Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beware Mr. Tomic.

Beware! Beware! Mrs. Fatass and I are now coming for the little ones.  ZumbAtomic is coming and coming soon.

Today we drove to Virginia to spend the day with the lovely, talented, joyous Loretta Bates.  She doesn't know it, but she's totally my new BFF.

See. She totally feels the ZumbaLove with me. 

Most importantly, she taught an INCREDIBLE course on teaching ZumbAtomic classes, sessions and birthday parties. 

Trio Fitness is ready to hit the ground running and bring the Zumba love to everyone regardless of age. 

I still need to get my Gold license but that's coming.

ALSO! Speaking of trainings. 

The Saturday before my 30th birthday I will be taking the Zumba Sentao training. Then, once I find a Gold class that I can get to. I will be missing only the Aqua circle on my profile.  GET ALL THE CIRCLES!!!!

Also... I need pretty Toning clothing now... I just realized my Zumbawear is short a Toning Instructor top.  Boo!

Anyway... today was great not just because of how awesome Loretta and Zumbatomic are but because I got to spend the day with Sue.

It's been a while she she and I could just talk.  And we did... for 2.5 hours up and then dinner and 3 hours back.  We laughed, had a few weepy moments and shared stuff we likely wouldn't have had a chance to talk about otherwise and I loved every bit of it. 

I am now exhausted and sore and realizing that trying to dance like a 7 year old is harder than I thought.  Trying to control my out of control hips when learning to modify was HARD.  I need to shake it extra hard tomorrow to let my muscles have some fun!!!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The night before Zumbatomic...

First I want to take a second and say hello to my new friends in the Blogosphere! I'm honored you folks have stopped in to my corner of the internet.  And I'm even more honored to be peeking in to yours from over here.  So, hello!!!

I am in bed getting ready to pass out so I can embark on a long, ardous, too fun day tomorrow with Mrs. Fatass and the lovely Loretta Bates as we learn from her and get our Zumbatomic licenses. 

It's going to be a LOOOOOOOOONG day though.  In order to get the licensing class, we need to leave here at like 5am.  Drive for a little under 4 hours Class from 8:30-5:30 and another nearly 3 hour drive home. 

Eesh! I'm tired just thinking about it!

BRING IT ON!

I'm excited about the ZA license because it's so totally different than what I do anywhere else.  It's a different dance style, teaching style and a whole different attitude.

Once upon a time I taught in a daycare.  Me - potty mouthed, sassy, mouthy me.  I taught fifteen 2-3 year olds for 8 hours a day.  I know, shock.  I loved it ... for the short term! And I think that this will let me tap in to that mothering, nurturing side. 

Today I got up and went off to teach Zumba with Sarah and we had a blast.  I ran errands, I did laundry, I cleaned and organized my side of the bedroom, I gassed up the car and I got ready for tomorrow. 

I also got out and went for a run with Matt.  28 minutes, 1.5 miles, set our own interval runs because technology was being mean to us.  And it felt great.

I can wait to tell you all about ZA when I get home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Self Esteem, Zumba and the Elephant in the room...

As I've mentioned previously in my Zumba Convention Wrap Up posts, I had a bit of a bad experience during the convention with instructors who felt it was necessary to be loudly, verbally, shocked that I could move the way that I do.

I was scared about this happening since the moment I signed up for convention.  I fully admit to being an insecure, scared teenage girl inside.  There's a part of me that always feels like I have to defend myself and what I've accomplished.  It's something I'm working on and I went in to convention with the highest hopes for a positive, life affirming, experience with my fellow instructors.

You see, I tend to be a bit of a pessimist when it comes to my expectations of people.  I guess I've dealt with one too many bullies and I expect one to be hiding around every corner.

I was full of elation Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of convention.  Everyone I met was so positive and kind.  I was feeling the Zumba Love to my very core.  All of my sessions, all of the downtime spent meeting new people, everything was going along beautifully.

