A Sisterly Guide to Taking Your First Zumba Class
(according to Liz Bridges)
Sisters, I’m gonna let all of you in on a little secret. I really don’t love exercise. I know, I know, it’s SO good for you… it will help you live longer… it will make you a happier person… blah, blah, blah. I KNOW all that. But let’s just be honest… it’s not always FUN to exercise. It’s hot, the weights are heavy, and there’s just no fun in walking on a
treadmill dreadmill when you never get anywhere!
Have you ever gone to the gym or to a group fitness class and had that feeling of, “Well, let’s get this over with…”? Well, I certainly have. My good friend Kati and I have even joked about the times that we parked our cars at the gym, got out, walked up the steps, got to the front door… and then turned around and left. Have you ever done that? Don’t feel guilty. Once, I parked at the Y, went in, got on the dreadmill, walked for 2 minutes, got off, walked over to the courtesy phone, called Papa John’s, and then left and picked up pizza to eat while sitting on the couch. Yes, that is a true story.
I tell you all of this not to discourage you from exercising… but to show you that if you have ever felt this way, you are not alone! For years, I got on and off of the exercise wagon. I’d stick with it for a while, and then I’d get bored and find myself at home watching Friends reruns during my usual gym time. UNTIL I found myself in a Zumba class for the first time.
So… what exactly is Zumba? Remember when you were in college and on Thursday nights you and your friends would head out to the local club/bar and dance your booty off until like three in the morning? Well sisters, if you take away the alcohol, smoke, and intoxicated men hitting on you, you’ve got yourself a Zumba class. Now seriously, admit it… that sounds amazing, right?
The first time you go to a Zumba class, I know you’re gonna feel a little uncomfortable. At least, I did. I remember thinking, my booty is way too big to be shaking it in front of all these people. I got to class early so I could stake out my spot… all the way on the BACK row. I figured the wall behind me wouldn’t judge me or my ginormous booty. For the record, sisters, I would like to tell you that if you are a first-timer, you should make your way to the FRONT so you can see what’s going on. I promise you that no one is there to look at your booty, no matter how big, bold, and beautiful it might be. (And I would also like to make the point that in Zumba, a large, beautiful booty is really an ASSet.)
Let’s talk about what to wear.
Since we’ve talked so much about the booty, let’s talk about what to put ON the booty. You’re going to see a variety of booty-coverings in your Zumba class. Some people will wear shorts. Some will wear those cute little running skirts I mentioned in the Sisterly Guide to Running Your First 5K. The exercise apparel section of Target has a lovely assortment of yoga pants, dry-fit capris, and more. All of these are great. I recommend that if you buy any of the above items, you get the color black. The reasons for this are three-fold. First, black makes everything appear smaller. Am I right, sisters? Second, it matches everything. And third (and most importantly) black pants do not show butt-sweat. Yes, I did say “butt-sweat.” It’s just a fact of exercise, people. And while it happens to the best of us… you want to try and hide it as best you can. Another great option out there are Zumba pants. Yes, there are actual Zumba pants. Sisters, these pants make any butt, even one that’s giant like mine, look cute and perky. I promise. Plus, they’ve got these cute little strings or tassels on the booty pockets that move around when you shake it.
Now… moving on to the “girls.” You’ve gotta have a good sports bra for Zumba. There’s a whole lotta shaking going on in a Zumba class… and the girls need to be secure. Seriously… once I saw someone do a little shimmy and give herself a black eye. (Well, not really… but it was close.) Ever since then, I’ve doubled up on the sports bras. And while we’re talking about the girls… Sisters, you’ve gotta turn off the headlights, if you catch my drift. You’re gonna sweat and for some reason… that’s when they always come on. Do what you’ve gotta do. Sometimes a simple pair of Band Aids will remedy this situation. Sometimes you need a more high-tech product such as a pair of DIMRS. (www.dimrs.com) Take cover. If you don’t, when you walk out of that group fitness room, you’re gonna run into someone like your boss, and they’re going to be blinded by the headlights. It’s Murphy’s Law.
When you come to Zumba, be prepared to let all your inhibitions go.
This is the one place in the gym where you hear the instructor yell things like, “Pump it!” or “Shake ‘em!” It’s the only place in the gym where you’ll hear songs like “The Booty Bounce,” “Chunky,” or “Push It.” It’s the one place in the world where you can shake your booty (and other shakeable parts) and NO ONE will even give you a second glance. In fact, sisters, the crazier you act and the louder you yell, the more people will like you.
Sisters, I want you to know that Zumba will change you forever. Seriously, it will. Don’t be surprised when you’re at a restaurant and one of your Zumba songs comes on and you spontaneously break into song. Don’t be shocked when you find yourself on iTunes downloading music in languages that you can’t speak or understand. I think half the songs on my iPod are in another language. In fact, as I am typing this, I was just singing to myself, “Amarte Es Un Problema.” And I just realized that I don’t even know what that means.
But sisters, what I love most about Zumba is how it makes me feel. I never dread going to a Zumba class. And I promise you, I have never left a Zumba class feeling exhausted. Every single time I go, I leave feeling like I am on a cloud.