I Love Learning to ZUMBA!

Bored with Routine

I love to exercise, but lately my training has been, well, boring.  Lift weights Mondays, stationary bike Tuesdays, lift Wednesdays… and not only was I getting bored, my muscles were too- and I still couldn’t loose those last 10 pounds.

Apparently, one can burn off as many as 500 to 1,000 calories an hour dancing like it’s 1999.

What the Experts Say

Oprah’s diet and exercise guru, Bob Greene, agrees with famed “America’s Toughest Trainer” Jillian Michaels, who says in order to increase muscle mass or loose excess fat, we need to “switch it up” once in a while with our workout routines.  So I tried something different yesterday.  I tried to Zumba!

Now, in case you’ve been hiding in the locker room, and haven’t heard about Zumba, let me explain this soaring exercise craze.

The Zumba Craze

Zumba has actually been spreading throughout the U.S. since the late ’90s.  It originated in Colombia and combines Latin and International music with a fun and effective workout system.  Incorporating dance moves from salsa and samba to hip hop and belly dance, Zumba is like a flash mob of sweat and smiles.  Seriously, everyone is always screaming and clapping their hands and laughing and working their butts off.  Apparently, one can burn off as many as 500 to 1,000 calories an hour dancing like it’s 1999. I have discovered the joy of movement, and a fun way to really sweat!

Flashback to Flashdance

With a trip to Hawaii on the horizon, I need to burn off a few million calories, so I decided to try Zumba yesterday by sneaking in the back door and standing in the back row.  As soon as the music started, the teacher, a slim, fit, Latin-looking lady with beautiful curly hair that flew around like Jenifer Beals’ in her 1983 blockbuster Flashdance, began jumping like a pro on her stage at the front of the class.  It was all I could do to mimic her moves that were deliberate, exaggerated and exuberant.  Suddenly, I felt like I was back in my 20s or even 30s, bouncing around in the full-impact aerobics classes of the 80s again.  How exciting to be dancing!  My husband doesn’t dance, so I’ve given that up along with surfing.  But that’s another story…

 I have discovered the joy of movement, and a fun way to really sweat!

You Don’t Have to Fit In to Get Fit

OK, I wasn’t really dancing.  Being a true Domestic Square Peg, I totally did NOT fit in.  I had no clue where to go  next, which way to face, what to do with my hands or when for sure to scream, but I faked my way through nevertheless.  So what if I was the only one facing the front when all 75 other participants were facing me.  So what if I went left when everyone else went right.  I was so happy when we suddenly started doing what appeared to be the Grapevine moves of years past.  Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  Ugh! I swear I felt better bouncing around than I actually looked!  But here’s the cool thing; I was not discouraged.  I still wanted to dance, to Zumba!  Who cares if I looked and acted like a total dork.  (I did, trust me)  I have discovered the joy of movement, and a fun way to really sweat!  I know for a fact that every one of the other 73 women and one man in that class had the same fantasy going on as I did: I am in a fab nightclub, the disco ball is spinning, and I am the best dancer in here- look out John Travolta.  Actually, Beyonce’, Lady Gaga- move over!

Embracing my Square Pegness

I am so grateful I can finally embrace my Square Pegness enough to ignore my dorkyness, my age and my knees and feel like a teenager again (or at least just 30-something) and burn up a few thousand calories on the Zumba floor.  Did I mention I’m almost pushing 60?

I’ll learn the steps eventually, and I’ll report back to you on the positive changes I expect to see in my self esteem and on the scale.  Stay tuned… Aloha!

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