How I worked out my inner Shakira
There’s a scene in Sweet Home Alabama where Reese Witherspoon runs into a childhood friend at the local watering hole. Witherspoon’s character Melanie Smooter greets the friend, who just happens to have a baby on her hip.
“You have a baby…in a bar,” Smooter says with a certain judgy tone.
That’s kind of the initial feeling I get when showing up to clubs and lounges in yoga pants and tennis shoes to work out…in a bar. Fortunately, once the music starts and the lights go down, it’s easy to forget where you are.
I headed to Shotzkies for TropaZumba, led by Jerry Maese, whose fun and sultry moves have led to a lot of bodies that are as hot as the Latin-themed music he plays. The Wednesday night I went, the doors to the Texas-style bar were wide open and 15 people (mainly women) were inside in workout clothes and tennis shoes. Most of the group was in good shape, but not intimidating for those of us who are ahem, fluffier, in places.
Maese and his team lead the class, slowly introducing the basic sequences and steps, repeating them up to three times before speeding it up. We went from Latin music to Bollywood tunes with moves meant to burn calories and work the core, and halfway through I caught on to the steps and suddenly felt like Shakira, my honest hips shaking in time to the music. Oddly enough, the best part of the class was the standing ab work that hurt so good, I actually remembered I have abs. Maese and his crew teach Zumba Monday through Saturday at Shotzkies and Dancing City, with various membership packages available. The first class is free and pop-in classes are $15 each. Classes at Shotzkies are Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 and Saturday at 10 a.m. 4701A Nett St.
NightClub Cardio holds its classes Tuesday nights at Pravada on South Shepherd, a lounge I’ve visited in high heels and I gotta say, going in workout gear is a lot more comfortable. The floor fills up quickly with people of all shapes and levels of coordination, so staking your claim is important, especially once the music starts. Pop, hip-hop , disco and '80s music dominate the DJ’s set list, which is created to complement the moves ranging from basic aerobics to free-wheeling dance steps. Half-way through the class, dancers part like the Red Sea and the middle of Pravada becomes a Soul Train line. I admit, I have yet to shake my groove thang down the line, but most people do so while being cheered on by the group. I rediscovered my abs at Zumba and did some serious work on my legs at NightClub Cardio, which meant walking the next day involved a little hobbling from the good kind of sore. Classes are $10 at the door, $8 if purchased online and $6 with the monthly package from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. 2815 S Shepherd Dr.