I’ve taken a Zumba class before, and I really enjoyed it. So I thought I’d bring the party home.
At the library, I found a book called Zumba: Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!* (click the link – you’ll want to see the cover. You’re welcome.), so I thought I’d check it out. This book will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Zumba – the background, the moves, and much more. It also has recipes and meal plans, which pleasantly surprised me.
Last night, I popped in the DVD that came with the book. It takes you through the basic steps that you will encounter in any Zumba class. Then it gives you some music to practice the steps. If I had read the reviews of the book before I got it, I probably wouldn’t have done so. Most people didn’t seem to like that it didn’t give them a set routine to follow.
I am not most people.
To be fair, I already knew how to salsa, so I was already familiar with the rhythm of it and picked it up pretty quickly. I can see how the video would have been frustrating to people without that background. I’m also more of an individual learner than a group learner; I usually find a group learning environment to be more of a distraction I have to overcome than a help to the learning process. So maybe for extrovert beginners, the book and laissez-faire instructional DVD are not ideal.
I loved it, though. I put on the music portion of the DVD and Zumba-ed around my living room. Because I didn’t need to be tied to the screen to watch what the next move was, I Zumba-ed into my kitchen. I Zumba-ed while filling up my water bottle. I Zumba-ed while going through the mail. I Zumba-ed while folding laundry (challenging, by the way). Given freedom from routine, I probably Zumba-ed a lot longer than I would have if I had been forced to stay in one place to do it.
One of my biggest fitness challenges is that, while I thrive off routine in other areas of my life, routine is death to my workout regimen. I find it difficult to be motivated to work out if I know what’s waiting for me there is the same thing I did yesterday. I think that’s why it’s been easy to stick to the daily movement, because I planned different activities for each day. There are definitely recurring themes, but the day-to-day plan is varied enough to keep me coming back to it.
I know that if I’m going to eat right, I need to make a plan. If I make a plan, I eat better and healthier food. I make fewer fast food runs, because I know I have things ready to eat or quick to make at home. I cook more, so I have food to bring to work for lunch rather than ordering a salad or a sandwich from the delivery service.
When I was in undergrad, it was easy to move daily. I parked once and walked around campus all day. I took dance and physical education classes – everything from badminton to swim conditioning – making movement not only a part of my schedule but also a part of my GPA (so you KNOW I was going to show up). As a founding member of the Social Dance Liberation Front (motto – we are not a club; we are a radical movement), I made movement a fundamental part of my extracurricular activities. Most importantly – the activities were varied enough that I was never doing the same thing two days in a row.
In order for daily movement to continue to be a habit after these 31 days are over, I will need a plan, and that comes with challenges. As I am not a student, I no longer have the protection of my impeccable GPA to motivate me, nor do I have the built-in, every-other-day class schedule and the luxury of someone else planning the classes that automatically vary the routine. I have to come up with new motivations and new variations. I have to find new reasons (that will actually matter enough to me to function as reasons) to commit to daily movement.
Any suggestions? How do you make movement a priority? What motivates you?