A zumbathon to forget

A couple of weeks ago my fitness friend T asked me if I wanted to do a zumbathon with her and since I hadn’t done Zumba in nearly a year and am totally out of practice, of course I said “YES!”.  Saturday was the day of the  Zumbathon and I was more than a little nervous. I’ve done zumba once since last fall and this particular zumbathon was slated to be 2 hours long, so really I just hoped I didn’t pass out or throw up.  Normally I wear a big tshirt and my long running pants to zumba, but I knew that after 2 hours of zumba, I would need to be wrung out at the end, so I opted instead for a fitted tank top and some mid-thigh shorts that I hoped would keep me cool and less sweaty.  Y’all, I felt EXPOSED. I haven’t shown this much of my pasty-white skin in public since…well I can’t even remember the last time I went out in something this…this…revealing. The tank was just clingy enough that you could see every bump and roll – there was nothing to cover up my huge derriere and bulging thighs. For once, I chose comfort over camouflage…and felt completely vulnerable. Add to that all the super-fit and super-thin women that were there as well and really, I just wanted to get back in my car and go home. I didn’t leave though, I stayed and found a spot in the back and waited for T to show up (which she finally did a half hour late because of work).

There were about 8 different instructors, one of which was my regular instructor Renee. I have gained a new appreciation for what a great instructor Renee really is.  She is so good at breaking down the moves and explaining the sequences, plus she has a way of letting the class know which move is coming up next – it’s seamless and I don’t know how she does it, but she rocks at it. Some of the other instructors, unfortunately, were not so great. Most of them didn’t explain any of the moves, and only a couple gave any cues to the next move. There was one instuctor that didn’t even look at us the whole time, we just had to jump right in and try and follow her. I felt like some of them were there just to show off. It was annoying.

The cream of the crop though, was this one instructor, who…sheesh how can I even explain it…well she started off with a belly dance routine that basically consisted of her shimmying for the first 5 minutes. Then she did a bunch of hip thrusts and it was just all too ridiculous. Later she got up to lead another dance and this time I swear she was just making it up as she went along. I don’t think she had any idea what she was doing. By this time, I was tired and sweaty and kinda ticked, so I pretty much freestyled the whole time she was up there.

Since this zumbathon was for a fundraiser for a youth group, there were a lot of non-zumba types (men) who were there for support or whatever. It was hard to do some of the moves knowing there were preacher-types there watching us thrust and shake our booties and whatnot – it was hard to just relax into it like I usually do. Also there was a girl in front of me who was sort of tall, plus she had a super poofy ponytail on top of her head so I couldn’t see over her to see the instructor. Every time I tried to move and get her out of my line of vision, she would somehow end up back in front of me. It was super frustrating!! I finally ended up moving a couple spots over so she couldn’t get in front of me again, but there were so many people there that it was hard to get a good view anyway.

I expected to Zumba for 2 hours, but after an 1.5 hours, we were done, which was fine with me. My back was achy and my pony tail was dripping with sweat. I drank 64 oz of water while I was there – after every dance, I grabbed a swig of water – I knew if I didn’t I would get dehydrated.  At least that part went right.

Lesson learned: stick with my regular class. I have a new appreciation for good zumba instructors. If I had been taking zumba from some of these other instructors, I don’t think I would love it as much. If you have tried zumba and didn’t like it much, I suggest going to another class until you do find an instructor you like.

All in all it was kind of disappointing. I don’t know if I will do another zumbathon again or not. I will keep going to my regular class again – I’m anxious to get back into the habit of it.

Anyone else ever done a zumbathon? Did you like having different instructors or do you prefer the same instructor all the time?  Have you ever worn something in public that made you feel like the Michelin Man?


10 thoughts on “A zumbathon to forget

  1. I’ve never been to a zumbathon but I have done a few zumba classes over a couple of years, all with the same instructor. When she started teaching it was a bit all over the place, she was only just learning the dance moves herself so it wasn’t that inspiring. Then she got practiced and confident and it was great for a while. But after a year or so she started going in a direction I didn’t like. She picked all the tracks I didn’t like (mainly hip-hop) and stopped doing the ones I enjoyed, and she started doing a lot of “toning zumba” with weights which hardly involved dancing at all. And never ever ever gave me the special shaker sticks. Not that I’m bitter about that or feel rejected at all. I barely even noticed that she never picked me. Don’t care at all. Anyway, I stopped enjoying the class and stopped going.

    Now I do zumba at home sometimes on my Xbox Kinect. It has 42 different routines and I am taking note of my favourite tracks so I can eventually put together my own routine of the best ones. The instruction is really good too, easy to follow with cues of what is coming up next.

  2. When I was teaching group fitness, back before my current ordeal began, our gym looked at getting us certified to teach Zumba because we were the only gym in the area that didn’t offer it. They opted to outsource the classes at first to see if it would stick. We auditioned a few instructors to teach the classes.

    What we learned is that the Zumba certification process is a joke. Any schmo off the street can get certified – and it shows! They don’t know how to cue properly, build on a routine, or anything about injury prevention. With some of the instructors, I felt like I could get a better workout and have more fun by just shaking my booty in the living room.

    Like you said, if you don’t like Zumba, you should try out different instructors before you decide to give it up completely.The best Zumba instructors are usually those who have reputable certifications and experience teaching regular aerobics classes.

  3. I have a great zumba instructor, but I can imagine how a bad one would be dreadful. And I did a HORRIBLE job of choosing clothes for last night’s class and felt VERY exposed. Lesson learned!

  4. I have never done zumba or an athlon of anything, But I do know how you feel about the instructors. I was very lucky with my first spinning instructor. Well, most of them are good I think. But there is one who is really really horrible. He is kind of creepy. If I had my first class with him, I would’ve never gone back for another one.

  5. I’ve never been to a Zumba class. However I have it on the Wii and I tend to crash into the wall on a regular basis. It’s probably best I keep it at home, where insurance premiums can stay low… *cough*

    Honestly though? And without any condescension here, if you hear it, remove it, K? I’m so freakin’ proud of you!!! I have been there, in a situation where I felt exposed and embarrassed. I actually flew to NYC to train in this sword fighting type of exercise instruction, and it was only because I had paid to fly out there that I stayed. I was tearful in the shower (trying to wash my hair with my head in my lap because I couldn’t raise my arms), and defeated. You? You rocked this! Yeah, not fun, but you learned a lot. You didn’t bail when you could have, really could have easily.

    You. Are. My. Hero.

  6. Your experience is exactly my experience, waste of time. The only value a zumbathon would have, in my opinion, is a quick way to see a lot of local instructors quickly.

  7. I am a Zumba Instructor in Miami, Florida. I was just googling for Zumbathons and came across these articles. I am printing them and using it my classes.
    Thankyou for taking the time to express your experience.

  8. A Zumbathon is usually to raise money you really aren’t there to have a satisfying workout for yourself the other instructors dedicated their time for free to help raise money shame on you for criticizing other instructors who were there for a cause my suggestion don’t bother to go to another one since all you did was whine about it obviously you weren’t there for a good cause.

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