I’ve wanged on about Zumba a lot in my weekly Slimming World updates and it’s because IT IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD. Granted, I don’t have a boyfriend, and other things in my life tend to become much more exciting than they normally would, BUT … Zumba is still wonderful, and here are 10 reasons (and assorted thoughts) about my love for Zumba.
1. MY BUTT
I’ve always had a big bum, which I love, but Zumba has definitely given it more shape and definition. It’s firmer, rounder and altogether more glorious. I promise, if you work hard, you’ll see the results, and fairly quickly too.
The class I go to is pretty hardcore … it’s not for the faint-hearted and it is a very high intense workout, as opposed to a gentle dance class. Therefore, after several months of now doing this particular class twice a week, my stamina has improved greatly. I’ve noticed at the gym that I can do cardio harder and longer (ooer), and although I sweat like a proverbial P.I.G in this class, my recovery rate is quick, to the point where I can cycle home after class. UPHILL.
I’m pretty sure I have the best teachers anyone could wish for. Lou teaches on a Monday and Lou and Jo teach together on a Wednesday – both slightly different classes, but both fantastic. They each have a dance background, and you can see that in the way they move, but they’re also normal women, just like us, who just happen to be uber fit and great dancers. I’m surprised I like them as much as I do really, I normally hate women hotter and fitter than me. (Kidding, kinda.)
4. SHOP AROUND
Sounds awfully clinical, but when I began Zumba, I did enjoy going to another class, but I didn’t really connect to the teacher and found that, as lovely as I’m sure everyone was, they were mainly a lot older than me, and it’s great that there are classes for older ladies, don’t get me wrong, but the energy was quite low. I wanted to be pushed and challenged, and so I did this class for a few months before I moved on to the one I’m at now, which suits me much better. So maybe start with a lower impact class and then upgrade like I did!
I go to Zumba with my best friend, and then I bumped into an old friend I hadn’t seen for ten years. And then I met her friend. And then I became friends with the teachers. And then one of the teachers’ mums. And so on. Suffice to say, Zumba is pretty sociable and is a new way to meet new people. You get to my age and you can get a little stuck your own little world – you like what and who you like, and that’s fine. But life has become richer for meeting these new people.
OK, I’m not exactly shy, but I have felt quite self-conscious about myself as I’ve got older, especially when it comes to things like dancing or clothes. Worrying whether I look silly, or wondering if people are laughing at me. But I don’t quite know what’s happened lately, especially in the last six months, but I seem to be feeling more like the ‘old me’ … someone who loved life, and didn’t really care what anyone thought. Losing weight and getting fit have both boosted my self-confidence and so I seem to go into my own world at Zumba and dance like no-one’s watching. Because I’m sure they’re not! Trust me, if you lose concentration for 1 second, you’re done for! So all inhibitions are out the window – it’s so liberating! Think Phoebe running. That’s me.
I used to Salsa, I even took lessons in London for two years and it’s how I met Dexter’s Dad. And as sour as that relationship turned out, I still have wonderful memories of learning how to dance. And then life happened, things went ‘awry’ (understatement) and I didn’t dance again for 13 years … until now. I’m not a great dancer, but I have some rhythm and I think I can move OK. My size has hampered that slightly – shit knees and weak joints, but now I’m stronger I’m able to move better and it feels amazing to be dancing again.
8. BODY SHAPE
I spoke about my bum in point 1, because it deserves to be point 1, but on a more general level, my overall body shape has really changed since I started. OK, my stomach is still a work in progress (2x9lb+ babies and a lifelong penchant for Galaxy aren’t going to change that overnight) but I have lost so many inches from all over my body since I started. My shoulders are more rounded and defined, as are my calves and thighs. Even my hips are smaller, which have been notoriously difficult to trim down … so it’s a great all-body workout.
Life has really punched me in the gut over these past years and I’ve worked hard to not just survive ‘stuff’. And when you go through bad times, that’s all you can do sometimes, is just get through it. But you DO come out the other side, and it IS possible to find fun in your life again. I didn’t know one of the ways would be through Zumba, but it’s brightened up my life so incredibly, spurred me on to join a gym and open up another avenue in my life, and I am just so grateful I found it.
10. EVERYONE CAN DO IT
We have a real mix of people that do Zumba in our class – men, teenage girls, even some of the ladies’ young sons join in from the sidelines. Don’t ever think anyone will laugh at you if you join, they won’t, I promise (especially if you join our class), and even though some of the moves can take a few weeks to really get, just keep trying and you’ll get there in the end. And when you finally nail that move you’ve been trying to master for weeks, you will feel like actual Shakira.
I hope this post has inspired you to at least give it a go. We burn up to 1,000 calories in a class, but it’s only as tough as you make it. I give it my all … hence all of my rough post-Zumba photos I occasionally post, but with everything in life, I’m a great believer in if you’re going to do something, do it to the best of your ability, otherwise what’s the point?
Do let me know if you already go to Zumba, and what you love about it … and also if you have any questions about it, please feel free to message me.