My friend Teresa raved about Zumba, telling me things like: “It is fun.”; “I love it.”; “My kids love it.”; “It doesn’t feel like working out.”; and so on. I lost track of all the great things she said about Zumba. Something in the back of my mind suggested that I look into it because I should augment my sedentary life with some sort of masochistic hobby that involves getting the heart rate up, convinces muscles to scream out their objections, and makes me sweat like a whore on dollar day. This was the month to take action.
I told Mr. Bernie that if there was a class in our part of town, then I would go to it. We live just outside of town and I was pretty sure this was a deal I wouldn’t have to cash in on. I got a wild hair and decided to look at the Zumba website. I was confident that they wouldn’t have one in our part of town. You see, exercising is bad enough. To have to stay in town, or travel back to town, to do it would suck. I prefer to get close to home and then avoid the crowds. I put in our zip code into the Zumba class finder and pressed enter. A nice list popped up on-screen with lots of options. I smiled as I scrolled past all the classes deep inside the city. “La la la, I’m safe.”, I thought. Suddenly, I stopped. There it was. A class not more than 4 miles from my home scrolled into view. What the hell? Nooooooooooooo!! How in the hell did that get there? I may have said something that rhymes with duck and starts with an f and ends with a uck and am sure that it wasn’t ‘Fire Truck’. I had great hopes it was a mix up. Perhaps the class had folded. Maybe it was a typo? Who knows. I emailed the instructor to get some details.
My whiny email about how much I don’t want to exercise; questions about cost and location; and concerns about getting into something that I wasn’t ready for were answered fairly quickly. I was afraid she was going to call, sound like a five-year old girl, and start to preach about the power of Zumba. On the contrary, the instructor was very nice and not too perky. Thank God! The class is a steal at a dollar and a half per session. I don’t think Little Debbie snack cakes are still only $1.50. I told her a bit about myself and my concerns. She addressed my concerns and reassured me that I wouldn’t die, but I had to sign a waiver when I went to my first class. Does that make you shudder a little in fear the way that I did? I asked about the types of people who are in her class. She explained that there were everything from young to old, thin to fat, and so on. It was a virtual melting pot of women shaking their stuff. Whee. How Fun. She told me just how to get to the class and made me feel at ease.
The day of my first class I was pretty nervous. There was that waiver that had to be signed. I hardly ever get aches and pains. However, on that day I was sure my right knee was going to fall off. I must have something wrong with my foot. Was there something wrong with my breathing? Maybe I should stay home if I’m feeling so poorly. I think I made myself limp to test it out to be sure that all my parts were not going to hold up. Psychosomatic?
Noooooo! Well ok, maybe. My first class was to be after work. I needed to get some sustenance before class. Mr. Bernie tried to push some energy bar thing on me. Too late, I already had my huge hunk of turtle bar type thing. It was really tasty. Mr. Bernie just shook his head and told me I needed to eat something good for me. Ya, ya, good for me. That turtle bar in my tummy sure tasted good to me. I started getting ready for class. I had to find my Enell sports bra. I have a love hate relationship with that bitch. Its 15 hooks and she really holds me in. I mean really holds me in tight. I had a hard time bending over to put on my shoes. I pinched part of my boob when I was hooking it up. Ouch! Once prepared for class, I thought that I would burn up some spare time by talking with Jenny.
Jenny tried to calm me down before class. “You know Bern, if you like the class. I will take one here in Duluth.” Since when did I become the measuring stick for stuff? Then she told me, “Try to remember some of the songs so you can tell me which ones they had.” She has a tween and knows about the new music. I explained to her as nicely as I could, “I don’t know about these damn dance songs. How in the holy hell could I remember the names to tell you? I will be sweating my ass off and trying not to feel self-conscious about having no idea what I am doing. Chances are that I won’t even recognize a word, let alone who the artist was. Don’t expect a report back to you on it!” She laughed at me and told me to have a good time. The bitch. The time had finally arrived to go out and play.
