Diaries from the Nelson: Zumba

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I never work out at the Nelson. I find it far too voyeuristic, and I don’t like being looked at while I hang out near the elliptical by people lifting actual weights. I don’t work out often, but when I do I generally prefer the dark dinginess of the Bear’s Lair.

With summer fast approaching and my exercise regimen facing some serious procrastination, I’ve decided to reinvigorate my attitude towards health in general. This is what brought me to the Nelson Zumba class at noon with Roberta. Between Zumba and “Butts and Guts with Roberta,” the latter sounded more intimidating and like something could go wrong. Plus Zumba is trendier and I’m pretty sure you just dance? I purchased a month long membership at the Nelson for $15 that allows me to go to as many classes as I’d like whenever I want, mostly because it was the exact same price as a day pass and at least this way I can pretend I’ll be going to more than just one class.

As an incredibly weak and unflexible individual, I expect this class to be very embarrassing, and I’m also nervous that I’ll be the only person there. Through this article we can trace my progress and find out whether or not my arms see any #gains, or if I end up being able to touch my toes. Follow my journey as I become the next Kayla Itsines.

For my outfit, I opted for a cool gray “everlast” tank top that would hopefully show my classmates and instructor that I’m an experienced boxer (I’m not), or just that I’m not someone to be trifled with, coupled with a black sweatshirt emblazoned with the words “I <3 München,” which I find to be the perfect balance of intimidating traveler and quirky college student who has never, in fact, been to München.



I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed and uncomfortable with the way my body moves. I arrived 10 minutes before class, filled my water bottle, took my “before” picture, and waited with the four other people who were also attending the class. Our instructor, Roberta, was very cool. I was expecting more of an angry fitness type of person in Lululemon, but Roberta was wearing a full camo outfit with lots of strings hanging off her baggy pants that seemed to serve no purpose, but in the coolest way possible.

We proceeded to dance for an hour to fun music with Roberta prompting us to shout “aye!” a lot, which was weird because none of the other girls would shout so I felt embarrassed when I shouted. There was also a lot more squatting than I expected which was good and left my legs burning. Overall, the class didn’t require too much strength or flexibility from me, but turned out to be more of an exercise in stamina, focus, and dancing terribly a very impassioned way.

My clearly well-versed in Zumba classmates knew all of the moves and could follow the teacher, but I came to realize that everyone was too busy watching Roberta to look over at me. My next obstacle was being worried people would see me through the windows in the doors, so I positioned myself at an angle where I didn’t think anyone looking in would see me. About 15 minutes into the class I realized I had gotten so lost in the music that I was perfectly in front of the windows and anyone could see me. Zumba was a great way to start my day, and I am looking forward to embarrassing myself again at Zumba, or maybe even “Butts and Guts” in the near future as I continue on my fitness journey.


This is where you can find the Nelson schedule if you would like to try a class.


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