Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Group Fitness Instructor Lisa Schwarz Discusses Learning Choreography--Left, Right, 1, 2, 3

Learning choreography for any group fitness class can be time consuming, overwhelming and even stressful. After years of experience both creating and memorizing choreography across various fitness platforms, one of the first tips I can offer regarding learning choreography is to figure out how you learn best!  That’s going to help you while you’re learning choreography for any group fitness class that you teach.  Here are some things to consider before you get started:
  • Consider the format of the class.   
  • Is it a Zumba™ Fitness class with a lot of movement?  
  • Or is it a strength training class? 
  • What kind of learner are you?   
  • Do you learn better while watching choreography?   
  • Do you learn better while practicing?   
  • Reading about it?
One thing for me that rings true no matter what class I’m preparing for is to TRUST the music!  I am a musical person, the music drives me, motivates me, moves me 😉!  I listen and learn the music over and over again so that I can hear any part of the song and know what moves we are doing. I feel confident that once I know the music, I can anticipate changes in choreography.  I mostly teach LesMills™ BodyPump classes which differs from freestyle group fitness classes.  Freestyle group fitness classes are typically designed by the individual instructor whereas Les Mills™ group fitness programs are pre-choreographed releases set to music, much like Zumba™ if you choose to use the Zumba™ home office choreography.

I am sure we have all tried various methods to learn choreography. I wanted to share what works best for me. I hope something resonates and helps you on your choreography journey!  Here is my strategy: The way I learn a new Les Mills™ group fitness release is through a combination of reviewing the notes, watching the class video and listening to the music. Lather, rinse, repeat.
When I first get a release, I watch the full video to get the idea of what to expect. From there, I watch the education sections to make sure I know the latest in the fitness industry, which Les Mills™ includes to keep instructors up-to-date with the company’s research and studies.

I listen to the music all.the.time! In the car, at home, as much as possible.  Once I’ve watched the video several times and know the music by heart, I start the learning process. BodyPump™ has 10 “tracks” that focus on a particular muscle group.  I learn one track at a time.  I will watch the video with the presenters, I will listen to the track while reading the notes, I do the track without the notes.  I will learn 3 or 4 tracks one by one, and then put it all together.  I repeat this process until I’ve got them all and I can get through the entire class with just music. 
When I taught Zumba™ and Werq™, I applied the same philosphy and learned choreography much the same way.  For these two formats, I relied heavily on the videos and found that the choreography notes for these type of classes did not fit my learning style. I think learning choreography is very personal, and what works for one person doesn’t always work for another.  Finding out what your learning style is and what works best for you may take a while, but once you figure it out – you’ll be learning quickly and efficiently!  The amount of hours we put in to learning our choreography is telling when we teach our classes.  The best classes are the ones we are prepared for!  So….roll up your sleeves, get out your laptops and start watching…..and remember – TRUST THE MUSIC!!       

Stay fit, stay healthy, and stay with me!

Kia Kaha!  Lisa 😁

Twitter: Fit4Urocks

Monday, November 26, 2018

#MondayMotivation: Zumba™ Fitness Instructor Claudia Buckler Talks About How Men and Kids can Love Zumba Classes Too! 

(Photo Credit: AJ Photoz)

I would like to share my Zumba™ Fitness family experience... When I first entered the fitness world, I was taking and teaching various Zumba™ Fitness classes as well as working full time. The question that lingered in the back of my mind was, "When would I have time for a relationship?" This was one of my main concerns when I started dating my future husband. Due to his different sports injures the only way for him to keep moving and working out was Zumba™ so he started coming to my classes. This was very beneficial for our relationship! It was fun spending the entire evening together working out and and then getting ready for our dinner date.  Usually an evening out consists of dinner then dancing, but we did it backwards – first we danced, then we went to dinner!

I’ve heard ladies say they didn’t come to Zumba™ Fitness classes because their husbands were home, and they wanted to spend more time with them, or because they had to take care of the kids.  Why not do both?  Bring the family to Zumba™! It is a healthy and fun way to spend time together. According to national averages, physical inactivity in the United States among adults is close to 35%, and the adult obesity rate is close to 38%!  The national childhood obesity rate is also alarming, close to 19%. Ask yourself, do you want you and your family members to be included in these numbers?  If not, then do something about it!  Make Zumba™ a fun family activity with the whole family!

How Many Men Are Doing Zumba?
While there are  no official studies of the gender breakdown that I know of, I’m willing to bet about 90%-95% of Zumba™ participants are female based on my experience. The women I talked to while reporting this article said that they never, or rarely, see men in their Zumba™ classes. Why is this? The reasons for this are not specific just to Zumba™ Fitness. Studies indicate that men in general prefer to work out alone therefore women make up the majority of group cardio classes. But Zumba™ Fitness classes as opposed to other dance classes like hip-hop and break dancing, which usually gets a handful of guys, seems especially unpopular with men. Again, the question is why?  Specifically, why don’t men like Zumba™?  

I set out to find some answers.  As it turns out, there are a few reasons. It appears men are not participating in Zumba™ fitness classes for the following reasons:
• Dancing Ability - Embarrassment and/or fear about their abilities
• Fitness Level - Exhaustion from the exercise
• Gender Specific Stereotypes - They think Zumba™ is just for women

These reasons are unfortunate and not in line with the reality of Zumba™ Fitness itself.  Yes, it is an intense workout as the movement is almost non-stop. There are short breaks between songs, enough time for a quick towel or a drink of water, but no real rest during the class.  It is a complete workout because you are using every single muscle in your body.  However, most of my students say that Zumba™ doesn’t feel like a workout at all!  I think they are completely right. Zumba™ feels like a big group party where you never leave the dance floor and every song brings you joy, energy, and makes you feel enthusiastic.

What I experienced with most of my male students is fairly typical. When they come to their first few classes of course they stand near the back of the room.  They don’t want to be noticed! They are just trying to calculate if they will be able to do the routines and not look ridiculous. The first few classes are always hard but eventually they begin to lose their inhibitions.  I say to each man who comes to my class, 

“Please dance like nobody is watching and just have fun!” 

Eventually they seem to really enjoy the workout and the comradely with the other students.  It is a very supportive atmosphere! When I started doing Zumba™ I discovered it is a good total body workout, and I felt supported by others.  Most people burn about the same number of calories they would on a treadmill (or even more depending in the intensity of the class), but there are more challenges and varieties of muscle movements. As you get better at the moves, you experience more enjoyment from the class — and a definite sense of achievement.  I really love it…and I think you will too!

Some Questions to Ask the Men in Your Life:
Are you a guy that goes to Zumba™ classes?

Why do you like going?

What's your favorite part of class?

As a guy that’s never been to Zumba™ why?

TheZBeatWhat do you prefer to do instead?

Would you ever try a Zumba™ class?

Hopefully this article inspired you to engage your husband, partner or family to join you to experience your passion #chugether! 

Claudia's Zumba™ Fitness Instructor Page