Lindsey: The Weird World of Zumba

Some of you may know that I wobble along to the gym a few times a week, in an attempt to become less wobbly (see my previous blog post). For a while, I’ve been going to Salsacize, which is kind of aerobics crossed with Latin dance. It’s fun, it’s a good workout, and it stops me from having to do the same thing at the gym three times a week.

However, my gym has stopped the Salsacize classes and introduced Zumba instead. Wednesday was my first experience of it, and I’ve been meaning to blog ever since.

After a few minutes of Googling, I came to the conclusion that Zumba is, in fact, very similar to Salsacize. It’s all about dancing and having fun while you exercise. It’s massive in America, but it only just seems to be finding its feet over here in the UK.

And, if Wednesday is anything to go by, it’s not going to be major hit.

First of all, the gym instructor arrived wearing purple ‘Official Zumba™’ trousers and a bra. There’s no other word for it, it was a bra. Her boobs were hiked up somewhere just under her chin and her intimidatingly flat stomach was on display for all of us wobblier people to stare at in disbelief. That set me on a back foot to start with. I’m sorry if it sounds horribly envious, but I don’t like to be made to feel that inferior by someone who’s about to teach me a gym class. It makes me feel like I’ve failed before I’ve even started.

Then, she announced that she wouldn’t be speaking during the class, that we just had to follow her movements. She insisted that this is how Zumba is taught, but of the few other people I know who’ve done it, none of them have had a silent instructor. If she wanted us to change direction or do something different, she had to communicate it to us via a series of gesticulations, furious hand clapping and facial ticks. It was like being taught aerobics by Marcel Marceaux crossed with a seal. It didn’t help that the routine involved some very camp clapping anyway, so every time she clapped I had to stop to figure out if I was supposed to be clapping too, or if she wanted me to set off wiggling in another direction.

Talking of camp moves, one ‘step’ (and I use the term very loosely) involved jumping in the air and landing with your feet apart, whilst theatrically placing your finger on your lips and saying “SSHHH!” I’m sorry, but putting my finger on my lips and saying “SSHHH!” cannot possibly burn enough calories to outweigh the total loss of self-respect that would occur if I did it. I go to the gym to lose weight, not to lose my dignity.

And speaking of dignity, or lack of it, the instructor also had the most alarming array of cringe-inducing facial expressions I’ve ever witnessed. ‘Manically surprised’ seemed to be her favourite, along with ‘rictus grin’ and an Allo Allo-style saucy pout. One of the songs had a little bit of rapping in it, at which point she started doing the most preposterous hip hop posturing attempted by a white person since the video to ‘Ice Ice Baby,’ coupled with a dead serious gangster face. It was at this point that my soul started to die.

It was just embarrassing. You know those people who have no sense of shame? The ones who behave like a tit in public and force you, the viewer, to process their shame and embarrassment on their behalf? I’m thinking specifically of people like Richard Madeley. The Zumba instructor was one of them. She clearly had no idea how utterly ridiculous she looked. But then, there were 16 of us copying her (almost) every move, so I guess the joke’s on us.

I’m yet undecided as to whether I’m going to go this week. On the one hand, it seems like an embarrassing and pointless waste of my time. On the other hand, I might get another blog out of it…


Who is Lindsey?

Hi! I’m Lindsey. Although I haven’t had WLS, I have struggled with my weight since childhood. I’ll be blogging here from time to time with updates on how I’m trying to keep myself trim, my ups and downs at the gym and lots of other weight-related issues.