Zumba: Advanced – 1,2,3 songs in the bathroom

(Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. This is for advanced Zumba practitioners with highly developed alcohol skills)

Now that I have 2 1/2 years of Zumba practice under my belt, I have found an interesting correlation between my Friday night activities and the 9 am Saturday morning class. I am now able to rate my Friday night soirees by the number of songs in Zumba class I’m required to spend in the bathroom the next morning.

As you may know, Like Zumba or other forms of exercise, partying and drinking requires a certain amount of practice, stamina and endurance. As you also may know, these two activities are not always best done back to back. Well, more exactly, it’s easier if you Zumba first and then party after, rather than the other way around.

I’m proud to say I normally have a “zero” bathroom break class. I may often go right when I’m supposed to go left and back when I’m supposed to go forward, but since that’s my normal lot in life, I can’t really blame it on Friday’s “Festivus for the Rest of Us”. I have noticed though, that upon having a little too much fun on Friday night, especially when I don’t wake up till 8 am, and getting to class on time is quite a chore (including two trips from the car back into the house to fetch one of more of “spectacles, testicles, wallet or watch”) that my body requires a full song bathroom break to get through class.

Until today, my record was two songs, and I’m both proud and dismayed to admit today was a three song day.

I’m not sure if my drinking is slipping and I need more practice, or my Zumba endurance is lacking, and I need more exercise. Probably both. As one of my favorite yoga instructors says; “Detox to retox”. On the other hand, as a hangover remedy goes, Zumba is certainly as good as hydrating or alcohol. I would not recommend combining the Zumba with the “hair of the dog” as drinking before of while Zumba-ing is definitely not recommended. Funny, but not recommended.

I have on a couple of occasions taken the Yoga Studio Owner’s 9:30 am Saturday class, instead of Zumba, and I’m convinced that rather than a hangover remedy, this is why California just became the third state to pass a bill allowing for medically assisted suicide.

“I am the Walrus. Coo Coo Ca Choo”

hangover baby

ZUMBA Class and This Blog’s Two Year Anniversary – an Expression of Gratitude 

Warning:  This may NOT be funny. This blog is about “Gratitude”. ” and I don’t know that I can make this funny.  April 22, 2015 is my two year anniversary of going to ZUMBA class. (And a little over 6 years of tango and almost 7 of yoga, all while gradually changing my diet and habits). I started writing because I was encouraged by friends who thought some posts in which I was humorously dealt with all my shortcomings, foibles and challenges were funny. But, I owe whatever progress I’ve made, and MY inspiration  to so many people, so many of YOU, that I write today to express my gratitude.

“Gratitude” may not be the most powerful energy on the planet, but I think it’s in the top three. I’ve tried to work as hard the last 7 years on the inner me as the outer me and I’ve found gratitude to be one of the best therapists on the planet.  It is hard NOT to be happy, joyful, peaceful, kind, or compassionate if you’re grateful.  It’s a terrific, almost immediate tonic for the unavoidable sadness, depression, grief or malaise we all must experience as humans.  While I’m not saying there is not value to “rest” in these emotions, when you decide it’s time to let go, there is no better single tool then gratitude.

I claim no credit for these concepts, there are hundreds, if not thousands of blogs, articles, stories and books on the subject of gratitude and starting a gratitude practice.  There are many variations but all you have to do to start a gratitude practice is once a day, think of one thing you’re grateful for.   Then think of one more. There are myriad suggestions for how many a day, but start with one. As you practice, you’ll set a number for yourself as you get better at it until you find yourself being grateful a good part of the day.  If you’re struggling to think of one thing, do not despair.  Whether or not you have good health, a roof over you’re head, family that loves you, a job, a beautiful flower outside, you’re alive. And if you can’t be grateful for that, you have choices. And there is so much to be grateful for- a blue sky, a warm breeze, random acts of kindness, a smile from a stranger, the ability to help someone else- it’s almost infinite.

So, here in no particular order is my list of things I’m grateful for, as thanks to all who have helped: my friends, my instructors, my classmates, my dancing partners, strangers with a kind word or smile, my readers (both of them)( you knew I couldn’t resist at least one quip), and all those who’ve inspired me.

