Like a Virgin: There’s a First Time for Everything

February 29th, to me, doesn’t really seem all that exciting. Yes, it’s an “extra” day, but I don’t get off work. There were a few sales but, realistically, there wasn’t too much going on in the world outside of the usual.  So I decided to make it a special one.

I did something I’ve never done before (well, maybe never. I think once I tried in high school, but it wasn’t for me.)

Whoah, get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about a treadmill run!

My new frenemy?

My silly towel is blocking out the one most crucial number on this treadmill: I ran that mile (just barely) under 10 minutes!  I think the last time I ran a mile was sometime in 2005 (MAYBE 2006, but even that could be a stretch.)  I was out of practice, I wasn’t sure what to do with my arms, and I made sure that I didn’t stop the whole time!

You can see in my GarminConnect summary that my HR peaked during my run (the first 10 minutes of my workout):

Yeah, buddy!

The rest of the workout was a smattering of cardio, exercises featuring use of my body weight (lunges, jump squats, jackknife situps, etc), and a final bout on the treadmill (just to try out the other machine) followed by the last 5 minutes on the stairmaster!  It was kind of nice to mix up the workout, the BodyPump class just looked too packed to deal with and, honestly, after that venture on the treadmill, I just wanted to keep moving, not lifting.

HUGE thanks to my running cheerleader, Sierra, who may have run to NC from South Africa… Either way, she ran into the gym to cheer me on JUST when I was hitting a little wall around 7 minutes.  As I gestured shooting myself in the head when she walked in, she grinned her happy lunchbox grin and I refused to stop, knowing I had a bit of an audience (albeit an audience of one).

Though we normally live across the globe from each other, Sierra’s actually one of my oldest friends from UNC, and my new running guru (one of a few who’s offered to guide me in ‘the ways of the runners’) as she has already steered me in the right direction of the “good treadmill” at the gym.

My first year at UNC was obvious the classiest of all.

I still have a few questions for all you runners out there…

What kind of bottoms do you wear? I think that shorts were not the wisest idea…

What do you do with your arms?

I considered this pose:

MK is NOT my fitspiration! (click if you think mocking Mary Kate Olsen is quality online humor)

But my elbows got too sweaty.

My last question:

HOW do you folks do this every day?!

I’m tempted to take an ice bath…. Luckily, I never turn the heat on in my apartment, so…. problem solved.

Vanity, Thy Name is Lulu(lemon)

I’m a fairly confident lady.  I have confidence in sunshine.  I have confidence that my adult acne will keep me getting carded well into my late 20s. But I also have confidence that, with the right attitude, you can look any which way and still turn heads whenever you walk into any room. Even at my lowest of lows, I still walked with my head held high, chest out, and rocking the good posture my mother taught me that us tall girls tend to forget when they’re in a crowd of tiny princesses, at least out in public.

We all have our private moments, the times when we don’t feel 100% about ourselves.  We can get down on our looks, and that’s never a good feeling.  Those moments can seem way bigger than the confident ones.  I remember the first time I spotted stretch marks on my stomach, and Ryan consoling me as I cried my eyes out, hating the mirror that revealed my flaws.  I remember the time that my best friend told one of our mutual buddies that I had big eyebrows, not knowing I was within hearing distance.  I still accidentally over-pluck with that memory in mind.

But I also remember the glorious moments that can always block out the bad ones.  I remember the time a fellow called me a blonde paradigm (WHAT a compliment!!) I remember the way Ryan looked at me when I walked out wearing the dress I wore tomy cousin’s wedding. I remember prancing around at the shore, tan and beach blonde, without a care in the world. And now, as vain as it sounds, I have a new memory to add to the list.

That one time that I felt like a fitness GODDESS in my new pants.

Fierce, yeah?

