A few weekends ago I went to the Zumba® Instructor Academy that was being held at the Excel alongside FitPro Live. When I received the invite, I must admit I was initially sceptical because I am not a Zumba fan. Wait, wait, here me out! I love dance and I love Latin music, so thought Zumba would be perfect for me. However, after a class or two I neither felt like I was dancing nor working out, so I stopped going. Then the email landed in my inbox and I figured this would be the best representation of Zumba – if the pros can’t get me to like Zumba then I’d definitely know it wasn’t for me.
The Academy was over two days, those who attended the first day were graced with the presence of Zumba® founder, Beto Perez. I unfortunately could only attend the second day, so didn’t get to meet Beto. However, I did meet two lovely ladies who felt empowered by Zumba at a low time in their lives and decided to become instructors themselves. I couldn’t help but feel inspired by their stories and before I had even shaken a hip or tapped my foot I found myself seeing just why so many people love Zumba!
First up was Nivia Bishop, who after having children, suffered from Post-Natal Depression. It is an illness that is often misunderstood and Nivia struggled to cope. A friend of hers was going to a Zumba class and recommended she try it. Nivia credits Zumba and the endorphins it gives for helping with her PND and losing weight after her pregnancy. Nivia fell in love with it so trained to become an instructor and has helped many people through Zumba; children with special needs, Slimming World members, people who have lost loved ones, 13 hour Zumbathons, classes for charity and so much more!
Lindsey Jones was another Zumba Instructor I met, who after dancing for years decided to become a teacher, but was turned away due to her size. She lost her confidence and hit rock bottom, going from 14 stone to 18 stone. Lindsey found a poster for Zumba and got lost in the music. She found that no one cared about her size; there was no judgement. Within 3 months she went from standing at the back of the class to wanting to become an instructor. Now Lindsey is down 6 stone and went from a size 20/22 to a size 14, which she credits to Zumba. Lindsey says Zumba is all about having fun, getting lost in the music and not thinking “Oh I have to workout” in a negative way. Well, on that note, it was time for me to sample the fun the two ladies had been telling me about for myself!
I joined a Burlesque style Zumba class halfway through, taught by Gina Grant, a great dancer with a fine figure and amazing hair. I stared up in awe at her then realised everyone was dancing around me. I found the moves easy to pick up and soon found my inner Nicole Sherzinger. It was impossible not to feel sexy whilst shaking my hips and getting lost in the music. I looked around the vast room and everyone was a different race, age, size and sex yet we were all united by the moves. Without sounding like I’ve gone completely doolally, it was magical.
Next up was a Salsa & Meringue Mash-Up with Walter Diaz, where we learnt the moves and the origins of the Cha Cha Cha, Salsa and so much more. At the end we put all the moves together into one mega routine – it was so much fun! I left there so sweaty! Remember what I said at the start about not feeling like I had worked out or danced?? Well the Zumba® Instructor Academy definitely put my concerns to bed. I truly left the Academy as a Zumba convert – I’ve even looked up classes in my area.
Zumba is great for everyone, it really is an all inclusive workout. You don’t have to be strong, or fit, or tall, or slim, or anything at all but yourself! So, what are you waiting for? Go find your inner Nicole Sherzinger!
Images provided by see • saw PR