Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All I wanna do is Zumba-zoom-zoom...

I was supposed to go to the Zumba class at my local YMCA branch tomorrow morning with a friend of mine. A friend whom I've been wheedling, pleading, begging and otherwise generally nagging into joining me so she can see how fun it is and then want to immediately join the Y so I don't have to go work out alone. (Yes, Hubby belongs to the same Y, and yes, we do sometimes work out at the same time. It is SO not the same thing, though. You see, Hubby likes to *work out* when he's working out, all running at crazy fast speeds on the treadmill and pumping the iron and such. Me, I'm more of a "chit chat while walking at a moderate clip on the elliptical machine" type of worker outer. Hubby doesn't even watch the same things on his little TV that I'm watching, so I can't even make a joke about The View or Regis or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. So, not really the kind of working out at the YMCA companion I'm looking for, my beloved Hubby, and this is why I'm desperately trying to get a friend to do the Y workout thing with me.)

I thought this would be the week. The week that she'd finally go to Zumba with me. I've been working on her for ages now, but one thing or another (her dentist appointment, my kid's eye surgery...) kept getting in the way. This was going to be it. I was so sure of it that
I bought myself a cinnamon streusel friedcake donut from Wegmans earlier tonight. I went to Wegmans to buy every hair-related product I could find with tea tree oil extract in it because I hear lice don't like tea tree oil and today for the second time in a month, we got a letter from the nurse that head lice has been confirmed on at least one kid's head in Kiddo's class (though Kiddo's head was checked and is clean *KNOCKING WOOD SO LOUDLY YOU PROBABLY CAN HEAR IT ALL THE WAY AT YOUR HOUSE, WHEREVER IN THE WORLD YOU ARE RIGHT NOW*) but of course, getting to the Nature's Marketplace groovy organic section means walking straight past the bakery. Did I ignore the siren call of the cinnamon streusel friedcake donuts? Of course I didn't, because I am GOING TO ZUMBA tomorrow. At least that's what I told myself, Kiddo and the random lady standing next to us at the donut display as I was reaching for the bakery bag, although out of the three of us, I think only Kiddo actually believed me. But I *WAS* going to be going, because my friend was going to be going too, so I couldn't POSSIBLY slack off, stay home in my jammies, reading one of the SEVEN, count them, SEVEN books I brought home from the library today, eating donuts and NOT going to Zumba. This was how I would overcome my PMS and sore neck and shoulders from spending eleventy million hours hanging clothes on racks two feet above my head in the past two days doing volunteer slave labor at the PTSA SuperSale set up and my warm jammies and snuggly fleecy blanket and cinnamon streusel donut who will all, no doubt, conspire against my showering before 6:30am, wrestling my way into a sports bra, cramming my bloated midsection into exercise appropriate clothing (deepest, darkest confession: a few weeks ago I went in a pair of pajama bottoms because I couldn't find a clean pair of yoga pants and because most of my yoga pants are more often worn for pajama purposes, not actual yoga anyhow.

Really - this is me that particular day. I photographed myself when I got home from Zumba class:

That was me setting the timer and approximating a Zumba maneuver - action shot!) See, now all of those things, conspire as they may (will?) tomorrow, would not vanquish me because I had a friend going with me, forcing me to be good and go no matter how much I don't want to in the morning. A FRIEND. Meeting me there.

Until she emailed me just now and said she can't, because she has a sick kid of the barfing variety in her house.

Le sigh.

I started to write back to her, to explain all of this, all the conspirators ganging up on my flimsy, flabby resolve, how she was the *one thing* that allowed me to get that donut (which, seriously, is probably enough calories to undo any good an hour of me sweating my rear off at Zumba might do) and how she was the *one thing* that was going to ensure my attendance at tomorrow's class.

But then, I realized it wasn't fair to my dear, sweet friend to hold her responsible for my health, well being and food - even donut - choices would make a better blog post, so I deleted that email and here I am blogging away now.

I've been meaning to post about Zumba for ages now. Have you heard of Zumba? I hadn't until I first walked past a class at our old Y before we moved last spring. I've since done extensive research a quick googling and discovered Zumba is, in fact, some sort of worldwide exercise craze. There are tons of clips of people Zumbaing available on Youtube, for example..

Look - it is a worldwide phenomenon, this video even says so:

Okay, I admit it - I didn't realize it was an actual revolution until I saw that last video clip. I mean, the only revolting going on that I've been aware of is the revolution of spandex and lycra and elastic in my clothes against the body they're attempting to contain and/or cover. And the class I take doesn't remotely resemble either of those clips, except for some of the moves and music. Let's just say that the demographics are a little bit different in my neck of the suburbs.

For example, the average age of the participant at my Wednesday morning class is a lot closer to 70 than 20. Hardly any midriff-baring tops are worn (except by one dogged old dame who seems to think that you're only as young as you dress, and dagnabit, she's going to wear the rolled-down-waistband pants and sports-bra-baring, cropped tops like she is still a lithe 16 year old) and hardly anyone has been able to master the moves. Did you catch that arm maneuver in the first video with the two hottish chicks who look NOTHING like anyone in my Zumba class (except perhaps the instructor)? The one where the arm is raised, does a circle-y, whippy thing down and then up again? We have done that move in my class. And by "we" I mean "everyone other than Heather" because in my case, by "done" I mean "flailed around wildly like an alien imitating an arthritic New Yorker trying to hail a cab in vain" 'cause my arms just don't do that.

