zumba instructorsI recently started taking Zumba classes in an effort to lose weight.

I love to eat and since I don’t want to give up chocolate lava cake, or carbs, or sugar, or anything else that is delicious, I know I need to burn some serious calories in workouts.  Enter Zumba classes.

For those of you unfamiliar with Zumba, it is a torturous aerobics class where we constantly move our hips and do somewhat sexy dancing (although with the size of my hips and my protruding stomach, I would say I look anything but sexy.

I look more like I’m having a seizure).

As I’ve taken these Zumba classes, I’ve noticed a few things about the instructors.

So here are the 9 things I’ve observed about Zumba instructors.

I know, lists usually have 10 things, but I couldn’t think of a 10th thing so stop judging and read.  And 10 is so unoriginal.  I’m such a trend setter and 9 is going to be the new 10.

Just wait.

1.  They must love rubber bracelets

wrist band

It seems that every Zumba instructor I see has one arm covered in those ridiculous rubber bracelets.

At first, I thought they were all just really devoted to finding a cure for cancer, or that they loved Lance Armstrong and his one testicle.

But a closer look demonstrated these rubber bracelets say “Zumba!” on them.  (Yes, with the exclamation point).  Apparently zumba  instructors love jewelry but are too cheap to buy anything made from material other than what tires are made of.

Maybe teaching Zumba doesn’t pay well.  And I can’t imagine that rubber bracelets smell good after an hour of sweating it out to Latin music.

Clearly these women need to find a Claire’s Boutique asap.

2.  They must wear bright colors

colored starsI’m not sure why every single Zumba instructor I see is covered in neon colors like it’s the 80s and they are headed to a Wham! concert.

What ever happened to a nice gray t-shirt for a workout at the gym?  Clearly this is forbidden in the Zumba instructor world.

Maybe when they get those rubber bracelets from the super secret place they shop, they are reminded of the importance of wearing distracting neon colors.

Maybe the bright colors are used as a focal point so those of us in class who start to feel weak and lightheaded can look to the blurry bright yellow blob doing hip moves and attempt to stay conscious.

Personally, I think a bunch of bright colors bopping around to the tunes of Gloria Estefan is enough to make any normal person go into shock.  And yet, I return each week for more zumba.

3.  They must have at least a small form of Tourettes

screamFor some reason, all Zumba instructors I’ve encountered seem to think they need to randomly yell out “Zumba!” throughout the workout.

I have no idea why this is necessary, as it certainly doesn’t help me burn off my burrito any faster.

But alas, every class I’ve been to has involved an instructor randomly yelling this throughout the workout.

Perhaps that’s why they wear the rubber bracelets adorned with the word…maybe their memory isn’t that great and they constantly need to be reminded of what they are doing.

4.  They must look good when they work out

glamourI am no glamour queen, and I never go to the gym wearing makeup.  Sometimes my clothes don’t even match.  I figure the people at the gym are just lucky I put on a sports bra before I go.

So I realize I may not look overly attractive when I start at the gym, but about halfway through the workout, I look horrible.

My face is red and last night’s mascara is always running down my face, as I can’t seem to find a good makeup remover to save my life.

As I gasp for air and pray for the end, I look up and inevitably see a neon blob with rubber bracelets looking amazingly good.

What?! How are these women not dripping their makeup down their faces, or at least sweating a little under their armpits?

My shirt is always covered in sweat and I look like I might have a heart attack at any moment.  These instructors, although sweaty, seem to glisten with the sweat, and I swear they look even more attractive.

How is this possible?  Perhaps a requirement of becoming an instructor is to put them in a sauna and see how good they look when they perspire.

I wouldn’t pass that test.

5.  They must hate Mexican food

margaritaI realize this seems counter intuitive, but with all that Latin music pumping through the speakers, all I can think about during these workouts is a large margarita and a bowl of chips and salsa.

The urge to eat something salty and covered in melted cheese is overwhelming at times, and if there was a Taco Bell close to the gym, I’m pretty sure I would have that every day for my post-workout meal.

Clearly these instructors hate Mexican food, or have will power of steel, because I don’t know how any respectable human being can listen to the music they play at Mexican restaurants every day as part of their job, and not be tempted to indulge in some serious carnitas.

I know they can’t possibly like Mexican food because if they did, these instructors wouldn’t be the size 2 that all of them are.

And no one can resist chips and salsa.  No one.

So clearly instructors hate Mexican food.  Which makes them un-American if you ask me.

6.  They must all have artificial hips

pelvis xrayZumba requires a lot of moving and shaking of the hips, or in my case, shaking of the beer belly.

These instructors clearly have bionic limbs with the way they are able to shake their hips to the beat, all the while looking attractive.

I’m convinced their joints aren’t human, and must be machine.


7.  They must have a very short memory

memory.jpgAlthough they seem to be able to remember the routines, these instructors seem to have a short memory about what they are doing, as they always need a reminder about their activities.

From the clothes they wear that say “Zumba!” all over them, to the bracelets, to the yelling of Zumba in the songs, to the random Tourettes yelling, these instructors clearly need constant updates about what they are doing.

8.  They must enjoy torturing themselves

Zumba is not for the weak hearted (or the overweight).

It’s rigorous and ridiculous and I usually want to pass out after the warm up.

Clearly these instructors love to torture themselves, as I can’t see any reason why they seem to be enjoying the squats as much as they do.

9.  They have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time

gumball.jpgOkay, I don’t know if this is really a requirement, but it seems like it would be.

These moves involve the hips, the legs and the arms, and I’m lucky to get one of those movements correct, let alone all three.  These instructors seem to do multiple movements with ease, as they glisten away.

Clearly, the walking and chewing gum thing must be a requirement.

That’s all I could come up with for now, although I may think better when my legs aren’t throbbing and I’m not so dehydrated.

I will continue to attend Zumba classes, mostly because I want to keep eating and Mexican food keeps calling my name.

I’m off to down a burrito from Chipotle….

woman doing downward dogIn an effort to prove to the world I’m actually mature and grown up, and to counter the fact that I eat children’s cereal for breakfast, my husband and I decided to increase our life insurance policies.

Well, that was my thought anyway.   Maybe he wanted to increase the amount so he could off me and turn the basement into a man-cave with the insurance money.  He knows my dead body is the only way he’s getting his man-cave.

Regardless of the reason, we decided to increase our life insurance policies.  I called our broker and was advised we would have to undergo physicals and blood tests since we were increasing the amounts.

Don’t go getting ideas about offing me blogger fans!  It’s not that big of a policy!

I left the task of scheduling our physicals to my dear husband. Sometimes I like to give him tasks so he feels important.  He told me he scheduled the appointments for Wednesday morning.  He told me this on Tuesday afternoon, after I stuffed my face with a cheesy salad and a personal pizza.

I knew I couldn’t drop 100 pounds in less than 24 hours, at least not without an extremely strong laxative and a 24 pack of toilet paper.  However, I was delusional enough to think I might be able to give the doctor the appearance I lived a healthy lifestyle.

blood pressureI was determined to do so, but knew I couldn’t do it without the help of my friends.

First up, I called my friend Downtown Christy Brown (not her real name).  She is usually my go-to friend when I need to drown my sorrows in cheesecake, or when I need to celebrate with cheesecake.

She’s pretty much my go-to friend whenever food is involved, which let’s face it, is all the time.

I knew if I wanted to win her over to help me get healthy for one night, I would have to bribe her with food.  I called her and started off by telling her that I wanted to hang out and get dinner that night.

After she finished devouring the candy bar she was noshing on, she agreed to grab dinner with me.  Perfect.  Then I went in for the kill.

