It’s Valentine’s Day everywhere you turn. Facebook statuses to heart shaped cookies in the office, everyone seems to be glowing over this “made up” holiday. Since everyone is boasting about their love for their new bouquet of flowers (ugh, I hate flowers), I figured I would share what I have been “loving” lately, Zumba!
I have posted before about my passion for fitness and health but I never really got into the benefits of trying new things outside of my comfort zone. When I first started at a “real” health club, I sort of shied away from classes because I thought I had enough motivation to do workouts on my own. It was also intimidating to be in a room with people who had taken these classes for years, that memorized the routine from beginning to end, and even knew what weights to use when. One day I finally sucked it up and took a Body Pump class which left me with not only Jell-O like arms and legs but with the desire to keep going! Not far after my class discovery, I started to seek out more ways to leave the machine life and find more ways to have fun while working out. I saw a flyer advertising a breast cancer fundraiser that consisted of an hour and a half Zumba class and raffles. I figured this would be a great opportunity to try something new for a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
ZUMBA.IS.NO.JOKE. From the minute we started until the very last cool-down stretch, I was dripping with sweat and my body had a new soreness that I had never felt before. A good sore though! The instructor was so passionate, welcoming, and an amazing dancer, that the thought of taking a rest or not returning was out of the question. After the fundraiser, I continued to go to regularly scheduled classes twice a week and could really feel my confidence begin to grow. If you have ever been to a Zumba class, you will see a good amount of women with all different fitness levels and abilities. Some prefer the back of the room, others the middle, and some in the front row. After a few classes, I became one of the front row ones because I wanted to really take in the experience and learn the steps up close. The front also had so much more room because the other attendees chose the middle and back. As time went on, I began to build close relationships with the people in class as well as the instructor. We cheered for each other and hollered every time one of our favorite songs came on. Our dedicated instructor was a true leader and really made the experience one that changed a lot of our lives. She gave me the passion to dance again and not to worry about how many calories I had to burn or how much time had been spent doing the exercises.
That was four years ago and not too much has changed except the crowd. I joined a new gym and the instructor, luckily, ended up teaching a Zumba class there. It’s a smaller group with woman who I can recognize as myself a while back; timid, unable to let go, and not care what other people think. My instructor is still fearless and her energy every week helps push everyone closer and closer to embracing why they are there. This is why they come back. This is why I come back. We LOVE how Zumba makes us feel and share those feelings with many other people across the world!
Instead of celebrating who you LOVE with chocolate and flowers, why not celebrate what makes you LOVE yourself and those little things that help you get there.