I’m grateful for:

  1. Quitting smoking,
  2. Losing 30 pounds.
  3. Having stomach muscles, again.
  4. Yoga, ZUMBA and tango, in general.
  5. Yoga for teaching me self acceptance, patience, peace, the joy of the journey and the struggle, balance, mindfulness, upper body strength. Breathing, and the joy of slow but steady progress.
  6. Tango sor teaching me balance, grace, creativity musicality, and the joy of doing something that I’m not really good at. But passionate about.  You don’t have to be the best to enjoy yourself.
  7. Zumba for joy, stamina, balance, a better heart rate, musicality, rhythm, inspiration and motivation. And ZUMBA women. 😉
  8. Supportive friends.  
  9. Kind words which have motivated and inspired me
  10. My classmates- Zumbaranions rock!
  11. My chiropractor. 😉
  12. My doctor for 30 years. (That guy deserves a medal. From somebody.  For something).
  13. The amazing ability of the body to change and heal even considering what I’ve done to it. 
  14. Meditation.
  15. People who say stupid, judgmental or ridiculous things for teaching me patience, tolerance, forgiveness and non attachment.
  16. My daughter whose own 150 pound weight loss has inspired me in so many ways.
  17. For learning but not always practicing, that every moment is a gift, and it’s called “the present”  The actual quote, “Yesterday is History, Tomorrow a Mystery, Today is a Gift, Thats why it’s called the Present” is attributable to many people as the first author.
  18. Failure for teaching me persistence. Compassion for others, gratitude for successes, motivation, and self reflection.
  19. Giving up dairy, wheat, carbs and sugar.  
  20. Learning to eat vicariously.  (If you saw someone smiling at you while you were eating the triple fudge sundae with chips and chocolate sauce, thanks for the memory)
  21. Choices. 
  22. The belief that everything that happens to me is my own doing and I have the ability to change 
  23. The desire and inspiration to work even harder for my goals and dreams.  80 pounds to go. 
  24. That I’m not out of things to be grateful for- I’m just stopping here.   Ok, and redheads and convertibles. And whiskey and the Kama Sutra. Alright, I’m really stopping now. 


Try a gratitude practice,  the changes you will see in your life are almost immediate. You often hear, tell the people you love, that you love them every day.  Now go tell the people you appreciate, every day, that you appreciate them. 

 

   

Zumba Class and Codeine Cough Syrup

I was going to write that there is some controversy about working out when sick but a quick 10 minutes on the Internet demonstrates that yet again, there was only controversy between my ears. So let me say the clear consensus seems to be that if your minor symptoms are from the neck up, it’s ok to work out. If your symptoms are from the neck down, stay home. This was not my recollection of the rule.

I did however have a previously scheduled unrelated routine doctors appointment two days ago. This is the same family doctor I’ve had for 35 ish years. (Who’s counting). Having a doctor patient relationship that long is a little like being married. He knows I only think medicine should be taken recreationally. I know he’s very conservative. I know when he ignores me, tunes me out, whatever I’m talking about isn’t important. When I mentioned in passing my sore throat just on one side (I know- how bizarre is that?) and my cough, he ignored me and tuned me out.

The cough and chest congestion (or lung clearing from not smoking- whatever) got annoying enough over the last couple of days to turn to the codeine cough syrup (which qualifies as a both a medicinal and a recreational drug). I took the day off to rest, but then though it would be a good idea if I went to Zumba Class to detox whatever this was and move around. I did not give any thought to the codeine. There are some differences to taking Zumba “sober” and taking Zumba with several good doses of codeine cough syrup:

1. Julio Iglesias sounds like Jerry Garcia. After he died.
2. The hour FLIES by. Einstein was right. (And high I think)
3. While it was harder to manage my breathing, it was in a more of a passing out, lose conciousness kind of way. Rather than take breaks to catch my breath, it was take breaths to keep from passing out. Very college freshman like
4. Zumba potentiates the buzz. This is “pharmacy speak” for the exercise makes you twice as high as you were when you started. AWESOME!!!
5. Everybody is soooo friendly when you’re on codeine.
6. Zumba is very relaxing. Weeeeeeeeeeee.
7. I could not coordinate my hand or feet movements
8. I could not keep up with the instructor of the rest of the class
9. I could not follow along with the music.

