Zumba: Dance Your Way to Fitness


I was interested in Zumba when I first heard about it: a cardio-fitness workout with a Latin twist that was more like dancing than exercising. Someone showed me a YouTube video of it, and it looked totally fun. The problem was, I didn’t have a gym membership. Then someone gave me a website where you can look up the Zumba classes near you. You just type in your zip code, and lots of classes come up that are right near your house. Some might even be free, put on by a local church. So for all you homeschool moms out there who are having trouble losing weight and want to try something fun, this is it.

After coming home from my first Zumba class, I said to my husband, “I’ve found my sport. I think I’ll Zumba to my grave!” My husband laughed. I’m hooked.

I have to say that I felt lost that first time. There were 100 women in that local church gym. (It seems to me that church women are fatter than average. This is an upsetting observation to me, since we have the best men in the world, men who love God. Why should they be punished because they’re faithful and true? And as another aside, if we put homeschooling above taking care of our physical bodies, then we love our children more than our husbands. That’s the truth. Our bodies belong to our husbands, so taking care of our bodies is identical to taking care of our husbands.)

So there I was, my first time, messing up my footwork. I didn’t care. There were old grannies in there. About half the people stumbled around, but all of us were laughing and whooping. About half of the music was Latin music, which I’ve always loved, having grown up in a Latin country. But the other half was whatever the instructor liked. One song had the words “I like them chunky,” and we did squats so many times to the beat of the music that my legs burned. I laughed so much at that song, but really, we were doing resistance training. There’s another song that sounds like India. We hop with one foot up and down, and my leg burns so bad, but everyone else is doing it, so I don’t give up.

Last week I went to Zumba two days in a row, and when I did that India song that second day, my legs turned to jelly and I almost fell. Just modify the moves if you can’t do them. Have fun, and sort of move like everybody else is moving.

Here are my tips for starting Zumba:

  1. Find a woman who is wearing Zumba pants. Those are the die-hard fans, and they know what they’re doing. Stand directly behind one of them. This way you have someone to follow that is directly in front of you so you don’t get dizzy. My first time, I looked sideways, and I was dizzy the majority of the time.
  2. Focus only on the footwork. Forget your arms until later, after you’ve got your footwork down.
  3. Do not wear a sweatshirt. It is waaaaay too hot. A t-shirt or tank top is better.
  4. Bring water. I forgot to bring water the first time, and I was so thirsty.
  5. Have fun. Don’t memorize everything if you’re tired. Just go with the flow. By your third or fourth time, it gets way easier, and you can start adding attitude!

After the Zumba class last week, I ordered myself a Zumba skirt. It’s like a scarf with jingles that goes on top of your sweatpants. Someone let me borrow their extra skirt last time, and it was even more fun to feel the jingles swooshing. It reminded me of when I was a little girl, twirling a pleated skirt.

A week ago I went to a funeral and I had no oomph in me to do a fitness video. Let me tell you, Zumba cheered me up. I actually felt better. And last night when I got home from Zumba, my husband asked me, “Did it exceed your wildest dreams?”

“Yes, actually,” I said, “because I finally know most of the steps, so it was just pure fun!”

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11 Responses to “Zumba: Dance Your Way to Fitness”

  1. #1 You are too cute! #2 “The church women are fatter than average” part had me rolling. #3 I think I would love this if a. I could afford it and b. I could ever manage to find time to get away!

  2. Susan says:

    I’m sure your husband would support you by watching the kids if you wanted to take an evening class at a nearby church, which is either free or doesn’t cost much. So there you go. Thanks for the compliment, by the way. I was almost too embarrassed to post this Zumba picture, but I thought people should see what it looked like.

  3. Amy A says:

    Zumba is so much fun! Did you know that they even have Zumba Kids? I have one of the home DVDs for it, and I bought the CDs with the music so that my little ones can dance it out too! I rarely get to classes, but it is more fun to do with more people :).

    • Susan says:

      I prefer to exercise apart from my kids so they’re not staring at me. But I could see how fun it would be for kids to Zumba as a group, for exercise.

  4. Lynda says:

    Thank you for posting the picture. You look like you are having a great time, and I want to join you. What a great way to exercise and have fun.

  5. Janet says:

    That looks like fun. Personally, I like belly dance! 😉

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Once, I came across yours during a surf on the net! Cool!

    Hope all is well.


  6. Christie says:

    Perhaps it’s just that a higher percentage of Christian fat women want to trim down for their husbands!

  7. Tina says:

    Include me in the heavy, ok fat church women.I think it is terribly hard to put yourself first,just easier to take care of everyone else.Yet ,if I don’t take care of myself right one day I may not be able to take care of them.I struggle with it daily.
    I know a lot of women who enjoy Zumba.Maybe I will look into doing it at home.

  8. Danielle says:

    I LOVE that india song? Do you happen to know the name of it? I’ve been searching for it EVERYWHERE!
    I just started zumba and am definately hooked. I can relate to the church woman thing. When we started I was a bit hesitant to roll my hips and such. It’s just so much fun!

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