Any Repetitive Motion

I know I've talked about it before, but I am super enamoured with Zumba. What's not to love? It's a solid hour of high-impact jumping-around-like-an-idiot—the sort of thing that used to be called aerobics, before aerobics became not very cool anymore—and it has so far managed to be the only physical activity about which I haven't thought, a few minutes prior to doing it, "oh god, I don't want to do this." 

I am not a runner. I am not a mountain biker. The only sweat I'd ever break if I were forced to participate in team sports as an adult would be a cold one of anguish and fear. I like walking and I like the elliptical machine—well, insofar as anyone can like the elliptical machine, which is pretty much at a level of "eh, I guess it helps my jeans fit"—but I had not, until I discoverd Zumba, found a physical activity that I loved.

And I love Zumba. I love that you don't stop moving for the entire class, so your brain doesn't even have a chance—like it does, say, on the elliptical machine—to think hey, screw this, I'm out and stop doing it. I love that you have to pay total attention to follow the moves and keep up with the routine, and on the rare occasion that you intuit what the instructor's going to do next and do it in perfect sync with her, you feel like goddamn Beyonce. I love that it's a little bit like a step class and a little bit like an aerobics class and a little bit like a salsa class and a hip-hop class and a Bollywood class. I love that my Saturday morning session at the YMCA has over a hundred people in it and my Thursday evening one at work has about six. God forgive me, but I love that I get a weekly opportunity to see an octagenarian bust a move to "Getting Nasty."

I'm sorry, is this starting to sound too much like a Zumba informercial? A Zumbamercial? Am I going to walk into my next class and find it's been turned into a Zumbavention? Now listen, Holly, we need to have a conversation—ahem, a Zumbasation—about the enthusiasm with which you grapevine. It's too much. It's putting the rest of us off. 

The one thing I don't love about Zumba—and I'm getting the impression that I probably need to find one so that I don't appear totally brainwashed—is that the songs get stuck in my head like crazy. Why does this happen? Why do I get to the grocery store and can't remember what I came in for, and yet the unnamed song from our cool-down routine at the end of class is looping around and around in my head without pause? The other day I walked into a restaurant and recognized the Latin number on the radio and couldn't work out why, and then my feet, I kid you not, started automatically merengue-ing—don't get too impressed, it's basically just stepping left then right then left then right—and I thought Zumba! We do this one in Zumba! and I had to physically restrain myself from adding in the arms part too. 

You know that phrase "dance like nobody's watching"? Hate to break it to you but people are totally watching. They're watching and they're not thinking damn, that girl can merengue, they're thinking did she just start shuffling backwards and forwards to the music while waiting in line for her burrito? Honey, keep an eye on your purse. 

Zumba, man. Practice it at your own risk. Side effects include a Pavlovian response to rhythmic music in a public place.  

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Sep 26, 2012

This is question I posed on FB: Why is it that the people in the Zumba commercials (Zumbamercials?) cannot simply TALK about Zumba during their interviews, but have to actually Zumba?

Do you do that when you talk about Zumba? When you wrote this?

Sep 26, 2012

hilarious, because I do the same thing! I love Zumba! Dancing for exercise! BUT I'll start doing the moves when I hear the songs... and honestly - nobody dances like that in real life - not at the club, not at a wedding, and certainly not down the aisle at the grocery store. Love it.

I loved Zumba, until I destroyed both knees. I've heard a few people suggest getting "slippier" shoes, though, and I'm tempted to try it. It was just so much darn fun!

Sep 26, 2012

Yes! I left basically this exact same comment the last time you wrote about Zumba, but: I too love Zumba! It is so much fun. I started casually going on Saturday mornings and now I go Saturday mornings PLUS Tuesday/Thursday evenings PLUS this odd "Zumba toning" class immediately after normal Zumba on Saturdays. Have you done this? It involves weights called "Zumba sticks," should Google it, is what I'm saying. I stick with the normal free weights, I'm trying not to succumb to purchasing any official Zumba apparel or paraphernalia.

Also: in my last class a lady who must be at least 70 got up on the platform with the instructor and danced to Kat De Luna's "Drop It Low." Everyone was cheering for her the whole time and she was so actually made me tear up, it was the most awesome thing I have seen in quite awhile. Zumba!!

Sep 26, 2012

Have you ever found yourself lost in a spiraling wormhole of Zumba videos on YouTube, desperately searching botched song lyrics to try to figure out the name and artist of THAT ONE song you just danced to in class? Or, is that just me?

Related: There sure are a lot of terrible Zumba videos on the web, aren't there?

Sep 26, 2012

Jahshea: Ha! Wait, there are ACTUALLY Zumbamercials? Now I need to find one. Happily, I don't Zumba when I talk about Zumba.....yet.

Jen: I have seen SO MANY terrible Zumba videos on YouTube for this very reason. I get the songs stuck in my head, then desperately need to find the video so I can hear the song and get it OUT. (There is one that goes "oooh la la...[incomprehensible lyric]....ooh la la" and it has been TORTURING ME. There is also a "boom!" in there somewhere. Not a lot to go on, I know.

