My Zumba experience

I thought that it was going to be a disaster: Me, dancing myself fit in a latin style.

Five minutes after I heard from my editor that I was to attend a Zumba masterclass, I frantically logged on to YouTube in a desperate attempt to familiarise myself with this exotic-sounding workout. It was not the first time that I had heard of Zumba.

I had resolved to attend a session with a friend at school, but my vague ambitions to achieve that dream figure were fast overshadowed by far more tantalising plans for dinner at a café in town.

I scrolled down the search results page and finally clicked on "Zumba Fitness Basic Steps Demo". It sounded easy enough, but my jaw dropped when I saw the hip-twisting movements set to the tune of energetic, up-tempo music.

Coordination has never been my strongest trait, so there was ample room for worry.

An image of my impending doom was forming in my mind: My arms flailing about while seasoned Zumba enthusiasts and toned trainers gyrated effortlessly around me.

With no choice but to get down to it, I turned up at VivoCity the next morning for a masterclass session organised by the People's Association with Zumba Education Specialist Michael Thomas, who had flown in from South Africa specially for the event.

Latin-tinged music from the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin blared over the speakers as we started the routine with a warm-up: Stepping to the right and left, moving our arms to the music.

The moves do not have to be memorised, and it is fairly easy to mirror the movements of the instructor within a matter of seconds.

Around me, women from the ages of 20 to over 40 strutted their stuff confidently.

Everyone seemed comfortable, and soon, the room was filled with a party atmosphere, with us clapping, whooping and cheering to themusic.

The smile plastered on my face was initially intended to disguise how self-conscious I felt, but somewhere in the middle, I realised that I was actually having fun.

Never mind that my arms stuck out at awkward angles, or that I was bumping into my neighbour every alternate move.

Oops.

It didn't take long to work up a good sweat. Granted, some of it may have been cold sweat from trepidation, but I could feel the tiredness from the many resistance-training movements that we performed in the routine, such as lunges and stretches.

But it was fun. Maybe this is a sign telling me it's time to redeem myself after all the vigorous eating adventures I've been embarking on, and make a call to the my nearest CC about Zumba classes.

As the song warned me, the rhythm is going to get you.

FITNESS CLUBS (Club membership fees apply)

California Fitness

True Yoga

Physical ABuse

PEOPLE'S ASSOCIATION: Price: $80-$100 for eight one-hour sessions

Classes for different age categories available at various community clubs. Website: http://one.pa.gov.sg

OTHER CENTRES

Fiesta de Fitness

Where: Waterloo, Tampines, Bukit Batok, Bishan, Yio Chu Kang

Price: $12 per one-hour session

Website: http://fiestadefitness.com

Rhythmic Fitness Studio

Price: $15 per one-hour session

Website: www.rhythmicfitness-studio.com

yuensin@sph.com.sg


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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