I even got to share the joy of being able to wear Zumba pants for the first time with random strangers who happened to be nearby when I got those awesome purple pants on in the dressing room.  When I squealed the girl asked if everything was okay and I said "YES! I CAN WEAR ZUMBA PANTS!" She laughed and when I explained that I had lost 190 pounds and these were the first pants in the store I could wear she gave me a congratulatory high ten!

Then Saturday morning happened.

Sarah and I headed off to the Miami Party Masterclass with Heidi Torres and we were ready for a hot sweaty hour and a half with music that was on fire... and we were not disappointed. 

The class was in full swing, Sarah and I were dancing our hearts out and we got separated on the floor.  That's when I heard it... the snickering. I shrugged it off, telling myself it was probably just friends having a good time. Then I heard snippets of conversation and my heart sank.  I had become the elephant in the room...

Phrases I heard included:
  • She can move, for a fat girl
  • I'm shocked she can breathe 
  • She can't possibly do the whole class like that.
The last thing?  That was after I heard the first two and started to push myself harder choosing to punish my body rather than bust out in to tears in a room of several hundred strangers.  After the third comment that was obviously directed at me I stopped, glared at the girls in question, and went back to killing the end of the class.  

My heart was aching though.  Who thinks it's okay to talk about anyone like that. I felt like I was back in middle school again.

All I wanted to do was go and hide in a corner and cry and eat my weight in chocolate and pasta.  I couldn't let them win though.  I've fought so hard to get to where I am and some mean girls were not going to ruin this incredible experience for me.

Admittedly, I did skip the next session.  I just couldn't handle another room full of people so quickly.  Plus, Sarah and I had to get ready to meet our choreography group to record our routine.  So I internalized, tried to reason the meanness away, and steeled myself for feeling like a gross mass of blubber while dancing with my team, all of whom are too pretty for words.

Our recording session went really well and my team was awesome, supportive and helped to make me feel sassy and awesome for the video taping.  Liz let me wear her sassy hat, Paulette gave me some shimmery eye makeup and we went in to record dressed in a sea of teal and black.

Our third session of the day?  Hip to Strip.  Talk about a well timed class.

I was still feeling very insecure and scared of people pointing and laughing ... especially considering the topic of the class.

It wound up being the best thing ever.

Firstly, the presenter, Ann Saldi, was all about empowerment and how the most important thing someone can sport is confidence.  She talked about sexy doesn't have an age, a weight, a color or creed and I felt that message to my very core.

Then I danced.  I danced harder than I thought I could.  I let myself feel sexy and flirty and playful.  My hands tossed my hair and rubbed my thighs, smacked my booty and reached for an invisible man to come and get me.

I stopped being so nervous about the size of my thighs and thought about how powerful they were and how I could use them to press up from the floor in a way I couldn't have just a year ago.  I thought about the balance and control it took to hold my body in some of the more controlled movements and how hard I've worked to get there and then I remembered something important.

I was at the convention to celebrate fitness and fun with my Zumba family.  I could not and would not let a handful of plastic girls take away from me what I was experiencing.  Then I danced even harder.

And there were folks in that room that were giving me a ton of positive feedback.  There were two ladies near me that asked "How did you DO that?" and it wasn't about my weight, it was about how I got my incredibly bouncy hair to flip in just that way.  Sarah said I had a bit of a fan club in the back of the room where she was taking a break.  People were loving what I was bringing to the class... because it was real.  

By the end of the session I was 110% wiped out but I walked out of that session with a renewed swagger and confidence. 

And the Zumba love continued.

Sunday when we were saying our goodbyes to old friends we'd just met, one of them pulled me aside and said "I heard you had a rough time yesterday and I wanted you to know how impressed I am with your dancing and your positive spirit."  She told me how glad she was to have met me and how lucky she felt to have had me in her choreography group.  Several other people echoed that sentiment in that last day or so as we parted ways.  How much they loved my openness and positivity and the joy and excitement I brought to everything. While standing in the hallway someone stopped me and said she loved watching me dance in the Flamenco session we'd shared earlier in the week. That shocked me.  That session was Friday morning... this was Sunday afternoon.  Obviously I made an impression on her.

