Zumba, damn it

March 4, 2010

I vowed I would never do it again, but I’m headed off for my second Zumba class tonight.

Believe me, it’s not because I had such a great time at my first class. I found the experience frustrating, discouraging, humiliating and not much fun.

It probably had to do with my expectations going into class. I had visions of me channeling Shakira ~ hips rolling, shoulders shimmying, sensual movements so enticing guys in the weight room would be dropping barbells.

Didn’t happen quite that way. It was more like me channeling a rhino in Reeboks.

If you have the stomach for ugliness, picture it: Floor-to-ceiling mirrors (which always seem to distort my body image but not that of the lean, tanned, toned instructor); everyone else moving to a Latin three-count beat while I’m struggling along on a four-count disco-era beat; the entire class in step with the instructor, ‘cuz they’ve obviously been coming forever and know all the steps, and good ol’ Maria going in the wrong direction, tripping over her three left feet; lots — and I mean LOTS! — of hip and butt and boob gyrations that, when I tried to mimic them, resembled someone afflicted with St. Vitus dance.

But what really got me was the 60-something-year-old next to me doing a pretty good impression of the Chiquita Banana Lady.

I was proud that I stuck out the class. I was proud that I ventured out of my comfort zone.  I was proud that I didn’t give in to the humiliation and frustration.

And I walked out of that damned class vowing it would be my last foray into Latino-themed fitness activities.

“This is stupid,” I thought, stomping over to Old Faithful (aka the elliptical machine, my torture device of choice) where I did 30 minutes because Zumba hadn’t even raised so much as a drop of perspiration. “I hate Zumba. Whoever thought of this is a dork. Anyone who enjoys it is crazy.”

But as I logged my minutes and calories and miles on the elliptical, I realized several things: on the elliptical machine, I feel strong and I demonstrate endurance; in the Zumba class I felt awkward, heavy and clumsy. Oh, yeah, that’s how I felt 32 pounds ago!

Losing weight is about changing behaviors and cultivating new habits – skills that require practice and take time before we become adept at them.

Man, I hate when I am self-aware like this, because then I have to face facts: I can’t not do Zumba ever again. I have to give it the old college try before I can chuck it and really mean it when I say, “This is stupid.”

So, I made myself promise that I would do at least two more dumb, stupid, horrible Zumba classes.

I’ll be the rhino in Reeboks.


One Response to “Zumba, damn it”

  1. mom Says:

    In the years I was raising you–or standing by while you took your own path–I never dreamed my Maria would be the determined, persevering,introspective woman in spandex in the Zumba room!! So, you go girl–you make me proud as he–!!

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