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3 Things I Learned About Zumba

Yes, really.

This morning I woke up sore from two strength workouts earlier this week. Or, perhaps, from teaching four hot yoga classes earlier this week.

Perhaps, it was the general notion of “earlier this week” that left me sore.

Active recovery was on the agenda, and today’s lesson for my Precision Nutrition cohort encouraged us to feast on something other than food.

And, with a spanking new trial pass to yet another gym, I joined thirty or so women in an attempt to shake what mama gave me, while appearing somewhat coordinated. The former definitely happened, and whether I succeeded in the latter, I’ll never know.

But here are the things I learned from my half dozen or so Zumba experiences:

It’s all about the teacher.

The teacher makes or breaks the class. Always. I have taken classes with both male and female teachers, and the key attribute seems to be their authentic desire to be there. Which is probably true for any teacher. Dancer-types make better Zumba teachers than fitness instructor-types. I have seen seemingly unremarkable people transform into lithe panthers, as soon as the music came on. Magical.

On that note, I want this chick to be my Zumba teacher:

It’s all about the music.

This is like a night club for boring sober types. Sign me up.

And, you have to admit, the outfits are pretty cool. I think my booty shorts with striped socks would blend in nicely, no?

It doesn’t take much to feel like you are dancing.

Most routines are centred around three or four simple movements. For those who have done aerobic classes before, it’s the typical single-single-double pattern of whatever movement you are doing.

Yet there is nothing low-impact about it – you’ll be jumping around, and twisting about. Engage your core, and don’t slip.

It’s all about chilling the fuck out.


If you come into this with the typical go-getter, “gimme that barbell” attitude, you’d end up frustrated and angry. The instructor moves way too quickly, and, chances are, your attempts at replicating whatever she is doing will look like nothing she’s doing. Chill and try to have a good time.

Ironically, the type-A overachiever types (aka me) are missing. And what a refreshing change, that is.

I keep looking over to my right, where a Native woman in her 60s shuffles her feet off beat. Her claps come too late, and her movements resemble those of the instructor only in their general direction. Although she is sporting a wicked poker face, I think she is having a blast. I think I catch a glimpse of a smile during one of the especially loud group “Whooo hoo”s.

If you decide to venture into the mysterious world of Zumba, being the above mentioned overachiever type, I suggest taking an approach that is part amusement and part scientific curiosity. This is like checking out a foreign tribe – just do whatever else is doing, and try to blend in.

A scary thought sneaked in this morning. I think… I think I want to teach a Zumba class.

… drops the mike…

Shaking those hips, SOLO

*Liked this post? You may enjoy my post about spinning classes and slimmer thighs.


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