I took my first ever Zumba class today.

I’ve avoided Zumba ever since I heard it was a thing, which had to be at least a decade ago. I’m not exactly one for dance, I’m not graceful or lithe and I’m pretty much always way too self-conscious with my dancing skills in public unless I’ve had several rounds of liquid courage. My best friends my freshman year of college were both former competitive cheerleaders, and I remember us bored one night so they decided to teach me a dance routine. We could barely stand up from laughing so hard at the horribleness of my moves.

So, anyway, I had no choice but to take this class today. I wanted a workout, it had to be when there was babysitting at the gym, and this was the only option. I could have gone out to the weight room or cardio room instead, but I figured today was as good as any day to try something new.

I have never wanted to walk out of a class before, but I nearly did about 40 seconds into the session.

The instructor was a hopping bunny of a dancer, her smile so real and enthusiastic it was almost contagious despite my awkwardness. Seriously. The girl loved what she was doing, you could just see it on her face. If the class were empty she’d still be bouncing up at the front of the room. She was basically in her own world.

Lucky for me, this 9:30 am class was filled with the fabulous senior Betty’s that tend to frequent the weekday-morning class sector of the gym. These ladies are all probably in their sixties or older, and seeing them ‘shake it’ eased my discomfort, a bit. They, as they say, “danced like no one was watching”.

Zumba moves so fast I didn’t have a chance to watch anyone, much less myself in the mirror. Seriously, bouncing Barbie in the front of the class had all my attention as I tried to figure out what exactly my feet and arms were supposed to do every eight-counts of the latin music.

I’m not exactly sure what I thought of the experience. I’m a bit Zumba-Whiplashed. It was sort of fun, but I entered the class alone and I was the youngest there by probably 15 years and there wasn’t anyone to laugh at myself with. I did get sweaty and my heart rate stayed elevated just like it does during a genuine cardio class, so the workout did something.

I think I prefer the high-intensity-interval classes. The ones full of burpees and squats and lunges. No one is supposed to look pretty doing a pushup. I can throw my body around without worrying that I look like a dweeb.

I wonder if there is a way I can request the Zumba soundtrack for the next HIIT class I attend, though. The music was certainly a nice change from the typical tunes and I liked the beat.

Anyway, I’m glad I went if only because it really pushed my comfort zone – it was a mental and social challenge and at the very least now I can have a real opinion on why I’ve been avoiding it all these years.

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