O wait. I can’t coordinate my hand or feet movements, keep up with the instructor or the rest of the class, or follow along with the music when I’m NOT on codeine cough syrup.

Now that I know what the rule REALLY is, I’m thinking I’m skipping yoga class tomorrow. Although down dog and codeine has potential………just kidding.

Zumba Update, Tourette’s, and Common Core Math

I’ve discovered just this week, much to my joy, that the music in class is actually so loud, I can actually blurt out some of the ridiculous things that come across my brain and nobody can here them. Well, except maybe, once in awhile, the woman standing right next to me. But she pretty much ignores me. Most of the time. I call this “Zumba Tourette’s”.

For example, we have a “cool down” routine that’s the same for the end of every class. One position is a squat with cactus arms. Like this.

IMG_2585.JPG. When we did this yesterday, I thought of Ferguson, St Louis, so I blurted out, “Don’t Shoot”. Mary said “what?!” I said, “don’t shoot”. Zumba Tourette’s. Most of my other Zumba Tourette’s comments are more predictable.

Tuesday one of the veterans said, “You’ve been coming for awhile, you’ve been seeing results!” I said, “16 months, and no results. Well, consistency is a result. I’m very consistent. I may lack timing, balance, grace, athleticism, flexibility, strength, agility, stamina, wind, beauty, progress or demonstrable results but I’m proving I’ve got balls and obsessive compulsive disorder. Otherwise, I’m just as bad as when I started”

After 16 months of attendance, I’ve been tracking some patterns, and can now reasonably explain why, on any given day, I only really know the routines for, let’s say, three songs. Here’s the math, in both “old” and Common Core Format. Zumba class is 55 minutes starting 5 minutes late and ending on the hour and each song is roughly 3 minutes each leaving approximately 18 songs per class, give or take. One of those is a cool down song leaving 17. Even with rapid changeovers between songs, you can subtract one more song for beaks between songs leaving 16. You old folks divided 3 into 55, you common core folks grabbed your iPhone, a stop watch, an abacus, started playing music, stoping songs after three minutes, moving a bead on the abacus for each song, watching the clock as you go. We’ll wait till you catch up).

The instructor to her credit, regularly rotates the playlist to provide a change of pace, different routines, work out different muscle groups, blah, blah blah, so the songs change somewhat each class. Of the 16, at least three are brand spanking new routines (to me). Depending on whether the choreography is easy (then it takes me 4 weeks to learn it) or of its hard (she was motivated to create it by some road rage incident that day- I generally call these songs – “road rage choreography”) then those take me more like 8 weeks to learn. An average song will not be in the rotation more than 8’weeks so some will actually rotate out before I’ve actually learned them.

Three of the remaining 16 are older songs (meaning they have dropped out of the rotation but are being brought back). Per the above paragraph, it takes me 1/2 as long to forget a routine as it takes me to learn it. In any case. Most songs are rotated out long enough so that when they are recycled, I remember the song, but not the routine. hence, we’re now up to 6 of the 10 I’m incompetent to perform.

The remaining ten are some variations of these two rules above, resulting in another 3 or 4 that are either so new I can’t do the routines or have been off the playlist for so long I can do them. Using old math, this would result in a answer of 6 songs I actually knew the routines to at any one time. If you’re still using common core math standards to compute this answer, then take double the recommended dose of stool softener with a large glass of prune juice. When those take effect, walk into the bathroom with some hand rolled incense, light it sit down, and the number which comes to mind is the correct answer. According to common core standards.

I like watching new people in class. 75% of anyone who comes to class for the very first time does a better job than me. I’ve already decided if I ever go to another Zumba class and they ask if I’ve ever been I’m going to lie an say it’s my first time, so I won’t be embarrassed,

So, I was leaving class Tuesday, and walking out tot the little parking lot. In daylight. Of the daycare. And happened to be parked next to one of the new girls who showed up that day, who was sitting I her car on her phone. She saw me… And locked her doors. I wonder if Zumba international sells any shirts with Zumba on the back and “I’m not a serial killer” on the front?

