Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zumba Fail

While I'm a runner now, I have a deep seated love for group exercise classes. I've mentioned before that I used to go five to seven days a week, and really only started running more because we moved and I had to switch gyms. So with my 12 day pass to my old gym, I've been really excited to get some classes in.

Last night Zumba (a Latin dance class) was on the schedule, and I was excited for it all day at work.

I used to do a decent amount of Zumba, and in my opinion, there are two types of classes. 

Type 1: Taught by an actual dancer, often in an actual dance studio, most likely a great workout for those with ten or more years of dance lessons under their belt. Usually Latin music unknown to Americans is exclusively played. To an outsider, it would appear very similar to looking into a club on Friday night at 10pm, except they would see water bottles instead of Sex on the Beaches and sneakers instead of hooker boots.

Type 2: Some sort of cross between aerobics and dancing, with easily reproducible moves that are generally repeated many times, therefore allowing even the most uncoordinated person, who would normally never in a million years dance sober, follow along somewhat. Usually top 40 music is played, so that Americans can feel all "ya, I know how to do Latin dances!" when really they are just doing modified aerobics moves to Boom Boom Pow. To an outsider, it would appear that a few people are dancing while for some reason ignoring the room full of people behind them who are having violent seizures.

Obviously, I prefer Type 2. I've been to Zumba at this gym before, and it was Type 2 all the way. After a half hour elliptical warmup I headed in to class. I have a strict Zumba rule to NEVER look at myself in the mirror, even by accident, so it's very important to position myself in such a way that there is no possibility of that happening. No easy task in a room that has two walls of nothing but mirror. The trick is to make sure you can see the instructor, and someone who knows what they are doing and looks great. Bonus if they have a great body. This tricks your brain into thinking that you look exactly like them doing all the moves, so actually catching a glimpse of yourself completely shatters that illusion.

I really, really wanted to like it, but the class was so slow and boring I couldn't handle it. I've been mentioning my heart rate a lot lately, and it was barely hitting 110, even in the "fast" parts. I've gotten a great workout in Zumba there before, but I guess this instructor just wanted to have a more mellow class. Nothing wrong with that, just not what I was there for. I held out for half an hour, and then went back to reading Runner's World on the elliptical, but I really just wanted to go home. 

During our run on Saturday, Lily and I challenged ourselves to run seven miles in one hour this week (also known as Kari's robot pace). To be honest, I had my doubts about it when I woke up this morning, due to my complete laziness, lead legs, and general lethargy in the mornings. We decided to just see what happened and ran the first half without looking at the Garmins, while chatting. At the turnaround, we realized we could make it if we picked up the pace a bit. Too bad the way back is nearly all uphill. Lily really pushed us and we made it! 7 miles in 1:00:09. Average pace 8:35. Too bad that wasn't the only challenge I have to face today.

My class challenged me to climb the rope with them in gym today. They claim I did it two years ago, when they were in first grade. I may have, but I also lifted weights regularly and went to Body Pump and stuff then. This is the rope WITHOUT the knots to help you. Maybe I'll have them take pictures so at least I'll have some funny ones to post tomorrow.


  1. I couldn't climb up that rope in gym class, even if there was a donut at the top.

    I'm impressed with your early morning pace. That's like an 8:00min/mile pace for a mid morning run :)

  2. I've never been able to climb up a rope. When we had to do it in gym class, I got a tiny way up and then sort of just swung there. Is there anyway you can get a student to film it?

    I love everything about your Zumba tactics. It sounds like something I would do. There is no way I'd want to see myself.

    Nice work on being a robot!

  3. Didn't you say you couldn't do a pull-up? I don't believe that if you can climb up a rope ;)

  4. I have no doubt that you will make it up that rope. That is such a great thing to show your students. It's amazing the impression you can set even in 3rd grade!

  5. No waaaaaaaaaay I could climb a rope. Remember I am No Upper Body Strength Shelly. Come seriously. Under what circumstances would I need to climb a rope anyway??

    Sweet job on all your classes. I kinda need to mix it up too. Hey I did do a plank last night. It didn't last long. I got bored.

  6. are an absolute machine working out like you do. I wish I had your energy and drive, but I would probably just waste it. Very nice pace on that mile in an hour would be amazing for me at this point, good going !

  7. I like how you have a rule to not look in the mirror "even by accident". I'm amazed by your pace. That's awesome! I'd be dead right now I think.

    I can get my heart rate up to 110 just by walking. That's a lame workout! I don't mind you for leaving. I've done the same thing before.

  8. Awesome pace! I'd fall over in 0.7 miles, not 7 miles.

    I couldn't climb the rope WITH the knots in it. You must get pictures if you do!

  9. Nice job on the run! I am pretty sure the last time I climbed a rope it was in elementary! Good luck!

  10. Nice job on the run! That is fast, especially in the cold mornings.

    How did the rope climbing go? I can climb about as high as I can jump...

  11. Wait, there's one with no knots? Oh hell no! I might be able to grab the rope and hold it for a few seconds. Maybe.

  12. Nice job on your 7 miles in an hour - that's awesome! I have NEVER climbed a rope in my life and I don't intend to start now.

  13. Hope you succeeded with the rope! I've had a let-down spin class like the zumba you described. Barely got my HR up. I felt bad because the instructor was trying to be enthusiastic but just didn't have good music and I wasn't feeling it.

  14. Zumba not fast paced? Weird. I hated Zumba the one time I did it. It was ridiculous.

    Rope climb? I couldn't do it back in school but I bet you will totally be able to do it.

    Awesome pace!

  15. There's a rope at the climbing gym I go to and I continue to try to climb the damn thing, knowing that it's going to end in utter failure every time. And this rope has lots of knots too. Sigh.

  16. I still have yet to go to a Zumba class. It's on the list for 2012! I'm terrified of heights so the whole rope idea makes my palms sweaty just thinking about it.


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