The first time I stepped into a Zumba class, I was a hot mess. I was training for Ramblin’ Rose 2015, and they gave us a schedule that recommended cross training on the days that we weren’t doing one of the three tri disciplines. I’d always wanted to give Zumba a go, even though my dance experience had really been limited to Irish and Scottish dancing. Both required very specific or no arm movements. It couldn’t be that hard, right?
In my first class, I discovered that my neighbor was a regular. So much for remaining anonymous as I tripped over my own feet. But there was also an older woman in the class who was one of the Y infant room attendants. I had been talking to her whenever I did my drop-offs/pick-ups for my training program, and loved how she was with my little baby. She had a grandchild and could only do Zumba a couple of times a week when she wasn’t working in the childcare room or caring for him. She told me to hang out in the back with her since I was so nervous about my first class.
The instructor came in and she was so energized and enthusiastic. The room went crazy and everyone knew all of the moves. I was so lost. By the time class ended, I was a sweaty, confused bundle of nerves. I was laughing with my new friend and she told me ‘who cares what they think, as long as you’re having fun.’ After class I chatted with my neighbor and told her I would never be winning any awards for my Zumba performance. They both told me to give it time, and soon I’d be up front with everyone else.
So I was intrigued.
I came back the next week and stumbled through it again. But I had fun, and I broke a sweat, and most importantly, the time flew by so I barely felt like I was working out. I decided to try some of the other classes. I gradually started incorporating other classes like strength training, cycle, intervals, etc. Zumba started to grow on me and I eventually picked up the routines and found my favorite instructors. I slowly started to move to the front of the room.
I also found that I was’t going to love every class, certainly not every day. I tried to give each class a few tries. Maybe not always back to back, but one week I would go, and then maybe again in a few more. I developed a love of Zumba, a love/hate relationship with cycle (which has now formed into more love than hate, depending on the teacher), an obsession with PiYo Live, a ‘this hurts so good’ relationship with TRX, and I still have mixed feelings towards strength classes and intervals, but I know I need them for proper cross training and injury prevention.
There are some teachers that I won’t go to again because of bad experiences or not being crazy about the way they ran a class. When that happens, I give them a few tries and then see if anyone else teaches the same class to see if it changes my feelings towards it. But regardless, I try it. It’s just an hour of your life. Some of my best classes have been things that I didn’t like when I first started them, or have been things that I judged ahead of time without giving it a go.
“Defeat is not the worst failure. Not to have tried is the true failure.”
– George Edward Woodberry
So try something new. Step out of your comfort zone. You might hate it, but you’ll never know unless you try.
What have been your favorite workout surprises? What did you try and just not love?