Z is for Zumba

I waited until after New Years to return to the gym. Not because of any resolutions, but simply because the holiday rush left zero time for working out. So last week, I got my butt back to the gym. I love Zumba – but after a few months of no Zumba, I returned angry. I allowed that anger to fuel my workout. I moved my body to the music, but I didn’t smile much. My legs felt like lead. And my bouncy parts were bouncier (and not in a good way, I might add). But this is the only way.

A few classes later, I am slowly returning to my previous Zumba self. I feel stronger. I dance harder. In time, I may even feel like a sort of 21st Century Ginger Rogers, if Ginger wore her husband’s ratty old t-shirt and some elastically-challenged seven-year-old workout pants. I do not dress like a Zumba dance goddess. But I do dance like one. Just kidding, I don’t do that either.

Here are some things I love about Zumba, in no particular order:

The room is dimly lit. Good, because I sweat A LOT. It is NOT pretty.

The instructors dress like hip hop moguls from the 90’s in ripped neon tanks and pants with all kinds of zippers. I find it daring to wear so many zippers while whipping your body around in a frenetic frenzy. Clearly, this is not a new concept (see my earlier 90’s reference), but it still fascinates me.

I love the music. Who doesn’t feel inspired and instantly sexier with a little Shakira in the house? I even begin to like the music I didn’t like the first ten times I heard it. I was never into clubbing. But now, at the age of 33 and with a toddler, Zumba is as close to a crazy night out as this girl gets. I can appreciate that.

Zumba makes me feel sexy. I love that the women in the class are every age, shape and size.  They are shaking their booties like the best of them. I notice the regulars. I don’t know most of their names, so I assign them descriptors. The lady with the big earrings and sparkly tops. The girl who loves the mirror. The pregnant girl with the wild eyeshadow. The girl with no hand-eye coordination, God bless her. The lady who must be at least 60 years old, yet incredibly more fit than I am. I wonder how they would describe me – the tall, angry girl who desperately needs a workout-fashion makeover. It doesn’t matter. We are all there for the same thing. Sexy is relative.

Zumba teaches me this life lesson – don’t take yourself too seriously or you can miss out on some serious fun.


J. Laurel


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