Those were the people who mattered... the ones who saw past my waist size and saw me for me.

It's still a hard fought battle but those moments, those conversation, those lessons are the ones that I will carry with me most from convention.  Every time I put on my sassy teal blue pants or my nearly see through purple top and teach a sassy Burlesque song or a hard hitting Reggaeton routine I'll remember the Hard Knox Crew, my room mates, the awesome students in my Hip to Strip, Reggaeton, Brazilian, Flamenco and Belly Dance classes and the droves of kind and generous people I met milling about at the convention center or the various parties. 

Packing my Lunch Challenge

In the lead up to convention, the insanity of returning, and everything going sideways since I got home I've been a total slacker about packing my own lunch.

With that, I've been spending too much money and eating far more calories than intended so starting with lunch today I am resolving to eat lunch, from my lunch box, every workday for the next two weeks.

Today lunch featured a salad which included
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 2 baby bell peppers (one red and one orange)
  • 1/4 of a medium tomato
  • 1/4 cup rice noodles
  • 1/8 cup 2% Mexican cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz of chopped turkey deli meat
And on the side? 1/2 cup of dark chocolate Chex Mix.

It was DELICIOUS.  So fresh and tasty and I didn't even mind that I totally spaced on bringing some sort of dressing for the salad.

In fact, aside from the chocolate cupcake I had in honor of 4 co-workers having birthdays in the last week and a half, everything I ate today was brought from home.  

Tomorrow I think I'm going to do a FlatOut Wrap with cream cheese, spinach and turkey.  Maybe not.  We shall see what my tummy is feeling in the morning. 

Also coming tomorrow - me finally publishing my over emotional post about convention and the low points thereof. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zumba Convention 2012 Wrap-Up Part 2

Yesterday we talked about Wednesday and Thursday.  Today let's wrap up Ceonvention starting with the joy that was Friday.

Friday morning Sarah and I hit up the Outlet store before going to class and I was floored.  The deals!  Next year I will absolutely leave more room in my bag for more clothes.  And I will take orders from my students! So much awesome to share. The first session of the day was Flamenco Fever. 

This class only served to remind me that I have less upper body strength than most toddlers.  For serious! Holding the arm positions my arms and upper back were SCREAMING at the end of the session.  I loved it!  I also got dragged out in to a circle dance to dance with the session leader Siudy.  So very cool!  I loved learning about the different ways to use my arms and hands as as extension of my arms and how to hold myself in proper form to do the Flamenco properly.  I loved it.

After that was the session to end all sessions... the ZIN Master Class with BETO! I got to take most of an hour worth of Zumba with the man, the myth, the legend, the creator of Zumba - Beto.   It was so much fun and I was flying by the time we were done.  It was one of those things that words don't do it justice.  The energy was high, everyone was full of joy and the new songs are BANGING! I know I will wind up using all of the songs when that ZIN DVD comes out.  I loved the mixes, I loved the moves and I can't wait to share it with my classes.

After that there was more shopping and investigating and looking around and some choreography practice and then back to the hotel to get ready for the big Fitness Concert.  Which we wound up skipping.  Because we were tired and not really up for all the loud.  Veronica, Jenn, Sarah and I went out to Uno's for dinner and then back to the hotel to hang out and just relax.  I did a load of laundry and stayed up late just chatting with the other ladies in the room. 

Saturday was the busy day.  The morning started off with a master class with Heidi Torres called Miami Party.  It was INTENSE.  I was so drenched in sweat by the end of the class that I thought my clothes were melting off of me.  Heidi is an absolute firecracker.  The playlist was so hot and the moves were even hotter.  I want all of my classes to have that joyful feeling.  So amazing. 

