In Which In-House Zumba Goes Down

Maybe it’s the exhaustion setting in from my relentlessly-busy six-week-plus visit to Buffalo–OK, it’s definitely the exhaustion from that–but I decided to forgo my morning run and have one more sleep-in day today.

I usually feel incredibly guilty about sleeping in late, even though my work is 100% flexible; I guess I’m afraid if I sleep in one day too many, I’ll find myself wearing my bathrobe all day and never leaving the house.  However, I told myself that I could bring nice shoes (and workout clothes and books and plastic dishes and spices and everything else that makes your two suitcases badly overweight) from Buffalo ONLY if I left behind my big sack of perpetual guilt over ridiculous things.

Sorry, Mami:  I left the guilt squished into a tiny box in the attic, next to my kitchen wares.  Hope you don’t mind.

Back to sleeping in–I slept in.  And when I woke up (at a very reasonable 9:00 am), I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house and go for a swim.  This was (admittedly) partly due to laziness, but also (very reasonably) partly due to my fear of driving on the left so soon after spending six weeks driving on the right and NOT driving like a Trini.  I just didn’t feel like scratching up my car today.

Furthermore, at some point while I was flying over the Atlantic last Friday, I schemed up this elaborate plan to do Zumba on my own, no video, at home.  I know I was under the influence of heavy Dramamine, but it seemed like a great idea at the time–and it still seemed like a great idea last night.  I mean, I love the music, I attended twice-weekly classes for six weeks and have pretty decent memory for moves, and–most importantly–I wouldn’t need to leave the house.  Perfect.

So, this morning, I decided to set up my very own Laura and Lola Home Zumba Session (for more on Lola, check out my Target shorts and Old Navy top review–she glommed onto me that day and I just can’t seem to shake her off).  Basically, Lola is my good friend who is exactly the same as me, except she talks about embarrassing stuff and wears her inner big-mouth (and sometimes not much else) on her sleeve.  I try to stop her from being as foul-mouthed and frank as she could be, and I keep her well away from my prim and proper mom and all decent people.

Anyway, enough about her–back to the Zumba.

I set up the “studio” in Mr. Laura’s office while Lola looked for hoochie shorts in my drawers (she didn’t find any) and watched me fiddle with cables and move chairs around:

Uh-oh, don't tell anyone I showed you the home office...

The AV --so very hi-fi

Lola also helped me put together a playlist of Zumba tunes on Grooveshark and added as much ghettolicious reggaeton as she could find and I allowed.  I’m a decent woman, even if she sometimes isn’t.

Once we were ready to go, I set up my heart rate monitor, hit start on the timer, and told her to back her booty up and follow me for one hour of grooving and shaking to salsa, reggaeton, merengue, and cumbia, as well as a few of the silly Zumba-only songs.  Might I add that the hour flew by and we had great fun?  And that we did not break anything in the man’s office (though our blasting tunes most definitely woke him up)?

Anyway, we had a grand old time raising our heart rates (almost as high as when I go running!) and I even managed to get her to stop shaking her booty at me for long enough to gather our thoughts on our home Zumba session.


  • I could do this any time, in any weather, without leaving the house–and in the air-conditioning, too!
  • I could do this by myself (or with Lola–you know what I mean).
  • Doing this by myself means that my moves can be as crazy/ridiculous/high impact/low impact as I want or need them to be.  Therefore, I need not be embarrassed by my booty’s propensity to shake (intentionally and unintentionally).  I can also let Lola go crazy with her reggaeton and wining moves without horrifying the sweet YMCA ladies–or the sweet YMCA instructor.
  • I can wear as little as possible to keep cool.  For me, that meant sports bra and capris; for Lola, that meant rolling up my workout Bermudas into booty shorts (there really is no stopping her, sheesh).  All done safely out of sight of all the neighbors and respectable folk!


