Friday, October 3, 2014

Who got you into Zumba?

That’s what I asked, and you answered. You shared so many awesome stories, that this will be a two-part post (maybe even three-part!). I think this is a great topic because 1) we can thank those who helped us get to where we are, and 2) it’s a reminder to continue to encourage our family, friends, and students to get healthy with us.  I have yet to meet an instructor who can't name the person(s) who encouraged them to get licensed.  None of us did this on our own! Here are your stories.
Mariann: I was getting into fitness and trying to lose weight. I was running but thought it was boring and I heard my sister-in-law was doing Zumba and it sounded fun. First I was too shy to go to a class so I danced in my living room, but later that year I joined my first class. I was hooked and have danced ever since. :)
Francesca: Five years ago, I lost my job and was going back and forth between temp jobs and interviews. I was then diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and had a doctor who wasted no time telling me I would gain an enormous amount of weight if I didn't exercise! I was caring for a mom with dementia by myself and she was declining at a rapid rate. I wasn't feeling good about myself and silently cried myself to sleep every night. A phone call from a friend in Long island, Theresa, convinced me to take Zumba. One day I heard about a free class not too far away from where I live, so I decided to go... my very first instructor was Brandyn and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! I have been going to classes by Z8 fitness, consisting of Annia Maria, Agnes, Mike, Michelle, Melissa, Samantha, and Brandyn. I felt so much better and continue to take classes as much as my schedule permits. They also encouraged me to get licensed and here I am....3 years of teaching Zumba, toning, and kids. I am forever thankful to them!

Tiffany: I finally found my permanent dance partner, she is the most beautiful person inside and out.  In June 2010, I was incredibly overweight and just miserable. As a homeschooling mom, I didn't get out much except for kid related/mom stuff. I was on the local homeschool message board and saw one of the moms advertising a Zumba class. I had seen the infomercials and was familiar with it. Something just said ...DO IT! When I arrived I was greeted by the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen... her smile was amazing.  I was so glad I'd worn makeup that day (lol)! Our eyes locked and it was kismet. Subsequently I never missed a class. I loved the class, and more importantly we were falling in love.  I have a background in dance so I picked up the choreo quickly and began helping her teach.  The chemistry was strong between us. I went on to become an instructor myself and we taught together a lot. Zumba Fitness brought us together through the energy and excitement of dance! I will always be grateful for that first class. It was love at first sight. 
Melissa: My girlfriend Lani suggested I check out a Zumba class at our local dance studio. At the time, I was a dance snob and didn’t believe Zumba was really dance. Tried it, loved it and went again and again. Slowly I was up front and center, and then teaching alongside the instructor. I got licensed in April 2009 and never stopped teaching. I’m am now fully emerged in teaching fitness classes including and beyond Zumba!
Angel: I hand always heard about Zumba but never gave I a second thought. After always saying I was going to sign up, I finally did at Crunch. Two weeks later, I see Omar's name on the schedule. I don't know, but his name was very catchy (lol). The next morning I went to his class and it was... WOW! I didn't expect it to be so fun. After 3 1/2 weeks, I lost 15 pounds and he made me a part of his family. I couldn't ask for a better teacher, and I've met many great people. Now I got 5 days a week, I'm so addicted to it. I thank Omar so much for being a great teacher and friend.

Celina: A friend of mine [got me started].  I was a dancer for years and added fitness training to my daily regimen.  He thought the two together would be perfect for me.  Zumba offers that and it has been wonderful ever since!
Kim: If it wasn't for my brother I would still be a participant in classes. His wife noticed how “good” I was (not meaning to sound big headed!) and he offered to pay for me to do the training! I will be forever grateful to him because I have found my calling in life and I have never looked back. :)

Anasa: I found Zumba in 2008 through an infomercial and immediately found a class. The first instructor that inspired me was a beautiful lady named Patti. She taught Zumba and Belly Dance. She's Brazilian and has a passion for dance like none other. I love her spirit and, she was always encouraging. The next teacher that inspired me was Sheila. She was a former student of Patti's, I found her after I got married & had my son. Sheila asked me, "Why haven't you gotten your license?" Honestly, the timing just hadn’t been right before that – but after I got married and had my son, it was like the Zumba stars aligned perfectly. She took me under her wing, helped with routines, cueing, song choices – she even let me tag team teach some her classes just so I could get my feet wet. Now, a year later I'm teaching 5 days a week, doing zumbathons, subbing for Sheila and inspiring and encouraging other women to be good to themselves through dance and Zumba.