I want to save this on my computer forever. Who’d ever think that I’d be my OWN fitspiration?  Maybe it was just because it was a perfect Saturday morning, without a care in the world, and I was headed to BodyJam for a killer workout.  Maybe it was the delicious pescatarian week I’d had. Probably, it was the new Lululemon “Astro Wunder Under Crops” that my mom picked up for me when we were in DC this weekend.  But I just felt like a million bucks.

The workout class was fantastic, a solid BodyJam with lots of fun tracks and moves not unlike Jagger.

Brought to you by the letter A for AWESOME!

I decided to keep the party going in Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods…  My haul was epic.

Boxes and Barramundi!

Walking out of Trader Joe’s with a box kind of makes me feel like a badass.

So many frozen fishies!

Indian Goodies!

I kept my headphones on through all the stores, dancing my way through the aisles, and though my lunch was a basic egg-salad salad with spinach, eggs, carrots, green peppers, I predict my next few meals are going to bright, festive, and fishy.  Just the way I like it.

Ok, I guess if I want to shower, I have to take these crops off…  drats.

Chime in! Let’s get vain… What’s making you feel gorgeous today?  

Egg in a Bag and BodyAttack

Ah, that old adage… A failure to plan (for breakfast) is a plan for (breakfast) failure.

While my standard fitbook breakfast entry says “Cereal + Almond Milk” with a smiley face next to it, I came to a crossroads in the middle of the week.  I tilted my cereal box as far as it would go, then, panic on my face, yanked the plastic bag out of the box.

It was as empty as my heart was the moment I realized I was cereal-less in Seattle Durham.

Silly me, I’d forgotten to pick up my usual box of cereal on my last Trader Joe’s trip so, while my almond milk flowed like water, a girl can’t live on milk, alone.  Thus was born my Open Faced Egg Sammy.

I knew I had a few eggs at home, but I like to eat my breakfast at 8:30 am, despite my arrival at work around 8 am (something about a pre-8:30 breakfast doesn’t work in my tummy). And since we don’t have a stove-top in my tiny office, I had to improvise.

Doggie Bag? No, Eggy Bag.

Since all of my tupperware was in use holding goodies like beans, carnitas pork, avocado, etc, this Fresh Market bag was the mode of transportation for a single fried egg.

That’s right, the only thing in that bag is an egg.

My coworkers sort of rolled their eyes, and were probably just glad that I wasn’t wearing a feather boa.

Luckily, my office DOES have a toaster.  And I also brought some spinach, and VOILA!

Topless breakfast!

I used a toasted everything Bagel Thin, some Laughing Cow spread, and spinach, topped the party with my totable egg, and didn’t miss the cereal a single bit.  In fact, it felt a little bit like a special treat on a weekday.  I gotta find more ways to enjoy eggs at work.

Can you microwave cook an egg without any special holder?

Bueller?

In other news, BodyAttack #75 was even MORE intense than last week (I think because I now have an understanding of the moves).

Boom, baby.

56 minutes, 843 calories, and an average HR of 165!!  As you can tell, the end is the ab track and the cooldown track, I don’t just get super lazy around 53 minutes.  I do, however, start to get insanely sweaty at about 16 minutes.

It’s for this reason that I always bring my own, full-sized towel to the gym. Whether or not I shower at the gym, I normally leave looking like someone just poured the post-game Gatorade all over me.  This translates to my signature post-gym outfit.

Always fierce, Always wins spring fling queen

You might be wondering “Is that a fashionable scarf?”

The answer is “No, friend, you need to have your eyes checked out.”  Because I rock the towel scarf every.single.day.

Despite the fact that it’s not a pashmina, I still get noticed by all the major fashionistas in the Triangle area.  Especially the little girl in the grocery store who (not-so-quietly) asks her mom “Why’s that lady wearing a towel in the store?” and points her bony finger at me.

Don’t worry, I didn’t get mad, point back and say “HEY, lady, who’s the tiny curious critter clinging to your pant-legs? WHY’S SHE SO SMALL?” though I may have wanted to…  I simply smiled and said “Well, it gets pretty cold in grocery stores, and I didn’t have a blanket.”  She giggled, and walked away with mommy dearest.

