I am now a licensed Zumba instructor!! Let me tell you how that happened.
In case you don’t know me I will tell you that I am obsessed with Zumba. If you don’t know what Zumba is it is a fitness program inspired by Latin and International rhythms which was created by Beto Perez in the 1990s. It’s actually quite a cute story. Beto was a fitness instructor in his hometown of Cali Columbia. One day he went to his fitness class and realized that he had forgotten his music. Improvising he used his own personal Latin music infusing salsa, merengue, cumbia and reggaton into his fitness routine, and the people loved it. Soon he was teaching this class regularly and an early version of Zumba was born. Luckily Beto soon moved to Miami and was able to get a job at a gym and his class evolved into the Zumba we now know and love. Zumba is taught in 185 countries with over 140,000 locations and 14 million participants each and every week!
One of the slogans for Zumba is ‘fitness in disguise’, and because of this it is one of the classes that helped me to lose the 65 pounds that I have shed this year. I’m getting ahead of myself though, let me go back to the beginning of this year and tell you how my obsession started.
In December I was going through a tough time, and was looking to change my life. I had consistently gained about 10 pounds over the last 6-7 years and soon didn’t recognize myself. I decided to finally get healthy and made a pact with my sisters to get a gym membership and workout together. Of course I had done this in the past and never actually followed through. This time I started out with Bodypump which is a weightlifting class and the teacher Jody was fantastic. One day I decided to stay after Bodypump for her Zumba class. I had tried Zumba before and thought it was fun, but this time I was hooked. Jody is a fantastic teacher and everyone in the class has so much energy that they make it a lot of fun. There are people of every age, sex and energy level so that you never feel intimidated. I started taking Jody’s class on Monday and Saturday and before I knew it was going 4 times a week and standing in the front row. Fast forward 6 months and I found myself wondering if I would be able to become an instructor. I kind of pushed that thought aside for a while, until I saw a few of the other people in the class had become licensed instructors and I thought well if they can do it, I know I can too.
Soon I was looking up online to find when the next class was going to be held in Edmonton and sure enough there was a class in October. One of the things that I hate is when there are new songs and I don’t already know the choreography. On the days when we got new songs I found that I wasn’t getting as good of a sweat as when I knew all the steps. Then I thought to myself I would be able to get the choreography each month if I was an instructor and next thing I knew I was signed up for the class.
Leading up to the day of the class I was getting nervous. I kept wondering if I was going to be able to do it since I have only been doing Zumba consistently for 9 months now. A few days before the class I got an email from the instructor Amanda Grant telling us what we needed to bring on the day of the class, and it finally became real. I was going to be a Zumba instructor!
The class started bright and early on a Saturday morning, so I packed my bag the night before and then tried to fall asleep even though my brain wouldn’t stop thinking and wondering if I was crazy. The day of I woke up early and put on my workout clothes, grabbed breakfast and left the house to grab the train downtown.
When I arrived at the World Health gym where the training was being held I was glad to find that there were already a lot of people signing in. Amanda was there to greet everyone and get them registered. At this point we were given a DVD set and had the opportunity to sign up for ZIN which is the Zumba Instructor Network. This is how you get the choreography and music sent to you every month so this was what I was most excited for. If you signed up at the training you got a bonus kit which had dogtags, and a USB stick with bonus choreography.
When I got into the room I was glad when I looked around and saw that there were people of all different age, gender, race and fitness levels. I started to feel more comfortable right away. When it was time to start Amanda introduced herself. She is one of only 7 education specialists in Canada and she flew in from Toronto to teach our class. She has been in some of the Zumba DVDs and has choreographed some of the ZIN volumes and she was awesome. When we were getting started she asked if anyone in the room were Zumba virgins meaning they had never taken a Zumba class before. I figured that there couldn’t possibly be anyone who had never taken a class before, but there were actually 3 Zumba virgins!! I think they had probably done the DVDs and were looking to teach in a small town.
The first thing of the day was to do a masterclass which means just an hour long Zumba class. It was actually really good. I knew a few of the songs though the choreo was slightly different and I was able to get a real good sweat on! Amanda is a great teacher, but she has been at it for over 7 years now! She actually met Beto on his first trip to Canada, and was sort of taken under his wing. She had been a ballet dancer and so starting Zumba was completely different from anything she was used to. Well she has it down path now for sure.
After the class we had time to do some learning. We went over what Zumba is, and how it all got started. We talked about warm ups and the four basic rhythms of Zumba. I actually learned a lot.
Soon it was time to get hands on. It was nice that we were able to break each thing down in discussion and then get a hands on feel. First thing was warm up. We were able to try it out and she even invited people up on stage to do some variations. It was interesting to see what some people came up with. Then we moved on to merengue and steps that go along with this rhythm. It was great to get a lot of practice with each variation to each step. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch. I had packed a healthy lunch with a ham sandwich and a bunch of veggies and healthy snacks. After getting so sweaty in the morning session I decided to change for the afternoon session.
After lunch we got right back into things and did some more learning. We found out more about the ZIN network, and how to go about looking for jobs after we became licensed, and then we finished the rest of the rhythms. At this point we had been at it for 7 hours and I was starting to fade. I know that other people were getting tired as well. I was amazed that Amanda was able to keep her energy level consistent the entire time. After finishing the different rhythms and variations we were able to practice different things like trying to instruct by using vocal signals as compared to cuing. What a difference! We were also able to play a little memory game. Amanda put on a song and we had to do a step that went along with that rhythm. It’s good to know that I’m starting to be able to pick out the different types of rhythms and remembering which steps go along with each.
At this point we were almost finished for the day, and I could feel my energy levels dipping! I looked down at my heart rate monitor and was surprised to see that I had burned over 1900 calories throughout the day. Before we left Amanda answered some more questions and then we took a group photo shot and we were all officially licensed Zumba instructors!!
If you are thinking about or even considering becoming a Zumba instructor let me tell you that I had an amazing time. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun as well. I’m not sure if I will actually be teaching any classes but I’m glad that I can now do Zumba at home from the DVDs that I get every month. I will definitely still be doing my normal Zumba classes because if I do decide that I want to teach classes I need a lot more practice. Can’t wait to get my first ZIN volume in the mail so that I can start practicing!!
Be Happy, Be Active, Be Healthy