Carole: I started in a Zumba class 3 years ago as the shy person in the back, and always told the instructors I would never be up front. Well, one day one of them picked on me to go up front to help with a song, and then encouraged me to get licensed. I've been licensed for a year now!

Liz: I really loved Zumba but because I work a full time job & all the classes in town were during the day, I could only go every once in a while, and certainly not during a busy week when I needed it the most. So when no one would add a class, and I was bitching about it to my friends, I realized – I shouldn't bitch unless I try my best to make changes. I signed up for the next training that night!
Stephanie: A close male friend [got me started]. He saw it on YouTube and knew I was looking for ways to keep up with fitness...introduced me to it through the magic of DVDs. Haven't stopped yet!


  1. 5 years ago I was on the sick from my day job due to a really bad reaction to some pills I had been prescribed. A friend asked me if I wanted to go to a Zumba class, to which my reaction was "What the hell is Zumba?".
    Anyway, three of us went to the only class in our area and it was only the second time it had been held. My friend was a full-time fitness instructor, I am a part time instructor and our other friend is a dance teacher. We laughed for the full hour! Afterward we started discussing the moves and how simple they actually were.

    Less than a month later, having attended every session I could get to, I was booked onto my B1 training and have been teaching it ever since. I have trained in almost every speciality as well.

    The best thing about Zumba for me is not that it helped me buy a new kitchen etc but that I have met some of the most fantastic people who I now call friends.

    Zumba has also let me raise money for charity by helping out in Zumbathons. This is the only was I could do this as I am now a bit too old for a sponsored silence.

    Zumba has made me a better person, in many ways.


  2. Sept. 2006 I began a journey into hell when I was struck with a rare neurological disorder termed. "the suicide disease!" I went from an outgoing, high energy special ed teacher to an isolated depressed shell of a woman who feared the outdoors, wind, touch, and anything else that would trigger the next lightning bolt of pain. After trying many medications for pain I gained 40 pounds! My hubby finally said that he was going to get me a membership to a local gym and wanted me to try getting out to try some classes there. I went a few times but found that I was buckled in pain from the wind created by the fans at the gym. I got up the courage to ask the instructor if she could make sure the fans were not facing me during the class and tried one more time. I LOVED IT. In the winter my hubby drove me as the shocks I went into from going outside prevented me from driving. I pushed myself at least 3 times a week to go and fell in love with the dance style classes. I made friends and the instructor would even invite me on stage weekly to dance with her. Early 2008 she brought a new style to the club, "ZUMBA" and I was hooked. The combination of zumba and healthy eating helped me shed the 40 pounds and I soon became very involved with zumba including helping to organize a zumbathon for the gym. In 2012 I knew I was ready for MORE. I had a brain surgery that was unsuccessful, but through it all I kept my goal in sight. I became licensed in March of 2012 and asked the girl who supported me since I joined the gym to mentor me. Because I wasn't going to ever work at the gym she said she couldn't. I found another girl who had her own studio and asked her to be my mentor. She said, "Yes!" Mylene Facchini took me under her wing and kicked my butt. She taught me how to cue, timing and technique and zumba each rhythm. She took me around to all the places she worked and had me teach a few numbers weekly. Eventually she had me teach her whole class and videotaped me. She walked me through where I was making mistakes and praised me on my strong points. She introduced me to ZES's, ZJ's and other instructors. I was like her shadow and I was loving it. She understood me and supported me even though I had a neurological disorder. I now own my own private studio where my class is run by donation (if you can pay you do, if not you don't) with partial proceeds going to the trigeminal neuralgia association each 10 week session. Even though I have really, really bad days with my neurological disorder, I feel successful and I feel as if I am inspiring others! The class helps relieve the pain for a brief period of time and the ladies lift my spirits. Thanks to Mylene (who is now a ZJ candidate in Durham region Ontario) I am a great instructor with passion and spirit. I wish that everyone could have her to mentor them, she truly is amazing and no words can express the love I feel for her and the gift she has given me. Thank you Mylene, I love you as much as all the stars up in the sky!

    1. Mae, this story is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing it.

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