A couple of weeks ago I posted on Facebook that for 2015, I will attend one new fitness class per month and review them here. It took me a little while to figure when would work and which class would be first, so here we are the first week in February and I just made it to my first class. Looks like I’ll have to do two this month to catch up…
In the last 10 years or so, the only classes I’ve taken are the Zumba classes we put on at Canada Place in the summer. I am not typically a class person, so this whole exercise is going to be interesting.
The first class I chose to review was DanceFIT at the downtown Vancouver YWCA. I know instructor Johanna Ward from our non-fitness lives, so I was excited to take her class and see her in action. I really didn’t know what to expect other than what the name suggests, but a few Facebook comments from friends indicated I was about to get very sweaty.
A few minutes before the class began Johanna came out and started moving about the room, greeting people and welcoming new faces. What really struck me was that not only she knew almost everyone there – they were very clearly regulars – but that she really took the time to check in with everyone. Commenting on new hairstyles, checking on prior injuries, picking up last week’s conversations – she KNOWS her class.
I took my position at the back of the class as I assumed I would not get the steps immediately. I surprised myself, and actually caught on to MOST of them fairly quickly. Great songs and lots of different dance styles, and I think my brief encounters with Zumba definitely helped. The dance steps were repeated enough times to catch on easily, but not so many times as to get bored.
DanceFIT is designed to improve your cardio endurance, core strength, flexibility & exercise attitude. I love this last part – exercise attitude. This class is FUN. There is no judgement, no worry if you get it perfect. In fact at certain points freestyle is absolutely encouraged, with the instruction that “you’re not supposed to look normal doing this!” People are happy to be there, they work hard and leave feeling great. And very, very sweaty. Dripping. Johanna mentioned that the studio was warmer than usual, but regardless I got VERY sweaty. I felt like I’d had a great cardio workout. And rookie mistake, I forgot a towel.
The steps are fun and the music is great, but what makes this class awesome is the teacher. I’m not saying that because I know her, it is 100% clear that she is the reason that her students come back week after week. Joanna is not just a “dancing head” at the front of the studio, she is the host of an awesome dance party.
I would absolutely do this class again, but the one deterrent from making it a semi-regular thing might be the YWCA cost. Drop-in rates for the YWCA are $17, which feels a bit pricey. Not that the class is not worth the price, it’s just a wee bit outside my wallet’s comfort zone. There are some savings options – it is half price if you’re with a member, and you can also buy a 10-visit pass for $135. Membership would also be an option and the Y does have a incredible selection of classes, a great weight room, lots of machines and a pool, plus if you work or live downtown it is very conveniently located.
All in all, a great start to my year of reviews. I didn’t feel like a clumsy oaf, I got a great workout and had a blast. And I couldn’t leave without grabbing a sweaty selfie with Johanna!