This blog started as a post on my Cohort SP team. Beyone the first paragraph is all new.
I am now officially trained as a Zumba instructor (took the training in May) AND a YMCA group fitness instructor (took the training last weekend). I'm really excited. I can now substitute for the Zumba instructors at the Y...if my Y manager agrees to hire me as a sub. I've been keeping her up to date along the way, and she hasn't DIScouraged me, so I hope she'll take me on. Even if she doesn't, I'm sure someone will. Please read my most recent blog for more details.
Our major assignment for the weekend was to choreograph a song (they gave us the song) using an exercise band. In Zumba, we don't use bands, and the song was more disco than Latin rhythm, so I was a bit grumbly and nervous. After I got my complaints out, I decided I'd tackle the challenge with Spark and Zumba spirit. OK, it's a challenge. I've had challenges before...I can do this. So I tried to figure out a way to bring Zumba to disco music with an exercise band. I used the skills of breaking music down that I learned in Zumba training, figured out which Zumba and basic warmup footwork I could incorporate, and decided I'd have FUN with it. (Afterall, one of Zumba's mottos is "Ditch the workout, join the party!") So I started out with a calypso step wearing the band like a scarf (not wrapped all the way around my neck), then added some arm movements using the band as I switched up the feet. Then bicep curls and squats, the Beto shuffle (another Zumba step) and ending back in calypso. At least that's what I was supposed to have done. I blanked out the first time I led the smaller group of 12, so we did WAY more squats than I had intended. But I thought I at least kept with the rhythm and faked it well. My evaluation came back and the instructors said they wanted me to do it again in front of the larger group. They had told us earlier that this would be a possibility for some of us, but I was REALLY disappointed. I hated that stupid exercise band, and I wanted to be rid of it. I know I hadn't done my best since I blanked out on the choreography, but to say that I didn't get phrasing was rather insulting I thought. I've been a musician all my life and I KNOW I'm a good dancer...which you can't be if you don't have rhythm.
So I picked myself up, talked to myself and just said, "OK, Amy, you've come this far, are you going to give up now? Get over the disappointment, learn your routine SOLID, and rock it in front of the big group."
I already had my Zumba look going with my Zumba workout shirt and bright bandana, so that helped me bring my Zumba enthusiasm to the instructor's platform. I had worked to memorize the order of feet and arm switches and prayed I wouldn't get mixed up by anyone else's choreography to the same song. I started out by welcoming everyone to the ZUMBA class (so there was no question that this wasn't going to be the standard workout with a band routine) and going over some steps that weren't familiar to anyone who hadn't been to Zumba. This was a suggestion from the earlier, smaller class time. Anyway, I think I can safely say I rocked it. The instructors came up and talked with me afterwards, saying they thought I did a great job. They appreciated that I took the feedback and acted on it. I asked, "So does this mean I passed?" And they say, "Yes. Absolutely."
Then after a weekend of instructional and PRACTICAL fitness classwork, I was scheduled to teach my first Zumba class at the college where I work. July is "Win It With Your Minutes" fitness awareness month. I got this great idea and worked it out with a friend to offer three free Zumba classes to people who were interested in trying it this month. So Monday was the first one. I had four students and only one had a strong dancing background. It's a whole lot different on the other side of the room. I teach college courses, but I was more nervous about this than I have been in a LONG time with those classes. And going for an HOUR was a challenge, too. I'm pretty sure we'll have more people in the class this week, so I REALLY want to do better this coming week. I'm just grateful for this opportunity to have some people to teach for free...I would have felt horrible charging people for what I did last week.
Just think. 18 months ago, I was a couch potato. Today I'm a trained group fitness and Zumba instructor. Have I always moved steadily forward? No. As a matter of fact, I need to find my tape measure to see if the weight I've gained lately is muscle or fat. But I AM persistent, and even though I may be lax on what I'm eating and I haven't been hitting the weights like I need to, I've got this cardio thing down. I've drunk the Zumba Kool-aid and it's mighty tasty!