has thrown many, MANY curveballs my way, and has seen my life change more drastically than it has in at least 5 years. I started 2019 with many lofty goals, but after we decided to move back to Australia my priorities had to shift as I planned and managed an international relocation, including the sale of a property, for a family of 4.

2019 in review

Nutrition (YAY! Goal achieved)

At the end of 2018, I set the goal of achieving a body fat level of 22%. While this didn’t happen in the 5-week time-frame I allocated, it DID happen about halfway through the year. This was more fluke than any effort on my part, simply because of my training volume. I was:

  • teaching between 6 and 9 hours of pole per week,
  • doing my own pole training for between 3 and 4.5 hours per week,
  • working on the gym floor for 10 hours per week, and
  • doing my own off-pole training for around 6 hours per week.

Some weeks, this equated to almost 30 solid hours of training activity. Honestly, I was eating between 2500 and 3000 calories per day and still losing body fat.

Strength (0 out of 4… epic fail)

My strength goals were quite lofty, and sadly, I was not able to achieve even one of them.

I had set the goal of 5 strict pull-ups, but I was only able to do 3. Instead of achieving a full bodyweight bench press, my ongoing shoulder injury meant that I had to drop barbell bench press from my training altogether. My desire to squat 150% of my body weight was foiled by a training plateau that left me stuck at around 105% of my body weight. That just leaves my favourite lift, a barbell deadlift. I had set the goal of pulling 250% of my body weight, but I peaked mid-year with a 200% lift (I pulled 130kg at a bodyweight of 65kg.)

Flexibility (1 out of 3… could be better)

I am not even remotely surprised that I didn’t do well on my flexibility goals. Honestly, my box-splits and ankle mobility didn’t really get trained much at all in 2019, so the fact that I didn’t achieve them should surprise no-one.

On the other hand, at one point in 2019, I had a comfortably flat front-split on both sides when cold, and a small oversplit when warm.

Pole Goals (I’m calling 1.5 out of 4)

  • Cup-grip Ayesha! This was a success! In fact, I got it so comfortably that I genuinely prefer it to a true-grip or twisted grip. This goal was a big win!
  • Handspring. Just no. To be honest, I feel like my inability to get my handspring is more of a fear-based problem than anything else. So it’ll be staying on my goal list for 2020.
  • Half-Fonji. Another no. Bbut to be honest, I didn’t even really try. I did spend some time working on my Kamikaze, and I feel like that’s a more realistic goal for now.
  • I definitely improved my pole-flow. While I still wouldn’t describe flow as one of my strengths, it’s something that I continue to work on, and I’m seeing small improvements. So I’m giving myself a half a tick for this one.

Skills Goals (0 for 1… another fail)

What more is there to say, I have been unable to achieve a free-standing handstand, for more than about 5 seconds, as yet. I did, however, unlock a very stable press to forearm stand, so I feel like that’s a solid step in the right direction.

Education Goals (2 for 2! Winner!)

I set myself the goal of becoming a Certified Personal Trainer and an Xpert L1-L2 pole instructor in 2019, and I achieved both of these goals. Then I took it one step further and worked at David Lloyd Rotterdam Blijdorp as a Fitness Coach, and at Sweetlake Pole and Pole Inspiration Dance Studio as a Pole Instructor.

I’m calling that a BIG FAT WIN.

Goals for 2020:

Pole goals:

I found it very challenging to maintain my pole practice during the second half of 2019. I stopped teaching and moved to a fairly remote part of Australia, without easy access to a studio, and nowhere to mount my own pole. To make things worse, my husband was still in Europe, so I was also solo-parenting for part of this time.

Regular pole practice:

My number one goal for pole in the first half of 2020 is to build up a regular training schedule. I felt amazing when I was training on the pole for 10+ hours per week. Now, being perfectly realistic, I have lost too much strength to jump back into this sort of training volume. Plus, I’m not a young spring chicken, and I’m quite prone to injuries.

