Zumba: Trying Something New

Please welcome, Shannon Pruitt, my February guest blogger. When Shannon proposed trying a Zumba class and writing about it for my blog, I knew she’d approach the task with the spirit I had in mind for my 2012 “hobbies and habits” series.

Shannon started her blog out of the need to feel less alone after her twins, Q and E, were born dangerously premature, then finding out E has special needs. In trying to find the good in all she was facing, Shannon created the blog mynewfavoriteday.com to look for a nugget of gratitude and inspiration in each day. Since she started the blog, it has become a community of inspiration and gratitude reminding us all that although it may not be all day, some part of each day can be ‘anewfavoriteday.’

Now I’ll get out of the way so you can enjoy Shannon’s Zumba experience. (Also follow Shannon on Twitter and visit her blog!)


“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

I am so delighted to be able to guest post on Nina’s blog today. I so enjoy reading her thoughts and opinions, and to have the opportunity to be here today is such a lovely gesture on her part.  Her series on “hobbies and habits” was both timely and intriguing for me, as this year, I have taken on a both a new hobby and habit, taking time for myself.

Due to the premature birth of our twins 2 1/2 years ago, and the subsequent challenges presented by my daughter’s special needs, “I” seem to the last thing on my long list of to-dos.  But not for 2012.  For 2012, one of my hobbies is me.

I am calling it my “Me-Moon Challenge,” like a honeymoon but just for me, where each month I do something that I want to do, simply because I want to do it. And in January, my undertaking was Zumba! (a new dance style that is seemingly everywhere, and you know you are legit if you have an infomercial).

Before I give you the idea that I knew anything about what I was planning to do, I should mention, that while I am a bit of a natural athlete, I am not especially gifted when it comes to dance coordination.  Thanks to Jane Fonda and aerobics in the 80s and 90s, I can follow a routine, but looking even remotely good doing it is a different story.

I should also note that I am highly competitive, but alas, grace is not something that you can compete to acquire. And to acquire gracefulness dancing is pretty much impossible. So, before walking into the Zumba class I had to resign myself to doing this for all the other reasons I wanted to try it.:

  1. It was something for me.
  2. It would be fun, right? I do like to dance even if I don’t look good doing it.
  3. I had managed to convince my friends T and L to join me. (Bwahaha!)
  4. It also aligned with my other resolutions to exercise more.
  5. At the very least, I knew I would laugh a lot.

And laugh we did.

Shannon and her  friends on the way into Zumba class for the first time

Proof that Shannon signed in. It’s official!

Shaking it during class

The overall assessment of our adventure is that it was awesome. We sweated, because it was a great work out. We laughed and smiled as we tried to follow the steps and then sort of flopped around for the parts we didn’t know.

As three competitive women, we all did something we hadn’t done before and that none of us were especially gifted at, thereby making us giggle and come out with a new sense of accomplishment.

For me, it was liberating.  I would do it again in a heartbeat and will try to do it at least once a month.   For me it was a sign of love and affection for myself, and that is one good hobby to create for 2012 and can help to make each day ‘mynewfavoriteday.’


Have you tried something new since the beginning of the year, or are you planning to? Or have you given up a bad habit? Tell us in the comments, or better yet, let me know if you want to write about it for the blog.

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at Kveller.com and Greatnewbooks.org. Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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31 Responses to Zumba: Trying Something New
  1. […] and fun (laced with embarrassment), and I have the honor of sharing the story today over at Nina Badzin’s Blog.  I hope you will come on over and check it out as Nina is quite a talented writer and once you […]

  2. mommywritervkent
    February 7, 2012 | 8:16 am

    Great blog! I have recently started doing Zumba myself and I enjoy it. My daughter even has gotten into it.

    • Shannon from mynewfavoriteday
      February 7, 2012 | 8:22 am

      Thank you! It’s quite fun and such a great workout. I am definitely going to do it again. Love that it is a mother daughter experience for you!

  3. mommytanya
    February 7, 2012 | 8:32 am

    “you know you are legit if you have an infomercial” <– made me choke on my coffee! I have not caved to the pressure from my friends to join their Zumba class but I feel my resistance wearing thin.

    I love your term "me-moon" how perfect! As a single mom of two I definitely know how hard taking time out for me can be. I started really trying to take time out for me last year, and I'm oh so happy I have! I just learnt how to knit! It's ridiculously soothing. I have my first "stitch and bitch" this weekend with a bunch of NEW girlfriends and I'm super excited!! This year is really turning into my year and I hope to keep the momentum going… Hey maybe I'll even go on a date! Wouldn't that be shocking LOL.

    • Shannon from mynewfavoriteday
      February 7, 2012 | 8:42 am

      LOL, I am pretty sure Zumba is now up there with Magic Chef Amd Proactiv in its infomercial infamy:). Yes! As a single mama you have to take time for yourself. I have through about learning to knot, and now that I know there is siomething called a stitch and bitch – hilarious- I may just have to! Do keep the momentum going and I want to hear how the stitch and bitch goes and the first date of course :)

  4. ramblingsfromtheleft
    February 7, 2012 | 9:25 am

    Nina, thank you for having Shannon as your special guest today.

    This is an inspirational story, not only because of the challenges of taking care of you, Shannon, but because of your determination to find something good in each day.

    I am still thinking of sharing my challenge. Maybe as the time goes on and I read more of these, I’ll decide … for now … I love this new series :)

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 10:04 am

      Thank you! Although taking the first step is hard, once you decide you are ready you hopefully find wonder in the support you receive from others who have been through something similar or merely have shared similar emotions. When you are ready, I hope you will let us know so we can show up to support you. Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot to me:)

  5. Sarah Baughman
    February 7, 2012 | 10:05 am

    Everyone I know who has done Zumba has raved about it! It definitely sounds fun. Yet I think the key word in this post was “liberating.” Even though you mention that you’re not a particularly gifted dancer (neither am I, and that’s putting it mildly), you really let go and enjoyed the challenge of trying something completely new. Kudos! Sometimes doing an activities that force us to be somebody we didn’t necessarily think we were are the best ones of all.

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 10:42 am

      Thanks Sarah. Yes, it seems that Zumba is sweeping the nation! I am so happy you grabbed on to that word. I think it best defines this entire experience. I agree that getting out of our comfort zone can sometimes have amazing results and teach us do much about ourselves! I hope you give Zumba a chance if you are seriously considering it…even if you are not a gifted dancer (as we both admittedly seem not to be:)) it’s fun and funny!

  6. Michelle Gilats
    February 7, 2012 | 11:39 am

    Good for you for taking care of yourself, Shannon! I have recommitted to exercise this year and it’s wonderful. It gives me a lot more energy, which is great for me and my family. By the way, I love Zumba and I am in no way a coordinated dancer!

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 11:59 am

      Thank you Michelle! It’s so nice to recommit to exercise, even if you have to do it the way that you can manage it! It’s good for everyone, happy mom, wife = happy life! So glad to hear others feel just as uncoordinated as me:)

  7. Julianne
    February 7, 2012 | 4:15 pm

    Shannon I totally know how you felt in that class! Unlike you my athletic ability is well below average (my mom thought I looked better in tutus and tap shoes). I was always the last kid to be chosen for any team in gym class!
    Anyway, I decided to suck it up and do my first body pump class this week, lots of weights and toned ladies. At first I was nervous fighting that feeling of high school gym class, but the class
    was great and all of the “regulars” were so nice and helpful…looking forward to going back….might even try Zumba!!

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 5:26 pm

      Julianne, that’s so awesome you did that class, I have been wanting to do one too, but am a little nervous to be the chick that can’t keep up. Good for you for braving that it totally helps when the people are friendly, they were like that at Zumba too! Let me know if you give it a try would love to hear your thoughts!

  8. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    February 7, 2012 | 5:57 pm

    Did I know you two knew each other? Wow, the blogo is small! Shannon, I remember when you wrote about this at your place. Glad you are keeping it up.

    Even if you fall down. 😉

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 6:27 pm

      Hi! Probably not we have been flying under the bloggy radar:). Yes, I wrote that I was going to try it and the payoff was today at Nina’s home…it was fun and we had a great time. The ultimate win being that I did it for me which was a nice change:-) Thanks for saying hi…xo

  9. Melissa Crytzer Fry
    February 7, 2012 | 6:55 pm

    What a lovely post – and such an important message to take time for oneself. While I competed in sports in high school (and intramurals in college), aerobics and dance coordination were NEVER (and still AREN’T) my thing. So I can totally relate to that aspect of your adventure (and it makes me laugh thinking of how FOOLISH I look in front of my TV, trying to get the moves right to my THE FIRM workouts. I even yell at the instructors and tell them to slow down. I whine about the camera angles, I rewind, I redo … and in the end, I get a good workout AND laugh at my own antics). What a wonderful way for you to treat yourself to health and fun! Thanks, Nina.

