Valerie Bock shares her thoughts on the first Flex Friday class - ZUMBA! Entry #2, August 11


Flex Friday - WSOYMCA Challenge group attends Zumba!

Zooming into Zumba

Well, it’s been an ACTIVE few days. After our initial class Wednesday, I experienced the existence of muscles, mostly quads and glutes, which I guess I’ve just been taking for granted. Taking stairs was way more exciting than it should be for 2 full days.

I decided Thursday to indulge in my favorite Thursday workout – 9 laps in the pool (I always plan for 18, am running late, and wind up with 9. I theorize that 9 beats the heck out of zero.) followed by the noon Pilates class. My poor traumatized muscles seemed soothed by the pool, or maybe just by doing stuff they are used to doing! Several of my Challenge cohort decided to do Pilates as well, which made it fun. I’ve been doing that class for a while, and well remember how utterly impossible some of the stuff they do in there felt the first few times I came. So I had a LOT of empathy for the crew trying these moves for the first time. The thing that’s great about Pilates, in my opinion, is that just as I think I could not possibly do this any longer, the movement changes. My usual plan of attack for a move I find challenging is to do several reps, rest, and then come back and try to finish with the class. And then, once things change, concentrating on how nice it is not to be doing that hard thing any more, and how good it feels to rest the muscles I’m not using! LOTS was challenging for me yesterday because of the aforementioned soreness from Wednesday. But it was really hard not to be inspired by the heroic efforts of my Challenge pals who were new to the class and just as sore. As we were leaving, Beth said “see you tomorrow!” and what could I do but respond brightly with “right!”

Secretly, I was plotting to have a reason not to do the “flex” session offered at noon Friday. I mean, I have been pretty darned heroic 2 days this week, right?

But then I logged into MyFitnessPal, the food/exercise diary we are tracking our nutrition and exercise in. MyFitnessPal is kind of cool, because it already knows how many calories are in the foods people actually eat. I mean, they know what a Jalapeno Slider at Arby’s costs in calories! And the other thing it knows is how many calories are burned by exercise, and they very cleverly present it as currency – telling you how many calories you have bought for yourself by being active. And, well, I have a fun weekend planned, with a family party which will feature excellent food and drink, so maybe doing something Friday wouldn’t be the worst idea after all?

Plus, Friday was the day I had my assessment with Molly.

This challenge is all about being scientific and measuring progress, so they have to know where each of us starts, right? So each of us gets a half-hour with Molly, where she takes some measurements and does a body fat analysis and tests some basic fitness levels by having us step up on a step and back down for 3 minutes and do pushups “till failure.” Needless to say, I spent a LOT longer on the steps than I did doing pushups.

She also talks to us about setting some goals. This may be one of the toughest parts for me. I’m not training to run a marathon, or even a 5k (Been there, done that, it’s just not appealing to me right now.) I’m not focused enough to know that I’d like to be able to lift 10/20/30 more pounds than I can right now (I have actually no idea how much I can lift right now!) My general goal in exercise tends to be figuring out how little I can do to keep myself reasonably healthy! So for me, the challenge is more a process thing than an outcome thing. I am looking forward to trying some new things to see what might be appealing. I would LOVE to lose some inches from my waist, but am not convinced this is a possibility. (I am a post-menopausal woman, and there are some changes that go with that which are probably evolutionarily advantageous, though not really accepted by a culture which thinks women should look 23 for as long as possible) so I’m a little shy about making that a goal, though will be watching with interest to see if anything happens on that score. Molly helpfully asked how I am with fluid intake. I’m terrible about that, so will likely shape changing that into a measurable goal. Fortunately for me, I have this blog post to write as an excuse for not yet working out the goal thing.

The assessment finished up right as Denise’s Power Waves water workout class started, and I was RIGHT THERE and one of my personal intentions these days is to take a “yes-and” improvisational approach to life, to embrace opportunities as they present themselves. So I did that, (again, way soothing on the still-sore muscles!) caught up with some pals in there, and reasoned that having done my thing, I could totally skip out on the noon Zumba intro. Besides I had an appointment and it could run late and I might not be able to make it anyway.

So of course, things were very efficient and my 11:00 in town finished up in plenty of time and I did tell Beth I’d be there and so, in the spirit of saying yes unless there is a compelling reason to say no, I suited up for Zumba.

I’m SO glad I did. Maria teaches an awesome class. Because, basically, what is not to love about dancing through lunch hour? Zumba, for the uninitiated, is sort of a cross between a classic aerobics class and kick-boxing, set to a Latin beat. I’m not great at learning new dance steps, but these were pretty basic and I managed not to stumble around too much. Highlight of the experience, was witnessing YMCA CEO Matt Whitehead embrace what was clearly a completely new experience for him. “Dancy” classes, for some reason are generally populated by women, and women who have done group exercise before generally have enough familiarity with moving to music in such a class to be able to sorta predict how it’s going to go and thus we can usually roughly keep up. Guys, not so much. Matt, not at all. It was very much a case of a fish utterly out of water. But he totally soldiered through it, and had the sweaty t-shirt and exhausted grin to show for it. He mentioned that he has a sign in his office which encourages everyone who comes in there to step out of their comfort zone, and today, he gets to wear his gold star for following through. He also said “I will never laugh at Zumba again!” which I think is telling. There are a lot of men who imagine that a dance-based exercise class is something less strenuous for delicate flowers. I know there are several men who were disabused of that notion today, and am really impressed with what good sports they were about the whole thing. This is a great crew! Hope everyone has a relaxing and delightful weekend so we can do it again on Monday!

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