My Bollywood Dreams Come True: Masala Bhangra Dance Workout

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Crash Course: Imagine your favorite Bollywood movie and plant yourself squarely in the middle of it, because you’ll shake, grove, and twist your way through this hour-long Indian dance class. All those times watching the dance scene in Slum Dog Millionaire didn’t hold a candle to actually getting off the couch and doing it myself. The Masala Bhangra class delivers a modern spin on traditional Indian dance moves and is way more fun than doing cardio on the treadmill. Great for beginners and accessible for all fitness levels. Click here for more information.

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[left]where: Washington Sports Club, Columbia Heights

bring: water bottle

perks: one of only few gyms in DC to offer this class

sweat score: 4 out of 10[/left][right]wear: comfortable shoes and clothes

instructor: Earla

cost: drop in rate is $15[/right][line]

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After having a ridiculously fun and sweaty time crashing Zumba, I was so excited to try Masala Bhangra class. Same concept, different continent. I was especially excited to try it at the Columbia Heights Washington Sports Club because I had heard good things about the instructor, Earla. Mainly that she was fun, kept things interesting, and didn’t mind if you couldn’t keep up with the choreography…just as long as you kept moving (read: I defaulted to running man on more than one occasion).

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Masala Bhangra is extremely popular and because the class sizes are typically large, it’s held in the basketball court area at the back of the gym. There were two issues with using this space. One, the instructor didn’t have a microphone, and because the music was so loud and the space so big, it was impossible to hear her instructions. This means you need to play Simon Says and pick up the sequence by following along. Two, the sound system is located at the back of the gym, so after every song ended, Earla had to run back there and press play on a new song. It was disruptive to the class and gave it a disjointed feel. It was still really fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’d be a better experience if they could fix these little tweaks.

The class involves building on a series of basic steps until we have an entire routine down. Then we practice, practice, and practice again. We had dance offs, team competitions, and partner dances. We did the routine so many times that there is really no chance you won’t get it by the end of class. The best news is that we did it so many times I can now remember all the steps – so if you invite me to a party I’m almost guaranteed to break it out. You’ve been warned.

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And a huge shout out to Anita for inspiring this crash! This blog has been such a fun way to meet local fitness fanatics like myself, and I am incredibly thankful to have added a few new crashing buddies to my list. Anita is a local fitness instructor at Sculpt and Washington Sports Club, and asked me if I wanted to try Masala Bhangra with her. It was wonderful to meet face-to-face (or IRL, as the internet lingo goes) and hear about all of her awesome fitness classes. Her calorie scorching turbo kick class is definitely on my “to-do” list. Thanks Anita!

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I brought home a major haul from Trader Joe’s the other day after Bhangra class. They had a bunch of new items on the shelves and I couldn’t help but bring a few of them home with me. I should know better than going to the grocery store hungry – oops! Let me know if you have any new favorites, I always love branching out. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:

  • Strawberry Chia Smoothie: tastes delicious and perfectly filling for a mid-afternoon snack. The chia seeds were ground so there was no icky texture. The only other ingredients are strawberries and apple juice. Will definitely buy this again.
  • Zesty Nacho Kale Chips: at $5 per little bag, I don’t know if I’ll spring for these again. That said, they were very good and had a big serving of flavor.
  • Egg White Salad: no mayo, cholesterol free, 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs per serving. Good for an easy snack but don’t know if I’d call it “great.” May be easier and cheaper to make at home.

That’s it! Masala Bhangra, meeting a new friend, and an epic amount of Trader Joe’s goodies equals a wonderful day. Hope you had one too!

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Have you tried a Masala Bhangra class? Tell me about it!

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