What I Learned in Zumba Class

There’s an exercise class you can take now called Zumba – maybe you’ve heard of it? Okay, I’m being slightly sarcastic because I see references to Zumba all the time and I think it may be true for you, as well. You can read on the Zumba website about some of the press this workout has received.

I have two friends, in particular, who rave about their Zumba classes. They go twice a week or more, without fail. They’ve bonded with their other classmates. They feel energized.

Since I’m recommitted to fitness lately I thought I’d give it a try. Never mind that my previous dancing experience is limited to fraternity parties, wedding receptions and crowded clubs, and all of that occurred when I was 10 years younger. Except the time a few weeks ago, but that’s a story for another post.

My local gym has a small fitness center but free childcare, which more than makes up for the tiny size. They started offering Zumba classes and I happened to be at the gym one night when class was held. Lucky me, one spot opened up and I got to try.

It wasn’t pretty. Eighteen women in a hot room with a wall of mirrors. No instruction from the instructor except hand movements every few moments or so to indicate, I assume, which direction we’d eventually be moving.

Our instructor is young, tall, thin and confident, and I’m thinking her hips may also not be entirely connected to the rest of her body because I couldn’t understand how she got them to move the way she did.

I fumbled along, grateful for the crowd and the other newbies in the class who were (almost) as bad as me.

“I’ve never done this before,” I confessed during a brief break to a woman who surely didn’t need me to tell her that.

“This is only my third time,” she replied. I had a co-fumbler!

I left the class feeling slightly foolish, but strangely determined to conquer this class. I went again last Tuesday.

On Tuesday there were only five participants, plus the instructor from my first try. This time, three of us were new and the other two women had only been to class a handful of times. I am quite sure I saw our instructor trying not to laugh as we tried to follow her graceful, hip-shaking movements, and failed. There was no crowd to disguise my lack of coordination.

My third attempt is tonight. Hoping each class renders me slightly less awkward. If random, non-dancer celebrities can work it on Dancing with the Stars, surely I can learn to not look like an idiot in Zumba? That’s all I want – to not look like a rhythm-less moron. I’m not aiming too high.

Here are some things I learned in Zumba in my whole two classes. Not about Zumba, but important, self-realization facts.

1. It’s possible my hips aren’t physically able to move like the instructor’s. I still have not figured out how she shakes her hips while simultaneously turning in a circle and moving her arms to the beat. I can barely shake my hips as it is, much less move my body in other ways AT THE SAME TIME.

2. I still need to lose weight. Tighten up, get stronger. I may have lost 45 pounds, but when faced with your own image in a mirror it’s clear to see where work still needs to be done. It doesn’t help to be standing next to the tall, thin, tan, flexible instructor, either.

3. I am pale. Ghastly pale. How do I know this? Because I wore a black or gray shirts to the gym last week and no makeup and had to stare at myself in the wall of mirrors for three hours last week in that fitness room. How is it possible I barely even flush during a workout? I need some sun. And I may have to consider applying at least some blush before I head to the gym. I don’t care what other people think, I just don’t want to have to look at my own semi-transparent skin again.

4. Coming off that last lesson, I realized I don’t care what other people think. Yes, I might want to cackle at how ridiculous I look trying to duplicate the Zumba moves, but I don’t really care if other people think I look stupid. They’re probably focused on their own images in the mirror, anyway, not wondering if the woman next to them was ever allowed outside or not.

With my competitive nature, I’m not going to give up on Zumba yet, despite the evidence that I have no natural ability whatsoever to move my body in a fluid way. I’ll report back to let you know whether I improve (my Zumba skills or my tan, that is).

And no, you do NOT get a photo with this post.

Have you tried Zumba? What do you think? Love it, leave it, or need to try it again to decide?



  1. LOL! I feel the same way. I haven’t done zumba yet,(Nor do I think I will), but I’ve stumbled over myself MANY times with other workouts. Blah!

  2. I haven’t tried Zumba yet, been to scared to as I’ll probably fall over myself. Just wondering; did you feel like you had a good workout after? (sore muscles etc.)

    • Raquel, my legs were sore after the first class because of all the squats, but I felt like I didn’t get a great deal of cardio in. That’s totally my fault, though – I couldn’t keep my heart rate up because I was having a hard time following the steps! Back at it tomorrow, though.

  3. Hi! I’m having a weekly Zumba class and it makes me more energized and distressing me from personal and work issues..It’s really fun! 🙂 I really feel the burning sensation in my legs and tummy..


  1. […] okay?). The kids and I spent time together having fun (and visiting urgent cares) at Disney World. I tried Zumba for the first time and loved it. My friends convinced me to go salsa dancing and I had fun even though I couldn’t […]

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