Fab, Fit, Fun and... Fej?
It seems like just yesterday when the thought of attending a Zumba class made me physically ill. On the rare occasion that I actually attended a class, I would have to hold back from literally rolling my eyes at the instructor, decked out in their neon green high tops, and workout-cargo pants (doesn't that sound like an oxymoron?). Now a days, I can't get enough of it.
What changed? Who the hell is this Zumba-loving, chubby brown girl? I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day, and Latham Thomas was talking about the two births that happen when a woman is having a baby. The first is the birth of the baby; the second is the birth of the mother. This was a lightbulb moment for me. Duh. Of course I'm not the same person I was.
For the past almost-two years, I have waited for the moment I would get back to my "old self". The self that would run and run without getting tired, the self that would jump on big ass boxes without fear, the self that would rather push a tractor tire over and over again than be caught dead shaking her booty to burn calories. Time and time again, however, I failed. I felt like I was comparing myself to a complete stranger - one who had an abundance of time and resources.
If I just tried harder I could run those six miles every afternoon, I would berate myself. If I just stopped eating carbs/meat/dairy/etc., I would be back to "normal". I have lived with food-related guilt for so many years of my life. At some point, that guilt married a devotion of intense physical training, and a skinnier, very intense Esperanza was born.
Frankly, it was, and has been an exhausting and emotional rollercoaster. If I'm not the same Esperanza I was before, who the hell am I? I needed to approach wellness and this never-ending, on-going journey with an open mind. Even though I will always love my boys at Universal Fitness Center, I found myself making excuses for why I couldn't make it in. I decided to take a few steps back, and just give myself a break.
I reasoned: If I can sweat, burn a crap-ton of calories, and have fun. Why the hell not? So, one week later, I found myself surrounded by a sea of women dancing for exactly one hour. Thirty minutes into my first Zumba class, I found myself smiling like an idiot. I was singing along to all of the songs. When I didn't know a step or combination, I just improvised and kept dancing.
Turns out, the creators of Zumba have a term for this: Freeing Electrifying Joy, or FEJ as they call it, is a moment that happens around 20 minutes into class, when it appears that Zumba-goers become completely lost in the music and their dancing.
Though I still have mad respect for the old Esperanza, I am finally coming to terms with the new one, guilt free. Who knows, maybe I will train for another marathon some day. For now, I am perfectly happy dancing bachata, and salsa, and shaking my booty to Pitbull every night.
Cheers to kicking ass... Or not! Take it easy, and have fun. The rest will work itself out.
Below, I have provided you with a quick playlist of my favorite workout jams lately. It's a healthy blend of Rock en Espanol, Salsa, and Trap Music. ;)