Monday, November 30, 2015

Fitness-Themed Holiday Gift Guide!

Tis the season! With Cyber Monday upon us, you may be starting (or finishing?) your holiday shopping this week. Here's a list of some good ideas for friends and family looking to get or stay fit this year! Pro tip: You can also share this post to send a subtle hint to your loved ones. :)

Foam rollers are part massage, part torture, but are wholly helpful to recovery after a tough workout. I have one like this and it's been a lifesaver for my legs and back.

This "I love Salsa" bracelet is ADORable and totally trendy with its hanging charms. Perfect for a Zumba instructor!

Exercise bands like these are super inexpensive ($10-20 for a set) and allow you to workout on the road, in front of the TV, even in bed! They're a great addition to anyone's home gym.

Inspirational books are a great way to kickstart an exercise routine or spark a renewed appreciation for working out. I'm dying to read this biography on Misty Copeland, the first Black principal ballerina in the prestigious American Ballet Theater. If you're looking for humor, try Confessions of an Unlikely Runner, described as part Forrest Gump, part Bridget Jones!

Lastly, fitness trackers are all the rage this year. I'll be back on Wednesday with more info on the REM-Fit, a new-ish brand to the market that tracks not only steps but overall activity, sleep patterns, and more.

Need more ideas? Check out last year's top 10 gift list for more inspiration!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

10 Fitness-y Things I am Thankful For

This post is from Melissa, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!
We've all seen those "What I'm Thankful For" lists this time of year and with Thanksgiving upon us, I thought I would share 10 of the (mostly) fitness things I am thankful for this November.
1) Dressing like an Easter egg... and getting away with it - When I was growing up, whenever I wore something that didn't match, my dad would say "You look like an Easter egg!" As a Zumba instructor, wearing bold colors and patterns and "mismatching" are encouraged instead of frowned upon and I am thankful to be able to make a statement each time I teach.
2) My students - It's no secret that some days can be trying and I can feel defeated, but 99 percent of the time, my students lift me up and help me realize that I am not alone in facing my challenges. In most cases, they make me forget whatever I was upset about to begin with so I am thankful to be able to let go in class.
3) The ability to wake up each day and do something I love - There's an old saying: if you do something you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Zumba makes me feel that way and I thankful to be able to get up each morning and know that I can have fun, dance and still get paid!
4) The friends I've made - I can't begin to count the people I've met and the dear friends I have made just because I was at the gym, doing a run or teaching a class. Those connections never would've happened if I was sitting on my couch watching TV and I am thankful for each one.
5) Massage chairs/beds - At one of the gyms I go to, I have unlimited use of massage chairs and also a hydro-massage bed and all I can say is, thank you.
6) Seeing progress in others - I always encourage people to take before and after pics when they start a fitness journey. As an instructor, I can see changes in people because I don't see them every day. I am thankful to point out these positive changes for my students and friends.
7) A hot shower - Nothing feels better after a workout and a rockin' class than a nice hot shower. I am thankful for the moment I turn those knobs and instantly feel refreshed.
8) Inspiring others - Many people tell me how what I do every day inspires them to do this or that. What an honor that it to hear. I am thankful to be a good example to others when they need it and while I may just be doing what I always do, they are always watching.
9) Ibuprofen and Aleve - Not gonna lie, aches and pains happen a lot in my mid-40s so I am thankful for the times I need the help to be able to move again.
10) All of The Z Beat readers i.e. YOU - I am beyond thankful for Jennifer Lauren for keeping The Z Beat up and running and to all of you for reading my guest posts. I am blessed.
Would love to hear what you may be thankful for so feel free to comment. Until next time, stay healthy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Z Beat's Second Annual Thanksgiveaway!

It's that time of year again! I'm so thankful for the community of readers that engage with The Z Beat, and to show my thanks I have some great prizes for you to win!

We're giving away:
  • Over the shoulder lime green Zumba bag
  • Zumba manifesto magnet
  • Dance is Love Zumba towel
  • Set of four bangle bracelets (ya know, for after class)
  • A mystery gift to be included in the prize pack!
Use the form below to enter. You can enter one way or all five ways to get more chances to win! Happy Thanksgiving and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print: No purchase necessary. To participate, enter using the form above by 12:00am on 11/30/15. A winner will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter. Winners may live anywhere, but must produce a valid address for shipment within 5 business days of being contacted by email. The Z Beat is not responsible for lost or deleted entries, and will make final decisions regarding disputes. Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tools and Tricks on!

This post is by Dana, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!

Did you know as a ZIN member, there's a plethora of tools and resources available for you right at your fingertips as part of your ZIN monthly dues? I bet by the time you get to the end of this list you will have discovered a new resource. Ready, Set, Go! The web site has so.much.information. it is silly! Let’s take a closer look at everything the site has to offer. Once you log in on click on your name in the right hand corner and you will see a drop-down menu. Let’s explore:

My ZIN Home: This landing page is hub for all of the information that is relevant to you. It lists broad announcements. Pay attention to these announcements as they are great resources to find out when your ZIN™ NOW music is ready to be downloaded, as well as volunteer and job opportunities. On this page you will also be able to explore your local training options, find marketing materials and make sure that your Zumba classes are showing up properly.

Manage Classes: This is an important one! You have the opportunity to edit existing classes and add new ones through this interface. It is SO important to keep your schedule up-to-date so prospective Zumba participants can find you. (Note, these classes will also show up on your Zumba web site).

