Blogger Amanda Coop decided to dust off an old zumba game this week.
Blogger Amanda Coop decided to dust off an old zumba game this week. Alistair Brightman

Facing up to on-screen Zumba foe with toddler in tow

I CAME face-to-face with an old foe recently.

As generally happens when you meet up with one of those perfectly pert and annoying types, she was looking great: trim, sporty, energetic and put together. I, on the other hand, was looking like crap.

Too little sleep, too much coffee and a little too comfortable in my well-worn, decidedly un-MILFish trackies.

Possibly the most pitiful thing about this encounter is that my foe is, in fact, the computer-generated Zumba instructor from the Xbox 360 game based on the once-rampant exercise craze.

That's right. I've been shown up by a fictional silhouette.

She doesn't even have a real face but you know that if she did you would just want to punch it because it would be so perfect. 

I haven't seen the Zumba lady since Zumba was actually popular and God knows that was a bloody long time ago.

I gave up trying to use the exercise game when my now-toddler was a mere speck of a newborn because, despite being the most adorable child ever born (isn't it amazing how you can grow another human inside your body yet still remain completely neutral about their fantabulous-ness?), the kid would not sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Hardly enough time to run to the loo, empty the dishwasher and check Facebook (the bare necessities), let alone regain anything resembling one's pre-baby figure.

Well, the tot is now content to spend her awake time emptying the contents of the kitchen cupboards and eating random bits of food that have been thrown at meal times and gone unnoticed in the after-dinner clean-up operation that would require the country's entire police-dog resources and Bones herself to actually recover it all.

So with her snacking on last Sunday's roast beef and a side serving of cobwebs, I thought what the heck, I might as well blow the dust off the game (and my joints) and give it a go.

And give it a go I did.

I was expecting that after months lacking in any real form of exercise, I would be puffing, struggling and gagging for water two minutes into my workout.

To my surprise, however, I was jumping around the room with all the enthusiasm of an 18-year-old nightclub-goer hopped up on Red Bull, Jagermeister and a few too many renditions of Gangnam Style.

Now there is a distinct difference between being "better than expected" and actually being "good"; I was certainly not the latter.

In fact if you'd taped me and played it back I probably would have asked you who would be so cruel as to film an elephant having a seizure. But in comparison to the last time I attempted the workout, I was Britney Spears pre-psychosis, albeit lacking the seductive schoolgirl outfit.

And then it dawned on me. Baby brain.

The last time I tried this Zumba caper I had a very new infant.

My brain, as any new parent will attest, was porridge. I was flat out remembering to open a door before trying to walk through it, let alone copying co-ordinated dance movements and keeping in time. No wonder it seemed so much easier this time round.

My workout this week probably did very little for my figure because, as any personal trainer will tell you, it's important to keep up your energy afterwards.

And what keeps up energy better than a Snickers bar? But it's nice to know my brain's regenerating itself, even if the same can't be said for my body.

Now, celebratory drink, anyone?