Scared To Shake It?
Erik “Jabari” Warfield shoots down the man-excuses one-by-one.
Having been a group fitness teacher for almost 15 years, I’ve heard it all. Every excuse in the book. “I’m too THIS,” “I’m too THAT,” “I have no rhythm.” Really? When you first meet me, you wouldn’t think I teach Zumba classes. I’m 6-foot tall and built like a football player.
I have talked to a lot of guys who would leap out of a plane, yet quake in their boots at the prospect of entering a class full of ladies shaking it for an hour. I love being a man, but sometimes even I don’t understand us. What I do understand is the shyness factor. But the great thing about a Zumba class is that you don’t have to get every move perfect. Just make sure you don’t run over anyone while attempting Cumbia, and you’ll be good.
So in light of all of this knowledge, I ask the real question: Why are guys afraid of Zumba Fitness? Here are the top seven excuses I hear — and the counters to those, from one guy to another:
1. I JUST WANT TO LIFT. Guys love to lift weights, do plyometrics and climb rocks. Zumba Fitness has been proven to burn just as many calories as all of those workouts and maybe more, depending on the participant. There is also a little thing called Zumba Toning. Anybody ever heard of it?
2. GUYS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO DANCE. Guys don’t dance? Really? Obviously some of us have never been to a local salsa spot. Guys, getting a lady to dance with you is one of the most romantic and sensual things you can do.
3. I DON’T HAVE RHYTHM. Rhythm can be learned just like anything else. If you want to learn how to play the piano, you take lessons from a good teacher. It’s a step-by-step process, and it can be learned, fellas.
4. I DON’T WANT TO BE THE ONLY DUDE IN THE ROOM. Chances are, you might be the only guy in class, but there is also a chance you won’t. In most Zumba classes, there are at least one or two guys. But really, would you rather be surrounded by a bunch of sweaty dudes or sweaty ladies? Speaking of which…
5. I SWEAT WAY TOO MUCH. Well guess what? We all sweat! That’s part of the deal. Keep personal space in mind, and I’m sure it will not be an issue.
6. EVERYONE WILL BE STARING AT ME. Guys, let’s get something straight. I’m sure that even if you are William Levy, no one is going to be staring at you the whole time. You might get a look or two from people on occasion, but remember two things: There are others who are just as intimidated as you are, and everyone should be following the person leading the class. As I have to remind some of my participants, “Eyes on the instructor.”
7. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO WEAR TO A ZUMBA CLASS. This is an interesting situation, and one that can be easily fixed. The best thing to do is just be comfortable. Zumba wear should have something to fit your body and personality, but wherever you get your gear, you want it to be comfortable, loose (but not too loose) and able to stand up to some serious sweat.
A few other tips? Go slowly. Meet the instructor first. If you can, go over the steps via the DVDs or the games. And ladies, never force a class on your guy; the energy will overtake him and then soon he’ll be calling, texting and asking “Are you going to Zumba class today?”
Illustration by Peter Quinnell / Debut Art | Author portrait by D-S Photography
From the Z-LIFE Vol 3 – 2012 issue.