After that Sarah and I were scheduled for Columbian Connection but we wound up skipping it to take a breather and prepare for recording our routine for the Choreo contest.  I also just needed some space.  During the Miami Party class some fellow instructors were being not so nice to me.  Their shock and amazement that the "big girl can move" really grated on me and I felt marginalized and so little.  It hurt.  It hurt a lot.  That's a whole other post though... that's coming....

So I took a break, collected myself, put my big girl panties on and met up with the team for the choreo contest. 

We ROCKED recording the choreo video.  I am so completely honored by getting to dance with the incredible group of ladies in the Hard Knox Crew.  Shanie, Paulette, Gabby, Kay, Jenn, Liz, Crystal, Sarah and I had a great time working together and I think we had a fun, innovate and STRONG routine that I think the Home Office will enjoy.  Fingers crossed! I'm also really glad to be able to call these ladies my friends now.  They're all so kind and open and fun.  I couldn't have asked for a better crew. 

After that Sarah and I headed off to Hip to Strip with Ann Saldi.  This session was EXACTLY what I needed after the morning I had.  It was all about empowerment, confidence and loving your own body.  The routines were HOT HOT HOT and I felt so sexy doing them.  Ann is such an amazing instructor and I love her attitude, energy and the over all message that "Dancing naughty is good for the body."  She was bold, unashamed of her sensuality and rocked even the tiniest little move in such a way that she OWNED that room from the floor to the ceiling to every tiny crevice.  Yeah... I've got a new Zumba crush.  Ann joins the ranks of Dorie Wexler (the ZIN from CO), Loretta Bates, Pam Socorro and the other new additions Marcie Gill and Priscila Sartori!

After the way people treated me during Miami party, Ann's class was a breath of fresh air and the students in the class were amazing and I totally felt the Zumba love in that class. 

When we were done there we went home and then out to dinner to O'Charleys for the theme party - Dancing through the Decades.  I went in the black slacks, black tank and wavy hair like Madonna in the Vogue video.  The blazer jacket was too hot to wear.  The party wasn't as fun as I expected.  It was too crowded to do too much dancing but we had a good time for the hour or so we stayed.  Then Sarah, Jenn and I went to Friendly's and had ice cream. 

It was a trip down memory lane.  I hadn't been to a Friendly's in forever! Such yummy ice cream!!! :)

Sunday was the last day of convention and Sarah and I started out with the ever awesome Loretta Bates and (new crush) Marcie Gill in Reggaeton Rebellion.  The master class was incredible, the information was provided in a fun and interesting way and the choreography we learned was super hot! This was, by far, the best organized session of convention for me.  The material was presented in a way that really helped me understand the roots and culture behind  reggaeton and it was exciting at the same time. 

We had lunch at the convention center and I had a slight allergic reaction... I think the chicken stir fry was stirred or served with the spoon the shrimp stir fry was because I ate 2 or 3 bites and my mouth and throat started to feel funny.  Popped my emergency benedryl and I felt fine shortly there after but ACK that could have been bad!!

Last session of convention?  Brazilian Carnival.  We learned the moves for 5 rhythms - forro, Brazilian funk, axe, capoeira and samba.  And that was BEFORE the master class!!! My legs were jelly and I got about 4 songs in to the master class before realizing that I couldn't do any more if I intended on walking back to the car.  I got validation that my Samba was good from one of the instructors in the session during the Samba line mini workshop.  WOOHOO.  Next year I will take this session again and it won't be my last session of convention.  I want to be able to use the Brazilian moves without worrying that I'm going to pass out.

To wrap convention up Sarah, Jenn and I went out to dinner.  We wanted to steak and because places we were interested in were either closed or out of price range we went to Outback and had a delicious meal where we laughed and joked.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and hit the pool.  We swam a bit, treaded water and then had to relocate to another pool because it was too crowded.  When we moved we found a pool with a mostly open hot tub.  It felt SOOOOOOO good!  My muscles really appreciated the bubbles and the heat.