I just hope that, due to my powerful influence on her life, someday she’s toting fried eggs to work and towel-scarves to the store.

I’m basically a role model.

Any sweet in-office egg cooking methods for me to try?

 

Coconut French Toast and Body Attack 75

I’m officially a dirtball.  At this very moment, I’m gearing up for today’s BodyJam class.  But here’s the dirty part: I still haven’t showered from last night’s workout.

Oops.

Oh, Les, you know my body so well...

As you can see from my Garmin Connect report, it wasn’t just some easy-peasy workout, either.  I was a sweaty mess, my booty is sore, and I LOVED the new release!  However, at track four, a super plyometric-heavy track, my tummy started going nuts.  And that’s when I knew I had to GET OUTTA THERE! It felt like my body was a soda can about ready to explode.

So I booked it.

Moments later, as I was washing my hands, feeling so much better post-bathroom break, I raced back in to finish the tail end of the arm conditioning track. Walking burpees…. not my friend.

After getting home, whipping up a fantastic, cheesey, melty, eggplanty dinner (Save that for later), I realized that the next time I’d leave the house would be for another workout. So I washed my face, did a little mini-body wipedown, and said “Fuggetaboutit!”

Yup.  Next morning, still no shower.  But, at least there’s coconut french toast on the menu.

The cast and crew

My past experiences cooking with coconut oil have been kind of meh.  I realize now that it’s because I was cooking the wrong treats in that coconut oil. I bucked up, grabbed some coconut shreds, and said “Let’s DO THIS!”

Sizzling in coconutty goodness

When I scrambled together my egg batter, I used 2 EB eggs, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, AND sweetened coconut shreds (though it would’ve been just as tasty sans sweetened, I’m sure).  Also, next time, I think I’ll drop a little bit of almond extract in the mix, just for a flavor punch.

Didn’t matter, the coconut was the star of the show. And cooking in coconut oil WITH coconut shreds… can’t beat it.

A taste of the islands

There was coconuts in the batter, coconut shreds on top, chia seeds sprinkled for a nutritional boost, and LOTS of lite butter flavored syrup (it’s all I have left in the apartment!).  Good to the last bite.

Or, in my case, the last lick. Because I licked my plate clean, not unlike an animal.

At least animals don’t have to shower.

What’s your favorite sweet treat for breakfast?

Ryan’s a pancake man, through and through, but I’m ALL about french toast.  Somehow, though, I’m sure we’ll make it work.

 

Don’t Skimp on the Shrimp (Omelet)

Ooooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?

OOooh, Heaven is a place on EARTH!

And that place is in my kitchen. Or, I guess, now, my belly.  But first…

CX30 + BodyCombat = WHOAH!

Les Mills, you’ve done it again.  O2 Fitness Clubs launched the newest releases of their infamous Body____ classes and, since Saturday, I’ve tried BodyJam, BodyCombat, and CX30.  Each one was more hardcore than the last.

Yesterday, it was a double whammy. CX30 was up first, followed by BodyCombat.  And I kept the HRM on the whole time.  An hour and a half later, 1,227 calories blasted, and approximately a hand towel’s worth of sweat drenching my body, I felt like a superwoman.  I also felt like I needed to eat a house.  I didn’t, I enjoyed a homemade whole wheat, eggplant, spinach, Parmesan, mozzarella, and Sockarooni pizza (I should’ve shaped it like a house).  And then, with the help of my new favorite app, I slept like a rock.

But today is a new day.  A day that I was craving seafood.  The pickin’s at home were slim, but there was something beautiful in the fridge.  Well, a few somethings beautiful.

Shrimp, avocado, tomato

Come to MAMA!!

Inspired by this Shrimp and Avocado Omelet recipe from Whole Foods, I scrambled the heck out of two eggs, chopped my ingredients, and hoped for the best as the eggs fried in some EVOO.

