Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Zumba - "Cancel my 3 o'clock"

Ah Wednesday night, how I love thee.  Not only are you the night of hump day, which means we are more than half way through the week, but you are also one of my regular Zumba nights.

Now when you see Zumba on the tv, you see gorgeous, toned, tanned Athenas and Addonis' shaking their booty and flashing irridescent white smiles.  Their washboard abs ripple beneath their crop tops as they effortlessly samba, salsa and mambo through their routines.

I have to tell you, there is only one person like that in our class - and that's our beautiful instructor, Cass.  The rest of us are a nice cross section of middle classdom, ranging in shapes and sizes, across the whole age spectrum.

Having said that, I really enjoy getting out on the floor and shaking my groove thing.  The first few weeks were spent frantically trying to work out what Cass was doing with her feet, and when you've finally mastered that feat, then the arms come into play.  Hips are wiggling, tummy's jiggling and there are body parts moving every which way. 

During my first class, I was reminded of that episode of the Simpsons where Dr Hibberd is testing Homer's body fat.  He says to Homer they can figure out how fat he is by jiggling his flab and timing how long it takes to stop.  He jiggles Homer's ample frame, watches it jiggle for 5 seconds or so, looks at his watch and speaks into the intercom "Nurse, cancel my 3 o'clock."  That's how I felt that first week!

Happily, things improve a little more each week, at least until Miss Cass brings in a new routine.  Then you are catapulted right back to week one all over again.

Last Monday night we had the privilege of attending a Zumba Masterclass led by international instructor Michael Thomas.  Oh what a night!  You might think someone of such stature in the Zumba fitness movement would be somewhat full of themselves, arrogant, self-absorbed.  Instead, we were presented with a wonderfully generous, fun loving man who loves to share his passion for dance with others.  Oh, and did I mention he had gorgeous eyes, a beautiful smile, washboard abs and hips that should carry a warning label?

After an hour and a half of full on dancing, it's always surprising that you've managed to fit a full on exercise class into a fun time with friends.  It's not til the end and the music stops that I realise how much of a workout I have put my body through.

So if you haven't had the chance to shake your booty at a Zumba class, I can recommend it.  You just have to promise to go back a few times to get your eye in.  And if you don't enjoy the class, shop around to experience some other instructors.  When we've gone to fundraisers and had other instructors lead groups, some have blown us away and some have just blown.  Cass and Bre seem to be just the right fit for my style (or lack thereof!)  Don't buy the videos - you really need to experience the fun firsthand in a real, live class.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Welcome to my nightmare

Let me set things straight right from the start.  I am not complaining about my life.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I'm a firm believer that we are the creators of our own destiny. 

I love that I am a busy working mum.  I love that my work is sometimes all encompassing.  I love that when it's not work that overwhelms me, it's my family, pick ups, drop offs, dance groups, soccer practice, exercise, bill paying - whatever it is that life throws at me.  I love that sometimes I drop one of the balls I'm juggling, cos I love the fact that I just bend down and pick the ball back up, rub off any hair or grit from off the floor and recommence my juggling.

So really, the title may well be "Living the Dream," however "Welcome to my Nightmare" is probably more likely to have people read it.  After all, don't we all love the doom and gloom stories more than the positive life affirming ones?

Let me tell you a bit more about me and mine.  I'm a mum of two amazing kids - a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son.  My girl is a dancer, my son a soccer player.  My very active husband of 18 years is an indoor cricketer who plays at representative level (think State and National rep) and has recently discovered a new challenge - triathlons. 

As a family we love to camp and spend many of our holidays camping with friends.  Hubby and the kids ski on our holidays at Easter and Christmas, but September is reserved for annual red dirt treks into the Outback.  The land calls to me at that time each year, and I'm busily planning this year's road trip.
I work full time in government as a Project Manager, and really enjoy the work that I do.  I've met some fabulous people, I'm constantly challenged in my work, and (most of the time) I enjoy getting up to go to work each day.

My group of friends is many and varied.  There are people I've known most of my life, and new friends whom I've only just met, and I value and love them all for different reasons.

I turned 40 recently, and over the 2 years prior to that milestone day, I befriended probably the person who is my closest friend, greatest rival and biggest inspiration.  Together we have lost a combined 30kg between us, have discovered a love of exercise and regularly train together to keep active and healthy.  She is also my best drinking buddy, but that's for another blog!!!!

This year, in celebration of our fitness aspirations and a show of sisterhood, my bestie and I are heading off on the Cycle Queensland event, cycling 570+ km from Goondiwindi to Stanthorpe.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Fun? Hope so.  Can't wait?  You bet - we're both raring to go - September cannot get here fast enough.

In preparation for the week long ride, we are starting to get in some longer rides on our days off.  Last weekend we both rode in 40km events at Mooloolaba, and this weekend, we're riding the 100km event at the Ipswich100.  If you're reading this and feeling a little inspired, it's a nice cruisy speed (given the distance neither of us are out to kill our best average speed), and we'd love some company.  Who knows, you may get bitten by the cycling bug as hard as we have been. 

That's me, front row with my sunnies on at the completion of the ride.  It was my first large pack ride, and while I was absolutely terrified to ride in such a large group, I realised how fun draughting is, and what a great way it is to conserve energy.  So it's pack riding for me in future I think!

Hubby and I have long had very different interests when it comes to exercise - he's a natural athlete who always seems to be great at whatever he plays, while I'm just average at everything.  It is great however that we've both discovered a love of riding, and it was great to share the ride with him last weekend.  That's him front left in the photo.

Anyway, really should leave something for my future posts.  My blogs are my chance to share my thoughts, log my journey on the ride of my life and maybe bring a few people along for the journey!

Until next time - keep those pedals turning!!!!