Michelle Obama Says I Have to Put Myself First, So I'm Gonna Zumba January 27 2012

Late last year, I watched an interview with Michelle Obama and the president where she said she puts herself first on her priority list. Mrs. Obama said it wasn't a selfish thing to do, it was the practical thing to do. She said she wanted to model for her girls, and other moms, that you have to invest in yourself as much as you invest in others, and that includes making time for exercising. And the president chimed in that when his wife does spend time on herself, she's happier, and that makes her a better mom. 

True. I mean, it feels pretty amazing to walk out of the hair or nail salon, or yoga class. And I love that feeling of walking back in my front door after a grueling jog. Or since I work at home now, even just fixing my hair and putting on make-up mid-week feels pretty great. I feel whole and like I've got my stuff together, so now I can focus on everything else. The problem now is, I haven't gotten a haircut in six months. And at least up until a few weeks ago, my exercising patterns were inconsistent. It's almost like I'm just waiting for windows of free time or time when I'm not uber-tired to open up during my week and I'll decide last minute to work out.

No more! Every time I feel like not working out or I feel an excuse coming on, I hear Michelle Obama's words in my head. Put myself first. So that's what I did last night as I headed out for a Zumba class -- which is totally up toddler K's alley. It's a late class, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it's perfect for me because that's when I like to exercise and it's after the toddler has gone to sleep. So no excuses.

It was a pretty great class. And we were women of all ages in the class, from 20-somethings to ladies in their 50's, and black, white and Latina. Oh, and have I mentioned I'm a nerd. I know it. I wore my heart-rate monitor to Zumba class tonight. Why? Because at my age and with my schedule (or the schedule my toddler dictates for me) I need to be efficient with my workouts. I need to make sure I'm getting the most bang for my buck, or burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time.

So here's how my workouts compare:
One hour of jogging: 600 calories
One hour of Zumba: 650 calories

Yup, no excuses to not make this class. It's just a few blocks from my house, too. Doing the merengue dance moves to a crazy-fast song felt like a serious ab workout. And salsa and cumbia and regaeton moves are just fun. And the banter between breathless women trying to keep up. Priceless. 

Of course, today I can't walk up and down the stairs. But that's pain that feels good :)