I admit that I did not do Zumba justice in the first post I wrote (I was not in my most inspired state, but I’m ready now). As I sit in the office ‘Oh my. . .Oh my . ‘ floods into the room. Beyond my control, I find my feet start to voluntarily tap out the beat, my head sways and my shoulders shrug. It’s Usher and it’s taking over my body and I find myself lined up next to my cousin Angelica ready for Zumba instruction . When I look around I see an array of people: some older, some young (a mother and her 2 daughters), pretty much every age group is represented, there’s one man. That’s one of the beautiful things about Zumba, anyone can do, any level. As we start through I take mental notes, noticing how one movement reminds me of kettlebells. If I squeeze here or there, it takes me to leading class without a bell. Click, with any form of exercise (Zumba, kettlebells, Brazilian Butt Lift), it’s about squeezing what you have. Hiking around Turkey Run Park last weekend, I was focusing on the walking lesson that I’d had with my father. Pull my foundation apart and squeeze. Squeeze my core, tighten my butt (‘if you want a tight ass, you’ve got to squeezeit,’ Jim Paulin). Click back to Zumba where Jennifer will take the time to show that she doesn’t want weak movements, but to hit or stick something. ‘Squeeze’, ‘Tight’, she shouts out so that again the words show up. It’s just like when I demonstrate high kicks and tell people you get out of the exercise what you put in. Boom, same thing with Zumba. It’s fun and we’re dancing, but if I really hit moves and tighten up as we do the movements I can get a more intense exercise. For someone with less mobility, however, they can ease off or Jennifer will show ways to alter a movement for what you’re capable of. Here is what Shape had to say about getting a better workout:
1. Let Loose
Zumba is all about having fun, and joining the party, which is hard to do if you’re stiff or self-conscious! The best way to burn more calories in class is to let go, have fun, and try not to think too much. “Letting yourself go will let the calories go!” Boyer says.
2. Maximize Your Arm Movement
During the moves, be sure to fully extend your arms, Boyer says. You’ll boost your calorie burn and engage more muscles by maximizing your arm movements during class. “It’s not that tricky and you can do a lot for your body by lengthening, raising, and extending with oomph.”
3. Move Up and Down More
“When your instructor takes you though a level change try and do it,” Boyer says. All that up and down movement will not only boost your burn, it will also get your glutes, hips, and thigh muscles firing even more. “Sit into your moves, bend your knees, and go up and down and all around as much as you can—level changes burn calories!”
4. Work Your Booty
“There is always a lot of booty shaking in Zumba!” Boyer says. “Just shake it—and shake it good (to best do this, see tip #1).” Boyer recommends pressing through your heels whenever you can to maximize the move’s booty shaping benefits.
5. Rock the Moves You Know
So maybe you don’t have every move mastered yet, that’s OK! You can still get a great workout as long as you rock the moves you’ve got! “Always accentuate the moves that you are actually comfortable with,” Boyer says. “Make the most out of that shimmy you love, or the salsa step you have mastered. Feel confident in adding your own flair to the movement. If you know it, show it!
But I can’t dance! Lame, trust me no one in our class is judging you. Most of the time I’m more focused on getting my feet right, than what someone else is doing. Besides anyone can dance. It’s not about following the steps, improvise and do your own thing if you want, you are still moving after all and not sitting on your butt at home. Inspirational pause:
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.”
This of course is my favorite, Dr Wayne Dyer (side note: Wishes Fulfilled is amazing, 2 thumbs up). He’s absolutely right. It’s also like my vacation rule from last summer, Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so damn seriously. We’re all wound up with our hectic busy lives. Stop, take a breathe and allow yourself to relax. I’ve always enjoyed dancing (ask my friends about our nights out or our frequent breaks from studying in college to have a dance break in the kitchen, or even now when I need a break from this computer I take a dance break in, of course, the kitchen), it’s a way to express yourself through movement, but also to release all the stress from your body. Let the cortisol seep from your body and just allow the music to completely take over your form. Feel it, Now move. It’s easy. Hell, maybe even smile and laugh. Take a moment to enjoy and feel life. In class I look over not only at my awesome clients focusing and having fun, but my family. Angelica is young, vibrant and shaking it all over the place, her mom Gina is focused as she points them out in the crowd, my mom with her shit-grin and raised eyebrows, as she tries not to giggle like a young girl; my sister focusing hard so that she looks ‘professional.’ This is what I love, coming in with my family or friends, having a good time and a good workout. I see this as I look around the gym as well, little groups of friends or mother/daughter pairings laughing and smiling. Sometimes we think of exercise as something we may dread, or something as a means to reach a goal. Change your thoughts, don’t be miserable, but enjoy each Step along the way. Check out our classes page, and come join us for a class sometime!