I think this Zumba Tourette’s is going to get worser.

Zumba Causes Narcolepsy

For the first time, I made it to 3.75 Zumba classes this week. Here’s what happened. Fourteen months ago, I started going once a week. Loyal readers, both of you, know that after 10 minutes, I was gasping for air and praying for death. As the months wore on, and the pounds fell off, I started going twice a week. A couple of months ago, I dabbled a couple of times with going THREE times a week. In order to fit this on my schedule, this necessitated going to class two days in a row. How can I prosaically describe the effect this had on me? What words will convey the true effect this had on my body, mind, and soul? I know, it KICKED MY ASS.

As April and May approached, I saw my six month July doctors check up looming on the calendar which coincided with my celebrating losing 30 ponds since last July. At the same time, this rate of loss is nowhere near my type A, overachiever, obsessive compulsive addictive personality that wants to be losing 2 pounds a week is satisfied with, so I’ve been constantly been tweaking what I’ve been eating and my Zumba/Yoga/tango regimen trying to get the weekly weight loss up to what I consider a respectable level.

So, this was the week I decided I’d try FOUR Zumba classes and two yoga classes. Here’s how the week went starting with last Saturday.

Saturday June 7: Go to zumba class 9 am as usual. Come home, shower, head to Lowes, buy potting soil, drainage rock, two pavers. Set pavers, level for new outdoor table purchased by GF, plant new deck plants (also purchased by GF), and paint one of two outdoor corner shelves built by GF. Shower, put on costume, attend tango Milonga. 17,000 steps for the day.

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Sunday June 8: go to yoga class: already beyond exhausted. Fall asleep in savasana, or deep relaxation at end of class. I think I snored.

Monday June 9: Go to Zumba class: this is the class I don’t normally attend. I am fired up. Gonna make three in a row this week. Woooo Hoooo.

Tuesday June 10: Can’t get up for work. Go to office. Fall asleep at desk at 2:30. Give up. Take entire day off. Go home. Go to Zumba class at 5:45. This building where she has class doubles as children’s something or other and, I think, large oven for baked goods the size of SUV’s. Or it must, judging from the usual temperature in there.

Wednesday June 11: What day is it? I want to take today off too. Am exhausted. Make it to office. Am really excited about making it to THREE Zumba classes in a row. leave work early at 4 pm. Get home change clothes. Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open. It’s 5:45. I have 30 minutes before I have to leave for class at 6:15 which starts at 6:45. Ok, I can take a power nap. Set alarm on I phone for 22 min. Close eyes. Pass out. Alarm goes off. 6:07. Great, I can sit here for 5 minutes. Next thing I know, I wake up and it’s 7:45. YUP, ZUMBA CAUSES NARCOLEPSY!!!! (Or maybe I need a little more rest, or a little more time to get used to this schedule- whew,). I dash out the door, race to class and get there 15 minutes late….so, I made it to 2.75 classes this week.

Thursday June 12: regular yoga class. Maria, the teacher, has left for her summer vacation. Who do we get for our sub? The yoga instructor who is also the marathon runner. You can’t make this stuff up. Insert your own punch line here. I pray for a quick death during savasana.

Friday June 13: No exercise today, but I do have to drive four hours round trip to teach the last two hours of a certification class. Have also noticed my weight has fluctuated three pounds this week even though my diet has not changed at all. I assume this is analogous to how terminal patients, as they approach death, will refuse food and water. I’m guessing by the end of the week, my body, from the Zumba overdose, has started hoarding water for the coming apocalypse. I get back to charleston at 7 pm and meet a friend for dinner.

Saturday June 14: I make it to Zumba class no 3.75 this week. I don’t know my name, I swear, just by looking I have 6 fingers on my right hand, I can’t get enough sleep but I woke up at 5:30 am and could not get back to sleep. Class was great. I did notice by one of the last songs, I was having trouble distinguishing between my right and left foot.

You know what I keep thinking, don’t you? She DOES teach a class EVERY DAY at the senior center at 8 am. Lemme google narcolepsy drugs…….

How to tell you’re making progress in a weight loss and exercise program?

