The top reasons why women don’t make class and the solutions!

In the southern hemisphere we are heading into winter and the urge to hibernate is becoming stronger. Winter is the traditional time that dance class numbers drop, not just for belly dance but for other styles like Ballet, Tap and Jazz. Unless your teacher has been clever enough to schedule a motivating hafla that you need to practice up for, chances are that your mind is starting to think up reasons for you not to go to dance class.
We all have different reasons that we come up with to avoid going out when its darker and colder – most are excuses. The truth is your body needs exercise whatever the season, you feel better, warmer, fitter and healthier. So, for an amusing post I thought I would address ‘the reasons I didn’t exercise last week’ that were posted by super blog ‘fox in flats’.

It was a cold day to dance in this picture but we threw on coats over our costumes and had a great time.

It was a cold day to dance in this picture but we threw on coats over our costumes and had a great time.

Confession Time: Reasons I didn’t exercise last week

From Fox in Flats (original reasons in bold, my answers in italics)

I haven’t shaved my legs.
Bellydance classes I have been to have people practicing in either tights or long skirts. So your body hair status is irrelevant.
The kids are driving me nuts, so a glass or two of wine tonight will be much more beneficial to my mental well-being than my boxing class.
Getting a little tipsy does not solve how annoying your kids are being. Getting out of the house to go to belly dance class and leaving the kids with their dad/ grandmother / babysitter does! Belly Dance is so much better than boxing anyway (not that I am bias at all!)
I’d just rather a glass of wine than a night-time trek to the gym.
Have the wine after a belly dance class, guilt free
I just want wine.
See above
I’ll take the kids to the movies instead of going swimming with them.
Ok, swimming with the kids can be a bit cold in winter, so how about you sign up for mother daughter dance classes! Its fun having your daughter with a common interest. If you have sons its still possible, some areas have male friendly classes too.
My kids need the time with me more.
See above

I need more time with my kids.

See above.  Enroll them in kids classes and share the joy of dance together.

Kids love to dance!

Kids love to dance!

Can’t find my ‘good’ gym pants.
No problem just tie on a coin belt and it makes even plain clothes look fab.
Episodes’ is on TV.
If you are big TV fan then I bet you own some kind of recording device. Now is the time to work out how to use it. Copy your favourite shows for days of the week that don’t have fun classes to attend.
I ate too much for breakfast.
Irrelevant , most classes are in the evenings anyway.
My skin feels too dry to go outside.
????? Seriously, stay hydrated, use moisturiser and get on with your life

Some of my favourite moisturisers are made by Weleda.

It’s more important I write something for Fox in Flats.
You work less efficiently when you are unwell and sluggish.
It’s more important I prepare a nutritious meal for my family.
This is always important whether you have a family or not, its a matter of a bit of planning ahead. Keep it simple, hot pumpkin soup can be prepared and cooked in 30mins flat and is a family favourite at my place.
It’s more important I read the Sunday paper (…this gets more and more imperative the later in the week it becomes).
Most of the papers are run by Rupert Murdoch and are barely worth the effort anyway.
I haven’t been to a class for ages and I won’t be able to keep up.
When I first started belly dancing I would get distressed if I wasn’t totally up to speed in each class too so I get this issue. If you know you can’t commit to regular classes, for whatever reason, then stay in a class that is of a lower level to avoid this feeling. Or better yet, allow yourself to make mistakes and just go with the flow. If you missed most of the term and the class was working on a choreography then let the teacher know that you are happy to follow along at the back and do what you can. It’s better than not doing anything. You will still improve.
What if that personal space invading chick with the flailing arms positions herself next to me in class …again?
Move to another part of the room! I nearly gave up classes altogether when a woman wearing red came into the class. The lady in red was all about looking at herself in the mirror, taking the teachers attention and making it all about her. Frankly I was challenged by her confidence and when she said she loved the class and would come every week, my heart sank. I didn’t want to go if she did. The thing is, she never came back and the shy girl at the back of the class pushed on and became a teacher (me). Don’t let others hold you back from life.
It’ll hurt.
Belly dancing doesn’t hurt
I’ve got a sore throat.
Have a drink of water, a throat lozenge and see how you feel in an hour. If you are still sick then take your vitamins and get an early night.
I’ve got my period.
Belly dancing helps with menstrual cramps.
My son has a cold.
Are you going to be able to cure his cold by staying home? Give him a hug, a honey lemon drink and leave him with his dad. You will have more energy to nurture your loved ones if you nurture yourself.

It’s cold.
Dancing gets you warmer, and exercise keeps your metabolism up for hours afterwards making you warmer even later on.

I’m feeling old.


