My friend Sheryl invited me to join her in a Zumba class. This was my very first Zumba class, so I didn't know what to expect. I'm kidding -- I knew exactly what to expect. Because I did my research, people! I read TWO whole articles online about what to expect at your first Zumba class. In one article, there was a photo of some very fit-looking women jumping like gazelles. I figured that was just for advertising effect. Surely there would be no actual JUMPING in a fitness class? I'm more of a low-impact girl myself, and by that I mean no impact.
I'm sorry to report there WAS actual jumping. Had I known, I would have worn two sports bras. Or six. Or perhaps duct-taped my boobs flat against my chest so as not to knock myself out.
Image: JBLM MWR via Flickr
I sort of improvised my jumping, and by that, I mean I didn't really jump. I just sort of moved my body up and down to make it LOOK like I was jumping, but the instructor was moving so fast I'm sure nobody noticed.
I mean, I am terribly uncoordinated. I own it. I flail like no other. But I expected at least sixteen counts of a movement series before things changed up. That way, by eight or so counts into it, I would have the basic movements down. But no. Everything was in four counts or even fewer, it seemed, so there was no time to even cover up my awkward movements and do the whole "Haha, did you see what I did there? I was off by a count or two, but I'm right in step now!"
I was NEVER in step.
Also, it turns out that I can't do a box step. I actually know what that is, and now I know I can't do it.
Additionally, I fail at the grapevine, which is probably the easiest dance step, ever. Instead of crossing my feet in back of me, I was alternating back to front and everything in between. I also learned that my hands cannot move in sync with my feet. That whole lasso over the head movement? My hands collided in mid-air.
It was apparent from the first five minutes that I would simply have to keep moving in order to get a workout in and look like a willing participant. (Although the jury is still out on that.) I tried very hard to follow the instructor, but I realized when there were only five minutes left that I had a much easier time following the older lady in front of me, who, for her age, could still pretty much shake her groove thang, but more like a normal person. Also, in the middle of the class everyone was suddenly facing each other and another lady took over and did some super sexy dance moves which she expected us to follow. I'm pretty sure I was born with a couple of fused vertebrae because my hips refused to move like hers. Instead, I'm afraid I looked like a twerking gorilla.
Also? There was no intermission. Or snacks. They expected us to move like that for a whole HOUR with no breaks. Barbaric, I tell you.
The gym had one of those upper levels with a walking track, and there was a guy on a stationary bike in the corner who I swear was looking at me every time I looked up. I may be mistaken because of the blur of sweat in my eyes, but I hoped I didn't look TOO sexy while gyrating to the Latin tunes. I mean, that would have just been embarrassing. Sorry, random gym guy. I was NOT trying to flirt with you, although I can see how you could have been misled by my provocative flailing.
The hour went surprisingly fast, and I never quite got out of my bewildered "What the hell are we doing now?" state. Before I knew it, we were doing moves at about half the pace, which was just about "fast" for me. Then, there was stretching, which was good, because I know how to do that. All my years of yoga and all. Yep, I'm a champion stretcher. Overall, I was very sweaty with a tomato-red face when it was over, but I survived.
I talked to the instructor, Kelly, as I was leaving, and explained it was my first Zumba class. She said to just keep coming back, that it would get easier. I think Kelly sits on a throne of LIES. The good news is, my pedometer measured over 7000 steps, which is, like, 3.5 miles, so basically I just did a 5K in an hour. BOOYAH!
I don't think I'll ever get the hang of Zumba. I could barely do aerobics in the 80's when it was all high-cut leotards, leg warmers, and Jane Fonda. But it was a fun change of pace and I'm not complaining about all those calories burned.
Still, it would have been nicer if they had handed out mini cupcakes or perhaps ibuprofen as we left.
More from health