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My First Zumba Class and a Giveaway! - Geek Turned Athlete

My First Zumba Class and a Giveaway!

Yesterday, I tried something that I would normally run far far away from. Zumba. Since I started this Change the Way You Move thing this October, I have been wanting to take a break from triathlon to try some new things. Let me tell you, this class was WAY WAY WAY out of my comfort zone.

You see, I’m NOT the dancer. Yes, I can move my hips and salsa (I am Hispanic after all), but that is it! Let’s just say there was a reason why my sister was a varsity cheerleader and I did speech and debate and marching band, okay?

Okay, lets get to the good stuff…

So, I walked into the room, and what did I see? Women in cute little dancing sneakers and cute little tops…





I didn’t feel like whipping out my camera and taking pictures. I looked awkward enough, trust me. I will just help you imagine what is what like with these pictures. And, there were no men in the class, although that would have been interesting. Would you like to know what I was wearing? My trail runners, running shorts, and a running microfiber top. I looked like I was lost and walked into the wrong class or something.

I immediately headed to the back, even though I read The Chic Life’s Zumba 101 telling me to situate myself somewhere near the front. It turns out that there were some “normal” (aka: nondancers) looking people in the back that I hadn’t noticed when I first walked in.

Okay, I can do this. I just did a Half Ironman. I can get through a one hour class of dancing. Psh!

The other side of brain started saying this though:

Um, hello! Do you remember how you looked when you got your Primary Group Fitness Certification? It was not good. It wasn’t just NOT good, it was really sad. I really don’t know how you passed that part of the practical to be honest. This is NOT marching band!

Okay, okay. I know. But I’m not a bad salsa dancer. I did take jazz lessons when I was like 6. I need to channel those jazz hands. Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean, body!

The music started. People started dancing. About 90% of them seemed to know the moves. The instructor was moving entirely too fast, and how the hell were most of these people keeping up? How did they know what to do?

Arms and legs were up the air with this sort of sexy vibe about them. Ahem, I mean other people’s legs and arms AND hips were moving sensually. My abnormally long limbs for my 5’5″ frame waving wildly were very awkward looking in the mirror, but I tried to ignore that. I failed. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Out loud. Yes, not only did I look uncordinated about 2 beats behind everyone else, I was also giggling like a mad woman. I looked like a crazy drunk woman flailing around aimlessly trying to dance sexy up on a guy at a club, but not really. We have all seen those girls, right? However, I wasn’t at a club, my husband wasn’t there, and I wasn’t drunk. I was a triathlete in a running outfit with my trail runners trying to “get my groove back.” I was determined, AND cracking myself up.

I started looking around the room after 20 minutes of my version of “interpretive dance” and realized something. I wasn’t the only one struggling in there. There was an 80 year old in there dancing with us. There were women of all different shapes and sizes in there. I started to notice that people were messing up on the moves too.

In between songs, I started talking to a woman who had lost 50 pounds taking Zumba classes. I was amazed. I told her that it was my first time taking Zumba, and her face looked like she was in shock. She told me she thought that I had been coming for a while from the way I was picking up the moves so fast. What??!!

The rest of the hour vanished into thin air as I swiveled my hips, fist pumped, and booty popped away. Although I’m partial to a good pain session in spin class, this class has to be one of my favorite group fitness classes that I have ever taken in my life. It was really intimidating at first, but once I got over the initial shock of being there and realized that everyone was there to have fun (well, mostly everyone. There were about 3 chicks who looked pretty serious to me), I became a lot more relaxed. And, it turns out that they repeat a lot of the songs so you get more proficient in nailing the moves every time you go to class. Any Zumba peeps out there? Is this correct?


The lesson I learned here: We often judge ourselves too harshly. I know I do. It is okay NOT to be perfect. It is okay NOT to be proficient in everything new you try. The important thing to remember here is that stepping out of our comfort zones is essential to truly living!! I felt like I was 5 again dancing in my living room with my sister, well, minus the booty popping.

And if that all escapes you, no matter how bad you think you are at something, there are always people in your same shoes or worse!    I know that it isn’t very profound, but it is the truth. 😉

And… I’m actually going back tomorrow.  I’m really excited!

Have you ever tried Zumba? Do you want to?

Click here for the giveaway!!!

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Erica October 6, 2010, 3:18 pm

    Good for you girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I bet you looked way better than you think. That is just awesome that you got out of your comfort zone like that. Whoop whoop

  • Lisa October 6, 2010, 3:25 pm

    I am soooo uncoordinated. I don’t know that I could do it!

    • Nicole October 7, 2010, 1:00 pm

      Oh trust me, if I can do it, ANYONE can!!

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) October 6, 2010, 3:28 pm

    Awesome. I have yet to try a zumba class. While I danced (ballet) for well over 20 years, I’m just not sure my hips move the way they need to for zumba 😉

  • Tricia October 6, 2010, 3:42 pm

    WTG! I love zumba! Adore it! I love to dance! It is such a fun way to get fit! Of course, for us hardcore fitness enthusiasts, it’s just a nice change of low impact, low intensity pace, but you still sweat and get a nice workout!

    Yes, they do repeat the music and the moves for a while so you can get it! It’s like bellydancing.

    Kudos for getting out there! I have learned to do that too! My husband is teaching this water-fearing non-swimmer to surf! I can get around in a pool, but the ocean is a whole other animal, but I’m loving it!

    So, you just get out there and get your booty-popping shoes on tomorrow! Have fun with zumba!