The dancers in this picture range from 12 to in their 50’s. I have been in and taught classes with women much older than that too.

 Belly dance is for all ages

The blog post went on to mention what other women’s issues were and because I can’t help myself but be thorough, I decided to address those too …..

The top 10 excuses women make for not exercising:

1. No time. I’m balancing the kids, cooking, cleaning, making meals, a part-time job, my husband, and the odd social engagement. I’m struggling to find time to sleep, let alone go to the gym!”
I hear you! I think we all have dealt with something similar at some time. What I have learnt though is if I don’t make time for my self, the other things don’t happen as easily.

2. It’s boring.
Oh please! Army commandos should add Pilates Classes to their list of torture techniques, under the heading ‘Bore Them Into Submission.’
My biggest issue with regular exercise classes is the boredom factor. Dance is so much more fun. You exercise without even realising it and you are learning a great skill.
3. I’ve got the kids with me full-time.
I tried putting Bella into the crèche at the gym, but she cried the entire time and I had to leave the session part-way through.”
This one is tricky some kids are not happy to play while you get some me time. My own children were not the play happily types. After a few years it got easier and they could come and play while i took class. My own classes are single parent friendly in that I provide a room that opens on to the dance space where the kids can play, read or watch a vid. I leave the responsibility up to the parents to check upon them and to provide the food / entertainment for them but it means they miss far fewer classes knowing that their family is not a sentence to stay home. Getting a support network to help with your family is vitally important to your sanity. With my first child I tried to everything myself and felt guilty if I ever needed help. With my second i was more realistic and have put into place more backup to help me through.
4. I’m too embarrassed.
I’ve never lost my baby weight, and become even fatter. I’m too ashamed to walk into a gym.”
Belly dance is for all shapes and sizes – its one of its charms. You can have baby weight, or any type of weight. There are costumes that can make you feel like the goddess you are no matter what your size. ( and men there some hot things you can wear too)

5. I’ve got health problems.
I’ve had a bad back ever since I was pregnant, so it hurts to exercise.”
See a health professional to assess the nature of your back injury and take their advice.
Belly dance is one of the safer forms of exercise available. It often strengthens the muscles involved in childbirth. If your back pain is from slack abdominals not providing support then belly dance could well be part of the solution.

6. I feel guilty.
Taking that time out for myself just feels so selfish. The kids would end up missing out on something.”
You are a shitty mum when you don’t replenish yourself. It is not possible to give endlessly and not replenish yourself.

7. I don’t have the money.
We have less money since we had kids as I’m at home with them and not earning anything, so paying for classes is out of the question.”
There are a few ways to approach this. Ultimately nothing is going to be able to replace the experience and learning of having a face to face teacher. Its always best to start with a teacher so you at least get the basics correct, but learning from a DVD can be a fun alternative or adjunct. Say you can only afford one class but are really keen, you could buy a dvd and practice at home and even invite a friend along. This will work best if you set a time each week to do it.
The other possibility is approaching your teacher and seeing what arrangements can be made. Please keep in mind that most teachers spend a lot of time and often decades of practice into their skill and their experience is valuable BUT if you are genuinely keen and genuinely broke, some schools will come to an arrangement. Maybe they need flyers hung up through town regularly, the studio cleaned, costumes repaired, etc, etc. it takes a lot to run a dance studio, even a small one and there could be jobs needing to be done that fit in with your skills that can be swapped or used to discount classes.

8. It’s not safe.
I like walking, but don’t feel safe in certain areas, and especially not after dark. I’m probably just being paranoid but still, it freaks me out.”
Me too, it can be scary alone in some places. That’s why dance class with a bunch of friendly people is a far less daunting prospect.

9. I don’t have decent exercise clothes.
My trainers are worn out, and my gym pants are wearing through.”
A singlet, tights and a cheap coin belt can get you started. Some classes wear full skirts for class too. Check out op shops (second hand clothing shops) to pick one up cheaply or try your teacher or eBay for a cheap starter outfit.

10. I’m too tired.
I’m getting by on about 5 hours of fitful sleep a night because of baby feeds and toddler nightmares. I think I’d fall asleep during yoga.”
Sleep is important, don’t trade a good night sleep for anything. But if you wouldn’t normally be able to sleep when the class is on, then try and get along to it. There is nothing worse then feeling that you never get to do anything for yourself and having nothing to talk about or look forward to than sleepless nights with screaming kids. I have been there and it’s not a fun place.

Source of reasons from fox in flats

What are your top reasons for avoiding class?

Please comment below.

(Please excuse any extra typos or formatting errors. I am on the road at the moment and do not have access to all the features on wordpress)

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