Zumba bombs

Now that I have finished a six-week course with Bertina, she and Chris segued into a Costa Rica holiday for a few weeks while I find alternative exercise opportunities around Granada. Thank goodness I always touch base with Ronn’s yoga class three times a week; I know that it keeps me grounded and on a good schedule. But lately this feeling has come back to me that I want to dance in a class with an instructor, not just around my house. I decided to try a Zumba class at Pure Gym to see what all the Zumba hype was all about and if it would fill in my badly needed weekly dance requirement.

I arrive on a Tuesday night at 5.00 pm, not having too much of an idea what to expect. I had heard from friends back in the States that Zumba was a lot of fun and also a great workout, but I wasn’t sure what you actually do in a Zumba class and maybe I still don’t.  Classes probably vary a lot depending on your instructor, the gym, the culture, probably even the country.

Zumba at Pure was definitively presented with a Latin flavor which was great: the music was pretty hype and pumping loud, totally in line with Nicaragua.  Groovin’ and dance moves included Latin dancing, like salsa and even the Macarena (should have known!).  The instructor was very upbeat and super energetic but…. (well, come on, I’ve been hanging out with Ronn my yogi and Bertina my coach, so I am a little spoiled), so well, I have to say that I found the Zumba instructor to be honestly, super-egotistical.

This class was all about her and us following her. I didn’t hear her encourage or check in on her group of older ladies struggling to keep up. Now at the speed at which she was going, which on a scale of 1-10, (10 being the fastest and most energetic), was at a 10 (!) for the whole hour- try to imagine what that looks like!

Which okay, kudos to her for being in great aerobic shape, but her class was not certainly connecting with her and it wasn’t really fun to even try to stay moving at that kind of frantic level for an hour. You know, it reminded me of the old manic step classes from the eighties that, let’s face it, were also not very fun! Remember those?

It felt like the idea of her class is just keep moving until the hour is over, try to sweat and lose as much weight as you can (definitely not for me!) and then if you return it’s because you are forcing yourself to get ‘in shape’ but not really because you want to be there. Not because you are laughing and enjoying yourself or the people that you are with- including your instructor.

I really feel at this point that if you are going to make exercise a part of your life, especially as daily goal, you should feel fantastic doing it and it should make you smile, a lot! How else would you or why would make yourself go do something that wasn’t enjoyable? I don’t think misery is a requirement to having a strong and fit body. In fact, I view doing something that you don’t like everyday as a hindrance to your goals because of the negative energy that produces in your life which is unhelpful to personal motivation.

Secondly, from the beginning my goal was never to lose weight but to put on muscle and curves. So this kind of burn, burn, burn exercise is counter productive to my personal goals. I need resistance training that builds muscle and bone mass along with it. Sculpting out rather than in. Very tricky. Thank God for Chris and Bertina who get it.

However, I do love to dance and there is no doubt in my mind that I could push myself very hard in a great dance class and it would be a pleasure to do it. I need to keep looking until I find a really talented instructor who understands that movement is a celebration and is as beautiful as it is joyful to do. There might even be a really qualified Zumba instructor out there that gets that, too and I would love to find her! Until then, I am going to keep searching the streets of Granada…and anticipate the safe and happy return of my favorite trainers! I’m so blessed!