Hi everyone! It’s Monday! For those of you on a true summer break – enjoy it! One day you’ll be spending your summer days working, volunteering, studying…or all of the above. Currently, I work full-time as an intern at a local utility company. I always stay up later on the weekends, despite the best of intentions, and so Mondays are always tough to make it through. That’s why today I thought I’d spread a little cheer by sharing something I’ve been doing lately that makes me super happy and excited.
What is it? What could I be doing that has me smiling and laughing the entire time? For those of you that know me personally, please don’t laugh, but…
More specifically…I do Zumba at the local YMCA, and Hip Hop Abs (by my true fitness idol, Shaun T) in my house.
Now, a disclaimer: I don’t know how to dance. Sometimes, the “dancing” one thinks of at college parties isn’t really dancing at all, if you catch my drift. It wasn’t until this year that I actually met a guy who knew how to dance the real stuff, and was willing to put up with me trying to learn.
I don’t have him as a dance partner anymore, but I do thank him for showing me the fun world of dancing. (As a side-note: I kept practicing dance almost just to spite him, which is super immature, but now I really, really like it. Something positive coming out of something negative, suppose!)
A year ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a Zumba class – for fear of embarrassing myself, and also because I didn’t think it actually did anything in terms of a workout. And Hip Hop Abs? Like I would do an in-home workout video…please.
How could I be so wrong?
The Original Dance-Fitness Party
Are you ready to party yourself into shape? Forget the workout, just lose yourself in the music and find yourself in shape at the original dance-fitness party. Zumba® classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats. Before you know it, you’ll be getting fit and your energy levels will be soaring! It’s easy to do, effective and totally exhilarating.
– From the Zumba website
First of all, Zumba does have the potential for some serious calorie burn – depending on your instructor. At my Y, there are between 4 and 5 instructors, and they’re all different. For instance, Monday’s class kicks my butt, because the girl teaching it gets pumped up, and we do a lot of cardio-intensive moves – like jumping side-to-side or doing power squats. Friday’s class, on the other hand, feels more like a dance class and doesn’t make me sweat as much, but it is so fun because the guy teaching it just loves to dance. He also has longer and prettier hair than I do…and he can sure move those hips!!
I don’t know what the classes are like at Rice’s Recreation Center (my university’s on-campus fitness center), or other fitness places – but I intend to find out! I totally recommend taking a Zumba class – but try it out with different instructors, because they can make all the difference in the workout you’re getting. By the way, I’m not just talking to the ladies here – guys, Zumba is super fun, despite being dominated by the females. You might stick out…but that’s not always a bad thing, is it?
HIP HOP ABS
If you love to dance and you want to lose weight and tighten your midsection without doing sit-ups or crunches, Shaun T can show you how. Shaun uses a technique called “Tilt, Tuck & Tighten” to help you burn fat as you dance your way to six-pack abs.
In Hip Hop Abs®, Shaun breaks the dance moves down into steps, so almost anyone can do them. And the workouts are set to hot dance music, so they’re high energy and fun.
– From Team Beachbody website
Then, there’s Hip Hop Abs. I won’t lie to you – I feel like a huge dork doing any in-home fitness program. (I’ve been doing INSANITY, too…starting Week 4 today, yikes!) Hip Hop Abs is no exception to the rule, but I finally realized: why does it matter if I look like a dork? I am a huge nerd, no doubt about it, but I like working out, and dancing – and this program does both. Might as well embrace the “dork”side (haha, like “darkside”…ahh…not funny?) and admit that I love these videos!
Hip Hop Abs is a collection of videos by Shaun T, released back before he created INSANITY. Clearly, it’s focused on targeting your abs, but it does so without all the situps, crunches, planks, and the likes. Even better, it is FUN. I feel the burn, but it doesn’t matter to me, because I’m enjoying everything about it. It doesn’t make me want to quit, or take a break, or anything – and yet, according to my trusty heart rate monitor, it does get my blood flowing.
Now, the music…again, kind of dorky, but easy to follow and Shaun T is hilarious. Seriously. There’s a part where “Don’t Cha” by the Pussycat Dolls comes on, and he throws a fit because it’s one of his favorite songs. I crack up EVERY TIME.
Speaking of laughing – that’s the main point I’m trying to get across today.
Back in high school, even though I had plenty of emotional turmoil because of tennis – just ask my coach – in the end, I enjoyed the morning workouts, the drills, and all the matchplay we did. It was exercise, but I liked it because it was a means to get better at a sport I loved.
It was when I let ideas like “I ate too much today, I need to burn X amount of calories to get rid of it” and “I don’t want to get chubby, or else no one will like me” dominate my reasoning for working out – that’s when exercise became negative and boring and eventually seriously unhealthy in my life.
I can’t yet attest to the pure physical results of Zumba or Hip Hop Abs – or any dancing or fitness program. But I can tell you about how they make me feel. As of late, dancing helps me let go of my stress, relax, and just enjoy myself. It’s strange, but amazing.
You know, a lot of times I don’t want to exercise. Realistically, sitting on my booty watching Game of Thrones and stressing over Jon Snow usually sounds more appealing than getting sweaty and sore in a workout. That’s why on a lot of nights, my reward for completing an INSANITY workout is being able to pop in Hip Hop Abs shortly after.
Finding something that puts the fun back into your workouts – now that can be HUGE.
Now that I’ve revealed my super dorky nature (who knew, right?)…it’s time for you to fess up! What do you do to keep your workouts fun? How do you keep yourself happy and entertained, but in healthy ways?
No matter how silly or funny it seems – if you’re smiling and enjoying it, then keep it up!