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A Random Rant On Zumba Subs

It’s been awhile since I wrote a Zumba post and a big part of that is I haven’t been in three weeks.

I’ve been running around like a maniac trying to see my friend who has been in the hospital (she’s out now!!) and when not exhausted, hanging out with my older gentleman friend for lovely meals.

Yesterday was my first day back. I was looking forward to it, because I know I always just feel better mentally and physically after class.

Well, I remember we got emails that there was a different schedule with different instructors because the regular instructors were on vacation.

So, yesterday was my first time with one of their subs.

It was a strange experience.

I think the Zumba instructor was good, but I don’t know if I wasn’t feeling her, or just not feeling her routine or I wasn’t receptive to change and of all places, my Zumba sanctuary.

So here was my main beef. The class did not feel challenging at all.

Usually, if I’ve been gone for two weeks, that first class back is hell. I feel it. So that let’s me know right there, we didn’t go in as hard as we could have.

Nope, it all felt rather pedestrian. There were moments I made myself jump higher or squat deeper, because I just wasn’t getting “there.”

Usually Zumba classes are always going to have a hip-hop song, latin song, Caribbean song, sometimes Bollywood and in general high-energy world music (I hate the term world music, but I’m sure you know exactly what I mean).

Usually all of the Zumba instructors follow a formula and always include some standard moves, so no matter who you take it with, if you’ve done it enough, the steps will be familiar and easy to pick up regardless of the song or the instructor.

So fine, the sub was doing all the moves, but she lost me when she played a rock and roll song from the 1950s.

I was irritated. The elderly women, whom I love dearly were doing their thang, but I felt like I was no longer in Zumba, but at Sweatin to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. A good friend actually took a class with the master himself, but she at least was actually sweating. And damn it Richard Simmons is entertaining as all get out.

Not only was I upset at the studio being momentarily transformed into a sock hop, I was further irritated that she swiped moves like the quickstep, which I identified from Dancing With the Stars.

I don’t claim to be a Zumba expert by any means. But I think she was really stretching the line. To me,  Zumba music has to be beat and rhythm driven, primarily with world music. Even when there’s too much popular music, I get a bit annoyed (“Move Like Jagger” is the only pop song I give a pass on).

The other part of the class that always makes me feel odd is often during the hip hop portion. Because I’m young and black, I think people assume I’m going to do those moves well and I feel people watching me.

But the other thing is, now that there are hip hop dance classes, (and the popularity of it growing on shows like So You Think You Can Dance, when it gets to the mainstream and in Zumba classes) sometimes the moves feel watered down to be consumed by the masses, and I sometimes feel goofy doing those too.

While I’m glad that hip hop is being accepted by the formal dance community, I won’t say it’s lost it’s edge, but it kind of feels like WalMart came to town and killed all of my favorite mom and pop stores.

I may have been a grumpy Gus yesterday and not receptive to change. But for all of my Zumba heads out there, have you ever had an instructor get a bit too experimental in terms of the music and their choices made you scratch your head in confusion?


Zumba Progress


Just to show you the proof of my hard work only twice a week for the last two months, look at all the space in waist of my fave William Rast for Target jeans! Unreal. Don’t look at my tum! Just the waist space!! Goood morning!!

Inch By Inch: I See It, Sort Of…

I don’t know if I’m going crazy or not, but since I’ve started doing Zumba twice a week for basically two months now, I haven’t dropped serious weight, but certain pairs of pants are not cutting off my circulation anymore. One pair of pants actually looked baggy yesterday.

Pants I normally wouldn’t wear because I couldn’t button them, I can button if I hold my breath.

Certain shirts don’t make me look like a boxy, shapeless blob.

One of the warning signs that I was gaining weight was the fact that there wasn’t a defining separation between my boobs and my stomach when wearing a tight shirt. It was just a square blob.

One of the warning signs that my health was being threatened by my horribly inactive lifestyle was a bad pain shooting up and down my left arm and shoulder. That was the moment I said enough was enough, and that I need to do something. Truth be told. It scared me.

Since I’ve been doing Zumba, I haven’t felt that pain since.

I’ve been trying to eat better, (but that’s been the most difficult part for me) so I know that’s part of  why I’m not dropping significant amounts of weight yet. And I know I need to kick it up one more notch and either add another day of Zumba or add another day of doing some other form of exercise and then kick it up from there to see for real results on the scale.

