Last week, I started a training on something that has so far made me realise how much stronger I need to get. It's called STRONG by Zumba, which, unlike what most people might assume, has nothing to do with Zumba.

It's not a dance class.

It's basically a music-led HIIT workout which targets every part of your body. The music for this workout was specifically created to the workout (instead of the other way around) by Grammy-nominated DJ and producer Steve Aoki. There's a beat for every move.

I won't bore you with more details, but if anyone's interested in finding out more, please watch these videos:

Or visit their website.

I attended my second class yesterday and truly understood what my trainer meant when she said that this was not one of those classes where you randomly drop in and start where you left off. It's progressive and tries to push you a little harder each week till you get to the six-week mark.

And how do I know I might be getting just a tad bit stronger?
Every inch of my body doesn't hurt as much as it did this time last week.

So yesterday, as I was doing a burpee and had sweat dripping off my forehead on to the floor beneath me, as I thought I could see weird shapes forming before my eyes when I looked at this floor, and as I felt more hot and sweaty every time I brought my face close to it, I lifted my head just a little bit to steal a glance at my trainer.

And do you know what she was doing? She was smiling.

That's when I started paying more attention to her. She was doing all of these moves with us (and much better than us), but unlike the rest of us, she always wore a smile on her face while working out. Granted, she's a goddess and one of the fittest people I know, but I must say it's quite hard to smile when you're trying to stop yourself from screaming out in pain.

Upon realizing this, I got transported back to my MA English classroom where we students were expected to take seminars almost every week. I must point out here that it was probably not necessary for us to do it as often as we did. Some of our teachers really loved this system because it gave them the freedom to be lazy by simply distributing the topics they were supposed to teach as seminar topics for us to take in front of the class. The one good thing that came out of all these seminars, though, was that we progressively gained more confidence with each passing day to face an audience and speak without the aid of supporting materials.

But that's not how we started out. In the beginning, we were all amateurs who were nervous to face our own classmates. It was on one of these early days that a classmate of mine walked over to my best friend Punchy after delivering her seminar and thanked her for something. I soon discovered that my friend Punchy, who almost always sat in the first bench with me, had been smiling at the nervous people occupying the podium to take their respective seminars. She would smile throughout and that seemed to help this particular person. I'm sure it helped others too.

My trainer's smile motivated me to smile myself, which in turn, motivated me to enjoy my workout more. My friend's smile motivated me and my classmates to be calm while presenting our seminars. And sometimes, when the old woman in my neighborhood smiles at me on my way back from the grocery store, I don't feel too bad about adulting anymore.

I think that starting today, I'm going to make a conscious effort to smile more.