Category Archives: Zumba

I Love to Exercise! (How Crazy is That?)

Seriously, I used to listen to these people who claimed that they liked to exercise and thought they were nuts. Who would want to huff and puff, and yuk! all that sweat! How could anyone think that was a good time?

Now I have become one of those crazy people. It all started with Zumba. That was my gateway exercise. I still love Zumba, I take a class anywhere from 2 to 3 times per week, and would go more often if I could find classes that fit my schedule. Definitely still my favorite. I also take a couple of dance aerobic classes, which are more choreographed and have a bigger learning curve–and not as much hip shaking. Also fun, but not as fun as Zumba. I now also love BodyPump, a crazy body sculpting class where you work out with a barbell, doing about 800 repetitions in a 60 minute class. By the end, my whole body feels like jello, but I am so proud and feel so accomplished every time. If I can ever get it to fit my schedule, I also want to try the cardio kickboxing class. That one sounds like it could be fun.

There is still some exercise I dislike. I don’t think I will ever enjoy jogging. I really don’t like any of the machines at the gym, not the cardio ones, and not the weight ones either. For the most part, I don’t do the things I don’t enjoy. There are plenty of things I do enjoy doing–the group classes and hiking with friends–so why do the things I don’t think are fun? One of my friends wants me to try a group cycling class with her, but that one doesn’t sound much fun to me either.

We just went on a quick vacation, and I did use the elliptical machine in the hotel each morning. Mostly that was because I now just feel better if I have gotten some exercise, so it was worth 30 boring minutes on the machine to feel better the rest of the day.

Somebody asked me how I was feeling after losing so much weight. I said that of course I feel wonderful. How could you exercise every day and not feel great? I really think that is true. The amount of energy and just general sense of well being I have gained through regular exercise is simply amazing.

So, if you are one of the people (as I used to be) who thinks I am crazy, maybe just start with some small exercise that you think is really fun, like a dance class, taking a walk with friends, or kickboxing at the gym. Maybe it could be your gateway exercise to becoming crazy like me.

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My First Real LIVE Zumba Class!

This week I joined the YMCA, and took my first actual live Zumba class. It was really fun! I went with a friend, and having actual people around made it a much different experience. However, it did prove that the Xbox Kinect game is really excellent, because I feel like my heart gets pumping just as hard and I work up just as big a sweat when I use the Xbox game. It was very fun having new choreography to try, and I look forward to taking more Zumba classes.

The other cool thing about taking the class is that immediately following it was a beginner strength training class. It made me realize I really need to do more crunches. My stomach muscles were sore for days. This morning I went to the Y and walked on the treadmill for about 20 minutes, then met my friend for a bit harder strength training class. It felt like a good workout, I guess I’ll know by how sore I am when I wake up tomorrow…and maybe the next day too.

My friends and I are still doing our hiking, every Tuesday and Thursday morning. We are now doing a 4.2 mile hike, and my Fitbit says that it is about 79 flights of stairs up. All I know is that it is a heck of a long trek up the hill.

My motivation now is to see how much farther I can take this, how much more I can do, how high a level of fitness I can eventually achieve. I figure that is a motivation that doesn’t necessarily have any end in sight, which is a good one to have. Every time I go with my kids to the park and run around with a soccer ball with them I feel so much joy and accomplishment. I rejoice in each new thing I can do.

Zumba With a Friend

My friend came over today so we could try out Zumba on the Xbox with 2 players. I was skeptical, because it seems like I use the entire floor space in our living room when I do Zumba, so I thought for sure we’d be running into each other. I also wasn’t sure how’d I’d feel jumping around like that with someone else in the room. However, the space was fine, and I actually had a lot of fun exercising with a friend! We even met later in the day for a healthy lunch out together.

Dinner was some pre-made ravioli I picked up at the farmer’s market, which was a little frustrating because I couldn’t find any nutritional information about it. I had to pick another brand that seemed similar to enter the calories into my tracking app. I also sautéed a ton of summer squash, and cut up a bunch of raw veggies to have with it.

We almost got invited to a party at The Melting Pot tonight–turned out there wasn’t any space left–and the first thing that came to mind was how many calories would be in fondue. Is it a good or a bad thing that that was the first thing I thought about? I was going to go anyway, but I was totally freaking out about trying to eat healthy at a fondue place. And then I was kind of relieved when it turned out we couldn’t go. I don’t want my change in lifestyle to mean I miss out on fun, but how do I weigh the fun versus the damage it might do to what I’m trying to accomplish?

