Hulk-a–mania ran wild in the ’80s.
Macarena–mania ran wild in the ’90s.
Now, Zumba-mania has taken the torch and is the hottest, wildest craze hitting every corner of the country.
What is it and why is it so popular? Perhaps more importantly, how hard is it to do?
It became my goal to find out.
Thinking Zumba (pronounced ZOOM-buh) was some stupid exercise routine that was easy to do and wouldn’t produce any noticeable results, I decided to attend a class. There are plenty of them being held around the Valley. I chose to try a class at the Revival Tabernacle in Watsontown, hosted by pastor Jill Bond.
First let me give you some quick notes on my workout schedule.
I have no schedule.
Walking from the corner of the block to the office and up the steps to the newsroom is a task in itself. It may only take less then two minutes to do, but the thought of it makes me tired. However, I am a man who accepts challenges and this guy wouldn’t back down from joining a group of Zumba-ing ladies.
Dressed in running gear, I arrived at the church about an hour early, to scope out the area and get some hints or clues on exactly what it is that goes on. Part one of my plan failed because no one else was there. So I began stretching and loosening up, again trying to get the edge on my Zumba opponents.
When the rest of the class — about 40 women — began arriving, they all looked in pretty good shape. I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Bond arrived and said I was dressed way too warm and that I would be sweating in no time. I laughed to myself. My body doesn’t sweat unless I tell it to.
She gave me a bottle of water and said, “Hold onto this because you’re going to need it.”
Head instructor Yorelis Trotter lined everyone up and explained that for the next hour we would be following her and getting in shape. Then the music hit. Trotter began moving like one of the professionals on “Dancing With The Stars.”
I tried my best to follow.
Up and down, spinning around, lifting arms, dipping down, hopping on one foot, sliding back and forth — every motion the body can make, Trotter did.
The rest of the class did.
After about 10 solid minutes of these routines, the music stopped and I thought it was break time.
Another song blasted through the speakers — everyone was still on the move.
I lasted about another three minutes before I had to take a break.
I was winded and tired.
I looked behind me and saw all those women still moving.
I couldn’t give up just yet.
I started to back up and then the low dips and arm swaying began. After about a minute I realized something. I was sweating.
I had to hang in there. I followed the leader for what felt like another four hours when I had to stop yet again.
I looked around for a clock to see if the time was almost up and when I couldn’t locate one, I asked Bond why in the world would they have such an enormous gym with classrooms on one side, elaborate sound systems on the other and enough lighting to shine up Yankee Stadium, but not have a single clock hanging on the wall.
She laughed and said, “Don’t worry. Only another half hour to go.”
Another half hour? I would be on a gurney in another half hour.
I was sweating. I was becoming sore. And, to be honest, I have zero rhythm and can’t dance worth a darn. I had no idea why I accepted this assignment.
When it was finally over, the score was Zumba 1, me 0.
After the class, Jennifer Thomas, of Lewisburg, said she gave me credit for trying and that I did a really good job. “Zumba is addictive and I think you did all right for your first time.”
I told her it was OK, she didn’t have to sugar coat my performance and that I just wanted an honest opinion. She responded, “No comment.”
He comes out moving a bit slower
Hulk-a–mania ran wild in the ’80s.
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