  • I had to do it by myself.  That meant improvising moves and trying to remember them without having anyone to follow.
  • I didn’t have anyone to show me new moves, so I had to think fast and hard to come up with different steps.  Lola was absolutely zero help here–when in doubt, she sticks out her posterior and shakes it.
  • I didn’t have a mirror in my home “studio” (the window did not work to reflect my moves in broad daylight-go figure, right?) So, while I might have felt like Shakira bustin’ my moves, I may well have looked like Dame Edna bustin’ my moves.  I know that part of the beauty of at-home Zumba (and any Zumba class, to be honest) is that how you look doesn’t matter, but I don’t want to get in the habit of dancing like a sixty-year-old Australian cross-dresser, thank you very much.

All in all, I give my at-home Zumba attempt a B+.  I’m shocked that I managed to dance by myself with Lola for a whole hour and that I was at no point bored, and I’m pretty surprised that I remembered so many of the Zumba moves.  I’m gently kicking myself for not ordering a Zumba DVD while I was in Buffalo (Amazon doesn’t do Trinidad), so I’m going to get it for myself as a Christmas present and check out some YouTube clips for new moves in the meantime.

In any case, at-home Zumba will definitely be a staple of my fitness repertoire from now on, especially since the rainy season downpours make a daunting proposition of scheduling decent pool time.  And, with Carnival coming in eight months (and Christmas and my mom’s amazing array of pork dishes for the occasion in between) I need all the shaking and toning I can get.

I really hope Lola lays off the booty shorts, though, because now I’m tempted to get a pair for myself.  She is such a bad influence.

The Cheapskate Product Review: Old Navy Tanks and Target Shorts

Important message:  In all my cycling frenzy of the past few weeks, I may not have noted that I’ve kept running (and Zumba-ing).  Let it be noted that I’ve run (less on days that I’ve cycled hard, more on the others) and I’ve Zumba’d.

Having run and Zumba’d, I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity to test out new gear for such undertakings.  And, so intent was I in ensuring total honesty in these two product reviews, that I enlisted the help of my “good friend”–can we call her Lola?–for an even more frank review of one of the products.

Now, a little info on Lola:

She is exactly the same as me in height, weight, and build.  She runs every single run with me and shakes her booty at every single Zumba class.  She actually has the same voice as me and thinks the same thoughts–how uncanny! We look the same, have the same birthday and horrendous eyesight, are both terrified of snakes, and have husbands with the same name. Sometimes, just sometimes, an innocent observer might possibly be deceived into thinking that we are, in fact, the same person.

Rest assured:  Let me tell you that we’re not.   Because she talks about stuff that would make me raise my eyebrows and blush.  Lola will tell it like it is, talk about icky stuff that I couldn’t bear to even think about, and put aside her classiness for blunt sassiness (and assy-ness)–all for your sake, dear reader.

So we did rock, paper, scissors to see which of us would test which product.  It took a while to get it right (being pretty much the same person, we do, after all, make the same exact moves as each other every single time, which makes for a VERY long match of rock, paper, scissors), but in the end it was decided that I would review the top and she would review the shorts.

Since she’s extremely camera-averse, I modeled both for us:

Onto the top, then!  I bought this running top from Old Navy a few weeks ago when it was on sale for $4.99–with shipping for two shirts, each one came to about $6.00, which is–cha-ching!–a bargain for a technical-material top.  When they arrived, I ripped open the package, beamed at the look of them, and took in the pleasant aroma of synthetic sweat-proofing.  Ahhhh….. I then proceeded to wear the top on a run.  Here’s the lowdown.

The pros:

  • I love how it looks and fits.  I’m not into baggy anything, much less in exercise clothes, so the snug fit was very much appreciated.  I felt all sleek and full of the running business.
  • I think the print rocks.  You may have noticed that I love me some crazyprint.  And if that crazyprint should be educational to little children (or keep them away from me as I run, as well they should), then my work in this world is done.
  • I felt as dry as a lizard crossing the Sahara for the whole three-mile run (on a nice, breezy, 70 F afternoon) AND for the subsequent Zumba test (in the still, warm, who-knows-how-hot YMCA studio).

