Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Your Mama Can't Dance

For two whole weeks in June I went to the gym fairly regularly. If I had actually worked out while I was there, I'd probably see results. But seriously, one week I actually went three times and could have gone a fourth, but I didn't want to start any crazy precedents. The point is, I was trying. But then I took Zumba.

At 5:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays my gym offers a TRX class. I'm a big fan of this workout. It's tough, but not extreme. I'm sweaty when I'm done, but I don't actually pass out, so that's a good thing. The only problem with TRX is that the class fills up too fast, given that there's only room for 10. So this particular Tuesday I arrived at 5 p.m. feeling super confident about securing my place, but would you believe 5 was too late? All the spots were taken. My natural inclination was to call it fate and head home, but the woman at the front desk suggested Zumba. I told her I'm not good at Zumba. She said it was a beginner's class. I figured what the hell.

What the hell, indeed.

There's something about Zumba that makes it right for blog post abuse. Maybe it's because...
  • I see Zumba as the new Sweatin' to the Oldies. Baby boomers don't want to admit that they've gotten older, so they take classes in which they dance to club music and shake body parts that have no business being shaken at this point in their lives. We are definitely NOT bringing sexy back in Zumba class. 
  • Honestly, I think I actually bring down the class's median age.
  • Zumba instructors, at least at my gym, appear to be misfits who aren't qualified to teach anything else. They're the only instructors who make me feel good about my physique.
  • It's embarrassing. I completely suck at it, but I imagine that even if I was a pro I'd be embarrassed to have those who are "really" working out see me doing this silly stuff that should definitely be reserved for dark nightclubs where alcohol is being consumed.
So there I was in Zumba class. On the side closest to the windows overlooking the gym floor where the real working out was taking place. And naturally there were college-age women watching us with amused faces. And old men looking for a hip swinging honey to take home for the night. I smiled and waved. They moved on. That's how badly I was swinging and shaking. I tried to laugh it off as I improvised the moves, but no one laughed with me, which made me feel even more pathetic.

Obviously Zumba is not a real workout.
I look hot afterward! Or maybe that's just sweat. 
I was sweating and panting about 30 minutes into what I assumed was a 45 minute class. At that point I
decided to just tap my toes and swing my arms around. What difference could it make? Fifteen minutes later I realized that the class was actually 60-minutes long. So I did the only sensible thing. I left. I had developed a side stitch and a stomach cramp.

And would you believe my hip ached for a whole week afterward?

So I swore never again. But then Abby asked me to take the class with her. I figured it is every teen's right to see their mom do something ridiculous, and since I've never done anything ridiculous before, she had earned this opportunity. We went to Zumba together. The teacher was late. I was counting, praying we'd make it to the 15 minute mark when you're technically allowed to leave class. I later found out that that rule doesn't apply at the health club, where you actually can leave class any time.

Turns out our instructor was Alex. I assumed she was the same teacher I'd had a couple weeks earlier. When she turned up (under the 15 minute rule), she was a he. He is the teacher that kicks butt, literally, in Cardio Kickboxing. The class that I tried twice and gave up on. Second degree black belt, my ass. So when I saw Alex I groaned. Outwardly.

And you can guess what happened next. Or maybe not.

I loved it.

My skills weren't any better, but Alex was a much better instructor. And perhaps there was a small part of me that didn't want to appear completely ridiculous in front of my teenage daughter. So she and I still have that experience to look forward to. And perhaps we'll take a few Zumba classes together in the meantime.