Pre-Intoxication Guidelines for Zumba Fitness

Dear Zumba Fitness International, (and fellow Zumbaranians)

Having regularly attended a 9 am, Saturday morning, Zumba Fitness class, I have, unintentionally, acted as a lab rat for the hypothesis. “Just how many hours before a Zumba class do you need to stop drinking without experiencing a long list of side effects that would rival the average prescription drug disclaimer on a TV Commercial. You know, like (insert deep baritone announcers voice here) “common side effects include: (announcer speaking a 250 words a minute now) nausea, projectile vomiting, loss of bowel and/ bladder control, hives, rash, anxiety, numbness in hands, feet and nose, sinusitis, rhinitis, OMGitis, hair and fingernail pain, sensitivity to light and noise, dehydration, flatulence, lack of coordination, walking into walls, mirrors or windows, intense perspiration of alcohol, loss of memory,  desire to lose some memories, and pleading with a divine creator for assistance with promises of not repeating the behavior”.

It occurred to me this morning, after a lengthy birthday celebration which started early and ended late at a Waffle House, that maybe you had already covered this and I should check your website.  Seeing you have not, and assuming this was an oversight, I am happy to share my research with you (my non scientific, non controlled, not stistically valid sample of ‘one’, research)    BTW, I think law enforcement should drop the BA level testing and consider the “Waffle House” (or IHOP or Denny’s) Test. As in, you are pulled over late at night on the weekend and the officer asks “have you been drinking?”   You: (I’ve had a couple”.  Him:  are you on your way to or coming from a diner for breakfast at 1 am. You: (sheepishly) yes, am on the way there now to meet some friends. Him: “you are under arrest for driving under the influence, get out of the car”. (Disclaimer:  at all times mentioned herein, Uber or Lyft was used, do not drink and drive).  Anyhow, here’s my Zumba fitness class pre intoxication guidelines.

1. It should not need to be said that you should not have a cocktail DURING CLASS.  Most instructors frown on that because….-their insurance doesn’t cover them or you and, they want to be drinking to and are not allowed and you’re just going to make your class mates envious. (If anyone DOES know of an insurance policy that covers drinking while exercising , please let me know- I’m going to that class, at least once). And then everyone is going to have mimosas and what would THAT look like?

2. Drinking ends 24 or more hours before class. Again, you would think this doesn’t need comment, but if you’re experiencing “symptoms” 24 hours after your last drink and you’re blaming alcohol, you’re in denial about just how out of shape you are and you need more exercise. And less excuses. Or therapy.

3. 24- 12 hours before class. This what I have come to term the “reasonable zone”. The probability of avoiding symptoms within this time frame involves a number of variables like whether it’s closer to 24 hours or 12, whether you’re measuring your consumption by number of drinks,  or liters, or some either percentages or multiple of liters thereof and whether the circumstances of your consumption has video which either you or your companions think is “the Hangover” , the movie, worthy.  E.g, if there is a live tiger in your house, or you are missing a tooth, Do Not Attend Zumba class, regardless of the time period between your last drink and class.  Call your attorney.

4. 12-7.5 hours before class.  I confess this is the time period with which I have most consistently experimented. I will also say that in this time frame, class attendance requires a very dark pair of shades, and at least a Grande sized, extra shot espresso.  Don’t worry, with practice, you can Zumba with a Starbucks in one hand without spilling it.  My experience is that depending on consumption and whether you’re closer to 12 hours or 7.5, this time frame will involve some of the side effects mentioned above.  Most frequent:  the conversation between you and your Divine  creator. Second most frequent?  Let’s just say I measure those classes by whether they are a “no trip, or 1,2 or three bathroom trips during class”  (and severity of side effects) experience.

5. 7.5 to minutes before class.  Again, I confess that today is the first, and last time I try the 7.5 hour zone.  You do NOT want to be leaving a Waffle House at 1:30 am in a Uber and be in Zumba class, 7.5 hours later.  Do not try this at home.

However, science is a community affair where the many build on the research of pioneers. I pass the baton to my millennial Zumba friend who by virtue of age and or fitness, like our astronauts, are prepared to boldly go,where no one has gone before”. (If however, you drink consistently from 7.5 to minutes before class, please attach video.  Thank you).

Katie “Barre” The Door

“I’m not here to torture you”, said the instructor at the minute class started. Knowing people usually say the opposite of what they’re thinking, I thought “oh shit, here we go”.  

I’ve wanted to try Barre for a long time, but I needed to find a female friend to take me, because I can tell you from experience, when a guy shows up to take a class with a room full of women, they look at you like… Well:

1.   A group of pediatric nurses watching a newborn boy get circumcised 

2.  Like they want to search you for roofies

3.  Like “creepy” just walked out of the dictionary and came to class.  

Trust me, you would never go to another country without a passport, do not go to a women’s exercise class without a female to escort you.   

