Tag Archives: exercise

Bringing the “va-va-voomba” back to Zumba

You haven’t truly lived until you’ve attended a Zumba class. This is especially true if you’re a white, uncoordinated female in a small rural town testing your non-existent skills in an overly-crowded, mirror-encased exercise sweatshop. Excuse me. Gym.

My spidey senses are telling me that it’s an epidemic!

Everything is magnified. EVERYTHING. This includes your own self-loathing that you haven’t been able to touch your toes since high school. (Are you humming Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” yet?)

Those alongside you in class will be the first to attest that until they saw your weak, white-girl “dance” moves, they weren’t living either – at least not to their fullest or cheeriest.

If you don’t know what Zumba is, it’s a Latin-American inspired dance workout built around some good, old-fashioned belly and salsa dancing, hip hop, flamenco, samba, etc. It also always inevitably revolves around a Michael Jackson song or two because, eh – why not?

The workout is designed to make you crazy hot. As in, “in shape.” Toned. Hella buff.

Also, you sweat a lot.

Your first experience will not be pleasant. In any way. You’ll triumphantly think you have mastered a dance move only to discover you have fallen to the floor and physically can’t move. Zumba is sneaky that way.

Zumba is pleasant for those who know the basic moves and attend class regularly who are Latin American.

If you weren’t a She Wolf before Zumba, you’re sure to be one after! Rawr.

Anyway, for all my fellow classmates knew, I was simply aiding their abs in a simple yet effective laughter exercise with my flailing attempts. Laughter – it’s the sneakiest exercise of all. I try to lead you all in a few repetitions at least once weekly on this site.

That’s right. Read my blog for a better quality of life.

The fact that no one tapped me on the shoulder mid-session to tell me matter-of-factly that “Maybe you should just stick to dieting” gives me hope. You can’t fight gravity, my dear bloggers, and even at 26 years old, I know it will only worsen with age. Trust me – these hips don’t lie, except on the ground in exhaustion after a grueling hour of sashaying around (Read: colliding with people) like a complete idiot.

Zumba instructors should really survey new participants’ skill levels prior to joining for the safety and protection of everyone involved… Then perhaps mine would have easily known that I would have been better equipped in an experimental dance class full of orangutans and padded walls. Those orangutans would probably still pick up moves faster and more elegantly than me. It’s their long, dancer’s arms.

I can say with utter assurance that first Zumba class I attended was the least sexy I have ever felt in my life, and that’s saying something because I played fast-pitch softball for seven years.

I’m fully confident that I am at LEAST as sexy (and graceful) as this guy, who was clearly a swan in his past life.

If I recall correctly, I had to look down to verify that my woman parts were still intact – like they could be taken away for a blatant lack of grace and agility. Like Elizabeth Taylor would beam down from the heavens to where I’m standing and reprimand me with a frown and a “Bad woman!” wagging one slender, perfectly-manicured finger in my face.

 The second class I attended was a slight improvement. Could it have been because I stubbornly  fumed and balked from attending another for seven months, pondered, pondered some more, and then cheated the system…by buying my own Zumba DVDs!? (It was my first infomercial purchase, and I got two free maracas which have been fantastic for sitting stagnantly next to my weights and exercise ball collecting dust shaping my arms.)

Yes, it could. I practiced religiously in secret, with a plan to go to class with new friends who would be uber jealous of the way I could pick up new moves in the drop of a hat. And what’s that? Add some flava to the moves, individualizing them in my own creative way for added flair and style points?

Hey, you do what you have to do. 

AND IT TOTALLY WORKED!!!

I had never felt more sexy or confident. To use my Word of the Day app on my iPhone, however, then came the ironic portending. After zumba-ing my tush off in the third class I attended, I was so tired that upon standing lazily propped against my parents’ kitchen island, I rolled and sprained my ankle. My parents will tell you they didn’t laugh for a minute or two before helping me, but they did. Oh, gosh, they did.

And so I have proceeded to spend the last week propped lazily on the couch in baggy jammies. And I have (gasp)…a cankle.  (Are you humming LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” yet?) A cankle that means business. A cankle that whispers ominous things to me when no one is around, like “Eat that pint of ice cream”  and “You know you’ve always wanted a segway.”

Like I said, Zumba is sneaky. And apparently choosy. But I’ll be back.

