By Mollie Mansfield
A 26-stone pole dancer inspired by Magic Mike has shared his impressive skills online in a bid to break down the stereotypes attached to the sport.
Charles Abouzied, 33, started pole dancing two months ago after longing to feel as sexy as Channing Tatum from hit-film Magic Mike.
Despite being plus-sized, the 5ft 9in sport fanatic admits that he feels his best when he’s pole dancing.
Charles feels so good, that he has also thought about performing as a pole dancer at hen parties in the future.
Alongside pole dancing, Charles also excels in yoga, cross fit, powerlifting, cycling and running at least six times a week
Charles, from New Jersey, United States, said: “A big reason I started learning how to pole dance was because I never get to express my sexuality.
“The performers in Magic Mike have always inspired me and I really like the movies – watching male strippers win over a girl with their moves is so powerful.
“Watching the film made me realise this would be a great way to express my sexuality.
“Pole dancing makes me feel really sexy and I love expressing my sexuality and feeling good about myself – especially by being a plus size pole dancer.”
Charles decided to start pole dancing lessons two-months ago when he wanted to find an outlet to express his sexuality.
He added: “Because I’ve always been bigger, I have always been called different names regarding my size and that really got me down.
“I’m 26 stone, but I do intermittently fast and eat healthy meals.
“Over the years I have partaken in all of the fad diets, but now I’m trying to make it the least of my worries – as I don’t want it to get me down.
“After watching Magic Mike I realised how great and confident they were so once I’d begun to love myself and accept my size, I decided to try pole dancing.
“Upon my first lesson with the pole I suddenly realised that my confidence soared and I didn’t care what anyone had to say about me.
“I love being a plus sized, male pole dancer – and it’s really helped me to accept who I am.”
Despite hoping to pursue a potential career in pole dancing, Charles currently owns and runs a gym in New Jersey.
‘The Happiest Gym on Earth’ was created by Charles five years ago to make people who are like him feel comfortable at the gym, regardless of their weight or ability.
Charles said: “Growing up I always had a lot of confidence issues and was often told I’d be a failure in what I was doing because of my size.
“A lot of people still can’t fathom me having a gym because I’m bigger and that I don’t fit the ‘mould’ of a gym owner or personal trainer.
“Since I was 15 I have been exercising and I have worked as a cross fit instructor, a spin instructor, personal trainer and a teacher at an overweight camp for children, but I never fitted in.
“So I created the gym to make people, who are in a similar situation to me, feel confident and at home at the gym.
“It’s a place that myself and all of our members, who would usually feel out of place at a regular gym, can go to.”
Charles is currently pursuing his dream to become a professional pole dancer and practises at least once a week.