For the uninitiated, barre, according to the barre evolution website may be defined as “Barre (bar) n.: Exercise modality that uses a ballet barre for balance, your own bodyweight for resistance, and a series of small, low impact movements to rapidly yield a tight, toned and transformed physique.”   These “small, low impact, isometric movements create what is called “barre burn”. While “burn” is a good term, it’s a little misleading and here’s why.  Anyone who’s ever built a fire, or seen a fire built will identify.  In building a good fire, you need tinder (something to start the fire that burns easily, like paper) and then kindling (small sticks of wood or little branches that will,catch first easily from the tinder, and then pieces of wood which gradually increase in size.   Think of this muscle “burn” as the smoke that rises after the match is first put to paper, followed by the glint of flame as the paper flares I fire and starts to heat the kindling, followed by the hotter flame as the kindling is consumed, followed by the raging fire as the larger pieces of wood are consumed in flames.  Or if you e ever seen a building burn, you know that first there is a little smoke and then in a moment, the entire building is consumed in flames.  This is your muscles in Barre 

This might be just one of the thoughts that enter your mind as you stand, feet wide apart squat, your toes turned out to opposite walls, standing on your toes, doing infinitesimally small bends.  Or, you might think of that one time when you thought, “why can’t I climb a barbed wire fence, I’ll be careful” , or as a guy, “how hard can a split really be?”  Ever woke up in the middle of the night, with a charlie horse so bad, you literally levitate straight up out of the bed, to land on the floor, on your feet, massaging your cramped muscle?  This is barre. 

Ever gotten a foot cramp so bad when driving, you literally had to pull over to get out of the car to stand on the cramped foot to get the cramp out?   This is barre

But in fairness it’s a cross between the excruciating burn of isolating a muscle to exhaustion with the shaking and quivering which comes from actually having exhausted the muscle.  

They have accoutrements of torture including straps (yay bondage), hand weights, little green balls (I never did find out what the balls were for) , mats and some wooden thing on the wall about four feet wide and going up about 8 feet with little round rungs. My escort said it was for you to hang by, but she forgot its name.  The rack I said, it’s “the rack”. 

If there was a warm up I missed it. The class progresses from push ups and planks, to arm and shoulder exercises (if you want an idea what this feels like hold your arms straight up with your palms outstretched.  Now watch Gone with the the Wind.  Drop your arms). Then gluteus and thighs. Then abdominal.   Thankfully the difficulty of coping with the searing pain in so many parts of your body is slightly distracting.  

There was a clearly announced “cool down” period which involved a series of more exercises in which the instructor was not clamoring for more pain.   The lack of clamoring did not reduce the pain.  

If, like me, you’re happily wandering through the sadomasochism of various modalities of exercise, barre is clearly a torture session you don’t want to miss. I can’t wait to go back. 

Left Brain-Right Brain: The “Filter” vs “Smart Assery”

You may be familiar with various theories of the effects that the two hemispheres of our brain have on a variety of things from behavior, to psychology to biology, including the most popular that our left brain is where rational, logical processes reside and the right, creativity.  This is all, of course probably not true. If you’re remotely interested in any of this, here is a Wikipedia article with 80 citations to current professional journal articles in neurology, physchology, and other medical, scientific and Behavorial science publications.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralization_of_brain_function
 Let me save you some time, however, and suggest that our knowledge of the brain is not much more advanced than our medieval theories that the Black Plague was caused by an imbalance in the four humours (not comedy humours but blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile)

This allows me to pretty freely postulate that the left brain is where our “filter” resides, as a constant balance to the “smart Assery” right side of our brain.  By “filter”, I mean that part of our brains that stops us from offering the police office, who just stopped us, the box of donuts from the passenger seat, or when our significant other asks, “do these jeans make my ass look fat”; scrolling through the responses of “everything makes your ass look fat” or “your ass IS FAT”, or “do you mean ‘semi trailer fat’, or ‘Beyoncé booty fat’, or ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue fat” and instead opt for “of course not- your ass is perfection defined”. 

I find it difficult to predict when my filter will or won’t work, or when the switch is on or off.  I first noticed this as a 17 year old in AP calculus class.  The teacher said, “and what should I do with this Parabola”, and before I knew it I said “you don’t REALLY want us to tell you what to do with that Parabola, do you”, whereupon with equal speed an eraser was whizzing by my left ear.  I immediately began to put as much value on my filter as her bad aim. As the things which then began to get thrown at my head increased in both frequency and weight, I began to think maybe my filter could be exercised to be made more effective. I’m not sure at my age if it’s better or worse.  Here’s just a few examples.

