It’s Thursday. You know what that means. Please check out my weekly blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies who will dazzle you with insight on various topics. After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Mom Of Many (Susanna): One Mom’s perspective on life, raising kids, knitting and other unrelated topics.
For this week, I thought it would be fun to try something new to ring in 2013.
Do something you’ve never done before. Something new and/or different. Tell us about your experience.
I am going to let you in on a little secret.
I love fitness.
OK, that’s not the secret.
I love my strength classes, the cardio butt kickers, boot camp formats and the occasional kick boxing routines. Yet there has always been this part of me that has (can’t believe I am going to admit to this)… wanted to try Zumba.
Yes, that’s the secret.
Zumba is elusive. You may know someone who has taken the class, or instructs it, but when you ask about Zumba, no one can really describe the class. I’ve heard: “Lots of people dancing around.”
“You act silly and wear jingly belts.”
“You make lots of noise and yelp and holler”.
When you see images or videos of Zumba, it’s related to very attractive women, wearing bright-colored clothing. They are full of life and a vibrancy that you want to reach out and claim as your own. They create sexy moves, shaking their hips in a suggestive manner that would make some people blush. An example:
There had to be more to this incredible phenomenon, so I decided to embark on my very first Zumba class, just this morning.
Lauren was the instructor today, and introduced herself to me happily and warmly. You don’t often have such a nice reception from fitness instructors. I noticed there were roughly 10 others standing around, waiting for the class to begin. I conversed a bit with an older woman behind me, and she told me this was her first class at my gym location, although she’d taken other Zumba classes elsewhere. I told her I’d never done Zumba before, and she gave me a big grin and a wink.
“You’ll really enjoy it!”
No one was wearing crazy clothes. No bright colors. We were all wearing normal gym attire. There were no belts to tie around our waists, although one woman had some free weights lying next to her gym bag. I was trying to figure out how she was going to incorporate those weights into the movements, when we began our warm up routine.
I have to say first and foremost how incredible Lauren was, in terms of her instructing as well as her dancing technique. HOLY CRAP. You would either want to have her with you at a dance club because she’s that good, or you’d want to leave her at home because she’d show you up, every time! Even during the warm up (which is usually just a precursor to what’s in store for the rest of the work out) we all got a taste of her hips rolling around, swaying side to side, and a few grinding movements here and there. The step work seemed pretty easy during this phase, and I assumed I’d just go with the flow and kick some major ass the remainder of the 45 minute class.
Um, think again.
Lauren was often on my side of the room, aiding me in following the fancy foot work that is Zumba. A good friend of mine LOVES this work out, and I now know why. My friend is from Brazil, and loves to perform Latin dance moves. My feet suddenly turned into lead weights as I tried to keep up with the choreography. Lots of switching and changing up with the positions, twists and turns. I’d feel confident that I’d picked up the routine, only to get switched around and shown something entirely different. Looking around the room, it was obvious that the other ladies had their shit together, so to speak. My guess is, they never miss a class, and I can understand why. The music is fantastic. The instructor is awesome, bouncing around and spreading her energy and gregariousness around for everyone to enjoy. It really was a fun class, as much as I hate to admit that. I’m a die hard circuit training, weight lifting runner, and here I was, shaking and shimmying with the best of them!
There were some sexually suggestive movements that would often make me laugh out loud. Lauren would get to a part of the song that required her to move her pelvis forward in a “that’s me making a humping movement” motion, and she would look at me in the mirror to catch my reaction. I’m sure for some, the air humping and booby shaking would be a little scary, but I thought it was funny! I mean, there was one movement where Lauren would say something along the lines of “booby shake!” and we’d all shake our chest down to the floor. She’d say it again, so we’d do it again. Then she’d make this adorable face that let us all know, “no booby shake this time” and would cover her chest up with her arms for added emphasis.
No one laughed at me for stumbling over myself as I tried to keep up. In fact, the attendee with the weights offered me up one of her sets, and I wasn’t going to decline. I picked them up, and we performed dance moves that also incorporated squats and arm raises. I was trying me best to follow along, punching the weights out and swirling them around from time to time. I admitted to the attendee that this was my first Zumba class, and she didn’t bat an eye. She just smiled and said, “Oh really?” She was very serious about the movements. You can tell what sort of dedication people have for this class.
When it came time for the cool down, I was interrupted by one of the gym day care staffers. My little boy had done what he almost always does while in the day care; he pooped. I told Lauren I had to skedaddle, and she insisted I give myself a good stretch when I was able to, very conscious of my not being able to cool down properly. Considering I’d walked on the treadmill and done some circuit training with my work out buddy before the Zumba class, Lauren’s suggestion was definitely a good one.
Overall, I’d say I enjoyed the class experience, as much as I was able to. I say that, because I’m not sure yet if Zumba is right for me. Not that I don’t enjoy dancing, but I also know there’s a lack of coordination to me that has been there since birth, I’d imagine. I usually dance in a freestyle fashion, and Zumba has some pretty tough step work involved, that would take time to memorize and retain. If this is something I’d want to embark on, well I should probably do another class or two before I can really say for sure. It was almost a year ago that my friends convinced me to get a gym membership (which I swore I’d never do) and I also have prepaid yoga classes (which I swore I’d never need). So, there you have it. Never say never!
And never say no to Zumba, at least not before giving it the old college try. You just never know if the rhythm is gonna get you!