Afraid of Zumba? Just shake it ‘til you make it!

Zumba by the bayThink Zumba is only for the rhythmically gifted? My two left feet can personally attest to how wrong you are.

I recently shook off my inhibitions and inclination toward my favorite dance move, the wallflower, to try the dance-based workout. If you’re not familiar, Zumba is like interval training, except the intervals are made up of fun dance moves set to mostly Latin and international music.

Traverse City instructor Angie Pierce teaches sessions at the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, Munson Medical Center, and Nourish Nutrition Club. She organized the first ever Zumba by the Bay at this year’s National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, of which I took part.

Pierce offers sage advice to dance-averse newbies.

“I say just try it. If you just keep moving, it doesn’t matter,” Pierce advised before class.

She’s had participants in their 80s who love their Zumba time.

“Anyone can do it,” she said. “I feel like everybody has that beat inside them.”

So, how did I do?

Julie zumbaWell, I didn’t always make the right turns. My shaking abilities are, um, questionable. In the world of internet memes I would definitely be the “what you really look like doing Zumba” picture.

However, from the moment the outdoor class started until the last beat dropped, I realized I’d had a huge grin on my face the whole time. The music, the energy from other dancers, and the movement – as awkward and ungraceful as mine may have been – really did stop me from thinking too much about looking like a fool. In short, Zumba was a blast!

And if that wasn’t enough, knowing I can burn up to 1,000 calories per class might just have me looking for a local Zumba class in Grand Rapids.

Ever tried a fitness trend you weren’t sure about and lived to tell the tale? Tell us about it!

Photo credit: Julie Bitely

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  1. Thank you for giving this amazing workout format a try! My wife told me over and over again I should come try a class with her. I didn’t want to do that “girly dancing stuff” so I kept pushing it off. Finally, once we moved to Houston, she happened to have me at our gym right when a class was about to start. I finally gave in not because I necessarily wanted to do Zumba but because I wanted to say I didn’t like it so I could move on. By the end of the hour I was dripping sweat, confused, had no idea what they were doing but I knew I loved what just happened. I was spending hours on the treadmill watching movies on my phone to pass the time and I didn’t even realize the whole time I was even working out.

    Now I teach 6 classes a week, I’ve lost 150lbs, I’ve dropped from 5XLT shirts to Mediums and Larges and gone from a 50″ waist to a 36″. I’ve gained an entirely new level of confidence and my personality has changed. I’m more outgoing, conversational and always ready to move to a beat.

    Keep it up! It’s an amazing experience!

    1. That’s amazing, Ricardo! Thanks for spreading the Zumba beat to others and way to go on your transformation!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story. My Zumba experiences with Angie Pierce in Traverse City have been amazing.

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