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October 12, 2012 - Leah Sherman

OK, I've already discussed my dislike of sweating and my rocky relationship with exercise. But I'm beginning to think that the first is really more of a problem with being hot when I'm not doing anything. The latter, I'm learning, is boredom with exercise machines. Oh, and the embarrassment of sweating like a pig while going just 2 miles per hour on a treadmill surrounded by super-fit people.

Last week, my friend L gave me a flier/class schedule from the place where she works out — the UH Maui College Wellness Center. I'd never heard of this place.

As you can tell by the name, it is located on the University of Hawaii Maui College campus in Kahului, on the first floor of the Pilina Building. It is open to the public. Memberships are per semester and cost $35 for UH-Maui College students; $55 for seniors (55 and older) and college faculty and staff; and $70 for members of the public ages 14 to 54. Single-class passes are available for $5.

The thing about the wellness center is that it's not a gym. There are no weights or machines, just a large tiled room with mirrors and glass doors surrounding it.

So, what do you do there? Fitness classes are offered throughout the day in yoga, core training, pilates, boot camp, aerobics fit, turbo kick, R.I.P.P.E.D and Zumba, among other things. Classes last for an hour and are held Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. See the link at right for the fall schedule, which goes through Dec. 15.

I looked over the schedule for a few days and finally emailed L (and our friend M) and basically said, "Let's try Zumba." (Zumba is a cardio workout that combines aerobic movements with dance.) They agreed, and, on Thursday, we were all at the wellness center for 4:30 p.m. Zumba w/Lovey (although on this day the class was actually taught by Sue).

I was a little nervous before the class started. What if I did the moves wrong? What if I looked ridiculous? What if I passed out in the middle of the room? But L was there, and M showed up 5 minutes into the class, so I knew I was surrounded by friends who wouldn't make fun of me.

The class started out at a rapid pace — my arms were flailing, my feet marching, my hips shaking. We were moving so fast and I was concentrating so hard on the instructor's moves that I didn't even notice what any of the other 15 to 20 students were doing.

I'll admit that after the first 10 minutes, I was like, "What? That was only 10 minutes? I'm not going to make it through this." But the next 50 minutes flew by with salsa moves, spins, bouncing and shaking. I was sweating a lot and my face was bright red.

After class, my friends said their legs were feeling it. They're both in way better shape than me — my whole body was feeling it, especially my arms, toward the end I could barely raise them above my head. It's a good kind of ache though — all the muscles are getting used. Exercise that's fun and sweating that doesn't bother me? Seriously, if I can do this, anyone can.

For more information, call 984-3434 or see the website (link at right).


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Me doing Zumba.


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