Tuesday, July 9, 2019

ZINCON® Tips & Tricks Part 1

ZINCON® is right around the corner, and I am sure that Zumba® instructors across the globe are already coordinating outfits, getting their bags ready and dreaming about convention! Personally, I am not attending this year {insert sad face}, but I did attend for several years in a row and have some feedback to share. 
  • ZINCON® Hotels: There are three major hotels where most Zumba® instructors stay during convention. At this point in time, most people have already booked their accommodations, nonetheless below are some things to consider.
    • Hyatt: Very nice hotel with a lot of amenities. It is where most of the action is during ZINCON®. It is also convenient to pop up to your room and change clothes or grab a snack between classes. The restaurants here are ALWAYS packed with VERY long lines. Plan to eat early, and allow time before your classes.
    • Rosen: Just a hop, skip and jump (across the bridge), the Rosen was recently refurbished and the rooms are certainly nice. The lobby used to be a "party" place after the evening ended, but the last two years I was there it was pretty quiet. There are a handful of restaurants here (including a general store) that is easy to access with reasonably priced meals. The pool here is spacious and the restaurant outside serves reasonably priced food. At night it is a great place to hang out away from the buzz if you need to decompress.
    • Hilton: The Hilton is a great place to stay to get away from the excitement if you need a break. While the hotel is nice it is a longer walk to most of the classes and events (held in the Hyatt). When you leave in the morning you may want to consider packing a bag with the essentials for the day.
  • Don't forget to eat! It is very easy to stay busy from the time you wake up until the minute your head hits the pillow. My advice would be DO NOT FORGET TO EAT. If you don't eat, it will bite you in the butt. Your body will feel it, and you will become tired early.  The Hyatt has easily accessible pop-up cafes and restaurants for food. There is also a convenience store right around the corner from the Hyatt that has chilled food, snacks and drinks. You can also get an Uber/Lyft or cab to a local grocery store if you want to stock your fridge. Some personal car companies even offer a pit-stop to the grocery store from the airport if you request it.
  • Don't forget to sleep! It is easy to stay awake around the clock because the music is pumping throughout the entire Hyatt hotel from the main stage, ballrooms, hallways and just about EVERYWHERE! It is OK to sleep, and your body needs it. It is easy to get run down on DAY 1 if you do not set aside some time to rest. Just like you are scheduling in classes, master classes, sessions and training, make sure you schedule in some time to sleep.
  • You do YOU. Don't be afraid to go to the sessions you want to go to, and experience ZINCON® the way you want to experience it. You can always meet up with your crew later in the day or back home in your hood. You won't be disappointed if you venture out alone. You never know who you will meet and what you will experience.
  • Packing for ZINCON®. Packing your bags oh my! This can be an overwhelming task. Here are a few helpful tips:
    • Clothes: Bring a change of clothes for each day you have sessions. You WILL be sweaty, and it is NO fun walking around the Hyatt sweaty with the hotel air conditioner blowing down your back. 
    • Sweatshirt: It may seem odd to bring a sweatshirt to Orlando, BUT DO IT. The ballrooms can be cold, especially if you are sitting down for training. 
    • Shoes: Bring more than one pair of shoes. You will want to rotate them throughout the weekend. 
    • Insoles: Don't forget your insoles for your shoes. 
    • Snacks: Pack snacks! Snack bars. Energy bars. Protein powder. Peanut butter. Crackers. Anything that is easy to carry and that can get you through your day. 
    • Fanny Pack: YES! I said it. A fanny pack, but you will need it. You are not allowed to take bags into the fitness concert. They also come in handy if you want to carry your essentials on you while you are dancing or in training.  
    • First Aid: You will inevitably need some sort of first aid, so just go ahead and throw it in your bag. Here are a few suggestions: Band aids (of ALL sizes), gauze pads, athlete tape (2 packs), Ace bandage, nail clippers, Neosporin, Aleve, Hydration gel and Nausea relief.
  •  Do NOT be THAT person...
    • Who cuts in line to get closer to the stage
    • Stays up all night to get in line for the Zumba® store when it opens
    • Who impedes someone's personal space
    • Who trips down the escalator to get a glimpse of Beto
    • Who literally pushes someone else in the hallway
Take your time. Be respectful of others. Remember your manners. We all know that the excitement can get the best of us sometimes, but remember to take a deep breathe and relax. You will be able to see the presenters wherever you sit in the ballroom. You will be able to be SEEN wherever you go. Everyone knows how fabulous you are, it is even more appealing when it is accompanied with manners. So have fun, and spread the Zumba® love.

I have A LOT more feedback, tips & tricks and insights, so stay tuned for another article later this week~xoxo Dana

Monday, July 1, 2019

Welcome to Monday! Welcome to July! Welcome to your new week. Every new day presents a time to move forward and NOT look back. With each class, week and month that passes by, as group fitness instructors we know that we just need to keep moving. If you had the most amaZINing class ever; live it, cherish it and breathe it in because that is almost the best feeling on earth. If you had a class that was painful, take it as a learning experience on what you can improve next time. 

With every single class that I teach I always make sure I personally greet new members to classes. I do this before class by introducing the "new" person to a "regular", or I give a high-five and a hello (depending upon how much time I have before class). At the end of class, I always make sure to make personal connections especially if someone "new" rocked the class, or if a "regular" really pushed themselves. Well, let's face it any reason to high-five, hug or take pics is great with me. 

Last week something in particular stuck out in my mind and I am still thinking about it. I was giving kudos to a "new" participant because they really did an amazing job in class AND they smiled almost the whole time! When I went up to compliment the individual they said, "Well this is my first time back at the gym in five years. I am so out of shape and fat". Immediately my after-Zumba®-high fell to the floor. I felt crushed that this member was measuring themselves by their past. What I was focused on was that this member was mindful, present and literally kicked butt for an hour of a killer sweatfest. Most importantly, they made the decision that TODAY would be the day they would try again on their fitness journey and that takes a lot of determination and courage. 

I felt honored that my class was the one they chose, probably by chance but at any rate, I had the opportunity to inspire someone else, and let's face it, that is why we do what we do. I encourage you to not only teach the class your songs and your routines, but help people be the best version of themselves. Help people see the positives in each of their experiences. Remind participants that they should be proud of the work they put in and not linger on the past or failures. At the end of the day, the present day is what truly matters. Let's spread physical fitness, positive vibes and kindness.