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A day in the life of a (pseudo) runner

The occasional person runs after a hat blown from atop their heads on a windy day. An unlucky few run for their lives from axe murderers – or, more likely, after a particularly bad date. Some run for president, some from their fears. And SOME run because, well, they like it. Because it’s “good” for you. God forbid.

My running habits are a concoction of the above statements, with the exception that there is not enough Purell in the world to make me want to shake numerous germ-riddled hands on a constant basis – obviously what being president primarily entails. Obviously. Plus, it’s hard to run in heels so after a bad date, I more or less trot unevenly at a quick, but always panicked gait. At that point, he may as well be an axe murderer – I mean, it’s not like we’re going to have a continued friendship after I find out my former date is on Team Edward.

In the words of stand-up comedian Demitri Martin, “I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flip-flops, you’re saying, ‘Hope I don’t get chased today. Be nice to people in sneakers.’”

As a kid, I ran everywhere because life was so exciting and effervescent that there simply was not enough time in the day to explore all it had to offer. Now there could be a tornado warning with a visible sighting of the natural disaster looming outside my window and I’d probably just shrug nonchalantly and be sure to grab my Cheetos before slowly retreating uselessly* to my bathtub.

*Seriously, what are apartment dwellers supposed to do in those situations? Apartments: for the happy-go-lucky. (Read: Single and oh, so alone.) I guess apartment owners figure that if we’re renting in the first place, we’re probably loners, and quite honestly, who’s going to miss us when we blow away in a swirling whirlwind of cats and frozen dinners, our tears, now, the bitter rain.

God, that got dark fast.

Nowadays, I go for long runs outside because I figure it’s a better alternative to going nowhere on some stationary machine at the gym while some sweaty, creepy dude eyeballs me until I see that portions of his lower body appear to be doing some (probably not so heavy) lifting of their own.

Awkward. Which is my point. So, as you can plainly see, the gym is not an option.

Also, the jeans. THE jeans. If you can’t fathom spending an entire paycheck on a pair of jeans lovingly sewed out of heavenly soft cotton crafted from the clouds above by angels themselves, then you can’t possibly understand how amazing they make my derriere look. Derriere. Such a proper word considering I wasn’t above a junk joke not more than two paragraphs ago.

Sadly, I have to fit INTO the aforementioned jeans for this incredible transformation to take place – hence, the running. The jeans are a burden and a blessing.

You can be the biggest advocate for running on the face of Earth, but five minutes into beating that pavement, that phrase gets literal, and quickly. Everyone who has exuberantly and ambitiously taken off running regrets it at some point within the jaunt. Everyone. And if you say, “Oh, I just love it,” I call your bluff. Maybe just for a second, maybe for the entire run, but it’s never FUN, or the movies or my favorite bars would come equipped with a track. And it’s certainly not fun for the whole family, because your baby can’t even log a mile and that just makes the entire family look weak.

I’d say that yes, I love the way I feel after a long run in the country, but I’m pretty sure the joy and peace I feel afterward primarily stem from the 12 hours in the future I don’t have to work out. At that point, I convince myself that I have earned my gravy-dunked fries and twice-battered chicken strips, which lead to a guilty food coma/baby, thus sustaining the vicious circle.

I do love running. To be outside when the grass has just been trimmed with the scent of honeysuckle and lilac in the air is nothing short of wonderful, but that is not to say it doesn’t have its low points. Particularly on ridiculously hot days when I INEVITABLY see a fellow colleague walking toward me a block ahead. Do I cross the street and break out the hurried, abrupt wave as I journey on my way?

Yes. Yes, I do. And the faster I run, the more likely no one will see my (quite worrisome, in fact) oxygen deprivation and become horrified as they realize I’m sweating (quite obscene) bullets.

As they approach, I pick up the pace and envision Rocky climbing those stairs. I’m breathing fiercely out of my nose, mouth closed with gritty determination trying to pull off looking like I’m at perfect ease with my run. Like I could do this all day. Like I love it. Hoping shamelessly that as they drive by, they’ll think: Man, look at that girl go! I am impressed. And GREAT derriere.

Of course, face red with exertion, body pushed to its breaking point, bug-eyed sunglasses on, I am unrecognizable to these familiar faces crossing my path.

When I get home, I collapse on the floor and turn on my air conditioning to the “arctic” setting. Chloe looks at me amusedly with a hint of ridicule before quickly becoming unimpressed, stretching and falling to her side with a disinterested yawn.

In the morning, I’m so sore, I can hardly even get the damn jeans on.