Sizzling

I have to use up my never-ending supply of spinach, so I added that to the innards of this omelet, along with the (pre-cooked) shrimp (from Target… not exactly the local fishmarket, but it’ll do in a pinch.)

This totally screams “throw me inside some eggs!”

And, after a flip and a fill, followed by a fold, this omelet was ready to be topped with the always-decadent combination of tomato and avocado.

You should want this in and around your mouth

This protein-packed omelet will certainly get me through the rest of the day and, though it was jam-packed with shrimp, I can’t help but feel like I have a seafood itch that needs scratching. And I know just the shellfish to scratch that itch.

Yummmmm

Yummmmm

Oh, Aqua Grill, take me home…

Do you eat seafood? If so, what’s your favorite? ANYTHING I CAN MAKE?!

I don’t think I even tried fish (other than canned tuna) until the past year or so….  Now it’s become one of my favorite ways to eat flavorful AND healthy meals.

Getting Fit with a fitbook

Long ago (March 2010, to be more specific), I started Weight Watchers with the help of my mom, aunts, and cousins. I’m the only one of us that really stuck to it, long term (I know that they gradually dropped off the plan one by one), with busy things like children, jobs, running households, etc. I was lucky enough to have a fairly empty plate, though (not literally!) which allowed me plenty of time to focus on meal planning and the like.  It was a fantastic method, for me.  However, after about 6 months, with a weight loss of about 40 lbs, I was working out 3-5 times a week and was much more active in my life. Ryan and I were living together, I started playing volleyball, I met new friends, and started getting interested in craft beer.  The idea of tracking my points was getting a little boring, and there were too many things I wanted to try without adding up points and doing math all the time. Plus, tracking all the craft beers I was drinking was getting a little shameful.

450 calories for 12 oz? I'll take two!

Well, new year, new you, all that jazz. Only it took me a week or two of the new year to really kick into high gear.  After a busy first weekend with all sorts of St. Anthony Hall fun times followed by a crippling sickness (ok, I’m being a baby, it was just a nasty flu), Martin Luther King Day was the start of my new year.  And, since I fare better with a plan, I had a handy tool to help me out.

Presenting the FITBOOK!

My fitbook was sent to me after participating in a little Twitter chat, and it’s been waiting for me to open it up for quite some time, now. When I opened it, there was a WEALTH of information to fill out including weekly goals, daily logs, and spots for inspiration!

Week 1 Wrap Up

The fitbook has room for 12 weeks of recording and normally costs $22.95, with a 4 pack going for $79.95.  The focus is both on nutrition AND fitness, which I like (instead of just tracking my food). There’s not a specific focus on calories, but a more general attitude relative to food (and SMILEY FACES!)

Easy peasy

The left side is for fitness.

Shakey arms are the sign of a good workout, right?

I think this section would probably make more sense if most of my workouts weren’t group fitness classes, but would be great to record weight-lifting sessions.  It’s nice to have somewhere to record my fitness workouts other than just on Garmin Connect, though.

Can't really tote this JPEG along with me

Anyway, I think I just needed a handy, portable way to track my eating and exercise in one location. And, since I can basically palm the fitbook, it works out perfectly.

Note of progress?

At my doctor’s appointment a little less than 2 weeks ago, I weighed in at 178 lbs.  Today’s weigh in? 173 lbs!!  I also tested my body fat percentage, and am happy to report 24.8%.  Making progress, folks.

And, don’t worry, calories or not, there’ll always be room for craft beer…

 

Taking the Plunge… Literally.

I needed a change, fitness-wise. I was getting bored and, as much as I love to Zumba with the best of them, a girl can’t live on Zumba alone. And then, the other night, at Dick’s, I decided what that change would be.