Something happened the other day to make me realize I’d made significant progress in Zumba class. Except in steps, timing, musicality, balance, speed, grace, stamina, endurance, appearance, dance, or choreography of course. On my way to class, the drive though line at Starbucks was excruciatingly slow, and it took a half hour to get my coffee, getting me to class five minutes before it started. As I walked through the door, Dale said, “the women were asking where you were?”, which I interpreted to mean that the other two women who got there early, and Dale, had recognized my ability to get to Zumba Class early. Significant progress. Lala gets to Zumba class early on a regular basis.

Today I took a spot on the OTHER side of the room. You know, not in the spot where I stand EVERY week for the last forty-six. We are creatures of habit. We like the same pews in church, the same parking spaces at the grocery store, the same place for our yoga mat in yoga class. Don’t you get a little embarrassed when you go to yoga class to meditate, and get pissed because someone has their mat in your spot, or because someone has your parking spot or pew in church?

I Loved the comments I got this morning as I stood on the other side of the room. “You’re in a different spot”. “Yes”. “You”re switching sides?” “Just looking at the world from a different perspective.” “You”re on the wrong side.” “I’m bi-sided.” Sometimes it’s good to see room from a different point of view. Or people. Or things.

Went to a 3 day business convention last week. Went to one of the night business convention dinners with client and assorted vendors of client at Italian restaurant. One long table, and one short table with me and four others. The four others had driven. Over from the convention hotel. I knew one of the four a little better the. The others she sat next to me. The other two men and the other female sat opposing us. Me and my seat mate had fitbits so we were asked about our fitness trackers. I Confessed to calling mine “that fit bitch” due to her constant nagging” we explained how they worked, you input calories etc. We had a wonderful, typically Italian Roman 37 course meal of Antipasto. Bruschetta. Hot Italian Rolls and dipping sauce, soups, salad, etc, etc. The thin, 117 pound 25-year-old blond, kept up well with all this. As she finished off the last bite of her porterhouse with vodka cream sauce I asked, “do you run 40 miles a day?” She said. “I have a really good metabolism, I do exercise, and I’m only 25”. “Are you staying at the hotel?”, I asked. “Yes”, she said. “I’m going to come find you later and stab you. Beat you with a baseball bat and throw you in a dumpster”.

I always wanted to do that just once. I told her when I left I really wasn’t coming looking for her and I hoped her good metabolism and 25 heard old luck and exercise lasted her whole lifetime. My fitbit seat mate was still giggling on the inside however as I could see, she wanted to stab her too.

I input the entries from the dinner in my fitbit the next morning. A two thousand calorie dinner that was more than I eat in a day and half, normally. It started to beep like a cheap timer in those blocks of putty meant to look like C-4 In a bad action flick. I was speaking that morning, so I told them this story and apologized in Adana CE and told them that if my fitbit actually exploded. Severing my right hand and spraying them with arterial spray, it was the fault of fitbit and veal Parmigiano (which was excellent, by the way).

How to tell if you’re making progress in an exercise and weight program? Same way you do life- accentuate the positive, let the negative go, and maintain a sense of humor.

Zumba One Year Anniversary Wednesday April 23rd 2014

WOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOO I made it a year, and like yoga, and Argentine Tango, I have never been so happy to be doing something I am no better at than when I started. I think Anniversaries are a time for reflection, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned and accomplished in a year. Let’s start with just a little of what I wrote exactly one year ago today:

“Just got back from my first ever Zumba class. Thankfully no scarlet letters or getting tied to a stake was involved. Yes, if you’ve never been, the rest of the class looks like those happy, healthy people you’ve seen on the infomercials dancing to a joyous, driving beat. I, on the other hand, looked like a cardiac patient playing Charades to the same music and my word was “epileptic seizure”. ….. Thanks Dale Ellison. Can’t wait to come back. Maybe for my next class of charades I’ll try “drunk on a electric fence”.” (The rest can be found at https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.wordpress.com/2013/04/)

So lets reflect on the progress made and things learned over one year:
1. Out of about 79 completely different routines I am pretty confident on 3. Well maybe 4. But definitely 3. And, if she leaves any one of those off her playlist for two long, then I have to relearn it. It’s a constant Alzheimer’s exam. And I’m failing.

