I’ve been thinking for a while about trying some exercise classes at the Y, aside from Pilates. I’ve gotten very used to my individual fitness pursuits — things I can do by myself like running, cycling, weight training, or using the elliptical machines. But people I know keep talking about Zumba and how much fun it is. And hey, I’m a girl who likes to have fun.
Zumba is supposed to be a combination of dance and fitness. I like to dance, and I like fitness, so I thought this might be a really good class for me to take. And since everyone says it’s “soooooo much fun,” I figured it was worth a shot.
My local YMCA is offering a class right now called “Intro to Zumba.” The idea is that some people want to try Zumba, but are intimidated with all the dance moves. The intro class is supposed to help people ease into it. This class is actually offered at a time when I can go, so I thought this would be a great way to get started.
I walked into the exercise room about 10 minutes before class to find it already filled with about 20 women. I didn’t know any of them, which left me standing a little awkwardly in the back of the room, but I didn’t let that bother me even though everyone else seemed to have brought a friend along. Instead, I did a little people-watching. By 10:00, when class was scheduled to begin, I estimate there were 30 to 35 women in the room.
Now, I have a little quirk: I don’t really like women. Especially large groups of women. I don’t go to women’s Bible studies or women’s retreats, and I don’t go to Girls’ Night Out. I avoid wedding showers and baby showers. It’s just way too much estrogen in a small space. So the fact that this class included a smallish room jam-packed with women was the first strike against it for me.
Then the class began. The instructor, Sharon, was perky.
If there’s anything that irritates me almost as much as rooms full of women, it’s perky women. I just don’t do perky.
I’m sure that part of the appeal of Zumba is that it is a mixture of dance and fitness. I guess it’s supposed to feel like you’re just at a dance party, but you’re getting a workout. But here’s a news flash for you: You can get a workout just by dancing. The instructor led the class in specific moves we were supposed to be doing — these work the abs a little more, those work the hip area, the rest are just a good cardio workout. But in my opinion, the Zumba dance moves are boring. I really like dancing, and I like the challenge of difficult dance moves. I like practicing to get them right. The Zumba moves are pretty simple, and it’s repetitive. And that’s probably a good thing for a fitness class, because you want people to catch on quickly so they can get their heart rates up within the hour you have. But it doesn’t feel like dancing to me. To me, dance is not just a workout — it’s fun, it’s interactive, it’s challenging, and it has variety. Zumba didn’t do that for me.
If I’m going to take a fitness class, I’d rather just work on the fitness. Give me a body part to work until it burns, and then let’s work on the next one. If I’m going to do some cardio, I’d rather run or bike alone than be surrounded by women and be encouraged by a way-too-happy instructor.
And if I’m going to dance, give me tough moves that take time to master. Give me a partner with whom I have to work things out, or give me a performance for which I have to get ready.
I’m pretty sure that I’m the only woman on earth who doesn’t love Zumba. I’m okay with that. Just add it to the list of things that makes me a little bit odd. (The list includes the fact that I don’t really care for chocolate, I almost never wear makeup, and the aforementioned dislike of large groups of women.)
You might love it, but Zumba is definitely NOT for me.