Here are some things to know before your first Zumba class:
If your gym is on street level, do not stand by the window. I repeat, do not stand by the window. If you take this piece of advice you will be spared the looks of curious passerbys who are interested in Zumba, but are also thinking to themselves how they are grateful that they are not that really uncoordinated girl who looks out of place (i.e. me).
Definitely style your hair before you go. This is not a typical gym-ponytail situation because when you can't follow the moves and you're messing up the people beside you, you can at least take pride in the fact that your hair looks totally awesome.
Do not eat a large meal right before you go. Okay, I didn't exactly learn this lesson first-hand, but judging by the painful looks my co-worker was giving me during the class, I'm just going to advise you against this one.
And on this note, it's probably best not to drag people to your first class with you. Sure, the support is great, but this means that you'll have witnesses. In a situation like this, witnesses are not good.
Finally, know that during your first Zumba class you will totally feel lost, uncoordinated, and possibly panicky at times, but you will also have the most fun that you've had all week. If you have a chance, definitely go.
And definitely make these roasted sweet potatoes afterwards. After all, you deserve a reward for surviving Zumba, having awesome hair, and not having eaten too much beforehand.
These roasted sweet potatoes are fabulous as a side dish, but they can easily be made into a full meal if topped with some simple black beans and a little garlic tahini. What are your favorite ways to use sweet potatoes?
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes or garnet yams, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon safflower oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
coarsely-ground sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss sweet potatoes with oil and lay flat in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with cumin and paprika, and top with sea salt and pepper, if desired. Roast for 30 - 45 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking time, until potatoes are cooked and crispy. Garnish with cilantro and serve.