2. I now look (make that gasp) at the clock every 15 minutes; First quarter – “ugh”. 30 minutes – “damn it, I’m running out of gas”. 45 minutes – “I am soooo toast, but I can make it 15 more minutes”. (or maybe not). But a year ago I was going once a week and now I’m going three times a week. Which probably suggests I need therapy.

3. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Do NOT tease/satirize the songs/choice of songs/choreography of songs or in anyway appear to do so in your blog ‘cuz the instructor (Momma) owns the playlist and the choreography and she will get even. Consciously or unconsciously. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all. Having done that several times, there are now several songs in which the movements of a hummingbird look like an old person on Quaaludes to me. No matter how fast you think a song is, or hard the routine is, there’s one out there that’s faster and harder. Note to self – Shut up. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

4. This is a lesson I started doing in yoga class, which I have transferred to Zumba class. When in intense pain, I tend to curse loudly and vociferously, (but silently, very silently) in my own head. I know, this is not very Zen and I am working on changing this habit. While I am working on finding a better mantra, for now, when I do this, I smile broadly. The instructors love this. I love that I’m smiling, all the while thinking “MOTHER fu%*er” in my pain seared brain. It also makes the pain more tolerable.(Sometimes I think other things, but you get the idea, and I do try to keep this as PG as possible, which is why I post so seldom as this seriously limits what gets past my filter)

5. All the women in class are smart, lovely, joyous, friendly, warm, welcoming, and interesting. Especially the Alpha’s, you know how you are. And the tango crossovers. And I’m not positive, but I think maybe the lady from Brooklyn is not going to have me wacked after all. However, after a year, I have just graduated to “token ‘dude’, ‘guy’ ‘man’. I’m not sure if that means my masculinity is or isn’t in question. Besides the “token” thing, its making me a little nervous, but I’ve kept my filter on. I’ve just “smiled”. Last night, in class, a girl walks up to me before class starts and says; “You’re a man taking this class!”. My mind immediately raced through a half dozen smart ass replies, but Dale has me on a very short leash, so I said, “Yes”, not sure if it was a compliment or not that she noticed. She actually had invited her Dad to class and was just excited there actually was a guy who had committed hari kari and had been going for a year.

6. Sheniqua is on the injured list, and is out for the season with a knee injury, but Dale has put up yellow crime scene tape around her spot, and we’re awaiting word from Marcus Lattimore’s knee surgeon as to when we can expect her return to the team. Go SHENIQUA!!!!!

8. They had a party tonight for my Anniversary. Ok, it wasn’t for my anniversary. Ok, it had nothing to do with me, they have a social get together a couple of times a year, and it just happened to fall on my one year anniversary, but hey, I got invited. It was a beautiful home. How beautiful you ask? Have you been to the Biltmore estate and toured the house? That nice, but updated, with nicer countertops and appliances. And on the beach. With a pool. My condo would fit in the kitchen. Both floors. I resisted all my favorite things, like chocolate covered strawberries and liquor filled pudding cups. On one of the refusals, someone was very sweet and commented on my 27lb weight loss ( I really don’t look any smaller yet, at this size, I need to lose ANOTHER 30 pounds before you can really see a difference but I had just posted about it that morning on FB) and I said, thanks, but I have 88 pounds to go. She said, ” were you 88 pounds less, recently? “Yes”, I said, “1979. And that seems very recently to me.”

I love these people. I love this class. I could NOT be any worse at it. All of the songs are fun and I like them all and all of the choreography is my favorite and I like it all.

Fitness Personal Accountability or “Take That you Fitbit(ch)!!

Several things lately have me pondering personal accountability in the fitness arena. I previously wrote that my paralegal gave me a fitbit for Christmas so I’ve been using that for three months. More on that in a moment. My one year Zumba anniversary is coming up April 24th, so anniversaries are always, at least for me a time for reflection. And my brave daughter just had gastric bypass surgery, and has been bravely and courageously posting about her progress, the first three weeks out of surgery, which I thought was particularly brave. As I’ve told her since she was middle school age, “thanks for being my reminder evolution works – you’re better than me”.

