After a year of being “too busy” to work out, I knew that my saggy, squishy body wasn’t going to improve on its own. The machines at the gym are so mundane, so I knew that wasn’t going to keep me coming. Yoga is supposed to be really good — and my church offers free classes, but that seemed too slow, quiet and painful. So I went to a Zumba class available at my Gold’s Gym.
There were no men present and I soon learned why. It was hard, it was fast and I was so sore I could barely move the next day. But that’s not why you won’t find men flocking to Zumba. Besides the impossible gyrations and lightning-quick pace, you need to be willing to feel inept and foolish. The regular attendees followed along precisely to the choreographed routines. I felt like a fat fish out of water … or like I was in one of those dreams where everyone else is fully clothed and you arrive naked to the party.
Given this ghastly description, it might seem obvious that my choice would be to never darken that gym door again. That conclusion would be wrong. Given the theme of my new book, “Women in High Def: Boldly Living Your Purposes with Vibrant Clarity,” I determined that I needed to meet this challenge head-on. So I went back.
Aside from the desire to firm up the flab and fulfill my own mantra of “bold living,” one thing drew me back: the encouragement of the women. That’s why men might find this uncomfortable. You have an awkward learning curve, during which you might look a little goofy (make that a LOT goofy). Can you imagine a room full of men dancing around and coming up to the new guy saying, “Dude, it’s OK, you’ll catch on soon…” or “Good for you for trying so hard, man” or “Watch me, I’ll show it to you slowly…?”
But that’s what women do. They come along-side to encourage, uplift and empower one another. They sympathize and empathize and aren’t afraid to reach out a helping hand. Friendship and sisterhood trumps pride. Even the cute, young and phenomenally fit instructor “Lily” was sweet and patient. It was humbling but intensely inspirational.
This is not intended as a men-bashing diatribe. Men have a gamut of strengths that women lack. It is merely an observation based on a simple experience… and an invitation to neighborhood women to come join me and my new friends as I continue my progress and embrace this challenge.