Thursday, December 11, 2014

Are Zumba Instructors Respected in the Fitness World?

Anyone can be a Zumba instructor.

Have you heard that before? I have. So I asked this Question of the Week:


Here's what you had to say:
  • Francesca, Kim and Natalie said, well, no. Clare explained, "Until it's a requirement to have a group ex certification, I think we will always be seen as the poor relation. Many don't consider dance fitness to be proper fitness... it's time we started showing them all that we make a difference, and that we actually do rock (well most of us)."
  • Jacqueline and Michelle said that Zumba's reputation for being "fun" overshadows its fitness benefits.
  • Ray, who lives in Japan, shared, "I feel the instructors in Japan receive more respect than in the U.S. Many instructors are full time and you need AFAA Certification... Zumba is still a novelty in Japan. As the number of instructors grow the market will become more saturated to the detriment of instructors like in the U.S."
  • Jill provided a related opinion, saying, "If they acquire national certification (AFAA or ACE--I actually have both) it makes you more knowledgeable of kineseology and form/function of the human body which can help when creating choreography and offering corrections (in a subtle way)... however, I appreciate dance and OF COURSE Zumba instructors!!"
  • Teresa said, "we're not respected by those who hold other certifications and are trained in other fitness areas... but I think we hold our own despite that" and Carly agrees that "the title "Zumba Instructor" doesn't really impress people-it's whatever else you do on top of it or other forms of fitness."
  • Margie says "people who know what Zumba fitness is, have respect for instructors, but people who've never (wanted to) tried it, don't get it." Maureen agreed and said we should get credit for our hard work!
  • Despite all these thoughts, Janet said ,"I am going to be the dissenter here. I think that we are respected as fitness instructors. There are many times I get other fitness instructors who find out that I teach Zumba and they are in awe! ...Not every fitness instructor can be a Zumba instructor."
Most people say Zumba instructors are NOT respected. But, right after I posed this question someone in the ZIN Facebook group suggested there should be a test or assessment before people can become Zumba instructors... and almost everyone agreed!


So, let me try to make sense of all this.
  • We want to be recognized for what it takes to be a good Zumba instructor. We don't just walk in and teach a class - we practice for hours, sort and store just the right music, bring through-the-roof energy to our classes even when we are exhausted, and represent the Zumba brand.
  • We have all been through training and we pay good money to keep up our choreography, music, and continuing education opportunities.
  • We also recognize that (gasp) there are some not-so-great instructors out there. Some of us think they are bringing down our brand, and there should be an assessment to improve our respectability factor. An alternative would be to require a group ex certification.
  • Either way, the good Zumba instructors who follow the model and have solid fitness/dance knowledge are perfectly capable of keeping students safe, engaging them in a super-fun workout, and helping them get results.

Would you agree?

12 comments:

  1. I think my class is very safe. I have been teaching for a long time. I do not have AFAA or ACE yet but that will happen in the near future but I've done a lot of reading and attended seminars. No everyone cannot be a Zumba instructors and there will be "bad" instructors in any fitness genre just as ALL accountants, engineers etc are NOT good in their line of work. If these "bad" instructors have students, then those students are compatible with that instructor and there is NOTHING wrong with that. I think if people just handle their own and quit worrying about what others have or don't have, the world would be a better place. Just sayin...

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  2. I don't want to knock Zumba as a "stepping stone" because it isn't, but getting the certification wants me to pursue more down the road. I'm into cycle classes as well and that could be a possible cert down the road. I also want to get the group fitness certs as well (AFAA, etc.) to expand my horizons.

    But thinking like this could not have happened if it wasn't for that start. And Zumba did that :)

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  3. I have several certifications, including ACE, and I can assure you that even though they may make an Instructor seem more credible, they don't instill the ability to teach a good class. My B1 Instructor nailed what it takes, which is, practice, practice, practice, Zumba music, Zumba choreography (quite a lot of Instructors don't even know what that is - sorry), an ability to teach to your students, rather than to your ego, a great smile, the training to teach to your students, facing them, AND, MOST IMPORTANT, RHYTHM (gyrating your hips is awesome but what about engaging some actual steps?!). This is what makes a Zumba Instructor different from a Group Fitness Instructor; unfortunately, not too many of the thousands of Zumba Instructors that have been "certified" follow the advice of their training - probably why Zumba Instructors seem way less credible than others. Sad, but true, especially for those of us that spend hours making sure that our classes are safe, fun and pure Zumba.

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  4. Zumba had certified too many B1 instructors and too often, like in my country, Malaysia, almost every moth, and the quality of the instructors, I would say is zero, they can't teach a proper warm-up and cool downs, not to mention kinesiology, I suggest that all future B1 instructors should do a assesment and take a practical test, otherwise Zumba standard will go down the drain, sorry to say that.

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  5. Yeah, sure, Anyone can get their B1, but does that mean they can teach? NO. You need to have that extra "something" to be able to make your classes fun and exciting - and keep students coming back. I've only had my B1 for a little while, and no, I don't have CANFIT or any other certifications, but I can promise you, come to my class, and I'm going to give you one hell of a workout. And having a physical disability means that I HAVE to pay attention to form, so I don't get injured, and in turn, keeps my class safe.

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  6. Really interesting comments, everyone! Keep 'em coming. One person asked for more info on certifications, and you can check out my opinion here: http://www.thezbeat.com/2014/10/photo-credit-ace-fitness-every-once-in.html

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  7. Wonderful article and great question. I would say generally, in the "fitness industry" zumba is lower on the totem pole because of it's lack of certification requirements. However, it's respected among fitness enthusiasts because it does take talent to put those steps together and create some swagger! Some people actually do have two left feet and no amount of practice can get them to a level of teaching a dance-fitness class.

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  8. I have been teaching fitness and dance for the past 30+ years. I have always has a group fitness certification and I believe that every Zumba instructor should have a certification not just a license. The Zumba program offers very little instruction on muscle groups, contraindicated movements, appropriate warm-up and cool downs. It is mention in passing and not really taught. But I have seen plenty of fitness instructors that do not have rhythm, poor fitness technique and other issues also. I know that when I proudly announce that I am a fitness instructor but I am wearing my Zumba outfit, other fitness people do not believe me, until I teach a class.

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  9. Before I start writing about "Zumba", I don't mind it. Its all good if people have fun dancing and get a workout out of it. Zumba is just a "brand" of dance fitness. Does anyone remember Richard Simmons? Its just dance aerobics. As far as zumba instructors being respected in the fitness world, that's open to interpretation. The moves are meant to be easy so other people can follow. Anyone can be a Zumba Instructor. All you need is money for the class. Do you know anyone who has failed the course? Didn't think so....In order to keep your ZIN status, you have to keep paying Zumba every month or once a year. You don't even take a refresher course unless you pay for it. As long as you pay your dues, you are a ZIN and you can buy expensive zumba clothes that say you are a ZIN. Why cant we just have fun and dance for a workout? Why do we have to put a name to it? Any person can put on a routine with simple dance steps. Ill end it here. If being a zumba instructor gets people to dance, have fun and workout, then its good. Better than nothing

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  10. I have the same thoughts with the last two items. There are NSG(not-so-good) instructors who might be bringing down the brand. That there should be an assessment of sorts when giving the license. Back then, I used to think that the NSG istructors will eventually lose their classes if they don't improve their skill, therefore giving them a reason to either practice to get better or just stop. However, this will take time and the effects of what they might do would have already affected the brand name.

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  11. I will get AFAA next year. In the meantime, I am teaching Zumba Gold. If there were tests or other hurdles to getting started, I would never have started. Yes, it is easy but only those who have passion AND skills will get students and KEEP them. Students decide who gets to keep teaching them. I have watched teachers come and go on my block since 2011 and bad teachers lose students very quickly.

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  12. Yes! Zumba instructors are licensed and each will tailor their own fitness routine, keeping to the fundamentals of Zumba to provide a strong aerobic and muscular workout. The whole body moves in a Zumba class, helping to burn fat and build lean muscle.

    As with any organised exercise, make sure that the instructor is fully qualified to teach Zumba and that they comply with Health & Safety regulations to ensure you get the best from your workout.

    The goal of the Zumba dance instructors is to make people want to work out, and to love working out. Fun and easy to do, Zumba is the type of fitness exercise you'll want to do every day and enjoy doing it.

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