I told her the price was that we had to exercise before our dinner….it was paying the piper of sorts.  Like the work before the reward.  It was as if I had punched her in the face.

I had to call her back at that moment because we mysteriously got disconnected.  It was strange because I swore I heard profanity in the background just before the disconnect.

measuring tapeShe said she would agree to my terms for dinner, but that we had to go somewhere extremely fatty after the work out.

I knew I had to eat a healthy dinner if I wanted to convince the doctor my stomach rolls were water weight and not vats of queso dip, but I didn’t want to give her even more bad news.

So, I did what any good friend would do.  I lied.  I agreed that we could work out and then get a fatty dinner.  She was on board.

I then called my friend Pajama Jeans for further support, hereinafter referred to as “PJ” (not her real name).  PJ is one of my thin friends whose thigh is the size of my right arm, and who thinks a belly roll is some kind of exercise you do at the gym, not what hangs over my pants.

As if her being thin wasn’t offensive enough, she is also adorable, which makes me want to punch her in the perfectly complected face.  Despite all of these downfalls, I like her anyway, and I try to look past these obvious flaws.

Instead of telling PJ that I wanted to get together to eat, I lead with the exercise part, and said I wanted to work out with her.

dog with leashShe was ecstatic that I wanted to get together and work out, but probably not because she wanted to hang out, but because she’s sick of looking at my flabby thighs at the pool.

She asked which kickboxing class we would be attending, and I broke the news that although I wanted to inflict bodily harm on someone, I advised that physical violence would have to wait for another day…or at least until after I had a few drinks.

As I knew going to the gym might actually kill me, I suggested we ease into the workout with a walk in the park.

I was hoping it would be better than a rigorous workout at the gym and would be like…well…a walk in the park.  She was agreeable.

DCTB came to my house and we drove to PJ’s house together.  DCTB had a skip in her step and a smile on her face, as she dreamed of pizza and wings.  I thought I could actually see mini T-ravs in her eyes.

We arrived at PJ’s house where she greeted us by bouncing out of her house in tiny yoga pants and an adorable tank top.

She walked up to us just as I successfully convinced DCTB that punching PJ for her cuteness wouldn’t get us any closer to eating dinner.

salad and tongsWe began our walk, and within 30 seconds, DCTB and I were sweating like crazy and panting like dogs.  PJ, on the other hand, appeared to be glistening as the sun bounced off her toned arms.

I decided I wanted to do a kickboxing class with her at a later point, as I wanted her to be my sparring partner so I could hopefully give her a bruise or two.

The three of us walked for an hour in the heat, which was no small feat for two of us.  PJ seemed unaffected by the walk and was ready to start doing lunges, as she thought the walk was just the warm up.

DTCB and I let PJ know we were done with the workout for the day (and for the week), and we were ready to leave and commence eating.  PJ was agreeable, as was DTCB, who was ready to dominate some nachos.

It was then that I told DTCB that we needed to eat something healthy so my blood test in the morning wouldn’t consist of two parts grease and one part cheese.

She was not happy, but at that point she was hungry and too weak to argue.

woman sleepingWe agreed on Bread Co and got salads, which DTCB and I inhaled in 3 minutes flat.  We sat and chatted while PJ ate her meal, all the while wishing we ordered a pastry for dessert.  DTCB suggested we get some frozen yogurt to reward ourselves, but I strenuously objected because of the blood test.

I was actually fairly proud of myself for saying no and decided I would reward myself the next morning with a milkshake (after the blood test, of course).

I headed home and spent the rest of the evening trying to sleep and ignore the hunger pains.

I couldn’t sleep so I tried to talk to my husband, but we couldn’t hear each other over our rumbling tummies, so we gave up and went to sleep, starving and irritable.

We got up early and got ready for work and waited for the doctor to appear at our house to do the physicals.

too lateHe told us we couldn’t eat in the morning so my husband and I sat around the house waiting, talking about all the cereal we were going to eat once the blood was drawn.

