New Year, New Zumba: Get fit in 2013

So, what is the deal with Zumba Fitness?

Zumba Fitness needs to be on your new year’s resolution list, and pretty near the top, and it pretty much needs to say something along the lines of “Go to three classes a week, try different instructors, and prepare to have a fantastic time, get sweaty and lose pounds.” Now that’s a goal.

Zumba Fitness is an awesome workout that I discovered by chance back in the UK, just as I was entering into a “lose weight, get fit” phase. And now I’m instructor here in the USA, based in Maryland, throwing shapes and dancing my socks off five times a week. And I love every minute of it.

Yes, it is dancing, and it really is for everyone – all shapes, sizes, abilities and genders. The music is Latin and dance, and the moves are set in modifications so that you can engage at the level that you feel comfortable with. There is high impact, cardio and toning, making it similar to interval training, but with Zumba you also are guaranteed a massive smile on your face and you will feel like you’re at a party. Really you will!

The hour of a Zumba session goes too fast – “are we already at cool down?” I often think. That’s because it incorporates different moves, easy to follow steps and has a ‘formula’ which means you get the rhythm and beat and you’re dancing, really dancing!

There will be songs you know and songs you’ve never heard of, but after a few sessions you’ll be anticipating the next move and feel pretty smug.  Instructors add in new songs and choreography to keep you [literally] on your toes and there is a notion that you become part of the Zumba family.

I’ve found a fantastic Zumba family in Maryland already. And through this I have been inspired to increase my fitness levels even more….setting out my new year goals through my teaching and other fitness classes.

So, I’m starting a fitness blog all about my fitness fails, disappointments, achievements and amusing anecdotes as I march towards hitting ultimate fitness at 40.

There are 24 months until I am 40, and I’ve never actually been as fit as I am now, but that is not to say I cannot get fitter.

In two years I have lost 40 pounds, and I have reached a happy maintenance level at 123 pounds. So it’s not really about losing weight now, it’s about reaching ultimate fitness, strength and endurance ability. And it’s about abs. I really want abs 🙂

claire2Here’s a brief history of my fitness:

School – pretty fit, in lots of sports teams.

Early 20s – fairly fit only owing to dancing every weekend in clubs. People used to ask me in my early 20s how I had such a flat stomach, and I used to say salad and sex, mainly because it amused me. The truth is that food was not on my agenda then – I don’t remember eating much, or being that interested in it.

Mid 20s-early 30s – any regime of fitness was minimal and I now had an overwhelming agenda of partying which included a lot of booze and subsequent hangover food and it all went down hill from there.

And then I got pregnant.

Now, I could say that the 40 pounds that I needed to shed was baby weight, but only a small proportion of it really was. The rest was a bunch of laziness, booze and food. And I no longer had a flat stomach. I had a very wobbly, round stomach with stretch marks.

So I cut out the booze and then I took up netball (American friends, this is a sport not dissimilar to basketball…see link here🙂 and began to shed the weight and really tone up.  People began to notice…my clothes didn’t fit anymore and it felt good to be fitter.

One night I saw a bunch of ladies dancing in the hall prior to a netball match and I went in to see…..ZUMBA! I joined in….and that was it, I was hooked. Nine months later I’m taking my Zumba fitness instructor training and am down 30 more pounds and have so much energy that I’m doing an hour of Zumba, then playing two netball matches in one night and signing up for more netball and Zumba any time I can get it.

I changed my diet, got clean and lean (with a few treats and the odd glass of sparkly) and I’m feeling good.

Fitter, slimmer, happier……but as I see 40 approaching me round the corner, it’s all still to play for, all still in my control, and that’s why I’m aiming for this:

claire3Current weight: 123 pounds

Goal weight: 120 pounds

Current body fat ratio: 17 percent

Goal body fat ratio: 14 percent

Current abs: none

Goal abs: six

And how am I going to do this?

By training hard (adding in Aeroboxing, Body Pump and Corealiates and Body Sculpt to my current workouts), keeping up the Zumba (instructing and taking other instructors’ classes) and eating protein till it is coming out of my pores!

Sadly, netball is just a one-off treat when I can find a team in the USA playing near me.

On my Forty Shades of Fitness blog I will log my food and exercise for you to follow, and, I hope, inspire you.

Why Forty Shades of Fitness?

The ‘forty’ surely speaks for itself. And ‘fitness’ is my Christian Grey, my all-consuming passion, my addiction, my relationship that knows no bounds etc etc!

Bring on the fitness! Bring on your new year goals – good luck!

See my Zumba class schedule here: