Activities outside the gym are always encouraged. I know plenty of Intrepids that enjoy the occasional run, roller derby match, yoga session, etc. Sometimes these activities come in handy when you miss a day at the gym or it happens to be part of your weekly routine. Running and basketball have been my go to activities if I skip the gym or if I want to be active on the weekends. Although I have my preferred activities outside the gym, lately I’ve had the desire to switch things up and try something new. Seeing that there are endless options, I figured that this would be a perfect opportunity to turn this into a monthly goal. By doing this I will be able to find something else that sparks my interest. With the goal in mind I had no idea where I wanted to start. Ashley B. suggested that I give zumba a try since she does it twice a week and it would be easy to tag along. To me it seems that zumba has exploded in popularity in the last year. I’ve seen countless ads on FaceBook and know plenty of people that attend a class at least once a week. From the research I did online and through word of mouth, zumba incorporates different forms of dance (salsa, hip hop, mambo, etc) and generally combines those dance moves with squats, lunges, and ab crunches. The class is an hour long and strives to maintain a high level of intensity for the duration of the session. With all this in mind I decided to try my first (and possibly only) class this past Thursday.
As soon as I walked into the studio, the first thing I noticed was that I was the only male in class. Come to find out, zumba’s target audience is mainly women. The instructor, also a woman, wasted no time as salsa music began booming from the speakers. Everyone fell into place and began mimicking EVERY single step the instructor was doing. As you can imagine I was a little lost and a couple seconds behind every step. At that moment it felt like it was going to be a very long hour. The first few songs served as a fast paced warm-up. The tempo of the next set of songs was much faster, but the moves were a little more repetitive so I was able to catch on better. The instructor was very big on having the abs tight during the songs so it felt like I was doing 3 minute long hollows. I definitely feel the soreness in the abs today. About 30 minutes in I started to feel my calves tighten up. That was due to the many single leg knee raises as well as the thrusting booty pops, the latter being ridiculously looking. With 15 minutes left the instructor threw in squats and mid-squat holds. I think on a normal day this wouldn’t be an issue, but at that point my quads felt like they had gone through 24 rounds of tabata squats. On top of that we did more body twirls and shaking of the hips. Those movements do not come natural to me. The last 5 minutes were used as a cool down with plenty of stretching. I will say that zumba gets the sweat going. My shirt was soaked by the end of the class. I also noticed the before and after facial expressions and attitudes of the ladies attending. I could tell that that some were under stress and looked flustered, but by the time class was done they were all smiles and in better moods. Dancing for a straight hour is pretty stress relieving and fun at the same time. I could see that they enjoyed their zumba time.
As for me, I can say that I took a zumba class. Although it may have not been my finest hour, I did enjoy trying something completely new. I’d have to say that I would recommend trying a zumba class especially if you are looking for something that is low impact on the body while having a high level of intensity or if you are looking to improve your dance skills. With summer around the corner I am hoping that my next activity will take me into the water.
Any Which Way –