  • Laura Georgina October 6, 2010, 3:45 pm

    I love your Zumba story! As a fellow Hispanic girl who can salsa and THAT’S IT, I totally feel your dismay and shock at being in a Zumba class.

    I went to Zumba with my mom while I was visiting the US last time, and my first class was fairly ridiculous–I was going left when people were going right, tripping over my own feet, and looking like a total fool next to my excellent Zumba-pro mom. But seeing people tripping too, and still having fun, made me feel 100% better. By the end of my six weeks of Zumba, I felt like a seasoned pro–and class just got more and more fun.

    I’m actually thinking of becoming certified to teach it here in Trinidad… I just love it.

  • Di October 6, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Honestly I’ve tried Zumba 3 times and still don’t like it. Basically it’s hi-lo aerobics with specific choreography set per song. That’s it. Only the songs are mostly instrumental (going from the classes I went to) and latin styled. Honestly the music did NOTHING to motivate me personally.

    I also think that the instructors should be just that: instructing. All the classes I have taken only ONE actually instructed. One kept pretty quiet the whole class, and the other was laughable. I have been told a new Zumba instructor locally is pretty good so I keep meaning to check her out. I also see stuff on youtube where they are dancing to newer tracks, or 80’s stuff and it looks fun. I just don’t see that in MY neighborhood! 🙁

    And this from a group exercise instructor, step junkie, and hi impact aerobics FIEND!

  • Alex October 6, 2010, 4:22 pm

    Those are some good lessons to apply to trying anything new! I’m super uncoordinated so my first ( and so far only) Zumba class was very similar! I’ll have to try it again sometime soon though! 🙂

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 6, 2010, 5:20 pm

    Whoah-you did speech in high school?! I competed too and absolutely loved it! What events did you do?

    And congrats on braving a Zumba class!!

    • Nicole October 7, 2010, 1:03 pm

      Heck yeah! LD debate, HI, OI, Duo, DI, Impromptu, and a few random ones that certain schools were offering at a tournament. You?

      • Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 7, 2010, 3:07 pm

        I did DI, Prose, and Dec. Prose was always my favorite, although sitting through the rounds was hell. I stand by my belief that nothing is worse than a really bad Prose. haha

  • andrea October 6, 2010, 5:33 pm

    I LOVE Zumba!!!!

  • lindsay October 6, 2010, 5:33 pm

    Oh I am totally with you! I want to try this but am a triathlete/runner that has lost my groove. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Toronto Girl West October 6, 2010, 8:52 pm

    I love Zumba!!!! It’s so much fun!!!

    Unfortunately the classes are early in the afternoon and I’m often still at work. But if it were up to me (and not my wallet), I would take Zumba three times a week. I’ve even thought of ordering the DVDs, although I hear they’re mega cheesy!!!!

  • karen October 7, 2010, 7:22 am

    sounds a lot like the zumba class I went to! You just kind of pick up steps where you can and freestyle the rest. It was a lot of fun once I got over myself 🙂

  • Holly October 7, 2010, 7:55 am

    i have to say – i am loving the change the way you move movement! i think its so great to discover news ways of getting fit and i miss zumba. i seriously love that class. like i like it so much i want to teach it. it’s just SO fun!

  • Vinny October 7, 2010, 8:02 am

    This was a great post for so many reasons. Mostly I enjoyed this because I have been trying to get up the courage to take a class for some time now (not zumba, but some sort of cardio/strength thing). It’s funny that you mentioned that there were no guys in the class. Part of the reason I have not taken one yet is because I have never seen a guy take a class at my gym…ever! The other reason is because I am not exactly the smallest guy as far as weight goes and super uncoordinated.

    Thanks for showing us that if we just stop worrying for a minute about what others think, we will see that there are many others in our situation.

    • Nicole October 7, 2010, 8:07 am

      There was a TRX (weight lifting) class right after zumba that was setting up as I was leaving. I would say that most of the class was male!! Good luck!!!

  • amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler October 7, 2010, 8:18 am

    I used to go to Zumba regularly, but then my financial situation took a turn for the worse, so I had to cut out all of my fitness classes in an effort to save money.

    They do repeat songs. The class I went to did monthly rotations, so you’d have about a month to get used to all of the routines. The classes weren’t all 100% the same (that would be boring); he would throw in a new one or some other old ones.

    Everyone looks ridiculous. That’s part of the fun. You’re right, though — there are always a few girls who are REALLY into it. (I always called them the Zumba Fan Girls.)

  • Katy @ MonsterProof October 7, 2010, 12:39 pm

    I love Zumba! I only ever do it when I visit my mother, though. She always jokes that I show her up but…she’s got Parkinson’s and does amazingly well to do as many moves as she does! It’s definitely a fun, do what you can environment. Absolutely, every time you go you learn more of the moves and routines, and it gets easier (to catch on). It’s fun whether you’re in sync or not, though!

  • Caitlin October 7, 2010, 3:47 pm

    I have the same fears you did going into Zumba and I still haven’t tried – even having taken dance for a decade growing up! I think we are all too quick to judge ourselves and be a harsh critic that it’s incredibly intimidating to do something like this for the first time!! I’m glad you went, liked it and are going back!!

  • Habeela October 9, 2010, 7:28 pm

    You have just described exactly what my first attempt at Zumba was like as well – glad to know it’s the same for everybody! 😀

  • Runner Leana October 11, 2010, 6:09 am

    I’d actually really like to try Zumba. My gym has a class that I’m thinking of signing up for.

  • Sand Sock Girl October 15, 2010, 1:14 am

    Zumba looks fun! I am thinking of enrolling for zumba class too.. Thanks for sharing!


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