I wasn't ready to come home on Monday but I also really wanted to be back with my men and back in my bed.  I also missed my students.  Getting to teach Monday night and tonight was a trip.  I have introduced 2 of the Reggaeton Rebellion songs, 2 from Hip to Strip and a Brazilian line dance I did at the Party in Pink and the Miami Party class this week and I'm loving sharing the excitement of convention with my crew. 

More to come about lessons learned and overall impressions of convention and a big old pic post tomorrow!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Zumba Convention 2012 Wrap-Up Part 1

My mind is overflowing with so much Zumba love, knowledge and a ridiculous amount of crazy mixed up emotions.

Let's start with Wednesday, shall we?

Sarah and I flew down to Orlando Wednesday afternoon.  I was a huge ball of stress before we left.  I was worried I would forget something big or something would go horribly wrong.  Luckily... everything went really smoothly! The flight there was a bit bumpy but we wound up meeting two really nice fellow Zumba instructors on the plane and one of them was our knight in shining armor and let us tag along with his car service to get to the Peabody to check in to convention.  
Wednesday evening we finally got to the condo and met our roommates.  We won the lottery in terms of awesome roommates.  Jenn, Veronica, Christina and Courtney were just about the best roomies we could have hoped for.  Sarah and I spent a lot of time with Jenn and Veronica and I feel like we've known them forever at this point.  <3
We had dinner at a place called Lime and shopped at Walmart for stuff for the room and portable snacks for the convention before meeting up with our choreography team for the Original Movement choreography contest to rehearse.  The whole crew is just made of awesome. 

Thursday morning the insanity started.  We got to the convention center early to try to check out the shops before the opening panel and we failed.  The lines were SOOOOOOO long.  Sarah and I did run over to the Remix/new shop because everyone was at the outlet and we thought we might get to check out the store before the opening ceremonies... we just missed getting in.  But since we were in like the first 20 people left in line they signed our ID and let us come back and go in first after they reopened at 1pm.

The opening ceremony panel was jut awe inspiring.  The look back over the last year in Zumba was just amazing.  So much has happened for Zumba Fitness in the last year and so much more is coming.  I'm so blessed to be a part of the Zumba family!!  The keynote speaker for the year was the hilarious and amazing Kathy Najimy.

The years recipients of the community service award made me cry.  The love and compassion those ZIN members from Georgia showed to their fellow ZIN in trouble just reminded me why I love the community aspect of Zumba.  My heart was just overflowing with awe over what they did.

I bailed out of the session early because I was feeling a little claustrophobic and apparently missed the Rockettes and Beto in the session.  AHHH!

Before our first workshop, Sarah and I were able to hit the new Zumba shop where I bought two shirts, two pairs of pants and some jingle bracelets.  I was SHOCKED that the pants fit. SHOCKED.  I kind of went insane shopping after this face and that was not my first trip to the store.. I bought so much stuff! SO MUCH STUFF!!!

The first workshop we had was Hip-notic Bellydance and the presenter was awesome.  We left there with knowledge of moves and the history of belly dance and two new routines we can pretty much immediately teach in class.  I only found one of the songs but the presenter is supposed to email everyone the choreo notes and the song names so I'll have another one soon!

Thursday night was the Party In Pink Fitness Concert.  Paulina Rubio, Vanilla Ice, Mara, DADDY FREAKING YANKEE.  It was an amazing concert highlighted by awe inspiring choreography and two stages full of incredible dancers showing their mad dance skills.  I was overwhelmed by that many ZIN in one place.  There were people nearly fighting over spots to get closer to the stage.  Kind of crazy but a total blast.   

It was so hard to go to sleep Thursday night.  I was flying super high on life and my body didn't want to let me sleep.  When I did though, it was the deepest sleep ever.  I haven't been that exhausted in a long time... and I don't want to do it again any time soon.

Tomorrow... part 2 - the rest of the convention. After that... a long post about the convention and body image.

My eyes are drooping... it's time to go to bed now! More to come!!!
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