Sunday, May 30, 2010

Zumba: Fast, Fun, and Fierce

One of my readers suggested that I try a Zumba class as one of my EMAO workouts. Initially, I dismissed the idea because I don't know anything about Zumba (except for those late-night Zumba infomercials), and I didn't want to pay for a class that I may not like. However, my friend Sali came to my rescue.

Sali has been taking Zumba classes at 24-Hour Fitness for the past year. As an Arts for LA instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), she also teaches Zumba to her elementary school students. (Zumba is also taught in Florida public schools.) Sali offered to give me a free, private Zumba lesson in my home saying that it would give her a chance to receive feedback as an instructor and give me material for my blog. I agreed.

Unisex "Boost" Dance Sneaker - S0528LBLK13.0Zumba is a high-energy, cardio workout done to Latin-infused music. To move with more ease, I donned my Bloch sneakers instead of wearing my Skechers Shape-Ups. My first reaction to Zumba was ... How do non-dancer do these moves when I am struggling to keep up? Sali explained that instructors teach the same classes every week with little variation so eventually anyone can figure out the steps. Sali alternated between facing me and facing the "front" of the room, which was actually easier for me. I couldn't figure out the steps as quickly when Sali watched me, but we lacked a mirror so she had to look at me occasionally in order to provide guidance.

As a professional dance and yoga instructor for over 15 years, Sali possesses the stamina and strength to teach Zumba. Even when she apologized for messing up, she never stopped moving, which is the key to Zumba. As an intense aerobic routine, the music is fast, the steps are fun, and your body burns some serious calories, which makes Zumba one fierce workout. Here are my stats from my private class:
  • 57 minutes, 41 minutes in target zone
  • Average heart rate: 126bpm
  • 310 calories burned 
Sali could have kept going, but when she offered to stop, I replied, "Yes!" because I felt like falling down. Sweaty and exhausted, I had experienced enough Zumba to write my blog. I also realized that I may never be able to master a Latin dance because my hips don't shake when I want them to! As for the belly-dancing and Indian-inspired moves, my body seemed incapable of performing them.

I understand why people love Zumba, but for me, it was frustrating, which is the last thing I want in a workout. While I thank Sali for her outstanding teaching, I don't see myself doing Zumba again in the near future.

AWW – XoXo

P.S. Sali is losing her teaching position in June due to a proposed cut in LAUSD's budget. To help save her job and to provide arts education to students, visit the LAUSD Arts Education Advocacy Team page. You can also support Measure E in the June 8th election; read Steve Lopez's column for an insightful analysis of the proposed measure.


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    The information in this blog is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Please consult your doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program.