Friends, I want to share something with you that I literally didn’t tell anyone about before doing it: I got certified to become a Zumba Instructor!
Ahhhh, it feels so good to say out loud/write publicly. Let me explain: I love to dance. It’s something I do all the time and it makes me genuinely happy. When I was little I was always ecstatic to be in recitals and the only reason I stopped was because when we moved to the U.S. my parents didn’t know where to take me and I was going through a lot with the move, so I stopped… but since a very young age, I’ve always wanted to do something dance related in a teaching or choreographic capacity. I didn’t know how, but ever since then, it’s been in the back of my head.
I discovered Zumba when I was 14, as I exercised to get in better shape for my 15th birthday. At the time, it was all about the at-home DVDs, so I envisioned myself being on video one day, but that was that for the time being. Two years ago, my best friend Caro started working out consistently, and she found that she enjoyed Zumba, and she invited me to join her. I was a little unsure about going because when you mess up in your living room it’s no big deal, but going to a new class not knowing the choreo seemed daunting. I went. AND I LOVED IT! The energy of the room is so different and Zumba choreographies are designed to be easy enough to be followed along, and really all you need to do is keep moving.
A knee injury and two Fitbits later, I find myself completely obsessed with Zumba, my instructors, and the friends I’ve made in class. Its exhilarating every single time and it’s as close as I get to meditating, because my mind doesn’t shut off easy but when I focus on the music and on dancing, I can actually stop it for a while.
Counting on the fact that I have a pretty good memory for choreos and I truly enjoy this, I decided to take the next step and become certified to be an instructor. I was SUPER scared of doing this. I don’t have a fitness instructor body type and I definitely have some work to do, and I was imagining that everyone who would show up were going to be athletic stars that were going to look at me like I was out of place. That was not the case, at all. The room was a diverse mix – men, women, younger, older, very fit, not super fit, etc. Our ZES, or Zumba Education Specialist was Erick Santana. He dances incredibly well and really knows his stuff. The day was divided between dancing, learning steps, and understanding the science and process of Zumba in theory. You know how the recommended daily step count for a healthy level of activity is 10,000 steps a day? Well, we had reached that by 10:00 am. I came out of there having taken over 26,000 steps and burned off 4,000 calories. It was incredible! So much fun, so educational, and so cool to meet everyone who came to get certified, from all walks of life. We left with our virtual certificates that were e-mailed to us, and the homework to go audition for gyms and try to start subbing for classes and practice with our friends.
Let me be 100 here: I am terrified to teach. I know that one day I will, and that I will improve with time and I will get to the point where I’m really comfortable with it and love every second of it… but right now I know that I have very high standards as a student for what I look for in an instructor, and I am doubting myself on every level. I’ve gone to the front of the class a few times and I really get in my head when I’m there. As an instructor, you have to bring the energy, the steps, the music, the charisma, and be ON for an hour. I know that I can and it’s just a matter of time and practice, but I’m 100% standing in my own way until I feel a bit more ready. I always want to be honest here because I really look for that type of content in people I look up to, as it’s reassuring to know we are not alone in our struggles. So if you are doubting and kicking yourself in the butt for not doing what you want or not pursuing a dream out of fear – you’re not alone.
All I know is: my story with Zumba is just starting, and I’m looking forward to all the good times I will continue to have as a student, and all the growth and experience I will gain on the instructor side. In the meantime, here’s my instructor website where you can see some of the music I love and stay tuned for when I start subbing/teaching! Feel free to drop any advice or encouraging words below ❤