From February, I will be scheduling 2×1.5 hour pole sessions each week, with a focus on rebuilding my lost strength. In May I would like to combine this with 1-2 in-studio sessions. At around the same time, I’d also like to pick up 1-2 classes teaching beginners pole per week – nothing forces you to drill the basics like teaching!

Non-pole physical goals:

In 2019, my off-pole goals were very specific and metric driven, with a focus on body fat percentages and developing maximum strength. Unfortunately, some of these goals were not conducive to my overall health. As of right now, my priorities are in a very different place, and I think this is reflected in my goals.

Resistance training:

I still enjoy being in the gym. Lifting weights and playing with calisthenics are still my favourite things to do in the gym. But my body doesn’t like the powerlifting style of training I was focussing on this time last year. My focus for this year is a higher volume program I’ve designed for myself, with a rough Push/Pull/Legs format and a focus on pole sport-specific movements, functional movements and hypertrophy training.

So my resistance training goal is not focussed on achieving a specific strength across a specific lift. Instead I want to rebuild a good weekly routine. The goal here is to train at the gym a minimum of 5 times per week during school terms. I’ll use school holidays as deload, so I can focus on the kids during these times.


This year, I would like to focus on eating in a more environmentally responsible manner. I’m not ready to commit to veganism, or even vegetarianism, but I am looking to make small, incremental changes in my familys diet.

For now, this means not purchasing beef for our household, and choosing free-range animal products for everything else. It means aiming to have at least half of the food that my children and I eat be fruits and vegetables, and at least three quarters of the food that we eat be plant-based.

In the second half of 2020 I would like to experiment with part time vegetarianism (mon-fri vegetarian, weekends “off), with the potential to moving to part time veganism.

Professional goals:

Moving into 2020, I have a number of professional goals that I would like to hit as we move through the year.

Professional registration:

I am a registered fitness professional in the Netherlands/Europe. The process of transferring that professional registration to Australia, however, is more complicated that I was initially led to believe. I am currently chasing up the required documentation in order to have my qualifications and experience recognised here in Australia.

I’m aiming to have this submitted by the end of January.

Corrective Exercise Specialist qualification:

I am currently studying for my NASM Corrective Exercise Specialisation, however if I’m being perfectly honest, I have seriously neglected studying for this home-study course.

The course expires on the 27th of March 2020, and I don’t want to leave sitting my exam until the last minute. My goal here is for 10 hours per week of study for the remainder of January 2020 and all of February 2020. I’m aiming to successfully comple my exam on Monday the 2nd of March 2020, while my kids are at school.

Launch freelance personal training business:

Once my professional qualifications and registration has recognised here in Australia, I’ll be able to obtain professional insurance. When my insurance comes through, I’m looking to immediately begin training face to face clients. I’m hoping to be in a position to start this by the beginning of May 2020.

I’d like a second income stream, plus I want to to work with more of the clients I’m truly passionate about (pole dancers!!). I’m putting focus this year into delivering online personal training to pole dancers around the world. The logistics of delivering effective online training are quite complex, more so than I initially expected. I’ll be very happy if I can begin offering this by August 2020.

Update this blog regularly

Hand-in-hand with my desire to offer online personal training, I’m also setting the goal of posting here on Train for Pole regularly throughout 2020. I would like to share 1 high-quality, informative and value-packed long-form article each week in 2020. I have an editorial calendar full of post ideas, I just need to commit the time to research them, and turn them into articles.

On that note, if there is anything pole or fitness related that you would like to learn more about, please leave a comment on this post, and I’ll add it to my editorial calendar.

As opposed to 2019, I’ve taken more of a “softly softly” approach to my goal setting for this year. While I wouldn’t say I’ve completely fallen off the training wagon, I really need to focus on rebuilding a healthy routine and making my lifestyle in our new home one of healthy habits.

What are your goals for 2020? 


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I am not currently able to train clients. 

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