Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba.
When I looked up just exactly what Zumba entails, I was pretty pleased with what I read. Until now, all I've known about the class (thanks to those commercials that I usually mute) is that it's some kind of dancey workout with a lot of ab movements and butt pops.
Thanks to Zumba.com, I learn that the class is specifically a "Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music and contagious steps to form a "fitness-party" that is downright addictive." Sold.
Finding a Zumba class proves easy as there are literally dozens of places that offer it in the city. I arrived almost 20 minutes early (the guy on the phone said the drop in class tends to fill up) and find a girl in her late teens and a Juicy sweatshirt in the studio putting her purse down. When I ask if she too is here to get Zumba'd, she replies that she's actually the instructor. Oh joy. Whatever positive thoughts I had are now diminished.
The class did quickly fill and I'm surprised to see both high school girls and middle aged women partaking. I find a spot at the back and am truly happy with the lack of mirrors. The music starts up (Pitbull!) and all of a sudden, the bored teenage instructor turns into a booty shaking dancing queen. Constantly hopping from foot to foot, she wears a microphone to repetitively holler 'Here we goooooo!'.
What you'll need: Comfy clothes, a sports bra (there's a lot of jumping around), running shoes, water and no limitations.
The music is amazing and the dance moves are downright fun. Every song has its own choreography that the instructor goes through slowly at first and then speeds up for maximum exertion.
Here's a snippet of my inner thoughts:
7:15 p.m. -- Oh. My. God. She's playing Pitbull. This is gonna be a friggin dance party!
7:20 -- Jeez I'm so uncoordinated. I need to stand still and watch her feet THEN try to mimic them.
7:28 -- I want a microphone headset. Ooooooh, the power.
7: 35 -- God, that Big Mac right before I got here was a huge mistake. I'm almost positive it's sitting right at the back of my throat.
7:43 -- Water! I knew I forgot something.
7:49 -- Hey lady, get back in your own space. I can only step-step-kick so far, less so if you're RIGHTINMYFACE.
7:54 -- Ouch! There's a super sharp pain under my right breast. Hopefully, the right way to treat it is to just keep dancing? Nope.
8:00 -- I hate that she doesn't have a playlist. The moments of complete silence while she changes CD's are totally messing with my groove. Yay! More Pitbull!!
8:05 -- OK, I just have to say it. Instructor girl has a totally enviable butt. I'm wicked jealous.
8:09 -- Waaaaaaaaaaaaaater.
8:15 -- Yoga stretches during cool down. Loves it.
End Result: I'm exhausted! My breathing is fast and my throat is parched. There's a spot on my back that feels a little overworked, possibly because I crumped too hard. After the first 15 minutes, the class flew by and I could have kept dancing (as long as I found water) all night. The next day that spot is even more tender but it's the only aftermath I feel.
Effort: The only time you notice how much effort you're putting into Zumba is when you stop to catch your breath and realize it's really hard to. It's so much fun, and the music is so great that you zone out and totally forget you're in a fitness class. It's an entire body workout: arms, legs, abs, every part has its own movement and its own groove. Squats, flexes, thrusts and repetitive kicks are sneakily hidden in one awesome dance party.
Return Trip?: Absolutely. I love to dance, especially to my guilty pleasure, Pitbull. A lot of the moves we did are some I totally whip out when I'm dancing alone on my bed...I mean in a super cool, popular club. The instructor was a hot beast up there and I would love to get to her level. If it also gets me a butt like hers, well that's just an added bonus.
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