The cons:

  • The length is really nice.  However, that same nice length conspired with the snug fit to ride up as I ran, despite the fact that it wasn’t small on me.  It’s something that happens to me a lot, as it must to other girls whose hips are THATWIDE compared to their waists, but it was still annoying.  Then again, I was trying to hide my Spibelt underneath it, and that may have been a factor in the whole ride-up business.  Either way, it detracted from the run, especially from the whole people-watching and looking-before-crossing-busy-intersections aspect of it.  When I wore it to Zumba, it stayed in place a bit better.  Maybe it just doesn’t get along with the Spibelt?  Shame.
  • It has a built-in bra.  I seriously despise built-in bras.  Come on, manufacturers!  It doesn’t matter if we have A cups or DD cups:  we should ALL be wearing sports bras while we exercise.  After all, what is the point of having sick thighs if our bosoms hang nice and close to them?  Not only do I hate that built-in bras encourage women to sport inadequate support, I hate that it provides an extra layer of fabric.  My bulletproof sports bra has enough layers of fabric as it is for me to need more material to sweat on, thanks.  So I may be doing some scissor surgery on that.

Overall, I give the Old Navy running tops four out of five coconuts (one being “rag-worthy,”  five being “I wish I were Paula Radcliffe so I could wear this ALL the time without being a dork.”)

I wore the shorts, too, but I’ll leave it to Lola for the review of the Target bermuda workout shorts, which we both snagged for $14.99. (Separately, duh.  We wouldn’t share running shorts.)

The pros:

  • They look sexy, she says, like she stole a hot golfer’s shorts and nipped them in to make them fit her.  The length is perfect on a shorty like her, and she appreciates that they let her knees stay cooler than her capri-length running pants do.
  • They are very, very soft.  She noted that she wishes her pajamas were made of such soft–yet strong–material, though of course she would not actually sleep in these shorts, EVER.  We both agree that workout wear is for workouts only, for us–that, and the occasional watering of the lawn or collecting of mail, but only if no one else is around.  (She knows that neither of us is Paula Radcliffe–and feels the same as I do about such things!)
  • She said they kept her as dry as an armadillo crossing the Mojave.  Seriously, seriously dry during her run and Zumba (in the same conditions as my run and Zumba, of course).  So dry she could have taken them off and used them to swaddle a squeaky-clean baby–0r a prized pet puppy.

The cons:

  • They look less sexy when worn with a knee sleeve, like she does (and as I do too).  She thinks it draws attention to her knee, makes people think she’s gimpy, and draws their attention to her knee when she’d much rather they direct her attention to her toned booty (she’s rather vain, I know.)
  • They’re entirely black.  She looked online for the link to provide for y’all and saw that they were available with nifty colored waistbands and almost broke her foot when she stomped on the ground in frustration.  What can I say?  She too loves the bright colors and prints, like me.
  • She was rather disconcerted at some, er, unflattering business that the shorts created in the booty and nether regions as she ran.   They fit fine around the waist and hip and rear, yet they still managed to ride up in an unseemly fashion, despite being seemingly seamed to prevent such ridings-up.  Basically, she was distraught at the fact that she may not have kept her hoo-ha to herself during her run on a very busy street at a very busy time, and that there was no place to discreetly rectify the problem, since the shorts are so snug that it would have been VERY obvious–not to mention difficult–to prise the shorts from the affected regions without being questioned by police for indecent behavior. ( I’m not sure what she’s referring to.  I have no knowledge of such issues.  I just take her word for it, not that it could possibly ever happen to me.  They were fine for Zumba, mostly, not that I’d ever tell y’all of such problems.)  She thinks the problem may have been a matter of the Spibelt and shorts not being compatible, and I might have to agree with her.

Overall, Lola gave the shorts three coconuts out of five. It’s probably a generous score, but she thinks that the pros outweigh the cons and doesn’t mind risking a bit of feminine indiscretion.  Mostly, she hopes the seams will stretch a bit in a wearing or two so that the three coconuts can be based on comfort as well as on looks. I hope it works out because I know that deep down, she truly does value her modesty.  (As do I.  Duh.)


See?  Lola and I will try anything to help you out in your sporting pursuits!  We just need to convince her to show her face on the blog–just don’t hold your breath on that one.  She might tell you about her hoo-ha, but she’s otherwise quite shy…