If there’s one place you won’t find me, it’s in a Zumba class. Or jazzercize. Or any other dance-related fitness class. I know plenty of women love these types of group exercises but it’s way at the bottom of my preferred calorie-burning activities. For one, I don’t get that euphoric rush like I do from other intense workouts (like kettlebell, plyometrics, weight lifting, spinning, or running) and secondly, it just doesn’t burn enough calories for me to justify the time. I workout for one of two reasons: to look good or to feel good. Dance aerobics don’t really do either for me.
Now, before some of you die-hard Zumba fans try to hip-check me with your saucy shimmy, let me explain. For women who love to dance and that’s what gets them moving, great! I’m all for it. And for women who are carrying excess weight, dance movements can be a great exercise option since the extra body fat increases the difficulty of the movements, making it a higher calorie-burn. But when you weigh 125 pounds, you don’t burn a lot of calories in your own skin (save for some intense plyometric routines that will drop you faster than you can say, one-more-chin-up). And to be totally honest, my calorie-burn seems even lower when I’m spending most the class awkwardly missing all the steps and trying to play catch-up with the routine.
Hello left foot. Oh, and hello there other left foot!
So today while I was sweating buckets on the spin bike, I couldn’t help but notice the aerobic class happening in the studio directly in front of me. Facing one of the floor-to-ceiling windows, I had a front-row seat to the hilarity that ensued inside. The ladies were working up a sweat (I think…??) as they danced around the room waving their arms here and there. But that wasn’t the hilarity.
I know I’m going to get flamed for saying this, but the thing I found so funny was that there were MEN in there! I mean, real, manly looking men! Their movements were spastic and clunky as they did their best to keep up with the routine and shift their body weight from one foot to the other, always a step behind the rest of the class. And as I found myself chuckling, on the inside of course (as if my awful internal judgments weren’t damning enough), I noticed another man in the back corner. A guy that I know! In fact, he’s a regular in my kettlebell training group.
So here’s where someone leaves a comment to say “why is it okay for you, a woman, to take on the testosterone-filled kettlebell class but it’s somehow not okay for him to attempt a Zumba class?” Well, logic would say that it’s totally okay and that I should even be proud of him for having the guts to prance walk into such a class in the first place!
But despite the logic, I still find it hilarious. Perhaps this is how culture swings. For centuries, women were denied basic rights because we were viewed as inferior. And now, I get to laugh at men trying to do something that’s decidedly “feminine” simply because enough of us think it’s girly, even if it’s not.
Philosophize all you want, I’m still laughing.