Wednesday, January 19, 2011

These Hips Don't Lie

My back hurts. My shoulders ache. My knees go "Snap, Crackle, Pop!"

And I haven't even gotten off the couch yet!

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating just a wee bit, but suffice it to say, as the new year rolled around, I took a good long look in the mirror and saw that I was ripe for some intervention...exercise intervention, that is.

So what did I want to achieve from this new fitness buzz?

Sure, like anyone else, I wanted to tone up, slim down and look better, but it wasn't just cosmetic concerns spurring me on. More than anything I wanted to have fun. Find something I could do consistently (rain, snow, sun) and that I found inherently motivating. I wanted a date at the gym vs. an appointment. (You know the difference.)

Also, with my other active passions, like tennis and salsa, I also knew I wanted to ramp up my energy levels and improve my stamina. All that fancy footwork on the court and in the dance studio comes at a cost!

Last, I thought, if I was super lucky, I could maybe even figure out how to work a little more sazon ("spice") into my not-quite-so Cuban motion.

I think I had just the ticket.

I'd heard about a new exercise craze called Zumba ( and even vaguely remembered seeing an infomercial on it a while back in the States. But in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I'd pretty much forgotten about it.

That is until a friend posted on Facebook that she'd gotten a set of DVDs from her mom for Christmas and loved them. Then another (mutual) friend responded, saying that she could top that! She'd become a certified instructor back in Minneapolis. That was all the motivation I needed.

Now luckily I belong to a gym here in London, Virgin Active (, that not only offers great equipment and facilities, but that also specializes in innovative fitness classes. So I scoured their club listings until I found enough classes to fill a week's worth of options.

Feel like getting my workout in early? I could hit the 9:30am class at Hammersmith. Got a little time in the City after work? How about the 5:45pm class at Tower Hill? Indulged a bit too much at the weekend? Ahhh, then a wealth of Saturday and Sunday options abound.

So many choices. I decided to hit my nearest club first to see what kind of local talent was on offer.

Trust me, I was not disappointed!

Jasmine rocked it out!

How to describe?

Imagine taking your favorite latin rhythms (reggaeton, salsa, mambo, cumbia), adding your favorite artists and songs (Celia Cruz, La Vida es un Carnaval; Daddy Yankee, Gasolina; Shakira, Hips Don't Lie) and smushing them all together with super-sexy, booty-shaking, dancefloor-worthy moves ("gimme a shimmy!", "work it out") that keep you smiling, laughing and pumping your arms, hips and legs the whole time! That's Zumba.

Yes, you warm about a little belly dancing? Then you get the blood we salsa. Feeling adventurous?...must be time for some drumming and V-steps with a reggaeton twist. Still want more? There's isometrics and sun salutations, cumbia and mambo. And the mix goes on and on...

Needless to say, I'm hooked.



  1. I love Zumba too, it is such fun and you kinda forget you are exercising.

    Love it

  2. I know what you mean. It's the only exercise class I've ever been in where we ASKED for one more routine at the end. Imagine that!