Manage Events: Hosting an event? Post it here! This is a great place to list your event for marketing purposes. Not only will you be able to link to it in your social media and marketing efforts, but you will get the exposure via the platform! (This is a great gem).
Manage my Website: Having an online presence is so important these days. Let’s face it, that is the way that most people are going to find you, ONLINE! Zumba provides ZIN members an easy-to-use web site builder packed with templates that are already created so all you have to do is drag and drop your information within the online tool, save and press publish and voila! I bet you can build a site in less than 30 minutes, and the instant value in terms of marketing and exposure is invaluable.

Marketing Materials: Zumba has taken the guess work and stress out of creating marketing materials. The marketing materials section literally gives your business cards, marketing pieces, and punch cards for your classes. All you have to do is type in your personal information, save and print. (Really, it is that easy!)

Affiliate Program: You get paid when other people shop. YUP, that’s right. Under the affiliate program, you just need to set up a code and let people know when they shop on to enter your affiliate code, they get a discount and you get paid. (Sounds like a Win-Win to me!) Speaking of, feel free to use discount code thezbeat for 10% off all of your purchases!

Instructor Trainings: This section will outline Zumba training opportunities by niche and state. Check back often for new instructor trainings that are added to the line-up. If you see something that you want to enroll in, don’t wait, these classes fill up quickly!

Instructor Trainings: e-learning is also a great way to “be in the know” and learn new skills. e-learning allows you to learn from the comfort of your home at your pace. In this section you can sign up and learn a new rhythm or even broaden your horizons and check out Plate by Zumba™.

Forum: The forum is a fantastic way to connect with your local, regional and national Zumba family. You can jump on a communication thread that is already started, or start your own! There are also live forums on Thursdays. There is a ton of great, easy-to-find information packed into this section of the web site.

ZIN™ NOW: If you don’t already know about ZIN™ NOW check it out. ZIN™ NOW gives you the opportunity to receive your ZIN™ Volumes and Mega Mixes digitally through ZIN™ Now. If you make the switch to digital (no additional cost), you will receive your music on the first of the month!

My ZIN Account: Is where you can check to make sure your personal information is up-to-date and edit your billing information. HINT, your ZIN Member ID is also listed on this page!

Don’t forget about this great online resource! And oh… you can also SHOP online here for Zumba wear! How could I forget??
What resource do you find the most helpful on

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Three Phases of Teaching Zumba

This post is by Dana, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!

Phase 1: The “I can’t wait to strip off my work clothes and start dancing” phase

1.    I know once the music starts that whatever was bothering me from earlier in the day will be gone… “POOF”!

2.    I am 100% certain that the smiling faces from my Zumba class will instantly make me smile and happy straight to the core.

3.    I am positive that when I start to “sparkle” (AKA sweat), I will actually feel the day dripping off of me.

4.    I am instantly in my comfort zone, and I know that I along with everyone else can forget about reality for the next hour.

5.    I am excited to know that everyone there is probably there for the same exact reasons as me!

Phase 2: The “phew, class just ended” phase

1.       I now have enough energy to power wash the side of my house, fly home or run a marathon.

2.      My clothes will be dripping, soaking, ring-them-out wet to the point people will inevitably stare at me on my way out of the gym.

3.      I will happily bounce up the steps and dash through the door as a brand new person!

4.      I know I can tackle anything else that comes my way for at least the next 5 hours.

    5.      And as I reflect on my day at work, with the kiddo and from class, I somehow only remember the positive aspects of my day because I burned off the crazy in class!

Phase 3: The “day after” phase

1.       I wonder which one of the songs made my legs so sore as I go back down the steps and out the door to work.

2.      I already start to think about the next playlist and figure out which songs I want to rotate in and swap out.

3.      I try to stop humming my favorite ZIN song of the day, but I can’t help myself.

4.      I plug in my earbuds and listen to songs on repeat all day long. 

5.      And… back to phase 1! I can’t wait to get changed, and start all over again. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Facts: Exercise During Pregnancy

As promised, I haven't turned this into a pregnancy blog. But in case you're wondering... Yes! Still pregnant. Yes! Still feeling good. No! No longer teaching my own classes, but taking others' classes and really enjoying the break from the spotlight.

I feel pretty awesome when I go to the gym and hit the treadmill, a kickboxing class, or the weight room. What feels less awesome is getting funny looks from other gym-goers. I'm pregnant, not dead, people! I've done my research and talked to my doctor, and I believe exercise is going to help me through labor and recovery so I can be a better mom.

I was excited when emailed me this week with a new infographic they published about working out while pregnant, and I thought I would share it with you. I might print out a copy and tape it to my back while I'm at the gym. :)


Monday, November 9, 2015

ZINspiration Monday with... Beto!

I came across this article about the man, the myth, the legend... Beto! There were things written here that I didn't know before, so I'm sharing the things I learned that reminded me how inspirational El Jefe truly is.

Beto came to the U.S. FOUR times before someone gave him a shot at teaching his dance fitness classes. Talk about persistence and tenacity!

Beto slept on a park bench before he could find housing when he first moved here. I complain when I don't get a good night of sleep before I teach... could you imagine being homeless and having to teach the most impressive classes of your life? Wow.

When Beto was a young teen, his mother was wounded by a stray bullet. He had to support his family, making the risk of pursuing his dreams and starting his own company that much more gutsy.

Beto won a national lambada competition. Why do I find that inspirational? Not because I have dreams of dancing with the stars... but because he was really good at something and chose to pursue a different path based on his passion.

Beto continues to remember what matters most. Women's Health quotes him saying, "In aerobics classes, the most important person is the student, not the teacher. With Zumba, the classes are about my students."

What inspires you most about Beto?