Zumba and the Old Guy!
By Khalil Amani
This is a fun blog for me to write! As some of you already know, I’m a Zumba practitioner. I’m 57 years old and I’ve been doing Zumba religiously for one year and three months. I ain’t gonna lie. When I first started doing Zumba that shit used to kick my arse! Not learning the steps, mind you, but the aerobic workout! I was so out of shape that it was shameful.
Some you know me through writing hip-hop blogs. To you, I say, you'd better start working out while you're in your twenties! Every weekend in the club throwing back Hennessy, Ciroc and Effen gonna have you fat and weak by the time you get my age. 50 Cent is one of the few rappers who takes his health serious. He stays in the gym! This is my fitness warning blog to you. Now where was I?
As a teenager and young man I was a dancer. I did ballet, jazz, tap, modern and African dance forms—and I was a male stripper for some years! My body was a fine-tuned machine! Dancing always came easy for me! In the dance, I could lose myself! I do Zumba every Wednesday evening.
In the beginning, Wednesday would come around so fast that I’d curse the day God made Wednesday! All day I would make excuses why I shouldn’t go, but my Zumba class was two blocks from my house, so I didn’t have any excuse. Every Wednesday after class I'd feel so good that I went to class.
After about four months of struggling with that dreaded Wednesday I had my “Ah ha moment”—my breakthrough! That is, I loved Zumba! I realized that Zumba had become a part of my life and that Wednesday was the best day of my week! I look forward to dancing and sweating—and admittedly, just like in childhood as a dancer, watching chicks shake their asses! LOL.
I always danced in the back, taking in the bootylicious sights of some of the women in class, but then I got so good at Zumba that people implored me to be in the front line, so that they’d have someone to watch who really could dance. Today I’m a front row “diva.” I’ve given up ogling chicks' asses because front row status doesn’t allow you those perks, but every now and again, I sneak a peek at some fine booty shaking. lol.
I started doing Zumba, not so much to loose weight, but to gain endurance. I felt myself breathing hard doing simple tasks like tying my shoes. I finally said, “Aww, hell naw! I ain’t growing old like this!” And thus, my advent into the world of Zumba began.
Zumba is a dance aerobic workout that blends four (4) Latin steps—Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, and Salsa. Hip-hop, Mambo, Samba, Flamenco and Bachata are secondary Zumba steps. You don’t have to know these dance styles, only be open to learning them. Yes! You will mess up—go off step or off beat, but you just gotta keep moving. By the end of class, you will be sweating and breathing hard between routines. Each class will make you that much closer to becoming a Zumba master!
I’ve scoured the Internet, YouTube in particular, and seen some wonderful Zumba teachers and some not-so-wonderful teachers. I can say, without bias that my main Zumba teacher is one of the best and my other two Zumba teachers are great too!
As a former dancer, I like Zumba teachers that are really into choreography. Some Zumba teachers are more aerobically inclined—meaning that they clearly don’t have a dance background and most of their steps are actually exercise, which, I find boring. Zumba teachers that focus on choreography makes that hour enjoyable, fun and entertaining. Choreography makes you think as well as exercise.
Like other forms of dance, getting men involved in Zumba seems to be a challenge. Do I love being surrounding by women? You damn skippy! I’m of the heterosexual variety and there’s nothing more erotic, sensual and inspiring than watching women sweat! BUT! It would be nice to have a few men up in there for camaraderie’s sake—some guys to “shoot the shit” with before and after class. Ya mean? I guess we men would rather hang out in the weight room with other sweaty men. Ewwww! LOL.
Being that men are an anomaly in Zumba class, I stand out being a man, a black man and a man of a certain age, older. One of my Zumba teachers wrote a blog about me doing Zumba. You can read it here! Check this awesome article : http://easydrugcard.com/exercise/fit-over-50-davida-fitness-pro/
Watching YouTube videos of Zumba and acclimating myself to Zumba culture has taught me that fashion is an integral part of the look of Zumba. When I started Zumba I was dressing like Steve Urkel—wearing any ol’ comfortable outfit in class. I copped a pair of $19.95 sneakers from Walmart and some Fruit of the Loom T-shirts with a pair of off-brand sweatpants to get my Zumba on. LOL. I’ve always been a fashionista, so I quickly saw that these young folk in Zumba class were killing it with the brand names—Adidas, Nike and Zumba apparel. I might be 57, but I still believe in swag, style and keeping it fresh! So before each class I usually post a picture of myself on Social media swagged out. I’m the old guy in Zumba class, but my ‘drobe (clothes) stay on fleek! Yes! I’m the old guy in Zumba class, but when the music comes on I can move with the best of them! Don’t worry! One day I’ll teach Zumba and it’s gonna be on some other!
Along with doing Zumba, I've become a push-up fanatic. When I started doing push-ups some four months ago I could only do nine (9) push-ups! I was pathetically weak! So I started doing push-ups five days a week, once a week challenging myself to do as many consecutive push-ups as possible. Here's my most recent push-ups. I did 72! That's rarified air for a 57 year old man! Check it!
I write this blog, not to boast and brag (although I have every right to!), but to inspire middle-aged people to get off the couch and start moving! Zumba and push-ups are just a few ways to get fit. Find something! Do something! But get moving!
Okay! Enough writing! Here's a couple of Zumba videos of the old guy Zumba-ing!
For more Zumba videos go to my YOUTUBE channel @yahweh12 (or Khalil Amani)
Khalil Amani writes for Allhiphop.com, Straight Stuntin Magazine, Originators Magazine. Author of seven books. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Miami New Times, Spin Magazine, The Biography Channel's "I Survived A Religious Cult" (2010) and The Biography Channel's "Escaping Evil: My Life in a Cult." (2013) Amani has a degree in English from San Diego Mesa College. He majored in Black Studies and Minored in Religion at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.