Sep 26, 2012

Infomercials, mostly. Oddly, I've only ever seen the commercials while at the gym - It's Zumba DVDs, Cindy Crawford's skin care system, and WEN haircare on a loop.

Laura B
Sep 26, 2012

I find the same thing happens from my spin class. I'm listening to the radio and I'm like, oh! this song is from spin class. And then I want to die because that is pretty much what I feel like doing the entire time I'm at spin class.

Sep 26, 2012

Holly. I swear, the next time you are in Dallas YOU MUST CALL ME and I will take you to the Zumba at my gym. NOTHING CAN PREPARE YOU. NOTHING. It is an EVENT LIKE NO OTHER ZUMBA BEFORE IT.

Sep 26, 2012

I would SO be sneaking my iPhone into class so I could "Shazaam" all the songs. I actually use SoundHound, but Shazaam sounds better as a verb.


"...on the rare occasion that you intuit what the instructor's going to do next and do it in perfect sync with her, you feel like goddamn Beyonce." <- Literally lol'd. And this statement might actually finally have me sold on trying it.

Sep 27, 2012

Yes! It is exactly like that. I have no dancing skills whatsoever, but man I get excited for my zumba classes every week. I even bought hot pink sneakers and downloaded the songs. (my instructor takes requests on his fb page). It's like I don't even know who I am anymore.

Alicia C.
Sep 27, 2012

I have yet to try Zumba but all these posts are making me want too. I do love aerobics and jazz. Then again I am the perfect example of grace and poise (dripping with sarcasm here) so it might be dangerous to my health. :)

Sep 27, 2012

Coincidentally, I went to my first Zumba class yesterday! I was all... 'meh' until this one song/dance routine where we were to basically jump and flail like we were in our own one-person mosh pit and that was it - SOLD!

Chanel Jibal
Sep 27, 2012

Seems like I need to sign up at my gym for Zumba. I've never tried it but sounds fun

Sep 27, 2012

Wait until your Zumba class does Gangnam Style!! :D Ouuu boy!

Sep 27, 2012

As a Zumba instructor it makes me soo happy to read what you just gave to us ! More motivation to keep spreading the Zumba Love.I'm happy you got the feeling, you got bit by our bug! A nice one, a fun one !!! Please come to my class when you are in Maryland.

Brianne Joy
Sep 27, 2012

Your posts never cease to make me laugh! And lately, you've been making me want to join a Zumba class. It sounds so invigorating!

Sep 27, 2012

I am an unapologetic public dancer (much to the embarrassment and dismay of my closest loved one), so I think Zumba would be far too dangerous for me. Nevertheless, when winter chills send my normal running routine indoors (which they soon will), I may just have to sneak into the back of a class and give it a try.

Sep 27, 2012

I actually teach Zumba! I love it! It's totally exercise in disguise!

Sep 27, 2012

OMG, I really love this -- I'm totally obsessed on all fronts. My gal pals from work (The Three Zumbateers) and I sneak out to make 5 o'clock class taught by GI Julie! Here's a youtube of one of our instructors teaching Zumba toning. She has several vids and this one has over 3000 hits. Great for when you're on vacay & can't get to class!

Sep 28, 2012

Sounds like the scene in THE FULL MONTY when they are in the welfare line after giving up on the stripping, and they all start dancing the steps when their song comes on.....

Sep 28, 2012

Speaking as someone who works for the national office of the Y - I'm SO glad you like it!

Sep 28, 2012

I'm spanish and here Zumba isn't so popular yet, but you have convinced me: I have to find a gym where I can zumba like crazy!! It sounds really fun, except for the dancing-wherever-I-hear-the-song part... :D

Sep 30, 2012

I'm laughing so hard I'm crying and my husband doesn't get it. Zumba-iers unite! (And by "unite" I mean get in sync with my salsa steps...)

Love this!!

Oct 03, 2012

Is this the Ooh La La song you referenced in your comment?

Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 03, 2012

Denise: Oh man, sadly it is not. The one I'm thinking of is really clubby and dancey. Alas!

Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 03, 2012

I FOUND IT! It's called Boom Boom Mama. Turns out that's actually what they were saying.....NOT "ooh la la."

Oct 03, 2012

Holly, I have to thank you. Your original post reminded me to investigate Zumba, after an 8 month stint as a couch potato. I found a nearby gym that offered unlimited classes, and I've been going pretty much 5 times a week since early August! It has NEVER felt like exercise, and I actually look FORWARD to it. I didn't think that was possible! Like you, I hear Zumba music in my head 24/7 (check out the Zumba Pandora channel, by the way!). All I know is that when a Pitbull song comes on during class, I'm duty-bound to wiggle around for all I'm worth! LOVE the Zumba! Thank you!

Oct 03, 2012

Also, I'd like to say that I had never danced in public before, and after feeling awkward the first few classes, I now shake it with reckless abandon. I'm also contemplating the purchase of a JINGLY HIP SCARF, to aid in aforementioned shaking. What has happened to me?!

Jan 31, 2013

Holly, after reading this post, and others, about your enthusiasm for Zumba, I decided to try out a class. Now I'm hooked. THANK YOU!

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