A Look Inside Zumba Class

{My sweaty mug in Tuesday’s Zumba class with Emily }
I’ve had a few people write to me asking about exercise classes and admitting they’re a bit intimidated to go into one. First, if you are local to me, contact me. I know how to hook you up with a free, week-long pass to my gym and you can come try a few classes with my posse and me. Knowing people who are supportive around you can make all the difference. It’s only scary before it starts. Once you get going, it’s just pure awesome and you will see my perma-grin that I can’t wipe until about 40 minutes in. 😀
If you don’t go with me, though, here is what I have observed:
*There are all body types there. There are people who look tinier and tighter than my 11 year old daughter and there are people who look as though they exceed 400 pounds.
*Men and women both come, but I would say the ratio is around 1:10. If I were a guy, I would totally do Zumba. 😉
*The instructors don’t yell at you to do better, try harder, nothing. They show you the moves and let you know accommodations. Never once in my entire time of Zumba-ing have my teachers yelled at anyone. That said, I have heard that the insanity classes and some of the more intense, non-dance classes do have teachers who might get in your face a bit. But I suppose that’s why they call it ‘insanity’! I just stick with the dance classes.
*If you can’t do an exercise, do what you can do. We have pregnant ladies who do all kinds of squats and lunges, people who just stand there for some of the activities, and some people just kind of stand in the back and do the 80’s side to side dance step the whole time. They idea is to just keep moving.
*There are people who are really into it. Like, REALLY into it. They dress the part, stand in the front row and add extra details like spins and arm flourishes to the moves. You will be tempted to follow what these people do when you can’t see the instructor, but if you’re fairly uncoordinated like me, they will make you get lost.
*Some people come to every class and know every move and kind of simplify it. I watch this one girl when I’m lost because she does everything so straightforward, reliably, without flourish that when I get lost I’m grateful she’s there.
*There are the regulars who like to think they own the place. It’s true. So while I see the gym as a mostly friendly place, there are always people who need to be hierarchical. Yesterday my entire posse was absent and I tried to make conversation with one of the regulars. It immediately got awkward when she made it clear that she didn’t know who I was and tried to school me on what this class was about. Then she turned on her heel and started laying down mats and barbells all around me, yelling across the room at another woman about who’s mat was whom’s, to effectively move me out the zone she was making for her friends. I was fine with it- I usually have people too- but it irritated me in that way that always irritates me in social situations as to why people have to be exclusive. Include people! Let everybody fit in! So I started talking to other people. They were nicer, but I do have to own that sometimes that high school BS shows up at the gym just like any other place.
*Even though you’re sharing a relatively small space with 20-40 people, many people won’t look you in the eye. Fitness is private like money and sex, so don’t be surprised if you come and go without speaking to a soul. It’s kind of weird but also nice in that you don’t have to worry a whole bunch about looking like an idiot. You get the free pass of ‘I’ll never see these people outside of this context’ which is kind of nice.
*Most people come alone.
*The instructors are really nice and, while they give you space, they also let you know when they see you and see your improvements. Today, Camille gave me several shout outs and invited me to lead a dance. I declined, as I’ve said before, I am not the one to lead anyone in anything aside from jazz hands and running in place, but it flattered me to no end to know that she sees me and knows my name. I was proud of her as an instructor for giving me a sense of belonging in her class. It meant a lot. Afterwards, if there’s not another class coming immediately, they will hang out and chat if you wish to do so. Lovely.
*It is surprising how sore you get. It feels like you’re just jumping around and having fun, but it is a comprehensive, whole-body workout! I’m sore EVERYWHERE in that wonderful I-just-worked-out kind of way.
*You will have to shake your a$$ like a stripper. Pelvic thrusts and booty shimmies abound. You also have to do that move where you shake your shoulders and make your boobs jiggle a bunch. I was super self conscious about it until I realized that shaking your hooters is amazing for your back and shoulders and shaking your butt around is really a good workout for your abs. So now I shake it, unashamed, like J-Lo. Of course I am wearing more than a thong, but you get the idea.
*I rarely get to look around the room at anyone. I’m trying so hard to keep up that I don’t really see a lot around my unless it is a break. You will be invisible, too. People won’t be looking and laughing at you unless they are off task and big jerkies.
*The music is loud. I like it that way.
*I leave feeling high and happy, full of endorphins. I simply love going to the Zumba and Hip Hop Boot Camp classes!
So come! Have fun with us! Feel free to contact me through my Facebook page if you want a friend to try the gym with, or email me at tamarashazam at gmail dot com! It’s always fun to have new people come along!

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