This is the first of several articles designed to get triathletes and runners to try something new this off-season. All season long we either run, bike, or swim and do very little else. Even if we wanted to try something new, chances are there is just not enough time in our busy lives. As the off season approaches I encourage everyone to take a break from the training grind. This is the time of the year when you are free to expand your horizons and do something other than running, cycling, or swimming for fitness.
I am no different than anyone else. Other than golf I really have not done any other sports or exercise programs outside of my comfort zone. I am probably the least likely person to try anything new. Rather than continue this trend and because I know there are others out there like me I decided to change. My goal is to show that runners and triathletes can try something new and hopefully encourage people that are afraid or hesitant that it can be fun to try something different.
What is the first thing I tried? Well, you can probably guess by the title of this blog....Zumba! Now what is Zumba? According to Wikipedia:
Zumba is a dance fitness program created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez during the 1990's. Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and martial arts. Squats and lunges are also included.
Why did I choose Zumba as my first new topic? My mother-in-law has been talking about Zumba for several months. During a couple of family cookouts I heard her mention how great Zumba is and how much she enjoyed going to the classes. She mentioned she has lost weight and is now going regularly. Now at the time I knew nothing about Zumba. I just assumed it was like Yoga or something similar. When I decided I wanted to start writing about new things I wanted to pick something I knew nothing about and the first thing that came to mind was Zumba. I figured, "How hard can it be..my mother-in-law is doing it, right?"
I decided the best place to go was the studio that my mother-in-law attends. I contacted Nicole Detellis who is the owner of Fuse Yoga & Fitness in Londonderry, New Hampshire. I explained that not only did I want to attend one of her Zumba classes and write an article about it I also wanted to film my experience. This is View The Race....everything is about video. Nicole was accommodating and agreed to my request.
First off you really need to understand I had no idea what Zumba was all about. I purposely did not want to find out much about it prior to attending the class. Again my goal is to show that anyone can try something new and you don't need weeks of planning to get out there and give it a shot.
I arrived at the studio feeling a little self conscious. I was happy to see that the class was small and everyone was very welcoming. Nicole was terrific. She welcomed me and made me feel at ease despite the fact I still did not know what I was in for. Everyone gathered in a room that looked like a dance floor with a wall mirror in the front of the room. A few seconds later the music started and Nicole started leading the first workout set. I was caught a little off-guard as there were no announcements or "starting gun".
Now right off I realized I was not dressed properly. Unfortunately I do not have any workout clothes other than Spandex tri shorts. I figured Spandex would not be welcomed so I decided to wear some old golf shorts and a loose fitting race t-shirt. I wore running shoes but found that for Zumba there are special shoes with no tread that work well. Check out these Zumba Shoes on Amazon. It would have made it a little easier to slide my feet on the floor but it didn't really matter.
My impression of Zumba is similar to the definition. It is basically completing a dance routine for each song with a little aerobics mixed in. Since I had no previous knowledge of the routines I basically had to follow the instructor and try to mimic her moves. This is easier said than done. Nicole is a fabulous instructor with high energy and an obvious dance background. I was very impressed and at times felt like I was at a show watching her perform.
I really have only danced at weddings and have definitely never performed a solo dance routine. Despite this fact I had a fun time. The class was one hour long and time seemed to fly by as I tried to follow the moves for each song. I did not feel overly strained but I started sweating heavily about 20 minutes into the class. By the end my shirt was soaked. I think I would have got an even better workout if I completed more of the moves and really was able to get into each song. Due to my lack of ability at times I was a little lost and ended up skipping some of the movements. I am sure I would do better if I tried it a couple of more times.
If you like to dance then Zumba is for you. Everyone knows someone that likes to dance and is probably not working out. Encourage them to take a Zumba class or better yet bring them to a Zumba class and give it a try. The energy in the class is great and makes you want to learn the moves for each song. I think this would be great cross training if you want to work up a nice sweat and have fun for an hour. Instead of cycling on the boring trainer or running for 30 minutes on the treadmill try a Zumba class. It was a lot of fun, and I may try it again.
Want to see how I did? I am posting a few videos of my experience at the below link. If you promise not to laugh you are allowed to watch this video. Seriously...promise...Better yet focus on the instructor.
Special thanks to Nicole Detellis from Fuse Yoga & Fitness. If you are interested in Yoga, Zumba, or Surf-Set Fitness check out her studio. The welcoming atmosphere and great instructors will make it easy to stay in shape this off-season.
**Fuse Yoga & Fitness is offering a "New Student Pass" for only $25 for 25 consecutive days. This is good for ANY class at Fuse Yoga & Fitness.***
Conveniently located just off route 93 (exit #5) in Londonderry, NH.
Click here for this week's workout schedule.
Fuse Yoga & Fitness
182 Rockingham Road
Londonderry, NH 03053