Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You need these health and fitness infographics!

I love a good infographic, and the ones that I just found on are especially helpful. Print 'em out or send them to your friends and students! For even more, visit Greatist.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Personal Story: What Doesn’t Kill You…

This post is from Melissa, a guest blogger on The Z Beat!

We all have moments in life when the reality of a situation overwhelms you. This recently happened to me on my second attempt to finish the Disney Half Marathon in January.

When I ran my first half last January, I attempted it simply because I set a goal for myself to do it before my 44th birthday and to prove to myself that if I could do something I didn’t necessary like for 13.1 miles, I could never tell myself I couldn’t do anything again.

While I didn’t finish the race because I couldn’t keep up with the pacing requirement and was picked up after 5 miles, I still felt pretty good about it and a few months later, decided I wanted to actually try to FINISH this year so I signed up again.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I hopped a plane to Orlando to give it another go. Once again, life got in the way of my training and I didn’t exactly prepare as best I should but I still felt good about it, that is until I woke up with a sore throat the day before the race. It progressed into something more as the day wore on and when I went to sleep Friday night, let’s just say I wasn’t feeling all that great. My fiancé kept telling me NOT to participate but I made him a deal that I would not run if I woke up feeling poorly.

When the alarm went off at 2:30 a.m., I felt pretty good. Still a bit congested but my throat felt better so I decided I would give it a go. I boarded the bus at 4 a.m. and made sure I used the restrooms before getting to the starting gate so I wouldn’t have to stop and lose time like I did last year. I started off great and  was on pace when I hit the 3-mile mark. It was after that when the problems began.

About a half mile into the fourth mile, medical personnel began talking to me because I started wheezing and having a hard time getting air in. Everything hurt but I was not going to quit. They kept telling me it would be OK, that I would still get my medal but I told them the words “I quit” or “I’m done” would never escape my lips and that they would have to physically stop me. Four and a half miles in, that’s exactly what they did.

On the medical bus, I met a wonderful man named Seneca from Tennessee and he heard my story as I told it to another woman who suffered leg cramps and he chimed in to share his experiences and to give me encouragement not to stop after hearing this was my last half marathon.

Looking back, I realized I was overmatched and there was truly no way I could’ve finished that day. I was disappointed and when I got back to my hotel, I had a good cry, took a warm shower and went to breakfast with my brother. It helped but I still felt a void, until I checked my Facebook feed. I had an overwhelming response to the video I posted after the race where I let everyone know I didn’t finish. I truly was speechless.

What I learned, once again, is that it doesn’t matter to others that you finish, it simply matters that you start. I never realized how much people actually cared about my fitness adventures but now I do. I’m sure your clients and students feel the same about you so when things seem overwhelming or frustrating, remember that you are an inspiration to others no matter what. The fact that you have courage to teach, train and share your experiences to help folks get fit is the gift you give, not to mention the health benefit they gain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Choreo Round Up!

Every once in a while, I ask readers to submit their original choreo. Last week I got AWESOME submissions and I'm so excited to share them with you. These routines are fun, simple, and sure to get students sweating, strengthening, and smiling.

(If the videos don't appear below in your browser, just click the links!)

Floor on Fire by Machel Montano and Pitbull, submitted by Patria McCoy

Ginza by J Balvin, submitted by Monica Herrrera

Te Gusta, performed flash mob style and submitted by Sandra Acosta

Here are two great Zumba Step routines (and two songs I love!) from Emma Moore:

Konsey from ZIN 57

Watch Out For This by Major Lazer

Monday, January 18, 2016

Resolution (Reality) Check

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

Losing weight and getting fit are among the top New Year Resolutions year after year. They are also the most broken resolutions. According to Statistic Brain, less than 50% of people who make resolutions actually keep them past the six-month mark.  75% of the surveyed respondents maintained their resolutions past one week, 71% achieved success past two weeks, 64% past one month and 46% past the six month mark. We are almost two weeks into the New Year and the gyms are still packed. People are excited about their new plans and people are still feeling successful. Here are some helpful tips to keep up the momentum to keep those resolutions and achieve desired results.

