This gal did something a little crazy and a lot of fun. This past week I got certified as a Zumba Instructor and I am in full Zumba mode this week.
Why did I do it? Because I want to pay for my habit!
I’ve been taking Zumba on and off for about two years now. A few months ago a good friend of mine, Tara Bravo, who’s been a Zumba instructor for a year planted a little seed: “You should become a Zumba instructor!” It was hard to keep that seed from growing.
Backstory: Honestly, I’ve been a secret dance fiend all my life. I used to dance and sing when I was young but when you’re a kid and teen, especially an overweight teen, you tend to avoid anything that will get you attention and possible ridicule. So for most of my tweens, teens and early 20’s I learned to put that spark out. When I was in college I got a chance to light that spark again when I joined a sorority. I pick up choreography pretty easily and after I joined my sorority, Delta Xi Nu, I would choreograph some of our step and stroll routines. Those were good times and I had a lot of fun.
We were a pretty diverse group, of women. Yep as Zumba tends to go, it’s about 90% female oriented. There were only three men in the class. The bag was pretty mixed though, fitness instructors, Zumba instructors looking to brush up on their basic skills, and mostly brand spankin’ new Zumba fans looking to lead their own classes or just in it to have fun. One of the first things I couldn’t really avoid noticing when I walked into the class was that I was the heaviest gal in the class. I found out pretty quickly though that it didn’t really matter.The atmosphere in the class was nothing but positive. Not surprisingly there were several women there with weight loss stories of their own. One of those women was Monica Gurrola, this awesome lady lost a whopping 180 lbs! Not only is she a weight loss success, she’s invested her time to inspiring others who want to lead healthier lives. She has a great facebook page called INSPIRE… Monica’s Healthier Living Journey. She posts regularly on there inspirational notes, photos and her daily workouts. This lady is seriously into fitness and it shows. She looks healthy and happy and is so open to share her positive attitude with everyone. She’s an inspiration, I’m glad I met her. It goes to show, you can find motivation anywhere. Always be open to expand your network and support group.
Now when it comes to getting certified as a Zumba instructor the program is designed so that you get out of it what you put into it. I took Zumba Basic 1, there’s no pre-requisite and it’s open to anyone who wants to register and pay for the certification. Also, there’s no test you just have to complete the course. Sounds easy right? Well in all honestly it is for the most part. First you need to survive the 8 hour class which starts of with a nice long master class. It was so much fun! Dancing in a class where everyone has a good attitude and puts in 100% of their energy into it. After we changed out of our sweaty clothes we had power points, reviewing class structures, dance steps, identifying Latin music styles, we had mini jam sessions with certified Zumba Jammers (basically crazy talented dancers), the ended with some more review and a mini master class. A final Q&A session, hand out certificates of completion and ta dah! You walk out of there a newly minted Zumba instructor.
Once you get certified it’s up to you how you want to apply your newly found skills. They give you tools to get started in the form of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN). The most important thing you need is to get an hour routine memorized, that’s 8-10 songs, once you have a routine then you can go out and start looking for work. Most people choose between taking on a regular class or being a substitute, depending on their availability. I’m thinking the turnover rate on Zumba instructors is up there for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: interest, employment opportunities, demand, novelty of the class style, instructor burnout, etc. Like I said, I think with Zumba it’s all about what you put into it.
So what’s going to happen to me? Honestly I’m not sure. I do have some people that have opened some doors for me and I’m very thankful to them. Tara is one, she’s a Zumba sub and she’s invited me to attend some of her classes to get started networking and the very nice people at my local gym, Fitness Elements, offered to let me practice some of my song routines in their classes (thanks Carlos!). So there’s a start. I decided to get certified because I enjoy Zumba a lot and I have the support and encouragement of my friends and family. It’s a way to mix up my workouts, keep me entertained and motivated. I LOVE the music, I already listen to cumbias, merengues and reggeaton everyday. Cool thing is I get new music every month with my ZIN membership which I’m looking forward to adding to my library. I find myself dancing everywhere this week, doing cumbia steps or a reggaeton destroza when I’m washing the dishes. It’s making chores less of a, well you know, a chore. My goal is to be a sub, I would love to have a regular weekly class but as long as I can get enough classes to pay for my ZIN subscription each month I’ll be happy. I have two songs I’ve got mostly memorized, 8 more to go. So I’m going to get back to that now!
I really like what this says.