The funny thing is, I’m not going nuts over the fact that I may have only lost about 3 pounds in the process, I even looked it up because while my weight has been holding steady, I feel better and I think I look better. I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and she said that I look fantastic and I look more in shape. So that’s good.

Well, this article helped explain what’s going on with that. I was encouraged to read that sometimes this happens because as you are losing fat, you are gaining muscle. The article said if you are losing inches, that’s a good sign you are heading in the right direction.

The author concludes with this : “Now that you understand the different characteristics of fat and muscle, you are probably likely to reconsider your weight loss goals. Losing inches doesn’t seem bad at all. Believe your clothes; only they will tell you the truth first. (check) Second, believe your mirror; it never lies. (check) Third, believe what your BCA indicates. Fourth, your friends and relatives. (check) Fifth, your weighing scale.”

Looking at the scale last, I think is a really great idea. My goal is to just keep moving, and keep working on feeling good and not out of breath. That’s another thing, I was able to run with luggage to catch a bus and I’m so proud of myself. I didn’t feel as tired or out of breath as I would have a few months ago just from walking up a few flights of steps. And I see a difference when I get out of the shower. I’m starting to see the difference between boobs and boxy blob (thank you God). So I feel the little differences! Whoo hoo!

I’m dog tired from traveling (and my period), but I’m going to go to class today anyway. I can’t regress from my progress. Just wanted to check in and give an update! Go me!

Does anyone else have that issue where they can see and feel positive differences in their body, but the scale isn’t moving?

Zumba: The Great Equalizer

I’ve been itching to write this post since my first Zumba class two weeks ago.

Now that I’ve been going twice a week for two weeks now, I feel like I have the right to speak on this now.

I’m still a newbie, however, I didn’t give up, and now it is a part of my scheduled week, so I can say something with authority. Yesterday, I didn’t feel like going, but I did anyway and when you do that, you can officially say you are doing something and can make comments.

I get the Zumba craze. I really do.

People can go at their own pace and still sweat as long as they keep moving.

If you don’t get a step just right you can modify it and make up your own (or insert a gratuitous Beyoncé uh oh dance) and no one thinks you look crazy.

But the number one reason Zumba is great besides all of that is because anyone can do it. Elderly women, small women, large women, some men, some large men, children.

The main and only person guaranteed to do everything right and look hot doing it is the instructor, who does this multiple times a day, every day.

The rest of us are winging it.

Zumba is an equalizer.

Some of the rail thin chicks with great bodies have no rhythm.

Some of the thickest mammas in the joint can go step for step.

The old women can keep moving, when people who went too hard are winded.

There’s always a move in the course of the class that is “your move” where you know you are doing it right and you look good doing it, and that’s the one you do the hardest.

Everybody from the youngest to the eldest, the smallest to the thickest has their move. You can look around the room at any point in the class and see that moment happening. It varies from step to step and song to song. It’s a fun thing to watch. I smile at the people doing “their move,” and they smile back.

Madame Sexy Abs, you can't dance. photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

I was a bit angry when a really toned woman decided to ceremoniously take off her tee-shirt to reveal her color-coordinated sports bra and toned abs.

However, justice was served when during a few of the songs I was going step for step and she was stumbling and bumbling along.

Ah, Zumba is the great equalizer. Take that Madame Sexy Abs!

I was telling my friend my theory about Zumba being an equalizer and she was saying how uncomfortable she was with the gym and group classes because they seem competitive.

I’ve done it all, and I think Zumba is not competitive at all unless you try to compare yourself to Madame Sexy Abs, but we’ve already learned. She can’t dance!! Whoo hoo! Zap. Equalized!!!

My friend explained that she was never really athletically inclined and hated gym class all through out her education and that rope-climbing and push ups and situps were embarrassing and confidence-crushing experiences.

In today’s schools it seems physical education is getting cut from the budget anyway, but I do think it’s a good idea to incorporate Zumba to get the kids moving (they’ll think they are dancing). I would have done Zumba over square dancing any day (although it was an opportunity to touch cute boys who never talked to you under normal circumstances).

There’s no equipment to buy, and the kids who can’t ring the bell at the top of the rope (or even get past the second knot) can participate with some confidence because they can see that the big football player could use a little help with his samba too.


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