Reader Request: Is ZIN worth it?

exploring the costs and benefits of ZIN membership for Zumba Instructors

Of the emails I receive, 3 topics are the most popular:

-health and wellness

-military life (dealing with deployments, moving, making friends, etc)

and

ZUMBA!

Quite a few people have asked about the Zumba licensing process, if ZIN is worth it and what to expect, so I thought it would be a fun post for any future Zumba instructors out there.

A Little About Zumba Instructor Training

So here’s the down low:

Zumba is a licensing process, which means that you get your Zumba license and can teach under the Zumba name. It’s not a certification, which honestly, is kind of a drag because there’s no way to filter out the nuts, and the gym where you’d like teach also has to have Zumba licensing permission to call it “Zumba.” (Any gym managers out there know what the process is like?) If they don’t, you have to call it something else, which is why you see a lot of “salsa heat” and “latin cardio” classes out there, which are very similar.

MY OTHER VIDEOS

There are quite a few types of Zumba licenses you can get (B1, B2, Aqua Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Toning, Zumbatonic etc), but you’ll usually want to start with B1. It’s the basic license, and is an all-day thing. The best part (for me) about getting B1 was the 2-hour Master class before all of the educational part began. It was such a giant party, the instructor was INSANE and made me so excited about the rest of the day. After that, we had lectures and went over the different steps for each dance, practiced coming up with choreography and called it a day.

Here’s what a Master class looks like:

During the day, we also had the opportunity to buy Zumba gear (which at the time, I thought was clown clothing. Now I’m happy to clown it up) and sign up for ZIN.

What is ZIN?

ZIN = Zumba Instructor Network. It’s provided by the Zumba company to kind of create a “standard” for classes and give you new options for music and choreography. It’s $30 per month (automatically drafted out of your bank account) and each month you have something to look forward to: either a Mega Mix CD (no choreography) or a CD and DVD combo pack (with two choreography options: a one-on-one break down and a live class setting. Two different dances for each song, so you can pick what you like or mix and match).

Top Benefits of Being a ZIN Member

-With ZIN, you keep your license indefinitely as long as you’re paying each month. Without ZIN, you have to re-license in a year to keep teaching (which is $200 + ). 

-With ZIN, you also get a discount on Zumba gear (CDs, accessories, clothes, DVDs and shoes) and future training (if you want to attend B1, Zumba Gold, or other workshops). There are also message boards, promotional materials (you can make your own posters and business cards) and choreography notes available through ZIN. 

Is ZIN Worth It?

For me, I can’t preach the awesomeness of ZIN enough. I always look forward to the DVD combo pack or Mega Mix CD, even if I can’t use any songs for that month. Sometimes they’re not very good, other times they’re AMAZING. It helps inspire me with new music and choreography, and I also like the discount on Zumba clothes. Once you get started, it’s kind of addicting. At work, we team-teach Zumba (there are two of us and each person will do two songs while the other shows low-impact modifications and we switch), and we’ll always ask each other “ok, what are you wearing today??”

We also like crazy hair 😉

Crazy hair for teaching Zumba

ZIN was also extremely helpful for me when I first started teaching and wasn’t sure of what moves to do with each type of rhythm. Now, thanks to ZIN, I can easily determine what the rhythm is when I hear a Latin song and know what moves would go with it. 

When ZIN Might Not Be Worth the Cost

If you’re not going to be teaching very often. $30 is a decent amount of month to pay each month (it adds up over the year!) and if it’s more than you’ll be making teaching one class per week, it might be something worth waiting for. Or you can always try it for a couple of months and cancel if you decide it’s too much. 

I hope this was helpful for anyone who is considering getting their Zumba license or debating signing up for ZIN!

All about Zumba

Check out Zumba.com for instructor training

Do you like dance cardio? If you could teach any group fitness class what would you choose?

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60 Comments

  1. Haley on June 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Thanks so much!! I went to a Master class a couple of months ago to receive my certificate! I can not wait to take the time to choreograph. I’m still having a tough time distinguishing rhythms! I may have to become a ZIN member now!

  2. Brittany on June 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Going back to Zumba for the first time in weeks tonight. I am so excited!!!!!!!! I have missed it so much!

  3. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on June 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I knew about zero about the licensing side of Zumba before this post. Really interesting!

  4. Suzanne on June 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I teach BodyCombat, a Les Mills cardio martial arts class. Les Mills has a similar licensing program. Once you take a weekend long training, though, you have a team teaching period, and then have to submit a video of yourself teaching a class to be assessed before you can be cleared to teach on your own. I pay for DVDs, too, except our releases come every three months so it’s a little cheaper. I love taking Zumba, but like you said, it’s a little hard to weed out the bad teachers. I want to start teaching BodyStep next!

