Feel Free To Laugh With Me Not At Me

So last night after work I attended a social gathering with one of my favorite organizations, LOOP. It was great to see everyone. I always feel motivated after spending time with this fun crew of young professionals. Even though it was a great event,  I wanted to squeeze in a workout that day so I inconspicuously ducked out in time to make it to the 7:30 Zumba at the Y. Or so I thought.

I was in such a rush to get home, change, and get to class, that I didn’t double check the schedule or even grab a bottle of water. I walked into the room just as the instructor turned on the music. I quickly dropped my purse in the corner and took my usual spot. The instructor was a super handsome, super fit, and sort of enormous slash tough looking guy. Hmmm, not who I expected to see leading a latin dance based aerobics class, but hey I can roll with it. The warm up was to a fast tempo latin track. It consisted of a lot of squats and little jumps and jabs – a whole lot less grapevining and pivoting and hip shaking than I’m used to… After about 15 minutes of serious kickboxing type combinations, I started to wonder when we were going to start dancing. I was breathing pretty hard, and sweating like I normally do by the end of Zumba class.

Between songs I looked around at my classmates…. One of the things I love about working out at the Y instead of a swanky pretentious gym is that the members are really diverse. In my Zumba class there are young folks, old folks, fit folks, fat folks. Last night however… these were not those folks. I had 30-40 lbs on the next largest girl in this class. There were only around 10 of us, and they were all Adonises. After two more tracks of punching and kicking and squatting and jumping I was finally sure that I wasn’t in Zumba…

I was in freaking Les Mills Body Combat.




After the 5th track I was barely able to breathe… and not just in an out of breath because we’re exercising kind of way but in an OMG how embarrassing would it be if I DIED at the Y in the body combat class kind of way. I doubled over and started gasping/giggling. The instructor asked if I was ok. All I could say was “this… isn’t…Zumba” and gasp/giggle some more.  My classmates (who were also struggling to breathe at this point, gasp/giggled at my comment).

I kept going. I was awkward as can be. You see, I trained in ballet starting at the age of 4 – I’m a dancer, not a fighter.  My legs are turned out and I point my toes when I kick. I basically grand plie instead of squat. Its awful looking in a sort of dainty and hopefully endearingly awkward way. I was the Dance Team Captain my senior year of high school (Lancers what what ?!?!), but I just do not have this kind of coordination. I would get a combination down by the last repetition. I would kick the opposite leg of everyone else. I punch like I’m swatting at butterflies in a magical fairy garden. My awkwardness and poor fitness level (relative to the ladybeasts in the class with me, to quote Mindy Kaling: “My BMI’s not great, but I’m not like Precious or anything”), was compounded by the fact I hand’t brought water with me. I was a hot mess. It was hilarious. If someone had surreptitiously video taped me and posted it to YouTube I would be internet famous for all the wrong reasons.

The best part was that for the last half of the class, I couldn’t stop laughing at myself. The instructor tried his best not to laugh at me too, but he definitely laughed a little into his microphone headset a few times. It didn’t bother me at all. He was laughing with me, not at me. I think if I hadn’t been a gasping/giggling disaster… if I had instead seemed frustrated or intimidated, he would have been super supportive or explained things in more detail. But honestly him doing his best not to laugh at me, and failing, made it easier to get through the class.

My heart rate monitor says I burned  around 780 calories. At Zumba I usually burn closer to 475 even when I’m REALLY shaking my white girl hips. I don’t think I’ll go back to body combat (not because it was hard – I secretly loved how hard it was), but because I’m the least aggressive person in the world and I just really didn’t like having to punch and kick things for an hour. It stressed me out a little. I do think I’ll look into body pump or another kind of class that will have similar intensity without being based in fighting/combat.

I hope you’ve had a giggle at my expense. Cheers to the weekend!

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8 Responses

  1. Too funny! But atleast you didnt give up and pushed yourself. So its awesome

  2. Blond Duck says:

    Popped in from SA Bloggers! I’m the exact opposite. I go to Zumba for fun but I LOVE kickboxing…all I want to do is run or hit things!

  3. Not laughing. Applauding. Impressed that you could keep up in a class like that. I would have wilted after two minutes.

    OK. Laughing a little. But WITH you. ;)

  4. Misty Moseley-Helber says:

    I’m too impressed to a laugh. You stuck it out instead of running away. Not sure many people would have done that.
    How do you feel today? Sore in places you didn’t know you had?

  5. “I punch like I’m swatting at butterflies in a magical fairy garden. ” – Ah, Ha, Ha! At least your instructor was laughing with you!

  6. melissa says:

    I’m so impressed. That you even attempt group fitness classes is amazing to me. I can spin, because it’s dark. Otherwise, no way. And to stay and stick it out – AWESOME. I’d have died. Then cried. They’d have been laughing AT me. Way to go!!!

  7. Carmen says:

    I can completely relate to this post. I was a ballet dancer for more than 20 years. Stopped, had a couple of kids, discovered MMA. I earned my Black Belt in Thai Boxing, and now I take Zumba class.

    I can see the entire set up in my head. Good on you for completing the class!

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