It’s creeping up on me again. I have Cooking Light and Health and Women’s Health magazines. I also have empty Oreo wrappers and moments old memories of the Italian cold cut ciabatta I had for lunch. It is summer and the heat should deter me from adding to this layer of insulation I am working on. But it hasn’t.
What happens between the restorative glass of water upon waking and the idea that Doritos would complement the Netflix pick at 10pm? Well, lots. I have all the excuses and I can still counter argue them all. I am so busy yet there are busier people. It’s so hot but I can get up early or work out later…I fall into the biggest trap of them all. I have done it before. Not the falling into the trap part – the losing the weight part. I like seeing progress, maintenance is far less of a thrill. The crazy part is I really love to work out. I love a good sweat session – I love feeling my body working hard and training my mind to continue despite being mildly uncomfortable. The end of a run or a spin class leaves me grateful and accomplished. If the music is good, I feel like I could keep going indefinitely. This applies to all manners of exercise except Zumba.
Zumba, in case you’ve missed the movement, is a Latin style dance cardio. For coordinated folks with at least one ounce of “Felling Myself” I am sure it is an excellent way to get into shape. I don’t fall into either of these two categories. Your friends will say “It’s all in good fun” and “everyone looks silly doing it”. Lies. Dirty lies. “I am not super coordinated” they will continue as you demur, “but it is so much fun”.
So despite knowing deep down that I can hardly manage a grapevine in a line dance (there is the crossing over of feet, there is the staying vertical, people look at you funny when you stop on their toes as you yell “My left”?! “Your left”?! “Who’s left”)?! I went to Zumba. I went to Zumba three times. Each attempt worse than the last.
The first time I went alone. Because I forget that there is a whole wide world outside of these four walls sometimes I also forget other important principles. Take for instance, that the “Timing is Everything Approach” extends to things beyond toddler’s naptimes when contemplating a run to Target and bringing up to my husband the “funny anecdote” that the kids tried to open the front door lock with a stick and now the lock is broken again.
I went to the gym just before 7pm on a Friday night. There was an actual DJ set up and spinning (do they still call it that nowadays?!) on the central staircase. I have never seen such a high concentration of glamourous looking fit people in one place. I quickly walked to the back of the gym to the well-lit glass cube (for privacy?) that Zumba was being held in. There was fringe, there was gold lame, there was multiple layers of skin tight, burned out and cut out articles of clothes. Some were adorned with feathers, with beads, with tiny crystals. Hair was universally long and loose or cut severely and styled as if ready to be photographed. I pulled at my black yoga pants and rolled my own eyes at my white tee shirt. It was as if I had been transported into the Hunger Games’ capital in my day clothes. Then the music started. Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez sang to us. Enrique Iglesias urged us to do something that elicited cheers and that move where people make a fist and tilt their heads, lifting their arms above them and making a motion as if whisking egg whites into stiff peaks (even my descriptions echo my stay at home Mom status). The dancers around me shimmied; they moved their bodies in tandem with each synthesized beat. They glistened; they closed their eyes, lost to the music.
Among them I stowed, doing a little up and down motion of shaking my shoulders (think exaggerated belly laugh) and the “short-circuit robot” (when you can’t actually do the robot and it’s stalling and disjointed).Topped off with the “knife and fork”. This is a personal favorite created in the back of a green Infinity, brain child of high school freshman best friends. We don’t need credit, but if you use your left arm as a giant fork, spreading four fingers out for tines, then bend your right arm and “saw “with your forearm knife, please know we approve. No one noticed and I left sweaty from panic and ab-sore from laughing at my image.
The second time was in the harsh light of day. Along with a very athletic friend and her equally athletic other friend I put on a brave face while they assured me of the good fun etc. that surely awaited me. Nope.
The third time I went, with the same girls plus a few more people I casually knew from our kids ‘school, would be my last. The sun streaming in was unkind to my mock pirouettes. When I gave up and went all in with the lawn mower (Please tell me you know this one! Where you attempt to pull the string starting a lawn mower?)I was rewarded with an elderly gentleman sincerely looking upon me with kindness and the humbling yet supportive “If you keep trying, if you keep showing up, you’ll get there one day, sweetheart”.
Zumba is out. But I need something in its place. Let me know what your best fitness tips and tricks are. Which music gets you pumped? How do you talk yourself into getting it done when you are overtired, over heated or just plain over it all? This is where the rubber (of my running shoes) meets the road. Best of luck to us all.