I’m on a mission to try all the fitness classes at my neighborhood gym. I signed up years ago to have a place to work out when bad weather wouldn’t permit me to run or ride my bike. I’ve taken advantage of the swimming pool, the weight room and the cardio machines; I even had a personal trainer for a while but cycling has always been my main mode of exercise so I never followed the fitness plan that was mapped out for me. I’ve gone for many months at a time without paying a single visit because I prefer to burn calories outdoors, prompting me to consider if it’s worth my while to maintain my membership.
Having decided to give it another shot I picked up a copy of the facility’s calendar and discovered that there were quite a few classes I was interested in trying. I’ve done the spin classes (on those aforementioned rainy days) so I crossed those off the list for now. A few weeks ago I popped into an intermediate step class. While the cardio intensity was manageable, trying to learn the steps was near impossible! I’m fairly coordinated but at some point I had to just pause for a second and laugh because when everyone was doing the “across the top” I was still doing the jumping jacks from a few steps before. Needless to say I haven’t been back to that class; at least not until I take the time to learn the basic steps.
Then there was the time I attended my first Zumba class. I picked the first session on the calendar that worked with my schedule and actually drove to the gym excited (who has not observed the Zumba craze?). I arrived early expecting to see a big crowd but was disappointed to see only about 20 people; I also made another observation that prompted me to ask if I was in the right room. The workout commenced and it wasn’t long before I realized that this class was not for me. 1) the pace was much slower than I anticipated and 2) the instructor and the attendees were all in their golden years; energetic and fit but it was hard not to notice that they were all, on average, about 25-30 years older than I was. When I got home I looked more closely at my calendar and realized that the class I had just attended was intended for “the young at heart”. There was nothing at all wrong with the class but I needed to find one that was more my speed. So I crossed that one off the list, too.
Lately I’ve been enjoying the Zumba classes geared for a bit younger crowd. And it’s been so much fun. I have always loved to dance and the upbeat Latin music makes me forget that I’m actually exercising. The dance moves have been far easier to follow than the step moves and the half hour of muscle toning exercises after an hour of nonstop dancing have really been making a difference.
Fun, fun, fun. I have attended a couple of the Zumba sessions now, always excited for Thursday morning to roll around, but there are a few more classes that I need to check off the list: Pilates, Yoga, Cardio dance, VivAsia (another dance class with a focus on Asian dance moves), Boot Camp and Belly Dancing…yes, you read the last one right. I aim to try them all before deciding on a favorite. For now, Zumba it is–at least until spring arrives with warmer weather that will get me out on my bike again.
I baked these scones after this week’s Zumba class, you know, as a post-workout reward. Really, you need no reason other than you’ll be so glad you did after tasting them. The scones have the perfect texture, not too dense and not too doughy. The bittersweet chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness but it’s the shredded coconut that takes them over the top. My scone-and-coconut-loathing husband said that these were the best he’s ever had. I’ll say that they’re one of the best I’ve ever had. Zumba or no Zumba, try them.
This is my contribution to this month’s Chocolate Party. This month’s theme is coconut–check out the other delicious treats.
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy cream (I used half-n-half)
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine salt (I used kosher salt)
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold, unsalted butter, in small cubes
- ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut (I used a generous amount)
- ½ cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, as is)
- Sanding sugar (optional; I used turbinado sugar)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ¾ cup cream and egg and set aside. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with few small pieces of butter remaining. Stir in the coconut and chocolate. Stir in the cream mixture with a fork until just combined. Do not overwork the dough; it should be crumbly.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and pat the dough into a 6-inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges (they’ll be big scones) and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle with sanding (or turbinado) sugar. Bake for 16-18 minutes (or until golden), rotating the sheet halfway through baking time.