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By Jamie Nunnelly Jamie Nunnelly is a communications professional and is currently working for the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) and the Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) in RTP. She also writes a restaurant review blog called the Tarheel Eater at http://www.tarheeleater.com

Dancing Off Your Holiday Pounds!

By Jamie Nunnelly Posted January 13, 2014 at 1:00 pm

 Working out at Briar Chapel Fitness Center


Working out at Briar Chapel Fitness Center

It’s January. After reflecting on the wonderful gifts of homemade eggnog and homemade Bailey’s I got, the Christmas cookies, nut bread, holiday meals and delicious TOPO cocktails I drank, I stood on the scale in my bathroom to see what damage I have done. Gulp, the proverbial 10-pound gain! Here we go again! But I am confident I can lose the weight and have fun while doing so by getting back into my Zumba® routine.

What is Zumba®, you ask? Zumba® is a high-energy, calorie-burning exercise program that was developed several years ago, using dance routines set to a combination of Latin, hip-hop and other types of contemporary music. It takes a few sessions to start to get the hang of it, but don’t give up too quickly! Just remember to move anything you can and have fun!

The first time I stepped into a Zumba® class was about two years ago at the Duke Center for Living in Fearrington. Debbie Scotten teaches a fun-filled Zumba® class on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. I had no idea what to expect. Debbie was very friendly and upbeat. I felt like I had two left feet and was not fast enough. I was stepping to the left when everyone else was stepping to the right; I thought I would never be as skilled and graceful as the rest of the class. But I came back the next week and remembered a few more steps. I still messed up most of the dance routines, but I had a smile on my face by the end of the class.

As I started gaining confidence, I moved from the very back of the class to the front and looked forward to each week so I could dance and laugh! I was hooked! Pretty soon I was looking for other Zumba® classes to fill in some days so that I could dance 2-3 days a week instead of just once a week. Yes, it is that addictive!

I found out that Tanja Cole was starting a class on Saturday mornings at the Briar Chapel Fitness Center. I called Briar Chapel because I am not a resident of the neighborhood, and found out they were generously allowing non-residents to attend classes there. I think after that I was affectionately known as one of the several Zumba® divas in Chatham County!

I have found the classes are both a physical and mental challenge. You have to remember what the next steps are in a dance routine! And, just when you get comfortable with a routine, the instructor adds a new one to keep the challenges fresh!

Tanja Cole leading an Aqua Zumba® marathon that raised money for Habitat for Humanity this past summer

Tanja Cole leading an Aqua Zumba® marathon that raised money for Habitat for Humanity this past summer

This past summer I started taking an Aqua Zumba® course as well that Tanja was teaching at Briar Chapel Fitness Center. Aqua Zumba® is also loads of fun and more gentle to the joints and back. And the added benefit of Aqua Zumba® is that since you are in the pool, no one can really see what you are doing! You are really getting a better workout because you have the added water resistance for the moves you make.

There are many classes offered in Orange and Chatham Counties. Debbie Scotten still teaches the Tuesday night class at Duke Center for Living in Fearrington. Tanja Cole teaches the following classes: Mondays at 6 p.m. at Woods Charter School (land), Saturdays at 9 a.m. at Briar Chapel Fitness Center (land) and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. at Duke Center for Living in Fearrington (Aqua).

A couple of instructors teach Zumba® at Horton Middle School in Pittsboro: Robin Wagoner teaches classes on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Amy Joiner teaches Mondays at 6 p.m. Robin and Amy also teach classes at the Ladies Fitness Center in Pittsboro.

And Studio East 54 in Chapel Hill offers Zumba® classes nearly every day. Check their schedule out here. Gabriela Zinn instructs at Studio 54 as well as at the UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont, the O2 Fitness Center in Chapel Hill and at St. Thomas More School.

So consider joining in the fun! Dance those pounds away!

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