Zumba! Join the Party?

8 Nov

I did something so crazy the other week.  Something I could never have pictured myself doing.  Something so inexplicable and ridiculous that I have no idea who I am anymore.

I went to Zumba.


Source: Photobucket

Except it looked nothing like the above, nor did it look anything like the hot sweaty night club full of tanned, fit, gorgeous models that the TV advertisements would have you believe.  It looked more like a group of awkward, uncoordinated, sweaty ladies in a school hall similar to this:


Source: blingcheese.com

If you haven’t heard about Zumba yet then I am afraid to tell you that you have been living under a rock.   I won’t go into explaining what it’s all about but you can read more about it here if you are one of those people that reside under a rock.  I won’t hold it against you… I promise.

A few of my friends and I decided it might be fun to give Zumba a try at one of our local schools.  I didn’t really know what to expect but images of gyrating hips and shaking booties filled my mind.  I decided to go there with an open mind and see if I could be enticed to “Join the Party!”.

We arrive at the little school hall and the class begins.  There’s a Jane Fonda-esque warm up to start with.  Think running on the spot, pretending that you are holding weights and bouncy squats and lunges.  Physical – I was getting it.   All that was missing were a pair of electric blue spandex tights under a fluro pink g-string leotard.  Needless to say I was already in a fit of giggles.

I’m really not great a copying people’s moves.  I just can’t get my brain to comprehend how to make my body move in the mirror image of somebody elses and I’m afraid to report that the instructor was not the best at helping the class out.   She would simply point at the foot that we should begin with and then point in the direction we would be going and then off we would go!  Sorry lady, but I need a little more help than just a point, thankyouverymuch!

Our first ‘routine’ starts.  The hall filled with rhythmical Latin beats and the instructor took off in a flurry of hand and feet movements.  I decide to get the feet down-pat first and add the hands when I was comfortable.  I felt self-satisfied with my decision – Amanda, you genius you!  I think I did okay with following the moves after that.  There were a few moments where I was facing the back of the room whilst everyone else was facing the front but everyone was laughing too much to care!

I can’t even begin to describe some of the moves we did… but I will have to give it my best shot for my favourites because these dashing moves were just made for sharing.  It would be mean of me not to fill you in.

First there is the move I dubbed ‘The Chicken or Fish’.  Imagine you are serving food at a wedding with platters of food on one arm and the other hand is on your hip.  Turn to your left and quickly move two steps, turn to your right and quickly move two steps and so forth.  Then there was the ‘Wash the Sky, Wash the Ground’ whereby you turn to the left with both hands in the air and “wash” in that direction and then turn to the right and lower your hands to your right side and “wash” in that direction.  Yep.  Those were my FAVOURITE moves.  I also enjoyed the swiveling hips and booty poppin’ moves immensely.  But I think what I enjoyed the most was just laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.  It was just so hysterical!

But unfortunately I did not get much out of it fitness-wise.  I didn’t have much of a sweat or elevated heart rate going.  Neither did another couple of my friends.  We put it down to the class possibly being a beginners class.  I don’t think I could do an intermediate class though – I found copying the moves hard enough with my two left feet!  But I do think I needed just a little more ‘activity’.

I think it would be great for people just getting into exercise as it is fun and would give them quite a nice little workout.  For me, I think I will stick to going every now and then for a bit of a laugh but I won’t be ‘Joining the Party’ anytime soon!

What do you think of Zumba?  Have you given it a shot?

13 Responses to “Zumba! Join the Party?”

  1. The Wench November 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    I gave up Zumba because I didn’t think it was enough of a workout. Not enough bang for the buck.

    • Amanda November 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

      Would have to agree with you there!

  2. Tina November 8, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Great post! I haven’t been to Zumba in a while, mainly because there are generally way too many people in a class and it’s hard to move around!

  3. Shellet November 8, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    I’ve not attempted Zumba because I am way to unco and I feel like I would get a better workout jumping around my lounge room to some good tunes! I think you just convinced me I’m on the right train of thought!

  4. bonne_santé November 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I’m with you & Shell on the coordination front. I find gym classes hard enough. Everything is BACKWARDS – my brain can’t cope!

  5. Polly6034 November 8, 2010 at 10:42 pm #

    I must be the odd one out, but I LOVE Zumba!!! Just came home from my weekly class.

    Mandy, it is ALL about the instructor. I’ve been to 4 different instructors, and the classes were all so different. 2 of the instructors were Les Mills/Spin-instructors-turned-Zumba – they were terrible. The other was this crazy lady wearing mountains of glitter, who couldn’t even shake her own booty, let alone get anyone else doing it!!

    But my regular instructor is freaking awesome – she’s a latin dancer, so has the most amazing dance moves, and even makes the “Chicken or Fish” look cool!!!

    And it can be a good workout, my HR averages 160 and burn just over 500Cal for the class. Once you know the songs, you can really push it and enjoy it, rather than concentrating on moves.

    Love Polly

  6. Laura November 9, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    I have to agree with Polly – I have been Zumba-ing for the past 6 months and I love it! I go to anything from 2 to 4 classes a week, all different instructors, and I am ltierally dripping with sweat and exhausted after an hour of heart-pumping craziness.

    Also, Polly makes a very good point – one of the classes I go to is run by a personal trainer, who doesn’t really do/get/translate the dance factor very well. But one of my other trainers is a Brazilian dancer by day, and she literally works our arses off in class.

    Having done it for so long, I have a fairly good hang of the dance moves and songs, so instead of spending time trying to figure out the steps, I can focus solely on working myself as hard as I can.

  7. leashieloo November 9, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    How fun! I’ve always wanted to try Zumba. I’m a bit too shy to do it in a classroom setting first, so I’m going to do a DVD and take it from there.

  8. Amanda November 9, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Thanks for the comments! I agree that learning the steps and a good instructor would make a world of difference. I’m really not a ‘dancer’ at heart though… god knows I have tried! I can bust some pretty good moves in the club though! 😉

    • myherohegel November 10, 2010 at 10:33 am #

      Maybe the secret to a great Zumba workout is downing a few drinks first then? Lol!

      I agree with you about not getting a hard enough work-out from Zumba, to a point. If you manage to find a class where you have enough room to do all the moves ‘big’, and you have a really good instructor, you can get an awesome workout.

      I have experienced the opposite of that too, where about half an hour in my friend and I left cos we hadn’t broken a sweat, and got sick of the instructor telling us how hard a workout the class was!

      With a good instructor and a good attitude though, the class is seriously fun!

  9. NotKate November 10, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Zumba is a cult filled with Zumba Zombies.

    Don’t get me wrong doing zumba is better than not exercising at all but ‘following’ something because it’s cool in the hope it will work is not as empowering as doing something for yourself.

  10. Sharon February 14, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    Looks like a lot of fun, the “chicken or the fish” that is a funny way of remembering a move, but it will definitely help you learn them faster!

    I’ll be honest, I was too scared to go to the classes so I just got this Zumba fitness dvd I did it at home and forced my friend to do it with me, now we go to classes together and it is great! I think that would help a lot of people overcome the experience you felt (just following and not getting a workout) I know that I get a great workout at class.

    I will keep my eye open for the chicken or the fish move 😀


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