The Calorie Counter Lies

The calorie counter in Zumba Fitness Rush completely and totally lies. And I knew it did, since it was telling me I was burning 1400 calories in a 65 minute workout, which really just didn’t seem possible. My husband and I bought a Wahoo Fitness Run/Gym Pack heart rate monitor for our iPhones. It’s a pretty cool gadget, it has a chest band with the heart rate pickups, and then a little dongle that fits in your iPhone to receive the signal. Then you can use it with a long list of apps. I’m just using the Wahoo Fitness app, my husband wants to use it with the MapMyHike app.

Anyway, I tried it today…and the workout that was telling me I had burned about 1400 calories? The heart rate monitor said I burned 500. That seems more like reality to me. Thankfully, I haven’t been basing my calories in on that amount of calories out, I’ve been trying to eat about 1600 calories a day, and a little less if I don’t work out.

On one hand, I have to admit I kind of liked the idea that I was burning a ton of calories, so I am feeling a little disappointed. However, it felt like an easier routine today, so maybe I’ll burn a bit more on some of the harder ones. And I need to remind myself that the exercise isn’t as much about losing weight for me–though of course that’s part of it–it’s about getting healthy and having more energy for my family. And I am losing weight at a pretty good speed, any faster probably wouldn’t be healthy. All the experts recommend 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per week, and right now I’m averaging at least 2 1/2 pounds (in fact, another 1/2 pound down today!). So no matter how many calories Zumba actually burns, it is working really well. That’s what matters, really. Even if it is a liar.

A Lesson in Procrastinating

Today is a hot one in the Bay Area, it is supposed to reach a high around 90 degrees. I woke up, ate my breakfast, and was planning to do Zumba as soon as I had digested. Instead, I started fooling around switching my blog over from Blogger to WordPress…meanwhile, I didn’t even notice how warm it was getting. By the time I was done the house was already really hot. Doing Zumba when it is really warm…turns out, not as much fun. I always sweat like crazy when I do Zumba, and I’ve actually come to appreciate it. But that level of sweat was a little overboard. I feel proud that I got through the full 65 minute routine, but I have learned to really make sure I get my Zumba routine in while it is still cool in the morning.

Afterwards, I went into the pool to cool down, and learned something else. Zumba really doesn’t work my arms, but swimming sure does. I didn’t get winded doing laps like I used to, but my arms got really tired. I’ll have to add some swimming into my routine now that warm days have started.

Oh, and another 1/2 pound down this morning! Love to see the continuous progress!

Lunch Out and Whole Wheat Flat Bread on the Grill

Today was the last day my husband and I had to ourselves–he is between jobs–before the kids are done with school. We went out to a new place for lunch, and I was happy to find lots of stuff on the menu that I could eat guilt free. We shared an heirloom tomato caprese salad, and I had mussels as my entree. So good and very low calorie.

Super hot here today, so our goal was to cook most of dinner on the grill. We had a butterflied chicken, broccoli, some heirloom tomato, and whole wheat flat bread, made with dough made from the recipe in Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. I pushed garlic, rosemary from the garden, and some olive oil into the crust after rolling it out. It turned out great! Even the kids liked it, with some butter on it of course.

Did the full length Zumba class this morning (65 minutes), lost another 1/2 pound even after eating with friends for dinner last night. Every day of success helps me believe I can really do this thing. I’m just hoping that the less successful days–which I’m sure will happen–don’t completely ruin my resolve. One day, one pound at a time.

Zumba Ripped DVD

I tried the Zumba Ripped DVD for the first time today. It uses Zumba Toning Sticks–basically 1 pound weights that sound like maracas–along with a chair and your own body mass to add strength training to the Zumba dance routines. I could really feel the leg and butt exercises most of all. The 1 pound sticks were a bit light, so I might order some heavier sticks from Zumba. I didn’t enjoy it as much as doing Zumba on the Xbox, however I certainly liked it more than standard weight training, so I will probably add it to my routine at least once a week to start, and try to build to twice a week. In the Fall, Zumba is supposed to be coming out with another Kinect game that works the abs, so that might be another good choice for strength training.

We had French Toast for breakfast (yum!). I had mine with nonfat yogurt and jarred peaches (from Trader Joe’s) rather than butter and syrup. So good, and I didn’t feel at all deprived. Even so, not exactly a low calorie breakfast, so I’ll make sure I have a lighter lunch (probably a salad), and we are having dinner at a friend’s house so I’ll have to watch myself tonight. My downfall is always the appetizers, so I’m bringing along some veggies and hummus to share.

Scale was down another pound this morning. I was debating again whether it was a good idea to weigh myself every day, and found this blog post. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how we feel about something, we can find somebody else on the internet who completely supports our view, and can then decide we were right all along? Either way, weighing every day is working for me. Days the scale goes down I feel happy and motivated to keep going the way I’m going, and days the scale doesn’t go down I feel motivated to work harder the next day to make sure I see a change. It was a little hard about a month ago when the scale didn’t move for a week, but I made it through then so I am hopeful I can do it again if needed.