Today was my final Zumba Class attempt. Aqua Zumba.
I just basically suck at all forms of Zumba so I have to break up with it and find something else. It’s definitely me, not you (Zumba).
I believe there is another planet out there called Zumba and lots of humans populate it.
They are upbeat, coordinated and love loud Latin-style music.
They’ve got incredible rotation in their hips and zero concern about their boobies flapping in ALL directions…north, south, east, west, up, down, in and out.
I’d completed two classes and before I realized why the dialed-in girls wear flannels or light long-sleeve shirts around their hips. Those are flags of courage and mental freedom to just LET GO of any conservative feelings. Initially I thought it was the reason I wore shirts tied around my waist: to cover my backside (or hindquarters as Randy refers to them as).
<<<Insert horse neighing sounds.>>>
WHAT IS ZUMBA
I’ve asked a few of the FRONT ROW participants. No one has a clear and straight answer.
From attending two classes (Zumba Step and Zumba Gold) I’m just gonna say that it is the 1980’s boxed up in steps, shakes and wiggles. The music is loud and exciting (as are the instructors) and it’s freaking FUN.
I got choked up in my second class I was so excited to be amongst such amazing dancers. Chorus Line was and is one of my most favorite musicals. Tits and Ass!! Yeah baby!!
I think Zumba has different music tracks that piece together randomly (but perfectly) to take you on a dancing adventure you would not go on yourself. You need a Leader for this one and Zumba Instructors are excellent leaders!
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE THREE ZUMBA CLASSES?
Zumba Step is fast paced dancing waving your arms, hips and moving all about your step. The routines seem to be “known” by everyone (except me). Since I do not know the routines I have to watch the Instructor as close as possible. They give you hints of when things will change (hand signals) and most everything follows the rhythm of the music. In Step Zumba you could actually trip and kill yourself on your neighbor’s step.
The Instructor seemed to know most of the people and didn’t make any announcements at the start – the music began and IT WAS LOUD (I have hearing issues already). I moved away from being directly in front of a speaker. She started dancing instantly and so did the entire class. I felt swept up in the fun – people were having a BLAST! I was just modestly embarrassed that I couldn’t get the steps and arm movements colliding with people around me (apologizing a LOT).
20 minutes into the class I realized it was not the right thing for me to do. The lateral movements are FAST PACED and my knees started to ache and stitches of pain shot up and down my leg. Thankfully the class had 60 people in it so I could slip out undetected to the restroom to check my knees to check for broken knee joints (it really hurt that bad).
Zumba Gold is for people brand new to Zumba or OLD people with limited movements. Since I fit both, I figured I’d be able to keep up in the gOLD class. It was in a smaller classroom and no steps were involved.
Getting there early to get a spot in the back was crucial. The back row was filled so I was forced to be in row 3 space 8. I began to panic instantly. 7 people on my left and 3 on my right.
I turned to the woman next to me and mentioned this was my first class. BIG mistake. She was so excited to make sure I LOVED my experience. Next she wanted to know my name and much more. Isn’t it funny when you WANT to be solo and invisible and that backfires? Well she was sweet and older than me so I let my guard down answering her questions as fast as she was firing them at me.
Then the Zumba Instructor flew in and the music (again so loud it distorted) began! Like a wave at a Dodger’s game…the room began to move, sway, bob and weave. It swept me up and I began to sort of enjoy it.
I glanced at my older next door neighbor who was KILLING IT with every single step, hip pop and snap. I glued my eyes on the swishing torso of our Fearless Excited Zumba Instructor keeping my arms up and elbows bent while I attempted to connect my feet to the beat. No dice. I sucked!!!!!!!!!!!!
I stared at my own feet pissed that they couldn’t get with the program and that’s when the Instructor popped up DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME shimmying and shaking her chest, hips and arms and smiling the HAPPIEST exhilarated smile I’d seen in the entire gym since we started attending.
She was a larger breasted woman and I was taller than her. Her girls and her shoulders were DANCING. She looked me straight in the eyes – like DIRECTLY – and I got the message: SHAKE MY GIRLS (AND SHOULDERS) LIKE THEY’RE ON FIRE!! DO IT!!! SHE WASN’T GOING TO MOVE UNTIL I DID IT. I guess I complied enough (or she realized I wasn’t very good at this wild type of motion) because she moved back to the front of the classroom.
For the record: Gold only has ‘old’ in it because you can’t say GOLD without old. The people in this class might have been ‘old’ and all shapes, sizes, weights and heights but THEY WERE AH-MAZ-ING. I was in awe as the hour progressed.
My knees felt the same pain as they did in Step Zumba but I knew I had to gut it out. I’d already been “made” and there would be no escaping my spot in the Chorus Line.
I watched the clock a lot (hoping the Instructor wouldn’t catch me) wishing time would HURRY UP. My “girls” were tired and so was my brain (and my knees).
I don’t like the type of music they play because it brings back bad memories PLUS it’s way too loud for my sensitive hearing.
If there were a place that was on the dynamic OPPOSITE side of what I was standing in it would be the Tapo Canyon Trail (pictured). I have spent HOURS on this trail alone with the sound of bird wings and bees buzzing.
Finally…FINALLY we were done. The room emptied quickly and I hurried to leave too.
My neighbor RUSHED up to me as I gathered my sweat shirt to leave. She was BEAMING with happiness and dripping sweat. I was just sort of glistening because I really couldn’t keep up with the class.
