mindy zumba

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It’s a rare occasion that I leave a workout without any real complaints. Normally, I can whine about just about anything, but after leaving my first Zumba class in over a year last night, I was all too happy to walk 20 minutes home in the weird, spitting drizzle-rain that was going on. You know why? Because the only people who don’t have a good time at Zumba are people who don’t like fun. And probably people who don’t like puppies. But that’s just because people who don’t like puppies don’t have souls.

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The class wasn’t actually held at a Zumba studio, but rather at a pretty cool space on the Lower East Side, which was, of course, covered in floor-to-ceiling windows, because what could be better than allowing all of Manhattan to watch me as I flail my body around? The class was led by Z Club NY instructor Edmee Cherdieu, a woman who has more energy in her pinky finger than I’ve had in all my 23 years on this planet. The session ended with a brief yoga session by Spot Yoga, and while you all already know that yoga isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I’ll admit that it was a great to come down from the all-out dance party we’d just had.

For those of you who’ve never been to one, here’s how a typical Zumba class goes down: you roll on in in sassy dance gear, spend 45 minutes attempting to not be rhythmically-challenged, and you get one of the best cardio workouts in the world, all without almost falling asleep out of boredom.

It’s insanely fun, and personally, I love it, but I can see where a lot of people would back out before giving it a try. You see, Zumba isn’t like a regular exercise class where you all do squats and burpees and lift weights like it’s any other day. Zumba requires you to dance in public (sober, ideally) and, in order to really do it properly, potentially embarrass yourself. The longer you go to a normal exercise class, the better you’ll get; with Zumba, it’s possible that you won’t become a better dancer the longer you go. Some people (like me) simple don’t have the capacity to look good, and the resulting self-consciousness can be pretty daunting.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing this column, it’s that when it comes to exercise and life, people literally don’t give a rat’s ass about what you’re doing. They’re just there to get theirs. The gym or the yoga studio or the Zumba class is one of the few places on earth where it’s acceptable (and expected!) that you’ll be a little bit selfish, and in a way, it’s a great way to release tension. We’re all so worried about other people at work and in our family and in our relationships that sometimes we forget what it’s like to worry about ourselves. Being selfish is healthy, and since you’re going to be selfish at some point in your life, you might as well do it while you’re doing something healthy.

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So, like I said, I don’t have anything to complain about. I spent a night dancing around like an idiot and allowed myself to not give two shits about anyone else, which is something I normally do in my apartment when I get home from work anyway, but I digress. If you’re bored with your workout, just want to try something new, or just want to get your groove on, you should do Zumba. You won’t have anything to complain about either.