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The Workout Diaries: Fad #5, Hula Hooping

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In May of this year, I packed myself into a car with three gal-pals and headed south to Tennessee for the enormous music festival Bonnaroo. I was excited beyond belief to live in a tent, embrace my inner hippie and become one with the swaying, music-loving masses.

While everyone who attends Bonnaroo is worth watching, the hula hooping girls were my favourites. Majestically swaying to the music in their peasant skirts and bikini tops, hair all the way down their backs, these girls would wind colourful hoops around their bodies in a choreographed-yet-totally-natural dance. I would watch these girls with such envy, they looked like friggin mythical creatures from an elvish land!

Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. My third and final class with Brass Vixens was a hula hooping class and I was determined to give those girls a run for their money.

I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside.

Anyway, Shannon (who by the way is pretty much my favourite person at this point) gives me a quick tutorial on how to start basic hooping just in case the seven-year-old in me had forgotten. She has a collection of hoops, all different sizes and weights for optimal hooping. I start off spinning it around my torso and am beyond happy to find that it's just like riding a bike.

Throughout the class we test out tricks and learn how to dance inside of our moving hoop. Those festival girls have nothing on me as I learn to spin the hoop around one hand, then both, then switch to the opposite hand, spin the hoop above my head and lower it around my waist and finally spin myself quickly around while the hoop stops and keeps itself around me. Shannon continues to laugh whenever I express amazement at being about to accomplish these tasks and occasionally screech "I ROCK!"

Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:

1 p.m. -- OMG I CAN STILL HULA HOOP.

1:05 -- Can we just do this for the entire class? Look at these hips go!

1:10 -- No, I'm over it. My hips bones are definitely bruised already.

1:15 -- Yes, let's move it to the hands please. Oh...this is for people who actually have co-ordination.

1:20 -- SORRY! Hoop got away from me, you know how it goes. *spin* Oops! Sorry!!

1:24 -- HOLY COW! I'm spinning INSIDE my spinning hoop!! Would it be weird to video this to prove it happened?

1:30 -- Hooping while passing weights back and forth? I'll just continue to hoop, thank you.

1:35 -- Yea, I'm spinning the hoop above my head. No big deal.

1:45 -- Okay, flipping the hoop up with my foot is a definite no-go. I'll just continue to hoop, thank you.

1:50 -- DID EVERYONE SEE THAT?! I passed the hoop from above my head down to my hips!! I'm a natural. And again...ouch, must keep face out of the way.

1:55 -- I could do this all day! Look out Bonnaroo!

End Result: I'm so incredibly proud of what I accomplished inside of an hour! This feels different than a regular workout, it was more like skill training and I was able to totally nail a few tricks. I expected my torso to kill the next day from all the hooping but what hurt most was my hand from spinning the hoop so much.

Effort: There's a lot of work that goes into this session but you totally don't even notice. I was way too busy concentrating on not losing my handle on the hoop to realize the workout that my abs and arms were put through.

Return Trip?: Absolutely. If not to learn more hula tricks, than definitely to show Shannon how I've perfected the ones I've already learned by practicing in my backyard with my own hoop (it's pink and makes a sparkle noise).

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