Get Fit by Rocking Your World

By Courtney McArthur –

A new trend is rocking the world of fitness!

Zumba is a dance class that incorporates international music with hip hop and other dance moves. The class normally is an hour long and provides a vigorous cardio work out. On average, a person can burn from 400 to 800 calories in one Zumba class. The most common dance moves found in a typical Zumba class are the cumbia, reggae ton, salsa, meringue, mambo and axe.

Even though Zumba is a dance class, no training is required before attending. Another benefit of Zumba: no equipment is required. The only fee would be the membership at the gym where Zumba classes are offered. The classes are taught by certified instructors who, in my experience, are filled with energy and a passion for what they do. They are there to help you lose weight in a fun and healthy way.

Zumba is seventy percent Latin or international music and thirty percent music chosen by the instructor. Instructors receive the original lyrics to each of the songs in the foreign language and a copy in English so they can understand what the song is saying. That way, they can make sure that there is no profanity in any of the music. It’s refreshing to be able to have a fun, hip and pure workout class.

I was so nervous before my first Zumba class! I have no experience dancing and was scared I would make myself look silly, but I discovered that almost everyone feels the same way. I found that the dance moves were a little intense at first. I had a hard time catching on and actually doing the moves correctly. It took me roughly three classes before I got comfortable with the different dance moves. I have to admit that I’ve been doing Zumba for a year now and some of the moves are still hard for me.

Even though the class pushes me and is difficult at times, it is such a great way to just let go and have some fun.  In fact, Zumba is so much fun that many prefer to call it a Latin-based party instead of a workout class.

Katie Newton, a senior at Auburn University and certified Zumba instructor says, “I believe in a full mind body workout. When you put your soul into the workout, it can get you through anything, even when your mind and body leave you. That’s why I love Zumba I get lost in the music!”

So next time you are having a hard time getting to the gym, bring some friends and try a new fun workout. Not only will you be burning calories, but you will be having a blast doing it!

Courtney McArthur is a junior at Auburn University. She is very passionate about trying new workouts, staying in shape and having fun while doing it.

A Fun Way to Get in Shape

September 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Courtney McArthur –

Tired of spending an hour on the treadmill just to burn a minimal amount of calories? Do you hate going to the gym? I’m happy to report that there is a solution!

Growing up, I tried about every sport there was in order to get in shape. I hated almost every one of them. I hated running because it hurt my back and I had asthma so it was hard to breathe. I hated being sweaty, which comes along with almost every other sport in the world. Finally, I found one that was perfect for me. It didn’t require running, being sweaty and it burned more calories than any other sport. I began swimming.

Swimming is a sport that can be practiced whether you are five or ninety-five. Swimming is a low-impact sport, which means it is easy on your joints, bones and muscles. Because of the low impact, swimming is commonly used as rehabilitation for people who are injured. Once you begin swimming daily, it builds strength, flexibility, endurance, heart health and lung capacity. It is also the only sport that uses every muscle in the body. If you are 150 pounds and you swim for an hour, you will burn approximately 900 calories. The heavier you are or the faster you swim, the more calories you will burn.

Not only is swimming beneficial to your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health. It is very relaxing and once you get into a daily routine of swimming, it will become almost a form of meditation. Something about being submerged in the water and focusing on nothing but swimming really calms one’s mind.

Another great thing about swimming is that there are many different ways to get involved. You can go to your local recreation center and swim laps on your own, form your own workout in the comfort of a private pool in your backyard, or you can join a swim team.

You are incredibly wrong if you are saying to yourself, “I’m too old to join a swim team,” or “I can’t do that because I’d be the oldest person on the team!” U.S. Masters swimming is a national organization that provides workouts and competitions for adults eighteen and over. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or you once were a competitive swimmer, Masters has a place for you.

I know firsthand about Masters, because my freshman year of college, I swam for the Auburn Masters program. The coach was helpful and understanding; I made some great friends, and I had such an enjoyable workout that I wanted to go every day of the week. I never had to stress myself out by making up my own workouts. The workouts were already made for me and all I had to do was show up. The great thing about joining a team is that it gives you a social outlet along with the mental and physical benefits of swimming.

So, next time you are dreading getting off the couch and going to the gym, try going to the pool for a refreshing swim instead. You will burn more calories, ease your worries, and maybe even meet a friend!

Courtney McArthur is a junior at Auburn University. She is a workout enthusiast and former competitive swimmer and is excited about helping people find workouts that are best for them.

How’s Your Relationship with Food?

By Courtney McArthur –

Are you an emotional eater? When you’ve had a hard day, nothing sounds better than a brownie loaded with ice cream, right?

That was me! Whether it was stuffing my face when I had a bad day or starving myself because I had splurged the day before, I never had a good relationship with food.

In high school I was surrounded by my gorgeous stick-figured friends. They could eat whatever they wanted and not gain a pound. I was an athlete and I tried to stay on a strict diet in order to keep in shape for swimming, but I got tired of having muscles and broad shoulders. I wanted to be a size 0 and be a good swimmer too. That was pretty unrealistic, but in my mind, I envisioned myself being “perfect” by losing an unthinkable amount of weight. I started starving myself in order to lose the weight faster. One time, I made it three days without eating while doing two practices a day. After the third day, I felt sick and couldn’t stand it anymore so I ate everything I could find in my kitchen until I was literally stuffed!

That’s when I knew I had a problem and I couldn’t keep torturing myself. I didn’t want to tell my parents or anyone else for that matter, so I turned to God.

I had forgotten that God is there for us every second of every day. No matter how small the problem, God wants us to turn to Him for guidance. I was horribly mistreating my body that He created in His image. I didn’t talk to Him about my problem at first because I was embarrassed. I guess I wanted Him to think I was perfect. One day I was talking to my friends who were non-believers, telling them about how God is everywhere and sees everything. Something clicked in my mind that seems obvious to me now: God already knew I was starving myself and then bingeing. I didn’t need to hide it from Him; instead, I needed to ask Him for help. I needed God to be my crutch, not food!

When I turned to Him, I discovered that He will meet me in the dark. Without His purifying work on the inside, I will be miserable when problems and weaknesses bombard me. As soon as I told God about how upset I was, He showed me how to start handling my problems without starving myself or overeating.

One thing that helped me tremendously was looking at the world through God’s eyes. I started looking for one thing that was beautiful about everyone who walked by me. And I tried to look at every person with the love and compassion that God has for us. Once I saw the beauty in others, I began seeing the beauty in myself.

I learned the hard way that my relationship with food could turn into an eating disorder if I didn’t put a stop to it. Even though I am nowhere near where I used to be with this disease, I still struggle with it. It is a daily battle for me not to fall into my old habits. However, God is now with me, helping me fight it. His Word encourages me to treat my body as His temple, and I’m doing better at that. I still work out daily and eat well-balanced and healthy meals most of the time. And I pray for my relationship with food—that God will give me the willingness and ability to make healthy choices.

How is your relationship with food? If it’s not good, I hope that you can learn from my mistakes, and ask God every day to help you to make it better.

Courtney McArthur is the newest member of our Health and Fitness Team at TCP. She is a junior at Auburn University and a work-out enthusiast who is interested in sharing her testimony in order to help others who are struggling.