  5. Aundra Weissert @ Fit for Life on June 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for posting! I’m ZIN, too, and thought about giving it up. I’m moving more toward Powder Blue Productions (PiYo Strength and Turbo Kick) classes, but ultimately, I don’t think I’ll be able to leave the ZIN program just yet!

    Do you ever poke around on the Forum? I had to stop…there’s so much negativity out there! I’d rather play with ZINs on twitter, where they’re more likely to post positive things about the Zumba Fitness program.

  6. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on June 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    thanks so much! i’ve actually debated getting my license!

    • Monisha on June 28, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Hi,

      Pls help…

      I cancelled my Zin membership long back and I want to renew it now but don’t want to do the same b1 training again…in that case can I go for b2 or Zumba step training to renew my Zin???

      Pls advise

      • Paulene on August 6, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        you have to take B1. Sorry, but there are always updated information, so worth taking it.

  7. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats on June 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    That is one thing about zumba instructors, I’ve gotten some amazing ones and some… not so amazing ones. But I think it’s so fun! If I could teach any class it would probably be a body-pump type class, or Jazzercise! I love jazzercise…

  8. Kelly @ My love affair with running on June 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I prefer the more sport-inspired cardio classes like body attack. I tried Zumba one and requires way too much coordination for me! Hopefuly I was just having a bad day.. Will need to try it again before I close that book completely :p

  9. chrissy on June 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    lol, when i quit the 9-5, actually, the 7-8 on most days i daydreamt about opening up a women’s zumba studio similar to curves, but more sexy;) i checked out ZIN and it looked like fun, i realized i just wanted jazzed up zumba (the instructors my gym had at the time were majorly SUCKING! like overweight women who had to stop for seconds at a time to be able to go onto to the next slow paced song, OMG AWFUL) and not a full-on business. those zumba conventions look LIKE SO MUCH FUN!!!! i mean, pitbull was at the zumba convention last year! PITBULL!! and BETO!! i haven’t joined ZIN yet, but i have taken classes in Puerto Rico, Miami, and Mexico City which certainly jazzes things up:) for some reason, male zumba instructors aren’t as common in Chicagoland but they are in “latin” countries???

  10. Steph @ Upbeat Eats on June 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Very helpful! My absolute DREAM is to teach Hip Hop classes. For now, I’m just a loyal student! 🙂

  11. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on June 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    This made me want to go to a Zumba class right now!! I love how fun Zumba is!

  12. Ali @ Peaches and Football on June 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I’ve always been a fan of step aerobics but that doesn’t seem to be popular or offered much anymore. I tried a Zumba Gold class at work but it was sitting on a chair and seemed really odd, I think I would get a better workout standing up…

  13. Jess on June 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Teaching Zumba sounds like such a blast! Love the clothes! How many excuses do you have in life to dress in crazy bright colors and dance! 🙂

  14. Ali on June 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Zumba is the one class I’ve loved enough to consider getting licensed/teaching. Thanks for this post.

  15. Sara on June 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    My roommate just got certified for Zumba and we had a blast going over the DVDs she got! If I could teach anything, it definitely would be a Bodypump / Group Power class. I love weight lifting and have been talking to my class teacher about getting certified. Hopefully it’s in my future : )

  16. Annette @ FitnessPerks on June 26, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I LOVE being a part of ZIN! You’re so right-sometimes it’s good, sometimes the moves/music are not good, but the good outweighs the bad 😉 LOVE being a Zumba instructor. Such a huge love of mine! YAY-great post!!

  17. @pluvk on June 27, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Great post! Zumba is one type of exercise I haven’t tried yet, but I definitely want to!

  18. Bella on June 27, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Great info! I have a long way to go, but one of my “fitness bucket list” hopes is to become a Zumba instructor someday. I take the classes fairly regularly now, but am in no way a master at it…yet. I love the energy I find in all the Zumba classes I take – they seem to have that in common.

