Zumba has been all the rage for a few years now but I’ve only been taking it for a few short weeks. I love it because it reminds me of all the jazz dance classes I took growing up, only in Zumba they don’t teach you the choreography before setting you loose. Trying to keep up and messing up the steps is half the fun; however, the teachers are typically good about demonstrating a low-impact, simplified version first and then slowly revving it up with arm combinations and fancier footwork. I’ve had a phenomenal teacher the past couple weeks who knows the perfect balance between making sure we get it, and kicking our butts with crazy Mambo, Cha-Cha and rump-shaking combinations.
In today’s class though, we had a substitute teacher who just launched into the high-impact, difficult steps and left most of us in the dust. I did my best to keep up but grew more and more frustrated as she went from one combination to another. There’s still that competitive dancer in me who wants to make sure I’m the best in the class, but that just wasn’t happening today, frustrating me even more. I’ll even admit that at one point I grew very jealous of a woman who I eyed sneaking out the back door and considered following her. Then I caught a glimpse in the mirror of this older woman in the back with big, frizzy hair and a blinding neon-orange tank top who was flailing her arms around and moving her feet every which way, all with a huge smile on her face. She definitely wasn’t doing the same steps as the teacher, but she looked like she was having the best time. She was getting a better cardio workout than anyone else in that classroom, and more importantly, was enjoying her carefree self. The absolute epitome of dance like no one’s watching, I realized I needed to take a cue from her and stop taking the class so seriously.
After giving a mental tip of my hat to her, I improved my own attitude about the class and let go of the notion that I can still dance like my former 7-dance-classes-a-week self. I kept up as best I could but I turned my focus to keeping up my heart rate and having a good time. My attitude adjustment completely changed the outcome of the class and I ended up feeling like I had a great workout. And feeling like I had accomplished something.
I think our attitudes are often the biggest challenge of working out.
Unproductive thoughts like, I’m not good at this, so I shouldn’t do it at all. I catch myself doing this with running all the time. I’m working on taking a moment mid-workout to be proud of myself just for being active instead of sitting on the couch. One of my favorite motivational images I’ve found on Pinterest says, “No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.” Such a true statement. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit for even just getting to the gym. We should be grateful for our bodies and what they do for us. And if we could just be more like the crazy lady in the back of the room, I think we will find our dedication and enjoyment of fitness will multiply.