Last fall I started teaching at a community center. I subbed a Saturday morning Yoga class and, during Savasana, had several students packing up to leave. This is not typical. Yoga students love Savasana. It's the treat at the end of class. Several minutes of absolute silence, a time to relax and breathe. So, when class was over and these students were rushing out the door, I had to ask where they were going.
"Zumba!" they all shouted with smiles.
And, sure enough, as I left the Yoga room I heard the trademark blaring music, claps and shouts of a Zumba class.
Zumba can burn hundreds upon hundreds of calories in an hour. It's a workout that feels like a party. It is also quite intimidating if you aren't a dancer or are, in any way, self-conscious. Yes, I can teach a room full of students. Be on TV and give presentations. Run races. But that's not--dancing. So, that Saturday, I didn't stay. I was also in flip-flops or Ugg boots, or some other form of non-Zumba footwear.
Up until yesterday I had only done Zumba two other times. I am not very coordinated when it comes to dancing so seeing me in a Zumba class is pretty funny stuff.
I haven't avoided Zumba on purpose, but I also haven't made a true effort to go to class. The times it was at the Studio it was on the schedule either on my only day off or immediately following a shift for me that involved teaching 4 or 5 classes in a row. So it just never really worked out there.
Yesterday I subbed the same Yoga class and decided that I would stay to Zumba.
As I have written a little about here, I need to lose 10 pounds to get back to my happy weight. I haven't cut out any of my exercise. I haven't changed my eating to awful much. I think part of it is that my body has hit a plateau. So, time for something new. Plus, I like the idea of getting cardio in a way that isn't running. I LOVE running, but I am aware that my body needs to be surprised every now and then.
So. I stayed for Zumba with the idea that it would help shock my body back into losing weight. I ended up realizing that Zumba is so much more than burning calories.
This Zumba class is done on half of a basketball court. 7 or 8 rows of 10-15 people. Great energy. And easy to hide. I chose a spot in the back corner. The instructor started the music. It was, of course, a Pitbull song. We began with chest shaking and side to side movements. I laughed at myself, felt a little self-conscious, but then started having fun. The class moves so fast that if you take to long to be embarrassed then you get stuck not moving at all. Every third song or so the front two rows went to the back and the next rows moved up. No one hides in the back in Zumba.
|What I feel like doing Zumba|
|What I actually look like doing Zumba|
Did I get every move perfect? Absolutely not. My hips just don't move like other peoples can. My feet can't find certain rhythms. But I can follow along okay. And watch the more experienced students. And laugh when I get off track.
I went to Zumba expecting a great calorie burn but it's so much more.
I spend so much time teaching and doing Pilates and Yoga. "Mind-body" exercises. Leave your worries at the door and focus on your body and breathing. Guess what? Zumba is a mind-body exercise, too. I was so busy thinking about which way to step and which arm to wave that any and all worries or excess thoughts escaped my mind for that hour. If I got embarrassed by a dance and tensed up, my knees and ankles would catch or hurt. So, just like it Pilates, I told myself to be engaged without being tense.
As I was Zumba-ing I also realized how great it is for coordination and mental well-being. I often worry about losing my memory as I age. Research has shown that learning new things can help. Zumba is perfect for that, as well.
I made up my mind during class that I will be going to Zumba every Saturday in March. I will, of course, be sharing it with you!
Next week JF is going with me!
Have you done Zumba?
What did you think?
Do you have any tips for me?
Will I be wearing neon pink, lime green and turquoise to work out in come the end of March?