  19. marinka on June 27, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Thanks so much for this zin post!! I’m considering really seriously to become a zumba instructor! I’m just not sure would I have all the necessary time to do it. I have a full time job, a baby and now another job,+ studying…so it’s really hectic…I’m interested to know if I would let’s say teach 2 times a week, how much work would I need to do at home(choreographing and rest).My instructor says she practises every day at least an hour + hours you tube-watching,music…and she’s a professional ballerina…and she(and her classes which are super super intense and awsome-like no easy songs at all except the stretching:))So I would obviously want to have great classes I just can’t imagine how much time would I need daily and would I be able to do it…Cause if I end up paying a lot of money and then realise I’m not able to do it(having the time for it)…Ah, can’t decide….:)

    • Sara on June 27, 2012 at 10:17 am

      No way do I spend an hour a day. I did the first few weeks to get ready for my first class, but I spend a lot less than that now. I have only taught 9 classes, and I teach on the weekends because I work full-time during the week. Friday nights I always run through my routine half effort to make sure its in my brain. During the week while I am at work or driving I will listen to any new songs. On Thursday nights I will watch the song I am adding on the DVD a few times and run through it a few times. I only add one or two new songs for each weekend. Remember – you have to know the song so well that you are sick of it because you have to cue your students before that part of the music comes on. You have to know the order of the song by memory.

  20. Beks on June 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I love Zumba. I haven’t been in months because I couldn’t afford it (The place I went had a $5/class option, but it adds up, and I wasn’t going enough to justify the $80/month option). I should really go back sometime soon. It was so much fun!

  21. Sara on June 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I have a few comments to make: There are a lot of people not paying their ZIN membership, and after their year of licensing is up, they are still teaching. If you are not paying your ZIN, you shouldn’t be teaching. If you are a participant, please go to zumba.com and MAKE SURE the instructor you are going to is on the list of “Find an Instructor.” If they are not, don’t give them your money. Also – your Zumba instructor should be doing at the minimum, 70% Latin rhythms, and up to 30% not. Not includes many pitbull songs, songs on the radio, and some Shakira songs, etc. Just because they are Latin artists doesn’t mean it is a Latin rhythm. If the instructor you go to is not following this, you should report them on the zumba.com website.

    • Lee Hopley on December 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      I agree that for an instructor to keep teaching Zumba when his/her license has expired is wrong, very wrong.

      As for the music…are you part of the Music Police? Really, I would not get my nose out of joint because an instructor threw in a great song that wasn’t totally Latin. Report an instructor for THAT? My biggest disappointment with Zumba is that there are no qualifications you need to teach. The unsafe instructor is allowed to continue.

      And, CPR training is not required either. Neither is any sort of certification by fitness organizations like ACE, AFAA, or ASCM.

      The unsafe instructors and lack of knowledge are a far bigger problem than some instructor not following the 70/30 formula!

      And to add to that..though I am a new ZIN member, I am shocked that the website looks like it was created by a 10 yr old! I am sorely disappointed. The boards are ‘dead’ and there are NO live forums. Only reason for ZIN is to push MORE classes and products.

  22. E. on June 27, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Clubs do not need a separate license to advertise that they offer Zumba ® or to put a Zumba ® class on their schedule AS LONG AS the class is taught by a licensed ZIN™ (unlike Les Mills which requires both individual instructors AND the gym to have a license fee). It may be better to check out the license/trademark guidelines directly from Zumba.com as they do change periodically. http://www.zumba.com/trademark/

  23. Jessica on June 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Totally thought you were talking wine…like red ZIN or white ZIN. Ha!

    • Fitnessista on June 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      in those cases, it’s always worth it 😉

  24. Liz @ Southern Charm on June 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I just started getting in to Zumba, and so far, I absolutely LOVE it!! I would love to teach either a Zumba, Barre, Pilates and/or strength endurance or circuit type class. Ok, fine. There are a million group fitness classes I’m interested in teaching!!

  25. Melissa on June 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    I love Zumba so much but my gym changed all the times and now it’s so inconvenient to go. You are making me miss it even more.

  26. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on June 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I’m totally on board with you. While they sometimes suck it’s worth it to me for the music and to not have to worry about my licenses (I have them all except Sentao) expiring.

    I feel this is the time to say that I have this longing dream that someday a bunch of us bloggers that are ZIN arrange to do a big ole master class at one of the blogging conventions. Wouldn’t that be AWESOME!?!

  27. Kelly on June 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I love ZIN. So worth it. I also am a huge fan of jam™ sessions with Zumba Jammers. Love the choreo and info! Do you go to Jams? Was your ZES For b1 Tanya?