Our appointment time came and went, all the while the hunger pains becoming more intense.  Then, my husband broke.  He headed to the kitchen and I heard the familiar sound of cereal hitting the bowl.

I asked him what he was doing, to which he replied that he was doing “what he had to do.”  I heard the sweet sound of milk hitting cereal and knew I was a goner too.   I caved and ate cereal with my husband.  It never tasted so good.

We both left for work, realizing the doctor wasn’t coming and our physical wasn’t going to happen.

Apparently there was a mix-up and the doctor thought he was doing the next morning instead.  Later that day, when the error was discovered, we agreed we wouldn’t reschedule the physical for a while longer.  We were still irritable from the 12 hour fast, and my feet weren’t ready for another bout with PJ and her zeal.

So, we are holding off on increasing our life insurance for now, mostly because we don’t want to go without our Frosted Mini Wheats.  Here’s to hoping we don’t get hit by a truck in the meantime, well….unless it’s a donut truck…

Peer pressure at the pool

Summer is almost over and I couldn’t be more sad about it. But to cheer me up (and hopefully you), I’m republishing one of my favorite pool stories from 2013. Enjoy!

***DISCLAIMER:  Sadly, this entire story is true, and has not been altered.  I wish it had been.***

I live in the Midwest, which means extreme temperatures for each season.  We don’t just have winter, we have winter that freezes the snot as soon as it comes out of your nose.  And we don’t just have summer, we have summer that scorches and boils the snot as it comes out of your nose.

Apparently in the Midwest we also have some serious sinus problems and constant nose drainage.

When the heat index is over 100 degrees in the Midwest, the only option to keep cool is to go to the pool.

Recently, I went for a relaxing afternoon, armed with my beach bag of pool necessities including trashy gossip magazines and iced beverages.

When I arrived, I jumped in the pool immediately to cool off.  As I doggy paddled gracefully in the shallow end, a boy came splashed over, looked me straight in the eye and said “Are you Jason’s mom?”

photo credit: R.O Mania♥ via photopin cc

photo credit: R.O Mania♥ via photopin cc

My body isn’t “swimsuit ready” which is why I rock the one piece with a cute little skirt.  This swimsuit was definitely a “mom” suit, so I took no offense to his question.

I advised the boy that I didn’t know Jason, nor was I his mother.

I would have thought that ended the communication, but he was persistent.

My goggles broke.  Can you fix them?”

At this point I felt a little sorry for Jason’s mom. Did she always have to deal with these random repairs?

The strap wasn’t attached to the goggles, so I reattached it.  I asked him if the repair was to his liking.

Instead of giving a polite answer, he held his pointer finger up in the universal “one moment” gesture, and went under water to test my handy work.

I hoped he wasn’t taking a closer look at my bathing suit.  If he did he would see the remnants of my lunch on it.  He didn’t notice but came up and said the fix was to his liking.  Considering he was quite picky, I was relieved.

Once again, I thought this would be the end of our interaction, but he stayed and stared.  In an effort at chit-chat, the seven year old told me his name was J.T. and it was his second day going off the diving board.  He said it with such pride it was as if he had just solved the oil crisis instead of simply jumping off a metal board.

photo credit: Yatmandu via photopin cc

photo credit: Yatmandu via photopin cc

I told him I was impressed because I was scared of the diving board.

He looked at me with a serious face, and asked: “Is it because you’re afraid the board will break if you get on it?”

Um….seriously kid?!  I realize I may have gained some weight, but did he think I was so large the diving board couldn’t support me?

After I caught my breath from the shock of his question, I responded.  “No, I’m just scared of falling.”

This answer was ridiculous to him, as the whole point of the diving board was to fall. He then became intent on getting me to jump.

He recruited his friend Jayden, who was sporting a mean mohawk.  Jayden said it was his first day going off the diving board and it was easy.

photo credit: melissaclark via photopin cc

photo credit: melissaclark via photopin cc

Any kid who could successfully pull off a mohawk was more brave than I was, so his diving board skills didn’t shock me.

