in which I try to try an exercise class

I enjoy reading, writing, drawing, sewing, crocheting, knitting.

I like to hike, walk, swim, lift weights, and if I were fit enough, I think I’d enjoy running.

See what these things have in common?  They’re all activities that are comfortably done alone.  Yes, you can shoe-horn some of these into a group activity, but even when together, you’re still alone.  And I like it that way.

So I tried a Zumba class.  I know – that’s so 2010, right?

First off, I forgot a shirt.  Nothing daunted, I wore two jog bras and a pink warm up jacket over my now poochy-in-the-belly, grey, tight to the ankle leggings and a pair of running shoes.  I am the epitome of fitness fashion, no?

The teacher was outside the class, clearly identifiable because she wore her brand on her body.  I let her know I was a newbie and asked if I could find an inconspicuous spot in the class.  She nodded her assent  and went back to her flock of adoring fans.

Not to seem too eager, I avoided entering the class until five minutes before it began and, of course, couldn’t find a spot in the back.  So I stood in front of a surly-looking broad and asked if it was OK if I took that spot.  She sort of shrugged and said something non-committal.  I explained that I had never taken the class before and didn’t know how much space was necessary.  Now, if I had heard that, I would have said something like “Would you be more comfortable in the back?  I’ll switch with you if you’d like,” if only to avoid being distracted by the noob’s flailing.  But this lady, who had apparently been sucking something sour, just said, “You need a good bit of space.”  I took a step forward.

As I looked around the room I realized that I was the fattest person there.  Medically speaking, I am fat, I know that – but the fattest person in the room?  That was a new experience.  I’m also afflicted with BED – body eumorphic disorder, which means I almost always think I look good, no matter what the scale says.  So this was a bit of a shock.  (Yes, I made the disorder up.  No, I’m not trying to mock people with real body image issues.)

The teacher walked in, smiled at the class and I waited for her introduction.  I expected something like, “Hi everybody!  I’m Bubbles and this is ZUMBA!”  followed by a five second explanation of what to expect in the class, a warning to stay hydrated, go at your own pace, etc. – all the things that people who want to be encouraging and don’t want to get sued usually say.

The music started thumping and Bubbles threw her hands in the air and started hula-hooping with an invisible hoop and every other person in the room immediately followed exactly in step. I said, “No,” picked up my water bottle and walked out.  As I was leaving, the only sweet-faced woman in the room said, “You can do this!”  But no, I couldn’t.  I was too discouraged.

I felt frumpy, fat, and stupid.

and hormonal


I’ve told people about it which makes it a story instead of something to feel bad about.  (It’s what I’m doing here, too.  Exorcising my fears embarrassment.)  And I’ve been back to the gym and have continued to work out.

And I haven’t ruled out ZUMBA completely.


12 thoughts on “in which I try to try an exercise class

  1. anitvan says:

    I am entirely out of my element at the gym. I’ve tried Curves, World Gym, the Y – didn’t enjoy any of them. I felt nervous, self-conscious and like a total spaz every time.

    I do enjoy the pool though

    • Sara McDaren says:

      I’m nervous as all get out but rapidly becoming more comfortable. For me, being in a swimsuit is a fast introduction to “get over yourself.”

      I started with a trainer on Saturday and am seeing her tomorrow to hammer out a lifting schedule. (I don’t want to lose too much muscle as I’m losing fat.) She really put me at my ease.

  2. Julie says:

    I have issues with the vast majority of those fitness instructors / trainers. *sigh* And I’m so proud of you for going back and finding something that DOES work for you. Hang in there.

    • Sara McDaren says:

      I hear you! *big sigh* I have to say that the pool – both playing with the kids and swimming – is so, so great once I stopped being self-conscious. I don’t just mean that I feel unbeautiful in a swimsuit, but that I have some Christian hangups about modesty. And I’m trying to walk that line, kwim?

  3. Julie says:

    YES OH YES! We have access to a great lake for swimming (my parents’ beach) and I love to swim, but always felt… uncomfortable. I hate swimsuit shopping because I. Am. Fat. But I love to be active! I finally broke down and “splurged” and bought myself two really nice swim suits from swimsuitsforall. I went for the ones with the little skirts, because that made me feel more ‘covered’ (without wearing shorts and a tank top OVER my swim suit…) but they’ve got lots of styles, if you’re interested 😀

  4. cracTpot says:

    See, I’m so self conscious I wouldn’t have been able to draw attention to myself by leaving so I’m the person that would work so hard trying NOT to draw attention to herself she’d probably pass out and be ‘that’ person.

  5. Lady Dickson says:

    Oh my god, I love how you left after 2 seconds. I did Zumba for a solid 3 months and it never got easier or better for me. It was like watching a baby giraffe learn how to walk. FOR THREE MONTHS.

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