Today I shall write about one of my newest passions. I’m sure this comes as no surprise since I rave about this on Facebook all the time. But my topic for the day is… (drum roll) … Zumba!!!!!!!!!!! If you don’t know what Zumba is, well then I’ll be getting my flashlights and backpack and trying to find what cave you’re trapped in. Zumba is a dance workout and it is awesome.
I’m the kind of person who hates working out. I don’t lift weights, I don’t jog, and until Zumba, I never really went to a gym. Besides some swimming in the summer, I had never really worked out at all. After having my first baby 8 months ago, I really wanted that to change. Not just because of the post pregnancy pooch that most moms get but because I wanted to be stronger and more healthy so I could be a better mom. Well I finally decided after months of thinking about it, to just sign up for some Zumba classes. I did a ton of research about it online first and everyone raved about how great it is because you don’t know you’re working out. Got to be honest, I thought there was no way that was true before I started the class.
As it turns out, the official Zumba slogan “Ditch the workout, join the party” is absolutely accurate. You go to class, you feel like you’re dancing with a bunch of friends and then it’s over and you’re drenched in sweat and every part of your body hurts.
But before I get more into my own personal experience with Zumba, I want to explain what it is in more detail. It started in the 90’s when a man named Beto forgot the music for the aerobics class he was teaching. He ended up just using what he had on hand, which was a bunch of latin salsa music. While still teaching the aerobics to his class, he changed things up a little and threw in some authentic dance moves to go with the music. When his class went bonkers for the new class and how fun it was, he polished up the choreography and turned the workout into Zumba! Although it started off as a latin based class, it now includes a TON of different styles of dance. I’ve personally experienced Salsa, Hip Hop, Raggaeton, Egyptian, Indian, African style dances, and even swing dancing in my own class! And in videos online I’ve seen Zumba instructors throwing in some country line dancing as well.
So back to me and my experience… it really does feel like a party. You know at wedding receptions when they do the Cha Cha Slide? Zumba feels like that, only it’s an hour long and after a few classes, you actually know what you’re doing and look good doing it. This class hasn’t just improved my confidence though, it’s also greatly improved my health.
Although I do still have that pesky pooch, I’ve lost a few pounds and in just a few weeks, I’ve noticed a considerable difference in my health. Since I had never worked out before, I would get so tired and so weak just taking a long walk. I would drive my husband and friends crazy whenever we went hiking, actually feeling like I would pass out after just a short amount of time. I could do such little amount of work and feel exhausted and be sweating like mad. Now I notice that walks don’t bother me, I can be on my feet all day and have no complaints, and I’m just generally in better shape. The other day our Zumba instructor decided to add on a weekend class. With this new class came a bunch of new people, first timers who had never done Zumba before. As the class went on, these new people would be hunched over, soaking in sweat, gulping down water, complaining they felt like throwing up, and one woman even gave up and walked out halfway through… which believe me, I felt like doing myself the first couple of times I went. I had all those same problems when I started. Now here I am, only need a few sips of water by the end, I break a light sweat, don’t get sore any more, and am so pumped by the end that I could keep going if the class went on longer.
I play a game on my iPad called Celtic Heroes, it’s basically a free version of World of Warcraft. In this game, you get two bars on the top of your screen, one shows how much Health you have and the other shows how much Energy you have. Since taking Zumba, I’ve watched my real life Health and Energy levels go up and I could not be more happy with the new me. So if you’re looking for a boost in stamina, health, confidence, and FUN… give Zumba a try. But know that an instructor can make or break a class so shop around until you find one that’s good for you. And I promise, there is one out there that will be a perfect match. There are a ton of Zumba classes available.