I grabbed about a dozen different sizes of bathing suits (what the FORK is racing suit sizing?! Luckily I found this website to help with bathing suit size conversion). After wiggling, jumping, hopping, and tugging the bathing suit (which I’ll now refer to as a batherbecause that’s my term of choice) into place, losing any and all sex appeal, and ogling my goodies in the mirror, I knew it was the right move. It’s the TYR Women’s Alliance Team T-Splice Maxback Tank Swimsuit Doesn’t that sound badass?

And, since my mom loves me, she treated me to my newest workout gear.

For whatever reason, I already have goggles. They’ve been sitting next to my tower fan for over a year now and, honestly, I just needed a reason to look fiercer than I normally look.

And, when I was at the store looking at swim caps, I thought “Go big, or go home” and grabbed the neon pink latex cap.

Sexy, Can I?

It’s funny, when I was younger (from about 7-13) I was a HARDCORE swimmer. Practicing all my days (summer and winter), a bather was my second skin, and I was so fast at flipping a swim cap on, you’d think I was born to be bald.  But, when I got to a point where the juice wasn’t exactly “worth the squeeze” I transitioned to the “tall girl sports” of basketball and volleyball, leaving the chlorine and swimmer’s ear behind. As I fiddled with my swim cap, wondering how on earth all my hair was going to get in that latex glove, I actually had to give myself a pep talk.

Come on, Jordan. You’ve done this THOUSANDS of times before. Your head can’t be that big, right?

Well, I was correct and after no more than 4 failed attempts at donning the proper head gear, I was ready to do the damn thing.

No, that's not a picture of 10 year old me. That's yesterday.

I headed over to the pool, dove in, and it just felt so right.  I’ve never liked running, so I can’t just “throw on some shoes and run.”  I can, however, throw on a bather and swim.  So I did.

Reunited, and it feels so good.

I swam 40 laps, alternating freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke.  After that, I grabbed a kickboard and did ten laps of kicking (again, either freestyle, breaststroke, or backstroke).  I felt so strong, I was breathing hard, and my total yardage was 1,250.  That’s 510 yards short of a MILE!! And I think that’ll be what I can shoot for, next time.

This is the perfect addition to my workout repertoire.  It’s a full body workout, it’s low impact, AND it lets me live out my Mermaid Woman dreams in a safe and healthy fashion.  Win, win, win, all around.

Have you ever picked up a sport or hobby you left for years?  How’d it go?

 

Freebies, Flights, and Frites

It’s been a long time, but nothing TOO eventful happened this weekend other than a romantic lovenest weekend with Ryan. Lots of football was watched, zero soda was consumed (yay!!), and snuggling was had.  It was top notch.

However, as of 8:25 a.m. Tuesday morning, I was back in the RDU airport, and back to reality.  It’s okay though, because I had amazing goodies waiting for me in my mailbox.  It may have been the best mail haul I’ve ever had, at least in this apartment.

The good stuff

Free Wings, Free Pizza, AND my new Garmin FR60 HRM!! I know I mentioned before that I changed the batteries on my oldy and was ready to get back into action but, as I was making the change, I realized that the back of the watch was pulling apart from the plate that holds it all together.  It was time to get a new one, and since I already had a ANT stick, I got a great deal on a watch and heart band.  And, though it took me a bit to get the new one set up and figured out (that “bit” was about 10 minutes in the middle of my Zumba class yesterday) it paid off.  Check it out!

Killing it!

Average Heart Rate, 173 bpm and 627 calories burned, and that wasn’t even counting the first few minutes that I couldn’t get the dang thing working…

Also in the mailbox? 6 free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings when they open the new location right down the street, and a free Brixx pizza “just because.”  Seriously, if you like free foods, sign up for EVERYTHING!

On a less free note (but just as delicious), I headed back to Bull City Burger and Brewery (after a successful first visit) with a number of my brothers and sisters from my fraternity to celebrate the 165th anniversary of the founding of St. Anthony Hall.  The menu was just as delicious as I remembered….

