If you ever need a reminder of your complete lack of grace, coordination, and sex appeal, attend a Zumba class. That's what I did in this the fourteenth week of training, and I've got the bruised ego to prove it.
One of my training partners has been going to Zumba, the fitness fad that promises to fuse "hypnotic musical rhythms and tantalizing moves to create a dynamic workout system designed to be FUN and EASY TO DO!" Each morning she raves about her class the night before, how she burns so many calories and has so much fun. My gym scheduled some free sample classes, and all of a sudden it seemed like everyone was Zumba-ing. So when a friend at work mentioned she was going to a class one weekend and asked me to come along, I happily accepted and looked foward to finding out what this craze was all about.
When I arrived at the class, the energy was palpable. These women were pumped! They were so excited that I was there! They told me not to pay yet, to wait until after the class because I would surely want to buy the "six pack," of passes at a cheaper per-class rate! They just could not wait to share the fun of Zumba with me! I put my water bottle down and stood against the back wall and waited for my friend. I noticed the table of Zumba-wear: t-shirts, bandanas, pants, license plates, and more. These women loved them some Zumba.
Like the nerd that I am, I wore my heart rate monitor. I wanted to see just how good a workout this was. So when the music started and the instructor, a tiny effervescent woman whose hips appeared to move independent of her body, started to show us the moves, I jumped in and tried to keep up.
The first song was fun. The moves were pretty basic and the music was catchy. But the second song required a little more hips and lot less self-awareness. I knew the complete fish-out-of-water feeling I had must have been reading on my face, due to the laughter coming from my friends whenever they looked my way. I looked like Frankenstein trying out for the cheerleading squad. It was not good.
The women around me, including my two friends, were having a great time. They wiggled their hips and shook their bootys and waved their arms in the air. They looked sexy and graceful and like they were letting go of their cares and having a great time. I wanted to keep my cares close by where I could see them. It was then that I realized I prefer workouts that are much more direct: "Lift this heavy thing 15 times." Okay. "Run in that direction for 2 miles, then come back." Got it. "WIGGLE THOSE HIPS, LADIES!!! SHOW ME SOME ATTITUDE!" Um, yeah. What?
It was when she shouted "This is fat-free salsa, ladies!" that my smart-ass kicked in. I thought, "all salsa is fat free," and resolved to never attend an exercise class where each song ends with clapping and "wooooo!"
I'm not being completely fair. Zumba looks like a lot of fun, and the women in the class were having a great time. The instructor was a really nice woman who truly wanted us to feel the Latin beat. I enjoyed watching her dance and wished that I could move with that kind of abandon. But unless I am wearing a tacky bridesmaid dress and have obtained access to an open bar, I don't dance. Even then my skill level is questionable, but at least I don't care anymore.
The worst part of the class was having to sheepishly hand over my $10 and confide that I would not be purchasing the six-pack. She so wanted me to love Zumba and I didn't want to let her down. But, if I'm being completely honest, I don't need that kind of regular reminder of my awkwardness.
So, have fun Zumba girls. I'll be sticking to the weights.