I have Con-fi-dence in Me. . .
Remember Maria from The Sound Of Music brazenly bouncing around with her blonde pixie cut, proclaiming she has confidence in sunshine and in rain? Well—I’ve found confidence in fitness. Beginning with my journey back into a gym after years spent mothering and wanting to get back in the swing but not really knowing how, I began going to ZUMBA classes. From there, I began to include strength training, and the confidence in my abilities began to spiral upward.
Fit, confident woman
Today’s modern woman is expected to be confident. But don’t we often struggle with body-confidence? One way to feel more confident is to experiment with fitness, trying on new challenges and finding the confidence to keep our heads raised, shoulders back, and “bust out” while rising to the challenge. And in ZUMBA, which I’ve heard described by a friend who felt like she was “flopping around like a fool,” confidence is not always easy to come by. However, insecurity fades as we grow through trial and error.
Flopping Around Like a Fool
Some people have asked me about my weight loss and fitness and I always tell them how I started with ZUMBA, which got me back in a routine of going to the gym, breaking a good sweat and loving it. Then, I would hear replies from others about trying ZUMBA for the first, possibly only, time: “I just felt so silly,” “I hid in the back of the room,” “I couldn’t follow along; I just felt like an idiot.” And, of course, “flopping around like a fool.”
I, too, felt insecure and self-conscious as I fumbled through the dance steps, twirling occasionally in the wrong direction as the rest of the class. But, for months, I kept going. I kept going and advanced to the front of class, checking my steps in the front or side mirror to ensure I was following correctly, monitoring my form. For the first five, possibly even ten minutes, I would be plagued by self-consciousness that limited my movement. Then, I would begin to have fun. Really have fun. I felt free as my feet moved along, hips swiveling sensuously, shaking my white girl booty. I didn’t care after a while, who might see me from outside the door and whether or not I looked silly. So what if I was flopping around like a fool? So what if I felt sexy and maybe looked like a giraffe that gobbled up some ADHD meds? And I got a killer workout, as the cardio got my heart pumping, sweat pouring, and legs strengthening. I grew more aware of my body. I gain at least a half-teaspoon of grace. I grew to look forward to my own Friday night fever—it was my night to shake it to the beat, for one hour in an exercise studio.
Post ZUMBA Growing Pains
Unfortunately, I had to hang up my ZUMBA sneaks due to neck pain that would occur hours after I completed my dance workout. My neck and shoulders were always a sensitive area, and I guess the twisting and jiving in Zumba was just not good for my body. I researched ZUMBA and neck pain or shoulder/neck pain but there was not much information out there. I tried stretching before ZUMBA, stretching after, warming up for longer; yet no modifications seemed to work. I turned to spinning instead and have had so much fun with it! I’m still getting a solid cardio workout that strengthens my legs, yet no neck pain afterwards. I am glad I started spinning, as it challenges me on a mental and physical level and I doubt I would have entered that dark Spin studio or gone back if I hadn’t had my pain in the neck post-ZUMBA aches.
The lesson I took from ZUMBA, though, was that in trying new kinds of fitness, sometimes you will feel awkward or ill at ease. You won’t always know what you are doing and it may be obvious to on-lookers. However, when you press on, keep your smile, follow along as best you can, you will grow in confidence. You will find a new comfort zone. But don’t settle there for too long; keep pushing the walls of your comfort zone. Stretch within the space and listen to your body. Smile and remember that you are fit, sexy, and confident.