Zumba Zingers

Because, you know, it’s just what I do now, and I just mention it in conversation like any regular thing, “Oh, just going to zumba tonight, didn’t get to go last week and I’m REALLY looking forward to it, I just feel like something’s off when I miss a class, you know?” This is all true – thanks to a good friend I felt brave enough to try out zumba and discovered I liked it. It always feels good to come back and it’s fun to see myself in the gym’s mirror:

I don’t move with the same speed or energy as our trainer, but then I’m NOT the trainer, so that’s fine. Whenever she praises us and tells us how wonderfully we did, I want to hug her and tell her how nice she is. But she seems to know it’s about the smiles each woman eventually has for herself during the class, and not just about the individual ways in which we all interpret the moves we’re shown.

However, we do need her guidance. Recently she’s been attempting to show us the moves and the choreography, subsequently doing one sequence with us and then stopping, perhaps for a well-deserved break, letting us follow the choreo (watch me drop the slang like nobody’s business) on our own. The moment she stopped moving, things unraveled like a rolling ball of yarn.

And then each one of us, being ready to jump back to being the individuals we all are when there is no supervision, starts doing her own thing. It looks like this:

Our trainer rightly identifies the potential for disaster and steps in once again. She doubles her speed and I just skip in place like an overgrown toddler, minus the cuteness. I do love the bent forward, backwards running, booty-shaking part, though. We’re all good at it and it creates a strong tribe vibe (rhyme alert). I’m not saying squad, because I haven’t researched if that’s still trendy nowadays, plus we don’t know each other.

We finish the last routine before the last relaxing sequence, the trainer giving it her all, while I stay true to myself.

 

Advertisements

Belly, Butt and Thighs Workout: First-Timer Report

When I walk in there’s a burly-looking guy with tatoos up both well-muscled arms patiently sitting at the front by the mirrors, and my heart sinks, because a gleeful inner voice dripping with Schadenfreude whispers boot camp. I hold out a little hope that he might be just another person come to join the workout who simply looks like he really, really knows what he’s doing, but no, there’s his fitness headset.

Welcome to my first ever belly, butt and thigh workout, OR legs, bums and tums in British English OR Bauch, Beine, Rücken, Po (BBRP) in German, because we just have to one-up everyone else, so we added the back to the name.

The trainer starts talking with ten minutes still to go until we start. He seems to enjoy hinting at push-ups and “using our whole body weight”. I knew it, they can read minds, tapping into what probably 80 percent of the audience is trying hard not to think about.

The room is filling up fast and the air is thick with energetic apprehension. Or is that just me? There are two other guys in the crowd of women. Everyone is looking focused and the trainer suggests taking off our sneakers and removing our socks if they aren’t slip-proof. Two women look around and proceed to do so. One of them is me. I wait a few minutes, notice no one else, the trainer included, has done this. Damn. He got me. If it was a trick to make me laugh, it didn’t work. If it was a trick to make me a tiny bit angry, it did work. All the better for the workout?

I quickly pull on my socks and shoes, and we’re off. Everything is mostly fine until we start going lower and then he shows us how to do the jumping spider plank. Oh my God.

My inner swearing count goes up dramatically and one F-bomb actually escapes my mouth, but the music is so loud and with the uneven noise of sneakered feet repeatedly hitting the floor I am unheard. No, the answer is just no. Same for the full-on plank, though I try my best with three restarts, which we’re encouraged to do. We’re asked if we’re doing OK and since apparently no one but me feels free to confess their grunting inability of doing anything remotely push-up related, everyone collectively grumbles “Jaajooooojaa”.

We lie on our backs, legs bent to one side, arms spread on the floor, stretching, and I can feel the temporary relief before the next ab-strengthening exercise, pulling those knees up to your raised chin while still positioned on your side. I don’t even want to think what I look like right now, but it’s probably more spectacular than that time I was trying to follow those zumba arm movements and made the impression I was trying to awkwardly cross myself.

We’re praised to the skies at the end of the session and I don’t have to hold on to anything to get up, which is a bonus, but ask me again tomorrow. For now I feel pleasantly energized, but also like I deserve a reward, so I buy all my favourite breakfast food on the way home.

 

What Starting Zumba Classes Taught Me So Far…

Oh yeah, I can step in place and in sync, this feels good, I’m all ready to DO THIS, this should be fun…Oh, wait, she moved sideways, OK, oh, now it’s the other side, was I too slow? What is she doing with her feet? How come mine aren’t doing the same? Am I spinning the wrong way again? WHAT’S GOING ON?

When I try to do that leaning forward, chest shaking thing, nothing shakes, I just take turns rapidly moving my shoulders back and forth. It happens by itself. On the other hand, any booty-shaking seems to happen very easily and with a lot of joy. It also strongly feels like there’s, ah, much more to shake than with my upper body, and I can’t decide whether this is funny or disconcerting. Maybe it just is.

The moment the trainer says the choreography is simple, my brain goes into overdrive with its “Complicated” setting, but they do say that resistance is what makes you work harder. She adds some theatrics that go in line with the lyrics of the song, which kind of brings out my headphone party dance/ acting skills (you obviously don’t just sing along to stuff, you illustrate it with your moves), and hey, this is that song from that IISuperwomanII video, and is it actually about taxis…?

When you’re concentrating on doing some semblance of proper steps and not cuffing the girl next to you with your waving arms, you can’t really whoop. Sorry. But please be assured that I am actually able to let it all out.

Ballet Workout Number 9

Niagara Falls has nothing on me, that’s how much I’m sweating.

Our trainer walks in, catches my eye and gives me a smile. I’m recognized and I instantly know that I can’t move to the back of the room. My place is here, front and center. Well, her place is front and center, mine is slightly to the side. I have accepted the prima ballerina inside me waiting to burst forth and will continue working out. With great workouts comes great sweating.

I missed the previous class, but it’s gratifying and energizing to see that my body seems to remember something. This time I actually manage to sincerely smile at my reflection in the mirror before the sweat obscures my vision. It’s nice to see what I hope really is a straight back and how we all do exercises in sync, as if we’re participating in a performance we hadn’t discussed with each other.

There is slightly less choreography this time and the larger parts of what we did previously have been broken down in to smaller ones. We’re concentrating in greater detail on steps, toes, fingers, and really making an effort, hence the sweating. I’m sorry, I’m writing too much about sweating in this post, it’s making me perspire.

Occasionally our trainer shouts, “Is that ballet? That’s not ballet!” Well, the question we might want to ask ourselves, really, or that we don’t yet trust ourselves to ask her is, what is ballet?

I don’t get as much attention as last time, except for my tendus. “I’m doing this,” our instructor says, sweeping her foot in a graceful arc behind her. “And that’s not what you’re doing.” But of course I remember the instruction about aligning my outstretched foot with the tip of my nose when I bring it back. Got it, got it.

This time I also manage to sometimes pick up my arms and do movements along with moving my feet, switching correctly, so score!

We finish with our hands and feet on the floor, our bodies bent upwards like triangles. “Nothing is supposed to be bending,” the trainer calls out, and I know this is leveled at me. I can’t see what’s bent, because I’m looking down, but I venture a sideways glance at the mirror and am rewarded by a total vision. Red face, sweat dripping down the sides, glasses slipping down my nose, hair all over the place, legs bent at the knees. “Go further forward with your hands,” my trainer says. I do. “Futher!” I do. But only so far. “This is the dog, from yoga, you know?” I didn’t know, I’m woefully misinformed where yoga is concerned, but then, I’ve only just accepted my inner ballerina.