Personal fitness accountability appears to be all the rage these days; check any diet program and they all advise a food journal of some kind. There are no shortage of apps now on the market to do that. As for fitness, it’s all about track, measure, goal set, weigh, track, measure. It’s enough to send a Type A with OCD into a delirium of delight from which there is no recovery.

However, in an effort to be a little more participatory myself, here’s something of a Zumba “before and after” photo. Technically, the before picture is from August, not last April. The after picture is from today.

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While I have lost the grand total of 22 pounds since last April, (yes, I know, that is an embarrassing 2 pound per month) I know some of you are looking at these two pictures saying, “I can’t tell a difference”. Don’t worry, I anticipated that and am not, in any way taking it personally. So, let me point out to you the obvious differences. Lets start with my upper body. If you will focus on my belly, you will notice that in the before picture, I have on a BLUE shirt and in the after picture I have on a YELLOW shirt. I think the yellow probably goes better with the dark shorts then the blue. Doing Zumba with 30 women twice a week certainly heightens your fashion sense in workout clothing and I think these before and after photos demonstrate that.

Secondly, in the before picture I have sunglasses on and in the after picture I have no sunglasses which demonstrates that after 11 months, I can actually stand daylight at 9 am on a Saturday morning without sunglasses.

Third, the before picture was taken BEFORE class, so all that sweat is just how much I perspired getting to and thinking about class. At least the after picture was taken AFTER class.

Lastly, in the before picture you can see that I am so fat, my feet ended immediately at the end of my shorts and I had no discernible calf’s or ankles. Hell, in that picture you can’t even make out my feet. IN the after picture you can clearly tell I have legs, which is a marked improvement. I also have no beard in the second picture.

I know some people take these before and after picture to demonstrate that they are actually “smaller” from their diet, lifestyle change, working out, but I’m trying to not be so narrow-minded in my approach to this fitness regimen less I look at the last 11 months as a failure.

Speaking of self-discipline, as I’m running into my self-imposed “number of word limitation”, I’ll have to save my “take that you fit(ch) rant for another post.

But hey, I’m not discouraged. Twice a week, I’m the only guy who gets to dance/work out with 30-40 hot, smart, crazy, motivated, fun, inspiring, terrific women. How cool is that?

Christmas Cruise Zumba, a Fitbit and a Happy New Year

Apologies to my legions of blog fans, (ok both of them) who have been complaining about my complete laziness and neglect of my blog for three months. (Actually, I think it’s really just the one, because I think Sheniqua is just being polite when she comes to Zumba class as there is only so much to talk about for the 120 seconds before and after class).

The GF and I did go on a Christmas cruise which did have a Zumba class!! They were excellent!! I watched three. I even dozed off a little bit during third. They were conducted at the pool in front of the entire ship. The first two rows clearly had experienced Zumberanians. The next two rows had folks who you could tell had been to a class or two. The last two rows had folks who had clearly had two too many tequilas, and would eventually regret both doing this in public and the advent of digital video. (I really need to devote an entire blog to this Christmas cruise on the ship with a two story library, but no bars with any music recorded after 1890. I can’t prove it, but I think the spa, salon and fitness center were former embalming centers. “Celebrity Cruise lines – come die on the water with us”).

A two week vacation was long enough to create a sense of excitement to return home. My law partner and paralegal and I missed our annual Christmas lunch and gift exchange before I left because they were both sick, so when I returned to work on Monday, I had my paralegals gifts waiting for me – a FITBIT!! For those of you that don’t know what a “fitbit” is, let me describe. A “fitbit” is a rubber watchstrap, with an insertable electronic device about the size of a suppository. (this is for another sci fi fitness blog). You download the fit bit app on your phone, and can access their website on your computer. From there you can set how many “steps” you want to take per day, (it defaults to 10,000), how much weight you want to lose if any. You can enter how much food you eat each day, how much water you drink, or what your activites are. It tracks how much water you drink, how many calories you burn, and will even track your sleep patterns telling you how much you slept and how restless you are.

