Zumba recently launched a new website featuring success stories. As soon as we found out, we knew I’d have to share my own. Check out the Zumba Stories here — prepare to get choked up — and submit your own if you consider yourself a Zumba success. Here’s my Zumba story.
Jenn, being the good fitness friend that she is, dragged me to my first Zumba class years and years ago. I’d wanted to try it, but I hadn’t quite worked up the nerve. I’m sure I warned her about my lack of dance skills, but I had a good feeling about Zumba and I knew we’d have fun, which we did. We laughed the whole time. I hadn’t anticipated liking it quite as much as I did, and I certainly hadn’t expected to get hooked, but we ended up hitting Zumba together time and time again.
Since that first Zumba class more than 10 years ago, I’ve hit up Zumba regularly — but not as regularly as I would have liked. The gym I belonged to in California didn’t offer Zumba, but when I moved to New Jersey, I took a Zumba class through a local rec center. It only lasted 10 sessions, but I was hooked again. When I joined my current gym, I was pumped that they offered Zumba almost daily — some days multiple times a day.
I Zumba-ed through my third pregnancy, adapting it as needed. When I could no longer take it up to higher impact, I’d take it down a notch and just keep moving. When it hurt to step side to side because of my delicate condition, or when I’d get dizzy doing a simple spin, I’d substitute my own march in place until I could pick right back up with the class. I shook my bump and joked that my baby would come out dancing to Latin beats. I didn’t care if I could no longer boogie like the rest of the class — I was boogeying and that’s what mattered.
Once the baby arrived, it took me awhile to find my rhythm again. Not just in Zumba, but in life. Juggling three kids is a challenge, and finding the time and energy to take an exercise class just wasn’t possible for months. One day, having only exercised sporadically for the first six months postpartum, I decided to hit up a Zumba class. In that first class back after my long baby-hiatus, I was surprised at how tough it felt. But I was not surprised that, immediately after class was over, I checked the schedule to find out when the next class was. Over the next few weeks, I started hitting up Zumba classes regularly. I started to see all the familiar faces, started recognizing choreography and finding new favorite songs. I was enjoying the sweat, the workout that doesn’t feel like work. I was enjoying the blissful hour all to myself and making it part of my schedule again.
When I first started Zumba, I felt like the ultimate nerd. I had no rhythm; I had no groove. What my brain felt like it was doing was a far cry from what the mirrors reported back to me. I could never swing my hips quite right or get rid of that feeling of dorkiness. And whether it’s because I’m older and wiser, feel more comfortable in my own skin now, just don’t care (and know no one else does either) or whether I’m actually just better at dancing after all of my experience, I no longer feel like that dork. I sweat. I Zumba. I belong. And baby, I’m back. —Erin