At a function this week hosted by a female friend, I met her husband for the first time. Part of the conversation went like this.  “…-and he does Argentine tango, she said”.   “Wow,” he said, what a beautiful dance.  We so enjoyed watching tango on our trip to Buenos Aires.  But you don’t seem to have the body type of a tango dancer?”.   Possible replies submitted to my filter:  “Yes, well I got a 6 week scholarship to the Sumo Wrestlers School of Argentine Tango in Kyoto in 2009”. “Yes, but I applied for and was granted a weight waiver from the International Tango Police in Buenos Aires”.  “Yes, but I’m also short and I get to dance with REALLY tall women”.

image

 Yes, but I’m not allowed to dance with women over (or under) a certain weight”. “Yes, I have to weigh in monthly and if I go over 240, I’m suspended”. “Yes, but we have weight classes in Tango, like boxing” to what actually passed my filter which was “hahahahahaha, Yes!”  (Yay filter!!!)

My filter seems particularly challenged by stupidity.  At a tango class years ago, a conversation with a medical school professor somehow turned to my struggles to lose weight despite a ridiculous amount of exercise, clean eating and food deprivation.    “It’s easy he said, don’t eat anything white”.   Uh oh, here we go with a furious assault on my filter.   “This is going to be shocking news to my black and Asian friends”.  “OMG- in 48 years of dieting, I’ve never seen or read this theory or been told this by any of the 36 physicians I’ve seen in all these years”.  While my filter is processing some other options which are not printable, he adds “you know like white rice, white bread, or white flour”.  Immediately after my filter rejects “so the outside of Oreo’s is ok, but not the middle” and “You’re a fucking idiot”, and it allows, “yes, I should work harder on this, thank you”.  

I was encouraging a fellow zumberanian this morning by remarking she looks like she lost a significant amount of weight lately and is more tone.  Anytime I see someone I know, who looks like they’ve lost weight lately, I tell them. Who doesn’t want to hear they’ve lost weight lately, even if they haven’t (Nigerian marathon runners and eating disorder patients excluded). We had the usual banter of “yes, I really want to get rid of this belly” (whereupon I put my arm around her and showed her it’s still smaller than mine), how long it takes to make progress, etc. etc. whereupon the other person in this conversation said, “your genes have a lot to do with it”.   Apparently my filter was recovering from my Friday night because I blurted out, “so, I should stop wearing wranglers and get designer jeans instead?”, all the while thinking I should warn my former beauty pageant friend to immediately burn those baby phat jeans I bought her years ago.  After all, she might ask me, “Baby, do these baby phat’s make my ass look fat?”.

Ashtanga Yoga- A Primer

We had a sub teacher in yoga class today. She practices Ashtanga yoga. As I frequently talk to people who either ask me or want a recommendation for what “style” of yoga to take as a beginner, this is not it. But some explication might be helpful.

This was my second Ashtanga class. I don’t have much memory from the first, but like with many traumatic events, I have PTSD, but cloudy memories.  Since this was my second class and I maintained consciousness (mostly) I think I’m better able to guide you.

Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word combining our words of “pain” and “agony”.  There are 5 series of Ashtanga, maybe 6, but I was starting to lose consciousness when this was mentioned. You do the same poses in the same order for each series. i The first five are pain and agony, more pain and agony, most pain and agony, excruciating pain and agony and unbearable pain and agony.

You do a vinyasa between every pose.  Vinyasa means movement to and while focusing on your breath while ignoring that your heart just exploded in the center of your chest for exceeding your maximum heart rate.

The first half is designed to build heat in your body.  This means, simply, that even in an 80 degree room, you will sweat like Miley Cyrus on the front pew of a southern baptist church.  The second half is meant to wring whatever remaining sweat that did not except your pores from the first half.

This was my first yoga class in a week, as I had business out of town last week and a couple of social engagements. When I miss a week of yoga, it often feels like starting over and I marvel at how much fitness I can lose in a week.  This intensified that feeling, much like going on a run straight from a recovery room after surgery.  Un anesthetized.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t do this. Or, just have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.

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.