I just don't - or can't - do a lot
most any of the Zumba moves. All the step-ball-changes and jazz squares and whatnot that utterly eluded me back in my high school musical-participating days as well as cardio classes going back to the very first Jane Fonda aerobics tapes we did for gym in high school through the step aerobics craze of the early 90s and on to today......... still elude me. Age may have brought me wisdom (and a slower-than-a-turtle metabolism plus a generous sprinkling of wiry, silver "highlights") but it hasn't brought me any better a grasp on basic dance steps. Alas.

Not that this stops me, mind you. I may not look like a hot, young thing shaking my booty for all I'm worth (which, by the way, is one Wegmans bakery cinnamon streusel donut. Just sayin'...) but neither are any of the other class participants! They're all, at best, only slightly better than me. Some of the older broads don't even attempt the Zumba moves. They just sort of gently sway and shuffle and occasionally lift an arm into the air. Some of them don't even do that - they just come, stand there, chat, move once in a while, then go have a swig from their sports bottles and towel off. So even in my worst Zumba mess-ups (like, say, when we're supposed to be doing some sort of convoluted turning maneuver with arm motions and feet motions and hip motions, and during which I invariably, consistently manage to wind up out of sync with the rest of the class and thereby facing them all since they at least can manage to, you know, turn in the right direction to the beat) I'm not that bad. I find them funny, usually, and wind up cracking myself up regularly. I also seem to be highly entertaining to the various patrons of the Y who pause in the doorway with regularity to watch for a while. They get a good view of me as I always position myself at the back of the room, closest to the door which is also closest to the giant fans mounted halfway up the wall. Thankfully, our class meets in the gymnasium, which means no walls of mirrors to reflect my sweaty, panting redfacedness over and over to everyone.

So, why do I love Zumba so much, if it kicks my behind and I can't possibly do the moves properly? I do enjoy all the moves I can't do and they are a refreshing change of pace from any other cardio-aerobic type class I've ever taken. Zumba involves a lot of different genres in the moves - everything from samba and tango to hip hop and belly dancing. Even if I can't do the moves, they're still fun to attempt. One of the biggest reasons, though, is the music. The Zumba music is really fun. Our instructor (who is fantastic, by the way!) mixes the music and the routines up each week, and the songs range from crazy, Latin remixed mashups of 80s classics like Walk Like an Egyptian to mixes of songs that are apparently popular these days. (Not that I'd necessarily know them, mind you, as my knowledge of current music is limited to the occasional five minutes of VH1 and MTV viewing in the mornings. I mean, come on, I referenced the freaking Spice Girls in my post title, for crying out loud. Current is not my middle name.) Just the other day, we were all huffing and puffing and swaying away to a song when I actually began listening to the lyrics and realized that the singer was exhorting all the shawties to go burn up the dance floor. This had me doubled over in a paroxysm of mirth (which undoubtedly could have been mistaken for the onset of a major myocardial infarction) as there was no one in this room besides perhaps the teacher that would ever, ever be addressed as "Shawty" although it was true that the chafing action my thighs were producing in my pajama bottoms posing as exercise wear definitely would qualify as burning up...

So, anyhow, that's the story of Heather and Zumba. It nearly kills me each week, but I do enjoy the class enough to keep going back. Although it would be so much better to go with a friend, I must say. You know who you are....... But don't worry, I'll try to overcome those conspirators of comfort and laziness and get myself there, all alone, again, tomorrow. Wonder if Hubby could be persuaded to do Zumba with me...?


Creative Junkie said...

If I didn't know better, I'd swear you sat at my mother's feet and soaked in everything she had to offer about guilt. Which is A LOT.

My shorts and ripped Old Navy t-shirt are ready to go. I am prepared. I just need one week where something is not going wrong - someone isn't puking, someone isn't getting their gums poked with a pitchfork, etc.

Because I need to be able to focus all my efforts on the pain that I'm going to inflict on my person by taking this class - otherwise, how can I fully appreciate it? I can't have any other distractions.

Cristin said...

I can't do regular old Jane Fonda aerobics without dislocating a shoulder... there is now way I could pull off those moves. It does look fun though.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this thanks for teaching me something!

Ann said...

So, I would be totally awful at this, because I just have no rythym..but it looks fun. If I could find a class more like yours and not full of sexy-20somethings - ugh! OH, and there is a Wegmans opening in my town in just over a week! We didn't have these where I'm from, and I am already hooked!!

Maven said...

That looks like something I'd really enjoy. Thanks for sharing it. I popped by via Chick Chik media - nice to meet you.

Maven said...

ps... That ee cummings quote is one of my favourites. He was wonderful...

Givinya De Elba said...

I've heard of Zumba - it sounds like fun! And it looks amazing, though I wouldn't look anything like those skinny little things shakin their booties.

Jenks said...

haha...I love the way you explain the moves.

I'm a instructor in Florida and it's so funny because last night we were shaking our butts, literally, just our butts and someone didn't look comfortable, so I said to the class "Don't worry, no one's watching you - that's what I tell myself" they got a chuckle out of it.

And when it comes down to it, that's what it's about, having a good time, burning loads of calories is just a bonus.

Have fun at your next class!!!