Dancing with Myself: Heartbeat House in Atwater

Ok. I admit I've been really bad about exercising lately...
really bad...
AND I'll be totally honest with you. I also started smoking again.

I KNOW. Horrible.

It's the same ol' trifecta that gets me back on the tobacco train:
  • Lack of time for exercise
  • Too much work
  • Usually starts while I'm traveling
Excuses, excuses...then I was determined to make some time for myself.

At one point, I even started trying to fit in this Scientifically Proven 7 Minute Workout. I was able to do it a few times, but what was scary was that I was getting to the point where I couldn't even find 7 minutes to work out.

Truly disturbing, the lack of time...This is getting pretty dark, isn't it?

But, hold on, this is an uplifting story about something I discovered...

So, last Wednesday, I just straight-up felt crumby. Like a pile of crumbs. Like the type of crumbs you get watching chick flicks while beasting a bag of chips in bed...dreaded bed crumbs. I got home and immediately realized I couldn't get around to everything I had planned after work. What I really needed was to take a shower and curl up in bed because my body just didn't feel right. I had been dealing with the same headache for about two days by that point and felt lethargic and achey. (Mind you, the cardinal was also in town - double-whammy.)

I promised myself I wouldn't smoke a cigarette...but did anyway and felt like a bigger pile of crumbs (like you may as well have tipped that bag of Kettle Chips straight onto your pillow and cried in them)...and the rest of the night was me lying in bed being miserable.

So, of course, I was apprehensive about going to this place near my apartment called Heartbeat House. (It's a dance studio I've walked passed plenty of times on the way to get pho...I often found myself thinking "man, those people are getting a crazy workout!" while savoring a jicama roll and people watching from the Vietnamese restaurant next door.) However, I had promised my bestie that we would take a class together and I wanted to see her because we never get to see each other enough. We chose a "Latin Jam Workout" class and met there at 6:30 on Thursday evening. Excitement started to bubble up when I saw the different types of people walking in for the class. All ages, ethnicities, body types.

This wasn't a "we're serious dancers" kind of place (of which I've experienced - let's just say I got stink eye from most of the ladies in that class for the majority of the session...most likely because I wasn't professionally trained.) Heartbeat House was a "we're here to have a good time" place...and when our instructor, Marilyn, gave the new students a warm welcome and let us know that some of the steps might get complicated AND if we found it too hard at first, to not worry, a sense of calm and relief washed over me. She said with a smile, "make up your own moves. I don't care! As long as you have a great time!"

Jessie (the Bestie - maybe I should just start calling her Jestie from now on...I like that.) So, Jestie and I were all smiles...and then we started the warm-up. My body hasn't been under that much strain in a long time! Our bodies were burning 10 minutes in, but we were having fun!

The energy was great and it was clear that everyone was having a fantastic time including the muuuuuch older woman (I'm talking 70's or 80's) dancing next to me...and myself. I was having a great time despite the fact that I could barely breathe (thanks, smoking.)

Once the class was over, the endorphins kicked in and I was feeling like a million bucks (or whatever the polar opposite of tear-soaked bed crumbs feels like) was the thing I needed to realize, once again, that smoking was no good. At the end of the day, I want to be healthy & happy and though I'll always love smoking (sorry, but it's true), I really need to stop.

...and I'm pretty sure Heartbeat House is gonna be my ticket off the tobacco train. As a new student, I got my first week at a discounted rate of $5/class. I took 4 classes in the last week and just bought an 8 class package yesterday.

I feel too good right now to do something so bad to my body, so with any luck, the smoking will be a thing of the past soon. Hope you're all taking good care of yourselves and treating your bodies with respect! I'm going to try my hardest to get back off the smoking! 

Big thanks to Jestie for getting me to go. I was a miserable lump up until then.
And big thanks to Heartbeat House for not only getting me off my ass, but also toning and lifting said ass!

Wish me luck on the quitting! xo!


  1. I'm glad you've found a good outlet to help you on your quitting voyage! I was wondering if you have any suggestions for those of us (or just me) that live BASICALLY in the middle of nowhere?? I live near an Army base and work night shift at a hospital. As far as quitting smoking, this wouldn't necessarily pose a problem, however, seeing as how I live in the boonies, EVERYTHING closes at about 8pm! Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. It seems driving and smoking is my hardest habit to break (also, the hubby smokes too, and has no plan on quitting). I wish you the best of luck on your tobacco-free journey!

    Many thanks,

    1. Hey Amber!

      I can totally relate to being in the middle of nowhere. Been there too. During those times in my life, I had to figure out a few other options if there were no dance studios in the vicinity. The first thing I would suggest is buying a workout DVD. Do some research and figure out which one suits you best. (I hear great things about cardio barre, but haven't tried it yet. Yoga's always great to clear the mind too.)

      Ahhh, smoking & driving. I know it too well. It's like they go hand-in-hand...and as for hubby smoking, maybe the two of you can figure out something physical you can do together. Any tennis courts nearby? And even though you may not have a dance studio like Heartbeat house, maybe there's an actual ballroom dancing school that you can take classes at together. Not only do you both get a great workout, you'll be a hit at other people's weddings AND it's like date night. :) Might make hubby think twice about smoking too. No one wants to dance with someone who gets winded quickly. ;)

      I find that I don't smoke when I'm distracted. Whether that's dance class, tennis, a workout DVD...reading a book, neurotically cleaning your house/apartment, getting around to a creative project you've been meaning to try. Working out is a really great replacement for smoking since it reminds you how good you can feel (and look!) when you're not puffin' away...but, sometimes, you gotta start by just changing your routine. It doesn't necessarily have to immediately be replaced with working out. :)

      Hope you find something physically fun to do and are taking good care of yourself!