me running along the road
by Kathleen Taylor

Strong by Zumba

This week saw a return to Pilates classes after a break over Christmas and New Year. I went, hoping our instructor would go easy on us. She did, sort of.

After Pilates, there was a Strong by Zumba class. It was a free trial and I enjoy Zumba, so I thought I’d give it a go. The receptionist at the Leisure Centre warned me that it’s not like normal Zumba. That gave me a horrible feeling, but I’d committed to going by then.

I changed out of my Pilates breeks into my Zumba/running leggings and headed to the class. I felt a bit of an idiot with my Pilates mat, but I needn’t have worried, because other people had brought mats as well. I wondered how mats fitted into Zumba.

Quite a few people arrived, and then the class started. The instructor told us that Strong was nothing like normal Zumba. My feeling of dread developed further and then we started with a warm-up. A lot of people, not just me, seemed knackered by the end of the warm-up, but it seemed there was little time to be drinking water: it was straight on to the next song.

My fears brought on by the receptionist were confirmed: Strong is a cross between Zumba and the Hour of Power (HOP). If I were forced to do either, I’d do Strong because it is less repetitive, there are no weights and the warm-up isn’t 200+ squats. Strong is harder than HOP, I’d say, because you have to shift your body about more, especially into the air, which is really difficult. Things like squat thrusts and jumping up from a squatting position then jumping to the sides and high kicks and stuff like that. The mats were needed for an abs session. This included those awful cycling on your back with crunches, which we also did in HOP, and an elbow plank, which I can hold for a while in Pilates, but Strong introduced extra moves, which I couldn’t do, so I dropped to my knees instead, feeling like a failure. I felt better when I saw it wasn’t just me. Then it was the cool-down and then it was all over.

I think I might have been able to do more if I hadn’t just done an hour of Pilates immediately beforehand. If Strong were on a different night, I might perhaps go again, but, as it is, I will not be returning. I told the instructor, Magda, this, and she understood. When I got home, I could barely move, I was so knackered.

The next day, I was incredibly stiff. But I was nowhere near as bad as I was after that first HOP. On the plus side, the Activity app on my phone was delighted with how much activity I’d done that day.

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