Don’t give up too easily

Giving up too easily and making excuses go hand in hand. Not to mention the fact that the mind is a powerful thing. If you miss a class, move on and plan to get to the next one. A small pitfall doesn’t mean that your plan won’t work for you and your schedule. Perhaps it just needs to be adjusted. Or perhaps it is a perfectly fine plan, it’s just that one class didn’t work out within your schedule. Don’t assume work is going to be busy forever.  You are in charge of what happens next even if there is a pitfall in your plan. Don’t let your brain bully your body into giving up too easily.

Time management

DO NOT add 5am morning classes to your proposed workout schedule if you typically need a bulldozer to drag you out of bed. If you simply aren’t a morning person DON’T mentally or verbally commit to morning classes. Plan another time in your day that your workout will fit in more comfortably so you are more apt to making it work.  

Unrealistic resolutions

Planning to attend a Zumba and spin class every day, bench-pressing 100 pounds and losing 35 pounds in a week is just flat out unrealistic. You know your body and you know your limit better than anyone. Make your goals small and obtainable and reasonable. In fact, try setting goals in tiers so you can work up to a sustainable plan that works for you. You will ultimately want to pick something that becomes part of your lifestyle.

Create a Plan That Works for You

Not having a plan is just as destructive as over planning. Depending on your personality type, you may just need a few basic documented steps to work towards, or you may need every single step mapped out with target dates that you can benchmark against. The most important thing to remember here is much like everything else in life, plans change, so be mindful of the possibility for change and adapt accordingly.

Believe in Yourself           

You are your #1 ADVOCATE! You are your BEST cheerleader! Your happiness and success starts from within YOU. DO NOT ever stop believing in yourself. Believe that you can succeed with any plan, path or resolution that you set forth. Know that your self-worth and success isn’t dependent on attaining those goals. Believe that even if you don’t achieve your goals during “take 1”, know that you will get there. #believe #achieve #succeed

Believe In Yourself Photo Credit:

Don’t Give Up Photo Credit:

Time Management Photo Credit:

Unrealistic Resolution Photo Credit:       

Make a Plan Photo Credit:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What motivates you?

I can't tell you what got me thinking about this... maybe it's having taken a break from teaching over the last few weeks that got me reflecting about my role as a group fitness instructor. But, I've been thinking about the differentthings that motivate people to teach group exercise classes. This kind of reflecting is helping me figure out what kind of instructor I am and what kind I might want to be, so I thought I would share.

Motivation #1: You enjoy exercising and teaching.
This one seems the most obvious - it's great to find a job (be it full-time or part-time) that you actually enjoy. This is probably the easiest motivation to identify because you actively experience the pleasure of teaching on a regular basis. As long as your students are also enjoying themselves, it's all good.

Motivation #2: You want to stay in shape.
Ain't nothing wrong with this one, and we all know teaching group exercise classes can be a great workout (especially when you have to give 150% to get any sort of movement out of your students!). This is a critical motivation to recognize if it applies to you, as it can easily cause you to become complacent in your teaching or miss cues from your students about whether they're getting what they should from your class (in terms of a good workout as well as emotional support).

Motivation #3: You want to inspire others to stay in shape.
A noble motivation for sure, if this sounds like you you're likely giving out regular praise and motivation during your class. Something to keep in mind: while most students appreciate being pushed to be their best, some students do not want to be singled out in class, even if it's for something positive. It's important to be mindful of the words you use and assumptions you might make about why everyone is in your class.

Motivation #4: You want a flexible career.
I know many instructors who may have gotten started for one of the reasons above, but stick with teaching because it affords them flexibility to be home with their kids or to pursue other interests on a non-traditional work schedule. I've also seen several of these folks burn out because they take on too many classes to make ends meet. If flexibility is what you're after, you have to be sure you've done your cost/benefit analysis and continue to check in with yourself to make sure your schedule isn't more trouble than it's worth.

Which motivation keeps you in the studio? What pitfalls do you have to look out for?

Friday, January 1, 2016

A little break

Just a heads up that The Z Beat is taking a little break (some of us may have a baby during our time off). We'll be back with new articles in mid-January. Thanks for reading in 2015. Wishing you a very happy new year!