By Susan Shinn
Two new sets of group exercise classes are seeing big numbers so far in 2008 at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.
Ditch the workout and join the party!
Zumba is taking the Hurley Y by storm.
Zumba uses Latin and international music dance themes set to routines which feature aerobic/fitness interval training to tone and sculpt the body.
Most of all, it’s just plain fun.
Ester Hoeben, fitness director, told me all about it last week.
Although Ester has preached for years that you can’t spot reduce, Zumba may just turn out to prove her wrong.
She was thrilled to death to discover she’d lost 3 inches from her waist.
“I’m almost back to where I was before children,” said Ester, a mom of three.
She suggested I take one Zumba class before the big class on Saturday during the open house, just so I’d feel more comfortable.
I asked my friend Mavis to come with me.
“I’m such a doofus, so we can be doofuses together!” I said.
Our friend Quinn also joined us Friday night.
Mavis and I decided to stand in the back.
“So there’s no photographer coming to this, right?” she said.
I assured her there was not.
Our instructor was Sarah Zander, a longtime member of the Y’s aquatics staff.
She’d blown out her shoulder recently and can no longer swim competitively. Luckily, Sarah is just as passionate about dancing as she is about swimming.
“Oh my gosh it is so much fun,” Sarah said of the Zumba class. “You don’t realize what a workout it is. It’s fun for everybody.”
I kept hearing that sentiment all weekend.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a dancer to take Zumba.
“This is not ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ ” Sarah said. “It’s dancing at the Y.”
Although it’s a low-impact class, you can ramp up the intensity as high as you like.
The music is fantastic.
As Sarah said, you can’t do Zumba and be grumpy.
If you’ve taken ballroom dance, you’ll be familiar with the steps ó salsa, merengue, samba and the like.
Then there’s the step Sarah calls “the gotta pee step.”
“Find your inner Slinky!” she called out as we did the snake. (I think that’s what it’s called.)
Acquawon Stallworth is a frequent Y goer.
“I really, really enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s all fun to me.”
She was back Saturday afternoon.
“Oh honey, it is wonderful,” said her friend, Frenchie McConneaughey. “If you like to dance, you’ll love this class. All I got to do is shake it, and honey, we through.”
Ester and Sandra both taught the Saturday afternoon class.
I found out how Ester lost those 3 inches ó she moved like a demented Carmen Miranda.
Henry Eraso, a native of Colombia, attended the class.
“I’ve gone to classes like this in my country,” said Henry, an ESOL teacher. “It’s pretty natural to me. We play this music at dance parties.
“It’s a nice workout. Anybody can follow it.”
Les Mills Bodyvive
The YMCA now has Les Mills classes.
The series combines exciting music and choreography, with new “launches” every three months.
Bodyvive is the newest Les Mills series. The Y also offers Bodypump (incorporating weightlifting) and Bodyflow (incorporating yoga).
Bodyvive launched Saturday morning with instructors Greer Lampert, Janet Ruffin and Michelle Stoelting.
Bodyvive originally was targeted at women in their 40s-60s, but instructors say it has a much wider audience.
The playlist features such classic hits as “Boogie Wonderland,” “YMCA,” “Mustang Sally” and “Car Wash.”
“It’s great music,” Greer said afterward. “Didn’t you love the music?
“Everybody who comes in seems to love Les Mills. The instructors are so well trained, you know you’re getting a great class. We really try to relate to the people.”
Bodyvive combines snippets of the rest of the Les Mills series, Janet said, including aerobic steps, yoga, Pilates and more.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Michelle said. “It leaves you feeling energized. It’s about getting people moving.”
For more information about Zumba or Bodyvive, call the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA at 704-636-0111.
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or email@example.com.
By Susan Shinn