Karmic Lessons from Yoga Class

Note to self or Karmic lessons for the day:
1. Ordering drinks called “Devils Lips” at the monthly Dirty Old Mens Club Benevolent Association dinner is GOING to bite you in the ass at a 9:30 am yoga class taught by the studio owner (duh).
2. Apparently, the Sacroiliac joint,

IMG_2667-0.PNGwhich I don’t recall ever having heard of, is responsible for all the hamstring, hip, and Piriformis issues I’ve had the last 6 years in yoga class. (Whatever I did or whoever I hurt I am so sorry).
3. Looking at illustration of the joint, you wouldn’t think someone could find movements to stress just that one area for an hour but they can. (I have no idea why the CIA water boarded terrorists when 2400 hundred yoga teachers were available to work them over at $8 an hour on a pass card.
4. I always wondered, but never asked how the owner came up the name “Holy Cow” for the name of the studio. Because the shopping center owner wouldn’t let her put “HOLY #%£!” on the sign. This came to me when I felt my “SI” joint, as she “affectionately” referred to it throughout the class, split apart- is that too strong?- let me say, then- exploded, and I said, “HOLY #%£!”, which in a meditative moment, made me realize that’s where the name of the studio come from. This was also,the same time I came back to consciousness to hear her say, “and this will make you say “Holy schmokes”, which I knew just meant “holy #%£!” (Saying #%£! In yoga class is never appropriate, even in Sanskrit, in which case is spelled {€%!).
5. This was the 6 th yoga class in 8 days BECAUSE I had the BRILLIANT IDEA that since the ZUMBA Instructor was off in Buenos Aires for the yearly Tango trip, I would try a new yoga class for each ZUMBA class missed. Karma lessons: thou shalt not complain about ZUMBA or the yoga classes your were already taking; things can always be worse- sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train.
6. I was still in pain from Wednesday first attempt at “YIN” yoga. “Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga with poses or asanas that are held for longer periods of time—five minutes or longer per pose is typical. Yin yoga poses apply moderate stress to the connective tissues—the tendons, fascia, and ligaments—with with the aim of increasing circulation in the joints and improving flexibility. “. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_yoga. All the exercises are done on the floor and they make it sound deceptively “opposite” the heat building energy demanding “yang” of hatha yoga. Here’s all you need to know. Somebody figured out a way to do yoga poses and leave your muscles alone but make EVERYTHING ELSE in your body hurt. All at once. (Whatever I did or whoever I did it too I am so sorry).

Those are my Karma lessons for today. Well, it’s only noon. Whew!!!

Work Out Clothes

Eros-Sport-Collection-Page-6-up_1024x1024There is no version of this universe and no alternate universe, no matter how much weight I lose, or how “svelte” I get that I’m wearing any version of those clothes to yoga class. Or any other workout class. Or zumba class. Or a gym. I just don’t get workout clothes.

I’ve toyed with this subject, albeit briefly, once before, a litle over a year ago. My fellow Zumberanians have a penchant for belly scarfs. https://humorforthehorizontallychallenged.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/zumba-class-an…he-belly-scarf/ They want me to get one. I’ve been debating for a year between the camouflage, image< and the Pirate Skull:
image<

I’ve been taking votes most of the last year. The pirate skull won out. I actually modeled some for the Zumberanians. They brought a purple number for me to try on.
zumba purple belly skirt<

While purple may be my color, pirate is definitely the way for me to go here.

But workout clothes just puzzle me in general. About a month ago, in workout class, a woman had the words “WHINING” in all white caps emblazoned on her ass, with a circle around the “HINI” with a line through it. I found myself thrust back in Philosophy class for the rest of the next hour. Is that “NO Whining?” or “no Hini?”, I asked myself” and if the former, was that for her kids, and if the latter was that for her husband, and what did that have to do with working out? If the “whining” had to do with working out, who was the admonition for? I mean, if it was meant to remind HER not to whine, shouldn’t it be somewhere where SHE could see it, like on the FRONT of her shorts, so when she bent over, she, or bent down, she’d remember, “no whining?” If it was meant for all of us behind her, I was wondering when all the whiny people in a workout class had gotten on her class. Maybe I should hyperventilate a little quieter. Maybe I should gasp for air with a little less enthusiasm.

And why didn’t the circle go around the ENTIRE word. The shorts were big enough. Why just for the “hini” part? And they seemed to very male gym shorts at that but I didn’t even want to go there. After class, I asked the girl next to me what they were all about and she simple said, ” Motivation, no whining”, so I guess I was making too much out of the whole thing. Or she missed the whole, “no hini” part.

At this point, I went looking for something on the internet about the recent Lulemon see through yoga pants fashion disaster to illustrate some point in my brain when I found this: http://www.fadedindustry.com/hot-girls-wearing-yoga-pants-happy-hump-day/

By the time I got to the end of the pictures, I had no idea what my post was. In fact, I have no idea what my objection to work out clothing is. Hmmm, maybe purple is my color. In the meantime, I’ll just wait for the pirate scarf. And keep wearing baggy clothes.

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.

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?