zumba: the good, the bad, the ugly

I certified to teach zumba in 2010. I had just moved to our small hometown where there was NO gym and my husband's schedule limited when i could go and run. We had 3 small children and only a double stroller. haha, how do you do that?

anyways, I grew up dancing ballet and almost finished my major in it (i switched to english last minute) at Brigham Young University where I was on the Ballet Showcase company my sophomore year. I have a deep LOVE LOVE LOVE for dancing. it's a large part of who i am.  zumba was a perfect fit for me, i had to exercise and i loved dancing. boom! done! also, i love helping people live healthy lives so that filled a large cup for me too.

i met so many amazing women over the next 4 years. i can't imagine my life without knowing all of them. every walk of life you could think of, we all had a blast just dancing away together. just writing about it makes me miss it! ah crap. i miss them.

dancing for exercise is still my favorite form of cardio, just amazingness all around. so much flipping fun. i also got in the best cardiovascular shape of my life (read: pant size)when i was teaching 3-4 times a week and had my regulars that were getting in awesome shape as well. super amazing to watch their dedication and smiles every day.

i think my most favorite part also was teaching the kids. SO MUCH FUN. it was awesome to see how fast they picked things up and the fun clean songs were my favorite. did i mention it was FUN? i'd love to teach another kids camp every year, but not zumba. annie's own dance factory or something fun like that. ha!

i had a neighbor that taught zumba when we lived in provo. she still does, she is amazing and super dedicated to a lot of forms of fitness. anyway, one day i saw her walking to go teach her class in the funniest outfit i and ever seen. oh! the neon! the tassels! the baggy pants with one leg scrunched up! what?! just silliness all around. "I will never be caught dead wearing something like that" i said. good gracious, it was brainwashing at it's highest form.

guess what? 

just a mere year into zumba i had bought all of those clothes. and i loved them! i fit in! i looked cute! who cares the tank tops were 30 DOLLARS. sheesh. i was a sheep and i was following the flock, the scantily clad flock. i didn't realize how sleazy the clothes were getting until i went  to a convention with Beto! The founder! and holy nudity, i couldn't count the amount of early 40's women wearing as little clothes as possible. eek!

the music: when i first started receiving my cd's (you get one a month as an instructor) there were 1-2 spicy songs on them. they labeled them with chili peppers...cuuute right? so you knew and you could look up the lyrics and know what they were saying. my spanish is muy mal so i would just skip the spicy ones altogether. by the time i quit teaching in 2014 about 4-5 out of 10 songs would be spicy every single month. I hadn't even realized how different the music and clothes had become just over 4 short years. it was all about being sexy, looking sexy, dancing sexy. ugh, i get sick just thinking about it. here i was paying them money every month to get this. I started more and more just relying on my own songs and choreography to make up classes and that was working. but overtime, listening to those songs 24/7 (I have to memorize them) just wore me down. i had had enough. i didn't want to listen to all of that anymore. i missed the days of just npr, classical music and a little beatles after dinner to do the dishes. i am so high strung as it is, i don't need music pushing me over the top also. plus, my kids were listening to it all in the car and at home. the videos? i had to watch in my room from the beginning, i wouldn't let my kids see those girls bouncing around half naked.

ok, here is the ugly truth. do you know what it takes to become certified? all you have to do is pay $$$ and show up for 8 hours. that's it. no test, no certification, no anything. just sign a paper. DONE. ugh, do you have any idea how many insanely under qualified and just crap zumba teachers there are out there? that is just scary. scary. scary. when i went and "certified" to teach "toning zumba" in san diego, California, the instructor, who was awesome, just straight up said, "You guys, if you want to be buff so people will want to come to your class, you have to LIFT HEAVY WEIGHTS."  i couldn't believe it, i just paid $$$ to have someone tell me i'm selling other people a crap class and i just bought one too. sure it would break a sweat, but it couldn't give real results to anyone. ugh.

I couldn't keep paying a company money that i didn't agree with their moral values and goals at all. i know i am unique and not many people share my personal morals and values, but they are mine and part of who i am. if i'm going to pay to be a part of something, it has to align with my beliefs also.

i also knew that lifting weights is essential to getting strong and lifelong health and knew i couldn't teach that in zumba. yes, i got into great shape, but at a great cost also. spiritually and mentally i was at an all time low. all i cared about was being "small" and being "sexy" and i'm positive i don't have a body just to have that be my life long goal. and even though i was "small" i wasn't strong at all.

and so, here i am a little heavier, a lot stronger and on my way to reach my goals. all of them: mental, spiritual, and physical.

i don't want to be "small" or "sexy" anymore. i want to the best and strongest version of just me. and i am getting there by listening to church talks while i workout and johnny cash. my kids can watch me work out and i'm not embarrassed. i'm helping other moms find out how to lift weights and get strong. do i miss zumba? yes, i always will. do i wish someone who wants to teach cardio will teach here? YES! I'd love to pop into class for fun every now and then, but i couldn't have it a permanent part of my life anymore.

right now i'm focusing on my growth and my family's needs. yes, it has been hard to not have the extra money that i made that i would spend on myself (read: clothes and makeup!). but right now i'm spending more time on my house, husband, kids (not in that order) and really digging down deep to change my life. lifting heavy 3-4 times a week makes me so happy, trying to get cardio in (yuck!) is a necessity and figuring out food in a mentally healthy way also.

being healthy has always been important to me, and it always will. having an active lifestyle used to be just about "looks" for me, but it's about so much more than that. it makes me happy, it makes me whole. and zumba wasn't doing that for me.

 the end.


Chandra said...

amen and amen.

Emily said...

Bravo, Annie! Bravo!!

So much wisdom in this post! Thanks for your grand example of goodness!!

Groomy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Groomy said...

I am also a fitness instructor and I prefer wearing womens workout gear which I always order online as I love wide variety and prices offered there. I always buy leggings only after checking details. This way I always get best quality with great deals.

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