    • Melissa Crytzer Fry
      February 7, 2012 | 6:56 pm

      AND Shannon, of course! Thank you.

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 7, 2012 | 10:24 pm

      Melissa, I am cracking up envisioning you because I am you! I am pretty much the infomercial video queen….Tracy Anderson method – check, P90 X check, Tai Bo – check! I bounce around my living room with frequency and Iove it! Thanks for sharing and as long as you feel good that’s all that matters!

  10. Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
    February 7, 2012 | 10:15 pm

    Nina, I just wanted to thank you for such a fun day. I really appreciate you sharing my story! Shannon

    • Nina Badzin
      February 8, 2012 | 1:28 pm

      No! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I absolutely love the me-moon concept and will be following your other me-moon adventures on your blog.

  11. Shakespeare
    February 8, 2012 | 4:29 am

    So great to try something new. I tried Zumba about 5 years ago, and never stopped. Now I’m a certified instructor, and I teach three places locally (in between my writing). I’m grateful to have it, since it might be the only exercise I get on a given day.

    The new thing I’m trying? Running/jogging. My kids signed up for a half marathon together through our school district, so we’re in “training.” Weird. Never thought I’d run in a million years, but it’s much more fun with the kids.

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 8, 2012 | 10:06 am

      What a great story Shakespeare. I can’t believe you became an instructor (you clearly do not have coordination issues:)). I so love the idea of training with your kiddos for something. So many lessons, some exercise and built in workout buddies, brilliant. I hope you have a great time with the actual run but enjoy the process even more. Thanks for sharing!

  12. julie gardner
    February 8, 2012 | 11:02 am

    Kudos to you for trying something new, something just for you. I’m so glad the me-moon has been a success so far.

    Unfortunately, I KNOW for a fact I’d be terrible at Zumba. Organized classes at the gym bring out the uncoordinated in me.

    And by “uncoordinated” I mean “the instructor has to leave her stage and come work out next to me.”

    It’s that bad.

    Jane Fonda couldn’t see how I ruined her aerobics videos.

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 8, 2012 | 5:18 pm

      Oh Julie, the embarrassment I have caused Jane Fonda in my day. I hear you about feeling uncoordinated in organized classes:) I am glad I did it though as it was fun to take on something new and I liked having friends by my side! I am not sure how I would have fine otherwise! Maybe that’s part of the learning too…if you’re going to feel embarrassed it’s nice to do it with others:)

  13. Hillary Manaster
    February 8, 2012 | 2:35 pm

    Love the “me-moon” – I’m inspired! Not sure if I’m ready to try Zumba, but I’m ready to carve out some personal time.
    Delighted to make your acquaintance Shannon 😉

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 8, 2012 | 5:02 pm

      Thank you Hillary! Glad you are inspired and Zumba is certainly not a prerequisite for the “me-moon!” Just the notion of taking time for you:) Delighted to make your aquaintance too!:)

  14. TJ
    February 10, 2012 | 8:00 am

    Good for you for trying something new and giving yourself some “me” time!

    I’ve heard the word Zumba, but I don’t really know anything about it. That’s probably because exercise is not at the top of my priority list right now (even though it should be). Maybe I’ll look into it sometime. =)

    • Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
      February 12, 2012 | 12:55 pm

      Thanks so much TJ. It was all a little foreign to me too! If you decide to do it, it’s quite fun but I also recommend bringing friends along with you who like to laugh and try new things!

  15. Jolina Petersheim
    February 13, 2012 | 9:11 am

    I love Zumba! I only wish we lived closer to the studio so I could attend more classes. Perhaps once after our daughter is born, I will have a “me-moon,” too.

  16. […] if you’re not tired of me yet, the lovely Shannon from last week’s Zumba post interviewed me on her blog. Thank you, Shannon! SHARE THIS:FacebookTwitterStumbleUponEmailPrintLike […]

  17. saquina
    February 29, 2012 | 9:05 pm

    I love the idea of a “Me-Moon Challenge”! I should try that sometime. I did start Zumba (but I only do the DVD and/or XBox Kinect) and I really enjoy it.

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