Monday, February 9, 2015

ZINspiration Mondays: Rachel Lake

Today's story comes to us from Rachel Lake, who sprung into action when one of her students became unconscious during her class. The moral of the story is that we should all make sure we truly know our first aid basics and how to do CPR (not just that we have the certification!). Here's Rachel's story.

The Z Beat: When did you get your B1? Do you have any other Zumba licenses?
I did my Zumba B1 in 2009. I finished full time training as a dancer in 1990 and went on to work as a professional dancer in concert tours and on TV until 2002, when I had my second baby, and found the schedule too difficult with two young children. I decided to retrain as a group exercise instructor and was teaching aerobics and step when I discovered Zumba. 

I was blown away by the combination of dance and fitness and fell in love with it. Zumba was relatively unknown in England at when I did my B1, so I had a hard time convincing the gyms where I worked to take it on, but once they did, all my classes turned into Zumba! I also have Zumba B2, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning & Zumba Sentao and I've done the online Core & Boost modules. I have taught Zumba Gold, Toning and Zumba Sentao, but I have found that my clients prefer the original Zumba format.

The Z Beat: What inspired you to become an instructor?
I was told about the Zumba training by a dancer freind of mine, who had done it, although he wasn't teaching it because he was still busy working as a dancer. I decided to go to a training as I had been teaching aerobics and step classes for five years and was a little bored and looking for somethinfg new. I had never been to a Zumba class when I attended my B1 training with Caroline Parsons and was completely blown away. To someone who came from a dance background, it felt like coming home. Dancing to the music rather than through it, as you do in standard aerobics, was amazing and I loved the Latin music.

The Z Beat: Tell us about what happened during your class that day.
The incident in my class when a participant fainted was actually not a Zumba class. I teach a few different formats and this particular class was FitSteps. It is a dance fitness class devised by two of the dancers from Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing With The Stars in the US) It is a similar format to Zumba in that you teach a different routine to each track, but it is based on Latin and Ballroom dance, such as the cha cha, quickstep & waltz. Anyway, we were doing a quickstep/charleston to All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. 

The Lady who fell has been coming to me for Zumba and FitSteps for about two and a half years so I know her quite well. She was at the back of the studio but I saw her fall straight away. I immediately asked another participant to call an ambulance and I checked the lady's breathing. She was unconscious but breathing fine so I put her in the recovery position, placed a sweatshirt under her head and one over her to keep her warm and started to talk to her, just gently telling her it was me and asking if she could hear me. It was kind of scary as she was unconscious for around four minutes, which seems like a really long time in that situation. When she finally came around I kept her lying down just in case she had any injuries and then the ambulance crew arrived and took over.

The Z Beat: What advice would you give other instructors should they find themselves in this situation? 
The advice I would give to other instructors who find themselves in a similar situation is first and foremost, do the first aid qualification as well as the CPR qualification. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, the most important thing is to check whether the person is conscious and breathing, this is the first thing the emergency response will want to know when you call. Then put the person in the recovery position and talk to them. tell them your name, use their name and keep talking, even if they are unconscious. 

 I have been teaching for over ten years and this is the first time this has happened to me, so hopefully for a lot of instructors it will never happen, but if it does, it's really good to know that you have the training and the confidence to deal with it. Happily, my client is now fine, fully recovered and was back in Zumba last week.

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