June 30, 2011

Torture My Behind Can Get Behind

I attended my first Zumba class last night.

Let me let that thought sink in a minute.

Me. Exercising.

I'm old, I'm obese and I'm horribly out of shape. Thanks to aching joints, arthritis is my reminder that I'm overdoing it.

I always listen to my joints, and never overdo it. And I'm also pretty lazy.

I'm so out of shape that I broke out in a sweat at home when I put on my socks and shoes. I haven't worn anything but Crocs in three years. It was a workout just bending over to put the socks on, and to tie the shoes.

When did my gut get that big?

Sweating already, and I hadn't even arrived at the scene of the torture class.

There were several women there, various ages and sizes - but I think I was probably the oldest. There may have been one woman who was my approximate size, but was about twenty years my junior.

I wore comfy, loose-fitting clothes and so much deodorant that my armpits made a sucking sound the first time I raised my arms up over my head.

I totally made that part up.

In the future, I might want to think about avoiding any activity for which I have to sign a waiver, releasing them from any injuries to my body or my, of all things, eyeglasses.

What the hell were they going to do to me?

I was starting to get nervous.

I listened to several women complain to an instructor about how much their abs hurt, about how many reps she forced them to do, and about the fifteen pound weights that were used.

Sensing the look of alarm on my face, the instructor told me they were whiners from a personal training class.


The class took place in a dark cave of a room. Black walls, sayings in fluorescent paint and paint splatters. Very 60s. Even had black light energy-efficient bulbs. And a disco ball.

Nothing says fun like a disco ball, right?

The hardwood floor was pristine - just waiting for the beads of my sweat to taint its varnished loveliness.

Color me stupid, but isn't an instructor supposed to INSTRUCT? The thin, cargo-panted woman was the class leader, but no instructor. And it seemed like most of the other folks there had already memorized the steps and hip gyrations that made up each routine.

Zumba is supposed to be a Latin-inspired exercise program. Yet they played no Latin music, and did none of the Latin steps I watched on Youtube during my research.

I was expecting sultry - and I got hip hop music at ear-splitting volumes...and aerobics.

I felt cheated. I wanted to be able to yell "cuchi cuchi" at least once, like Charo used to.

Actually, what's with the yelling? The leader expected yelling and screaming and singing along to the lyrics (to songs I'm not sure I've ever heard before). Fat chance of that happening for me.

I wiggled and I jiggled. I jumped and rotated my hips. I tried to keep up, but I was often not fast enough with the footwork. I felt silly. 

It actually reminded me of a tent revival - or the one time I attended services at a Pentecostal church. 

Lots of hand waving and wailing and speaking in tongues (since I had no idea what lyrics they were yelling).

And I had women come up to me (in the middle of a song) to encourage me to come back.

Proselytizing for Zumba. It did have a feel of religious fervor; it was almost cult-like. At the end, they move into a circle and put an arm into the center and shout "Uno, dos tres - ZUMBA!"

The holy trinity of fitness.

I survived the class, and was very happy to see that my bladder and/or uterus did not hit the floor during a complicated series of moves.

I was awfully glad I wore a new bra - I think I understand why that waiver included damages to eyeglasses...if one of my "girls" had sprung loose, I might be at Lenscrafters right now, getting a new pair of specs.

The stats:
Class length: 60 minutes
How many breaks I needed: 12
How many breaks I took: 5, and they were short, let me tell you.
Bottles of water consumed during class: 2
Times I feared that I'd pee after drinking all that water: 11
Number of times my lungs cursed me for smoking all those cigarettes: 14
Number of times 'WTH was I thinking' was said by the voices in my head: 13
Number of times I chided myself for undertaking this challenge without benefit of health insurance: 23

Do you have a Zumba horror story experience? I'd love to know about it.

But if you thought it was easy and you caught on really fast? You can just keep that information to yourself, okay?


  1. Get your groove on, girl. Keep up the good work, keep your puppies harnessed (still laughing about lenscrafters),and next year at this time, YOU will be teaching newbies how to rumba.

  2. OMG, this is THE most hilarious post I've read of yours...and that's saying a lot, since ALL of them are side-splittingly funny! I would never take a Zumba class or any kind of class, unless it said FOR BEGINNERS, or FOR OLD PEOPLE, or at least practiced at home first!! You were so brave! You are really doing some new and different things and I'm proud of you....yet, I worry about the various damage that could simultaneously happen to your body parts! :o

  3. very impressed. I will never do that because, I'm lazier than you.

  4. HA, that was so funny. It reminds me of the time I went and took Belly Dancing Lessons.... hmmm, I think I blogged about that. Not near as funny as yours though! But good for you.


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