Full disclosure. I'm fat. But you already knew that. What you may not know is that I'm also PHAT (are the kids still saying that?) and I proved it on Monday night at FIT-ZONE PLUS when I danced my sizeable bootae into a Zumba high.
Let me explain.
Suzanne Gracan, Owner and Fitness Director of FIT-ZONE PLUS reached out to me on Twitter and offered me a free class if I'd blog about my experience. FIT-ZONE PLUS sells itself as a place for everyone (plus sized and otherwise) who feel uncomfortable in a traditional gym setting. They offer yoga classes, personal training and Zumba. I'd always been curious about Zumba (any workout that claims to not feel like a workout is intriguing) but trying it out would mean finding a class and then gathering all the courage it takes to go to a gym full of bra-top Lululemon wearing women who "glow" instead of "sweat" and often, not always, but often, treat you like you're in the wrong place.
There is a stigma attached to "exercising while fat" and it can really make quick work of your motivation.
I'm a confident, capable person and yet I still do 90% of my working out on the stationary bike in my basement with only Joe Scarborough to keep me company and the promise of my first cup of coffee as incentive.
There is no bitchy side eye served up in basement.
So, off I go to Zumba class. On the subway on the way there I started to think about how I found my old Junior Kindergarten report card a few years ago and the teacher wrote about how I "struggled to keep up with the other children physically, but I really tried". Oooof. I'm almost 40 and it hasn't gotten any easier. I was just going to have to throw caution to the wind and if my instructor was left looking at me, muttering "sweet fancy Moses", hey at least I tried.
The small studio is located centrally, just North of Bloor Street on Yonge. You enter through a Thai Massage studio and go up to the third floor. What was the most obvious from the moment I set foot in the place was that Suzanne has created somewhere with a real sense of community. The ladies waiting for class to start seemed awesome. And I felt not in the least bit like an other. No side eye here. It felt like my basement but instead of Joe Scarborough I was with all of these fantastic women who were ready to get moving. The enthusiasm was palpable.
As impressed as I was with the atmosphere, I had a few questions before class started:
Is it a bad thing if you're sweating before class starts?
Why didn't I bring something to tie my hair back?
Somebody hold me?
I only had one question when class was over:
WHEN CAN I DO THIS AGAIN?!?!
Much to my complete and utter shock, the 45 minutes I spent dancing and sweating to Latin and Hip Hop tunes under the tutelage of the capable (and frankly, adorable) instructor Karla was the best part of my day. I had a stupid grin on my face through most of the class and when it was over, I felt like I could have done it all over again. No reservations, no fear, no side eye.
I'd highly recommend that anyone (especially my fellow plus size ladies) who have an interest in getting out of their basements and trying out something in a class setting (especially Zumba or yoga) come try a class out at FIT-ZONE PLUS. I can't wait to go back!
To learn more, visit their website, read Suzanne's inspiring bio and follow FIT-ZONE PLUS on Twitter.