Not all Zumba classes are created equal

Even in a slower-paced class, I still prefer Zumba to other group
fitness sessions. Photo credit.

Want to hear something terrifying? I read this morning that the average Thanksgiving meal includes 4,500 calories and nearly 229 grams of fat (see here for tips to work off all that deliciousness). For me, that’s more than double an entire day’s worth of calories! No wonder, with an average of three turkey dinners every Thanksgiving, I seem to gain five pounds over a weekend.

Not this year, dammit, not this year. Maybe just four pounds. (ha!)

In an effort to preemptively avoid re-losing the battle that is my pants fitting (did I mention they fit for a few days??), I’ve kicked up my number of gym classes this week. This morning, I found myself in a new-to-me Zumba class and sadly, I learned that not all Zumba classes are created equal.

Now, if you read my I-heart-Zumba post a month ago (see here), you know I’m a fan, a BIG fan. Zumba–Latin-inspired cardio dance–is the most fun I’ve ever had at the gym ever. It’s challenging, fast-paced and high-intensity calorie burning with fun music. Or so I thought.

This morning’s class was… nice. The music was slower than I’m used to, the moves easier and more repetitive. How many step-touches and grapevines and jumping jacks can a girl do and not get bored? Whereas in my normal class, I look at the clock once–usually 27 minutes in when my heart is pumping so hard I want to throw up just a little bit. Today it was 9:07. Then 9:11, 9:14, 9:21… all the way until our class concluded.

At first I was disappointed and started composing this post in my head. And then I tried to cognitively reframe… Although it is slower, I can use the time to get my moves perfect… I can add more hops and jumps… I can push myself harder. That worked for the span of a song. And then I tried some mindfulness… concentrating hard to stay in the moment and enjoy what I was doing. It wasn’t until I chatted with a lady next to me though that I got my attitude in order.

“You really know how to shake your booty, don’t you?” she said.

I laughed. “Yeah, I learned how in Allison’s Saturday class.”

The woman confided how fast this class was to her and how lost she felt even after four visits. I encouraged her to hang in there and just have fun.

A few minutes later, another lady asked me how long I’d be doing Zumba. Since I’ve only been in the know for a month, I shared that my background in dance helps me to keep up so well with basic steps. She seemed relieved, and I also told her to stick with it and have fun.

I got to thinking… not all Zumba classes are created equal and maybe they shouldn’t be. Although I found the class somewhat tedious, for those newcomers, the repetition was incredibly helpful, allowing them to get in step and get the hang of it. Once I got that perspective in mind, I felt less irritated and tried to set a good example for the folks who might look to me for the steps. (I still won’t be coming back to this class though!)

So that’s how I’m planning to keep fit while eating all of the stuffing and gravy in the world. What about you??

xoxo,
shawna

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