“How did you like it!?!”
“It was great! You are an amazing dancer!!!”
“I love this class! You should come to the one tomorrow and on Saturday too!! There is also Zumba upstairs in the big fitness studio!!”
“Oh ya! I went to Step Zumba but it really hurt my knees. I came to Gold Zumba to see if I could manage but my knees are screaming right now. I don’t think Zumba is my thing unfortunately.”
“You just have to build up to it! Once you know all of the dance moves it becomes a different experience!!!!”
“Yes I bet you are completely right about that!”
I was maintaining my smile and excitement and ignoring my knees which were PISSED OFF.
“Well I better go, thank you for all of your encouragement. I needed it!”
I HURRIED out before the Instructor pinned me down too.
The distance from the studio to my ride home was about 3 blocks – this place is huge. I hobbled pointing my toes in different directions to take the strain off of my knees. I was really mad at myself for doing the entire class and knew I would be paying for it tomorrow.
Randy and I have been attending the gym doing our own workouts. I am SO GRATEFUL he has 12 years of exercise plans already built!
My favorite is kettle bells so I’ve enjoyed those but do a 20 minute “run” on a Life Fitness cross-trainer.
There is a giant row of these machines overlooking the pool area and that’s where I’ve spied the Aqua Zumba class and considered MAYBE I could give Zumba another chance.
So, today I signed up for and attended my first Aqua Zumba class.
Aqua Zumba is, obviously, in the water. Same music and same moves just TONS of resistance moving through the water. We are in a giant pool and the water is rib-high.
I wore the only swimming outfit I have: board shorts and a bikini top with lots of straps to ensure no “slippage”.
I got to the pool and stepped in. There were three elderly people taking laps and I got in their way so they gave me the stink-eye. Rather than let that get under my skin I cheerily wished them a Good Morning (to which they smugly looked away) and continued their walking.
We had 7 minutes until start time and this elderly couple HAD to walk near me again (the pool isn’t that large).
“Are you going to do the Aqua Zumba class too?”
Scowling at me, “Oh for God’s Sake NO WAY!!!”
“Yikes well ok then…”
“I’m all done here and I’ve been here since the pool opened at 5:00am!!!”
She was CLEARLY bothered by me and my pesky invasive questioning.
I watched her and her companion walk to the far end of the pool.
The Zumba Instructor arrived with her awesome boom-box speaker and introduced herself and asked my name. She was SO NICE!!!
She told me to just do what I can and not worry about the moves too much – just get accustomed to what was happening.
She stayed on the pool deck and led us using two chairs as “seats” for the parts where we were to lift our feet off the ground and hold our legs up while paddling with our hands or arms.
The music was not as loud but it was the same type (bummer but what did I expect!?).
We began! I couldn’t keep up.
The moves were much faster than I could do and moving in water gives you lots of resistance.
But she carried on with the class and had the greatest attitude ever. It was the thing that kept me trying to execute the dance routines.
You know, a good leader can get you do to ANYTHING sometimes. Most times.
There I was, in my bikini shaking my girls (beneath the water – no one could see) along with my Instructor. I got through 12 minutes and I was TIRED. WHAT!?!
Then we began lateral movements. I was ignorantly pushing myself left and right along the pool bottom when my right knee popped out of joint. That feeling is beyond explanation I think. The bone was OUT of the joint and the pain was covering my body to my fingertips.
Since we were ALL swishing around in the water no one noticed me wince and “fall”. I’d already been completely off of the routine by about 8 beats.
From an outsider looking in one might have thought I was sort of drowning in place.
I grabbed my knee and pressed on both sides as I extended my foot. It popped back in but the pain sort of lingered for the remainder of the class. I was suddenly really bummed out.
Here I thought being in the water would be a good idea and it backfired.
The bottoms of my feet were also being scraped repeatedly and I felt blisters forming from it. I adjusted by standing on my heels and did ZERO lateral movements with my legs straight (like a side lunge).
The music goes in spurts and routines that follow it. I think they are 6-9 minutes long and we go through 8 of them? I’m guessing.
At this point I had 15 minutes to survive and FINALLY a tune came on that I absolutely love: Imagine Dragons: Believer.
Have you ever paid attention to lyrics of songs?
My favorite part of this song is the chorus:
“PAIN! YOU MAKE ME A BELIEVER!”
It was slower and I was finally SEMI-able to keep up with my Instructor and the moves that accompanied this excellent tune. It took my mind off of the pain bouncing up and down between my ankle, knee and hip.
Lastly we had a cool down stretch which I was grateful of. I was SWEATING and it was dripping into my eyes and itchy.
I liked this Zumba class because it reminded me of being a kid and playing in the pool all day then being so exhausted I would fall asleep at the dinner table while my mom cooked.
If you have the opportunity to try Aqua Zumba I suggest you do it. My only advice would be to wear aqua-shoes because I now have giant blisters on the balls of my feet.
I am super happy I tried all of these classes.
With any sort of group fitness activity you can see and feel the energy build up to a fun level depending on the Instructors. Each of these Instructors had their own positive and fun energy and I appreciated it – and I respect it having taught groups myself.
This gym has a lot more for me to try.
With the arrival of Spring both Randy and I are anxious to get up into the mountains and onto the trails!
We also want to ride up the Jordan/Provo River on the bike path and have lunch near Bridal Falls.
There is plenty to enjoy here and not enough time to do it: just like everyone else I guess.