Mouthwatering…

Since I’d already had an egg and Morningstar sausage before I left, I just stuck with fries and a beer (if it’s four tiny beers but served on one paddle, it’s still just one beer, right?)

The duck frites were glorious: Skinny, French cut, finished in duck fat with fresh rosemary and Fleur de Sel

For $3 I got a whopping serving and the rosemary totally made them worthy of me gobbling them in a reckless manner *wipes fleur de sel from her face…*

And, for $4, I received a flight of four of BCBB’s own beers!  On my paddle included: Littlen Horny, Clay St. British Style Ale, Snow Hill Winter Warmer, and Youngen Horny Barley Wine (hee hee Youngen Horny… I get it.)

The first three, while tasty, were sort of what I expected. Good, quality beers that were clearly made well and tasted wonderful.

It was the Youngen Horny that really excited me.  It’s their Barley Wine, but it’s not made with any grapes, just grain (sorry, gluten free drinkers!) At 9.5% ABV beer with “fruity fig and caramel aromas”, this beer had by far the best and longest lasting mouthfeel of the bunch. It was smooth and delicious, good to the last drop.  What I really liked about the beer, though, relative to the rest of the BCBB brews, was that it tasted like they’d gone out on a limb and done something a little riskier.  Like they fully committed to a flavor, and just went balls deep (I’m certain that was their exact thought process when brewing…)  They owned the fact that it was a “different” flavored beer, and they took barleywine, to me, to a different level with big and bold taste without being too cloying or overly sweet.  Admittedly, I haven’t enjoyed (or even tried) many barleywines in the past, but I think I’ll approach them with a more open mind in the future.

Ah, my bounty!

Thanks to BCBB for not being annoyed when we brought in a giant late night crew and for having a table big enough for the whole group!!

 

Ain’t That a Kick in the Pants?

New Years are all about changes, right?

Well, my New Year’s Eve plans weren’t ALL that different from last year.  There was more beer, tastier food, 3/4 same people, but I still got to kiss my beau when the ball dropped!

MWA!

I spent the night with two of my favorite people, Ryan and Rachel, my best friend since middle school.  Coolest part of this NYE in Philly?

We didn’t even have to bring jackets!!

Those summer nights...

Which was great, because there’s no way I could’ve fit a coat into that purse.

I’ll admit, my favorite parts of the night were the dinner before and the champagne and hanging out in comfy clothes after we got home from the bar, but that’s probably because New Year’s Eve always has those ridiculous expectations and expensive cover charges that Thought Catalog summed up so nicely…

Funny thing about this new year. I don’t really have any major goals, at least nothing that I want to put into words. More just a general feeling, or general life directions.  That didn’t stop someone else from inspiring me to kick my fitness back into gear.

Text from my brother on Monday:

Connor: Hope your ride is going smoothly… question…. why did you stop using your heart rate monitor? I thought that was a cool thing.

Me: Battery died, just gotta get one and replace.

Connor: Bummer. Looking forward to its rebirth.

Knowing that my little brother had a) noticed my blog and b) recognized that something was different with my workout regime was just that kick in the pants that I needed (Check out my first Kick in the Pants which jump-started my 40lb weight loss in 2009!).  I popped over to the grocery store and, two super sales later, I nabbed a new CR2032 (the battery needed for the Garmin FR60) and was hard at work.

I only read later how difficult replacing your own watch battery and that most folks recommend taking it to a watch-person (Watch-fixer? anyone have a name for that?)

I’ll tell you what, these tools are NOT recommended for replacing your FR60 battery:

No, No, and NO!

Not my key tool, not some multi-headed screwdriver, and not the utili-tool that Ryan left here…. I felt hopeless.  Until, like a beacon in the night, I spotted it!

Glasses kit to the rescue!

This tiny tool is a precision eyeglass repair tool that I actually got the last time I bought a new pair of glasses. Well, as you can see in the image, I got it working again!! It was itty-bitty work for my giant banana fingers, but it just goes to show that being a four-eyes nerd AND a workout Barbie can pay off.

