Afflicted with Zumba

Sep 29, 2013 by     Comments Off on Afflicted with Zumba    Posted under: General, Healthy Living, Matters of Heart

I am afflicted! I am afflicted with a really, really great thing called Zumba.

It was quite by accident that I bumped into the one thing that truly changed my life.

I managed to land a one-semester scholarship to America during my undergraduate career – yes, the land of hopes and dreams – and off I went, to spend my 6th semester at a cool university in upstate New York. Exciting, right? But wait, gets better!

So, here I am, in this new place, not a hint of my old life around me and I have an urgent need to make friends, assimilate myself into this American culture and make the most of it. What I kept telling myself was, I must open myself to new experiences, new types of people, new study environments etc.

While there, I was initially assigned a host family. Just like any other family, it had an Amercian “dad” and “mom” who were there to welcome you to the ‘new world’ of American culture. The latter of which was completely obsessed with health and fitness.

My American “mom’ would go running or spinning every morning, or workout at home when it was slippery due to the snow outside, cook the most delicious food. She even held a job that consisted of advising on nutrition! After she took me spinning one morning, I decided to look into the American obsession with fitness.

After moving into my dorm on campus, I signed up for the gym membership and out of the many options for group classes and other activities, I decided to try out Zumba.

In my first class, I was lost! I had no idea what was going on, the instructor just seemed to be dancing and all the students easily following all her steps and I was just thinking, what’s going on here?

That changed quickly however, as I soon managed to convince my new friends to try this class out with me.  As I became familiar with the songs and the steps, I started getting more comfortable and having more fun in class. It soon became a regular part of my daily routine, where I would end up in Zumba class in the evening after my classes were over (my last class ended at 7pm) and I would head immediately to the gym to meet my friends and just DANCE!

The best part about Zumba is that it does not feel like a workout! I would do moves from Salsa, Cumbia, Reggaeton, Merengue, Bachata, Electro, Hip-hop, Russian folk, and even our traditional Bhangra, etc. Although my body would feel tired later, it kept me energized and motivated to keep going.

By this point I had realized that I was a group class person and not someone who likes to work out alone at the gym so I decided to try other classes too such as Total Body Blast, Yoga, Spinning, Kickboxing and the toughest – Washboard Abs. However, although all these forms of workout had their own benefits, I somehow found myself ending up in Zumba class with more regularity and that’s when I knew this was it; I was afflicted.

As the time to return to Pakistan drew near, I frantically started looking at all the gyms and studios back home, checking to see if they had Zumba on their schedules but found it in barely a few places. That got me thinking – why not train to become an instructor and take this knowledge back with me and start my own class? Surely that would keep me on track! There is nothing better than doing what you love.

To cut the rest of the long story short, here I am, almost two years into this fun, easy-to-follow, dance-based, cardio workout. I have give classes at Bodybeat Recreational Centre (BBRC) and Core, and I love every minute of it!

What gives me so much motivation is the result I see in my students – seeing them lead healthier lifestyles as being fit isn’t just about working out, but also eating right. Bringing that knowledge to people here and seeing the results is absolutely great and heartwarming.

The writer is a certified Zumba instructor at Bodybeat Recreational Centre (BBRC) located in Phase 6 and Core, located on main Tipu Sultan road.

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