I came, I saw, I zumbad (or whatever the past tense of zumba is)

'Strong B.A.N.D.S. ZUMBA' photo (c) 2003, JBLM  MWR - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I am not an athletic person.  Never have been.  When I think of exercise, I think of middle school gym class, being the last to finish my mile.  I think of gymnastics classes, not advancing to the next level because I couldn’t do just one pull-up.  When I think of coordination, I think of the one and only musical I was in, needing to learn a time step, and only figuring it out after the show was over.  Mostly I think of embarrassment, eyes on the girl who can’t run or dance or move in any sort of coordinated fashion.

So when I decided to go to a zumba class at my local Y, I was a little anxious.  My usual mode of exercise is walking around my neighborhood cause it’s hard to screw that up and it’s a solitary endeavor.  Zumba is dancing and learning steps and in front of a lot of other people.  

But I go anyway.  I tell the people at the front desk that this is my first time taking a class.  They show me the room and also mention that the instructor only speaks spanish.  Great.  Not only will I need to interpret her movements, but there will be a language barrier as well.

I arrive a little early, and one woman asks me if this is my first time.  I must look pretty awkward, not knowing what to do with my hands.  She tells me to just keep moving and I’ll do fine.

After everyone arrives, I notice that almost all of these women look like me: fuller around the middle, fitting uncomfortably in their workout clothes.  This puts me at ease.

Then the music starts and we’re off.  I have placed myself in a position in the middle, with a good view of the instructor, so I can what she’s doing.  At first, I do have trouble following her.  She doesn’t speak (so the language barrier I thought would be a problem isn’t).  She just moves effortlessly, looking natural and sexy and all the things I’m not.  I spend a lot of time frantically correcting my steps. In fact, this is what I spend most of the first 30 minutes focusing on.  And of course, there is a mirror, so I can see how utterly hopeless my dancing looks.

But at some point, I quit caring.  I may not have the steps right, but I’m actually having fun, and I’m moving.  And towards the end, I’m catching on and my steps start to resemble actual dance.  I look around and see all the shapes and colors of women around me.  Some dance like pros and others look more awkward than I do.  But no one gives judgmental looks.  No one is snickering in the corner.  At some point I realize that this is not my middle school nightmare.  Everyone is shaking her booty and having a fantastic time.  And so am I.


3 thoughts on “I came, I saw, I zumbad (or whatever the past tense of zumba is)

  1. Haha. I love this, Megan! I am similarly slow and uncoordinated. I tried Zumba once with a friend in Fort Worth, and I just couldn’t keep up. Three years later, I tried again with a different instructor. Now I love it and go at least once a week. I’m glad you had a good experience! It really is a great workout.

  2. I love this post and particularly love the word zumbad. 🙂 I’m usually very intimidated by exercise classes that require coordination as well, but last weekend I finally went to a cycling class (sort of a dancing with your upper body while cycling). I was on the front row because all the other rows were already full, but it was still a lot of fun! I think everyone’s so involved in their workout that they’re not paying attention to you.

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