Ready for action

I guess I just needed someone to remind me why I started using that HRM in the first place.  And the only fair thing to do tomorrow  [despite having to host 3 friends during my fraternity convention weekend and picking two up from the airport (oh and working)] is to hit the gym running. Elliptical-ing. Whatever.

Have you ever experienced a kick in the pants?

Any big plans for the weekend?

Skinnylicious and Zumba-tritious!

Hey hey folks, we made it to Wednesday!

Since I’m in the office for lunch, today, no No Pants Wednesday for me today…I enjoyed a few leftover chips and bread from our office holiday party for which, true to fashion, I was the only one that dressed up.

Old habits die hard.

Oh well, I think it was obvious that the holiday spirit was in everyone’s hearts as we ate our way through a MASSIVE catering by the Cheesecake Factory.

I normally steer clear of the giant Factory, known for it’s ENORMOUS portions and frying everything from zucchini to macaroni and cheese.  And I’ll admit, yesterday during lunch, I definitely over-indulged a little bit.  But by choosing a very healthy option from their “Skinnylicious Menu”, I managed to not feel too bloated after enjoying some of the shared appetizers (spinach artichoke dip and Tex Mex egg rolls).

I even had enough for a hearty dinner made of delicious leftovers.  Folks, I present about 2/3 of the Skinnylicious Grilled Salmon and Vegetables!

Skinnylicious!!

I scoped out the Skinnylicious Menu and found a bunch of (reasonably priced) healthier options and small plates that I think will definitely come in handy the next time I head to the Cheesecake Factory.  It was delicious, even reheated, and the (likely less-than healthy) dipping sauce on the side made everything even more tasty, creamy, and flavorful.

As for the Zumba-tritious…. well that’s gotta be the sore, sweaty feeling I felt after a particularly intense Zumba session at the gym!  There were actually 4 Zumba instructors in the class, though only one was the instructor, and, for some reason, I tend to get competitive when I feel like there are skilled folks in my group fitness classes.  Or if there’s a very tall lady, or a pregnant women. I don’t know, it’s a bad habit, but it’s the athlete inside of me and wants to win.

Luckily, since EVERYONE wins when we Zumba, I left feeling great.  I also left thinking about the most recent Zumba classes I’ve taken.  And I think I realized that, even though it’s supposed to be a “Latin dance inspired cardio workout”, I always prefer the songs that are less of a samba and more of a chance to dance like a crazy person.  So, in case you’re looking for a fun (short) dance party playlist, these are my three FAVORITE Zumba songs to dance to!

1. Jai Ho – The Pussycat Dolls

With a sweat-blasting pony step, sexy hip swirls, and Bollywood inspired moves, this song’s beat and tune always get me working harder/better/faster/stronger.

2. Waka Waka – Shakira

This official song of the FIFA World Cup always makes me want to kick a ball into a net, rip off my shirt, and show off my killer bod a la Brandi Chastain.

HECK YES, WE'RE THE WINNERS!

In the video, it’s very apparent that Shakira’s hips don’t lie, and the African chanting lend themselves so well to the lyrics:

You’re on the frontline
Everyone’s watching
You know it’s serious
We’re getting closer
This isnt over

If the little kids jumping all over the place in the video don’t inspire you, clearly you have no soul.

3.  Country Girl (Shake it for Me) – Luke Bryan

I think my family would disown me if they knew just how much I love country music. Clearly, my parents should’ve never let me go to school in North Carolina (oh, and falling for a Mississippi boy… I’m a walking cliche).

This song makes me wanna sweat the heck out of my achey brakey heart, eat some fried catfish, and grab some boots.

Mostly, I just look good in a cowboy hat.

What’s your favorite song to Zumba to?

Or, if you don’t Zumba, what’s your favorite song to workout to? That one tune that makes you push harder than anything else?