I arrived to class a bit early. I left a little early to make sure that I found it in time. I wanted to scope out the women going to class. I also wanted to stop peeing every five minutes like a puppy from nervousness. People started going up to a table to hand over money. I fell into line. It reminded me of going to a girl scout meeting and standing in line to hand in my dues. This ‘girl scout meeting’ was on steroids, though. The instructor guessed who I was when I arrived. She was friendly and welcoming. I asked her where the back of the room was. I wanted to make sure that I was in the back corner so I could feel in control. Screw that Dirty Dancing line, ‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” I adjusted the old song to meet my needs. I said to myself, “Bernie puts Bernie in a corner. Hopefully nobody will bother me.”
I wandered into the (hardwood looking basketball room or whatever it was) and found a nice corner to claim. I looked around and sized all the gals up. Some of the little people were in cliques. Kind of like High School all over again. No big shock there. Others were standing around – or doing jumping jacks – or picking their noses and looking more lost than I felt at the time. I did some stretching and tried not to make eye contact with anyone. The time came to start the class. The instructor walked to the front of the room and asked everyone how they were doing. The crowd yelled back, “Great!” or something like that. I don’t normally listen to the type of music that started playing. I’m an old-fashioned country music gal. This was new for me on many levels. I prayed my ears wouldn’t bleed and started moving with the rest of the crowd. There are particular moves that one must learn to Zumba and I found myself staring at the instructor.
It is easiest too learn the steps by watching from behind the instructor. I loved that she was not facing us. It made it much easier for me to follow the steps. I felt like a pervert, because my husband would have thought that she did have a nice ass. The dance started out mild. At first I thought I was at Cheerleader or Dance Line camp. Everyone was moving their arms back and forth, and around, and so on. Slap some pom-pom in my hand and I was ready to go. (I wasn’t a cheerleader. I have no idea what they do at those camps. I made that part up.) I thought that this wasn’t so bad. I had not yet realized that the festivities were just getting started.
After several songs we started jumping, squatting, rolling our stomachs, and performing about a hundred other unfamiliar body movements. We were squirming, and wriggling, and stepping around like Ginger Rogers with Fred Astaire. We were working at a fevered frenzy that had me a breathing harder than a multiple orgasm. I thought that my brain was going to explode. Then came a question that I never expected. The instructor yelled, “Is everyone warmed up??’!! What the hell? I’m sweating like a whore on dollar day and she wants to know if we are warmed up? I was sweating in spots I didn’t know sweated. I panicked. I gave up any pretense of wanting to be left alone. I turned to the gal next to me with red face, sweat dripping, and eyes wild. I said to her, “Oh my god! That was a warm up? Really? That was only a warm up? Tell my husband I loved him because I think my time has come.” She laughed and explained that it was half way through class. It was all downhill from here. I wanted so much to kiss her or offer to have her baby – Anything to show my appreciation.
Things did slow down after a few more songs. The cool down cycle included slower and more seductive movements. I almost felt like a pole dancer a few times. I was supposed to be moving in a sexy way, though I’m sure that I looked more like a beached whale wriggling around. I started to relax and thought I was doing pretty good. I woke up out of that daydream when I realized that I was moving my left arm and everyone else was moving their right. Rule number six is: No daydreaming in Zumba!! Finally, the class ended. I wasn’t feeling to bad – not yet, anyway. The gal next to me had gone 5 times and encouraged me to return on Thursday. She promised me that it will get easier. She gave me some tips. I thought that she was nice. I went home and flopped on the couch. Remember that part about not feeling to bad? It started creeping up on me like tidal wave creeps up on a beach. I swear I thought my legs and arms were going to fall off. They were drained of energy and felt like lead. Mr Bernie made supper and fed me. I was through but still to somehow take off my bra with its 15 hooks, shower, and make it to my pillow. I felt satisfied as I drifted off to sleep knowing that I had done it and lived to tell the tale. I think I may have even enjoyed it. My body is out on that verdict so far. Let us give it a few weeks. I’ll be going to class again tonight. I think I keep hearing my knee popping……
I would love to challenge you guys to take a Zumba class and blog about it. I would love to hear what you guys think of it. Here is the Zumba Finder website to help you find a class in your area.
Thank you to Julie from Tri-ing to be Athletic for the cool picture! When I told her about the Zumba class she said, “Oh, I love Zumba. I sweat a lot.” WTH? This is a girl who swims, bikes works out and she sweats a lot in that class? Kill me now. You can see more of her cool stick figures on her blog. If you want/need a special picture made for you, email her for rates. She also made my About Me picture that I won in her contest.