The first day, I had 90 of my 10,000 steps. I calculated this was 3 of my 30 step trips to the bathroom. I posted on Facebook that I figured I only needed to go the bathroom 111 times a day to meet this goal. I tried to do this 10,0000 steps a day thing when it first became popular earlier last decade and got a pedometer back then. I never got over 8,000 steps on my best day. Dale the Zumba instructor told me I’d get 6500 to 7500 steps in her Zumba class, and I didn’t belive her. Until I attended her first class back and was greeted to her “happy new year” addition. A version of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – at 78 RPM, sung by the Chipmunks. This video will give you some idea.

Now, while THAT doesn’t look so bad, Dale’s choreography, which is soooo more appropriately challenging and destined to lead to fitness, looks more like a hummingbird on addeerall, who after accidentally taking a rock of crack back to its nest, just discovered a sugar feeder filled with pure Vermont maple syrup in your backyard.

This is not ACTUALLY me trying to watch Dale dance to this song, but it is close enough.

I DID get in 6000 steps than class though. Hummingbird steps. Ahhh, it’s good to be back. Happy New Year!!

Can You Be A Heterosexual Male and Take Zumba Classes?

After much thought, I’ve come up with the same answer to the question of, “can you be a heterosexual male and be married?” Maybe.

What launched me into this line of philosophical inquiry, you ask? Dale’s choreography to this song. Take a minute to get in the “mood” before I describe the “fitness” routine for you.

Now, imagine “castanet” hands high above your hands, walk forward, right foot, left foot, in time with the music, swish your hips right left, four steps then, at the end thrust your hips fast to the right like you’re Miss America in the swimsuit competition (or knocking your best friend off the end of the cafeteria table in the fifth grade). Oh HELL NO, I’m not doing that. not ever. You gotta draw a line somewhere.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I like pink shirts, manicures and pedicures, a fine Beaujolais and a great art gallery as much as the next metro sexual. I’ve had gay friends since college, and I hope they can get married in all 50 states so they can be as miserable as the rest of us, BUT, – you gotta draw a line somewhere.

Comedians have been “joking” about sexless marriages since vaudeville. Or Pompeii, depending on how you interpret their brothel art. Or joking about marriages, period. Its all about having balls. Or none at all. It’s all about drawing a line somewhere. That’s why some guys will cook, or clean, or shop, or whatever, but when it comes to laundry, for example, they put the whites with the colored clothes, turn the hot water heater up to 240, add some bleach, lye and sulfuric acid to the tide, get them out of the washer, put them in the dryer on extra hot, dry them through 4 cycles and and wait for their honey to take out her all white disintegrated Barbie sized clothes: then say, “OMG, I can’t imagine what happened to those clothes!” And look very penitent when told, “you’re not EVER allowed to wash clothes again”. GRIN.

The amount of new songs and new routines each class is never ending. I feel like I’ve been sentenced to Dante’s first circle of hell, Limbo. (who ever liked dancing THAT at parties in the 60’s either), of endless line dancing and cheerleader routines. Reminded me today of when my daughter joined Girl Scouts. So I had to join Girl Scouts. THAT was interesting. Went to my first meeting and felt like they were looking at me like Anthony Hopkins, in the Silence of the Lambs. At the END of the movie. This is more than convention- line dancing Karma. I must have bludgeoned a court jester in 1502. Robbed and Killed a minstrel in 1287. And I look around the room, and everyone else is doing it, like they were driving a car. Even Sheninqua, who’s on class 11, is sliding comfortably in. Although, I did point out to her that the latest ‘new’ song, which has every arm flap known to man, made me think of the old shake weight commercial. (P.S. I’m saving this rant for another blog, but the Lantino mix of Ice ice Baby has GOT TO GO. Why not try Emimem’s, “Shake that ass for me”. Ok, maybe not a good substitute, bit ICE ICE BABY has got to go. WOW

But then, like a good relationship, it’s making me healthier and faster. Stronger. Slimmer. I sleep better. It nags me silently in my head when I read the menu or go to the grocery store And, it’s very accepting that I ‘m a happy/grumpy grouchy/joyful old pervert. So, I guess you CAN be heterosexual and be married. Or take Zumba classes. But you gotta know where to draw the line.

“Drawing lines since Etch-a-Sketch 1963”