OH. MY. GAWD. I went to my first ever Zumba class tonight at Hip Circle Studio in Evanston. Carolyne went with me, and we met up with our friend Abby, who has been doing Zumba at the dance studio for a while now. I honestly did not know what to expect, but I can certainly tell you, I did not expect to lose feeling in my legs so quickly.
For those not in-the-know, Zumba is the Latin dance workout that is sweeping health clubs across America….essentially, it’s a high-intensity workout set to Latin dance music that uses the essentials of Latin dance to get your workout in….some cha cha, salsa, meringue etc. The beats are great, and what with my recent forays into yoga, where I’ve been building muscle and tone, I thought I’d be fine at it. Lord was I wrong…..The class is taught by this wonderful woman, Malik Turley, who is a certified Zumba instructor. I was not at all intimidated going into the studio or with the other women in the class, and I was feeling pretty confident that I was going to rock out at this….until we got started. Between me and Carolyne having issues figuring out which way we were moving, left to right, front to back, add in the arm movements and hip movements, and we honestly looked like two people who should be wearing helmets for our own safety. Frankly, it is a miracle we (and those in our immediate vicinity) made it out alive.
After the first two songs, I was sweating like a pig, but felt good. My heart rate was up (and in the preferred range for exercise), my muscles were getting a great workout and at this point I was still keeping up with the majority of footwork. Three songs after that, I was convinced I was having a heart attack, breathing like I needed a lung transplant and my legs were shaking from extensive muscle trauma. I kept looking around at the women in the class, who were doing these dance moves and keeping up so well with Malik that I thought “I am WAAAAAY out of my league here, what was I thinking?”
I cannot honestly say if it was the sheer will of God, me being determined to prove that I could finish the class without dying, my desire to earn activity points so I could have a hamburger for dinner, or simply attempting to retain what remained of my dignity that got me through the hour-long class without (a) falling, (b) having a heart attack, or (c) crying. Whatever it was, I can tell you this — I will NOT allow a Latin dance workout to best me. Ohhhh, no. That’s right, I’m putting Zumba on notice. I’m coming back for you, Zumba…..I will conquer you….next week (my legs need to stop shaking before I go for round 2), but I’ll be there.