J.T. thought about it for a second, and in an effort to coax me into jumping he said “I bet if you did a cannon ball off the diving board, it would make a huge splash.”

This kid was going to get cut if he kept referencing my weight.  I get it….I’m big.  Get over it.  I told him I wasn’t interested in jumping.

J.T. and Jayden then took things to a new level…a level I wasn’t expecting.  Without any hesitation, J.T. said “What are you, a scaredy cat?”  Jayden then began chiming in with his sing songy voice “Scaredy cat, scaredy cat.”

I may be fat, and I may look like Jason’s mom, but I am not a scaredy cat.  There was no way I was going to allow such accusations to fly.

photo credit: Carplips via photopin cc

photo credit: Carplips via photopin cc

I told the little terrors I wasn’t a scaredy cat.  Why did these kids care if I jumped?  Did they get a kickback from the pool?

In an effort to fully convince me, Jayden and J.T. said they would jump off and show me how to do it.  Grateful to have them leave the pool, I agreed to the plan.

They trotted over to the diving board, revealing their Spider Man and Cars swimming trunks, and proceeded to gracefully jump off the diving board.  As soon as J.T. emerged from the water post-jump, he pointed to me, and then pointed to the diving board.

It was time to pay the piper.

I hoisted myself out of the water.  As I stood in line, my heart started beating faster and I tried to keep my breathing steady.  There was no way I could back out now.  My pride was on the line, and I had to prove I wasn’t a scaredy cat…


Are you scared?” He asked, staring me in the eye.

photo credit: Neil Krug via photopin cc

photo credit: Neil Krug via photopin cc

Yes.” I responded to this devil child.

Is it because you’re a girl?”  This kid was clearly a masochist with his high pressure tactics and I suspect he’ll be selling timeshares in Nebraska in a few years.

No, it’s not because I’m a girl.”  I retorted.  “Are you saying girls aren’t as brave as boys?”

Not to be outdone, J.T. responded without missing a beat, and pointed to Jayden and said “No.  That’s what he said.”

Jayden was not happy about being thrown under the bus, but he didn’t refute it.  I’m not sure if it’s because he was deathly afraid of J.T. (who wouldn’t be?) or because the allegations were true.  Either way, he let it go.

It was my turn on the boards and I had a decision to make.  I could walk away and endure endless taunting for the rest of the summer, or I could buck up, pray the board held my weight, and make a huge splash.

I summoned my inner child and knew I couldn’t let these bullies get away with calling me a scaredy cat.

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

I took to the board, my legs shaky.  I knew if I looked down I would chicken out, so I just began running.  I ran with all of my might (which is pretty pathetic considering the diving board is only a few feet long).

I felt like I was running in slow motion (I probably was), and I swear I heard the song Chariots of Fire as I sprinted down the board.  Instead of jumping off I just continued to run until I no longer had footing under me.

I felt like Road Runner just moments after he realizes there’s no more road under his feet, assuming Road Runner wears a bathing suit akin to Jason’s mom’s.

I landed, most likely with a huge splash.  I emerged with a huge smile and laughing.  I couldn’t believe I was bulled by second graders.  The allegations of a scaredy cat still affected me in my 30s.

I swam to the edge and saw J.T. and Jayden cheering me on with a thumbs up.  I’m not so sure if they were happy I jumped or if they were reeling from the gigantic splash I made.  I decided not to ask.

I returned to my chair with a sense of accomplishment.  I hadn’t hiked to the top of a mountain or conquered my fear of snakes, but I mastered my diving board fear, thanks to two pushy second graders.

I was just hoped they stayed away from me for good, as I didn’t want them to discover my other fears.  They’d have me charming snakes in no time.

photo credit: Daniele Zedda via photopin cc

photo credit: Daniele Zedda via photopin cc