    • Fitnessista on June 29, 2012 at 12:14 am

      no i WISH i could have had tanya! i had jani roberts and she was fantastic, though
      from what i’ve heard, the jams here aren’t too great :/

  28. Adrika Chakraborty on June 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Gina. I’m quite new to the blog world, and let me just say, I ADORE your blog 🙂 One question I had about zumba is, how old do you have to be to participate in a class? Thanks and love ya <3

    • Fitnessista on June 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      it depends on the gym- some gyms offer zumbatomic classes for kids, too!

      • Fitnessista on June 29, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        can’t wait to check out your blog, and thank you for reading mine 🙂
        xoxo

  29. Eva @ Committed2Nutrition on July 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Hey Gina! I found your blog through Danielle @Clean Food Creative Fitness. LOVE IT!! I am also a Zumba Instructor and love ALL THINGS Zumba!! This was a great post and very-well explained. I absolutely recommend ZIN.. Sometimes I don’t use any of the songs from the DVD’s, but it is nice to just have those options. Plus, most places I teach at require me to be a ZIN. Now going to go read more of your awesome posts 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

      thank you, eva! so nice to meet you 🙂
      thank you for checking out my blog <3 hope to see you around here more often!
      xoxo

  30. Liz Romero on August 15, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    Hi! Great article. I, like many, am considering becoming a Zumba instructor. My question is, say your year is up after you’ve completed your initial training,and you’re paying your ZIN membership to retain your licensing…and you stop paying your membership (my reason would be because my husband is in the military and it usually takes us 2-3 months to relocate and settle), would you have to re-certify after not paying for a few months or can you you just cotinue paying without having to recertify?

    • Fitnessista on August 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      no, i’m pretty sure you would have to re-certify :/

  31. Lauren on August 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Hey Gina, could you tell me the name of the first song in your recital routine?! I keep hearing it everywhere, but Shazaam isn’t working for me and I can’t quite figure out the lyrics to google. Thanks!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      “bomba” -it’s a zin song

  32. gabicka on August 22, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I have a passion for dance and ball room dancing experience from Europe growing up. I love Zumba and I think it would be good fit for me to teach. I am thinking to get certification next coming month, but my gym where I go to has enough Zumba instructors and they offered me to sub or teach in rotation, maybe 1 a month. I don’t know if it is worth it do go for it. I am sure I will need practice teaching to get me up to speed after the certification. How do you look for jobs ? Is there available any choreography on DVD to help get started ?

  33. Laura on December 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I have been an instructor for a few months now but opted not to get ZIN because I actually really like making up my own choreography. I decided that if I got it, I would right before my year expired to save some money. However, I keep hearing about this clothing discount but no where can I find out exactly what the discount is. I am interested because I do buy quite a bit of clothing so might be worth it. 🙂 Can you share?

  34. Jamie Boyd on January 10, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Can anyone that is a ZIN member tell me what kind of discount you receive on Zumba gear? Is it a set percentage off, or is it just different lower ZIN prices on each item that kind of vary?

    • Fitnessista on January 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

      i think it’s 25% but not positive.

  35. Daffnee Cohen on June 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    What if you cancel it and then renew ZIN? If you cancel at all, are you required to re-certify the original way? I just don’t want it throughout the entire year. I guess I’m wondering if I can cancel and then reactivate…

  36. NIKKI on August 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Hello,
    I found this very interesting. I am getting my zumba certification this week and I have a place to teach my classes but I am extremly nervous!! Any pointers on what to expect on day one on my own as an instructor

  37. Kimabell on October 22, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I have been taking Zumba Classes for the past 9 months and I live and breathe it now. I danced when I was a child right up to 16 then stopped as I wanted to hang out with other teenagers. Zumba has allowed me to find my love of dance again. I work shifts so take classes in various locations within my city, some instructors are amazing making me instantly jealous, but some am sorry to say need to improve. Those instructors do moves half-hearted and it annoys me because I am trying to commit. I have a secret dream to teach one day, am constantly you tubing videos and have 5 Zumba dvds. I also attended a Part Pink Zumbathon and had a blast. Fingers crossed one day I will be living my zumba dream and delivery a good quality class.

  38. Zumbapattypatty on October 16, 2014 at 7:14 am

    The price has gone up to be a ZIN. I’ve been one since 2009, so I get mine for a little break. They said it is because we now have a warm-up section.

    • Fitnessista on October 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      i noticed that! i’ve been a member since 2008, so thankfully i’m still paying the lower rate. crazy!

  39. Anon on November 14, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I think that there is some misinformation in this post. Buried very, very deep in the fine print is this info:
    “•Instructor may cancel this Agreement and its membership in ZIN at any time after the Initial Term. If Instructor
    cancels his/her ZIN membership prior to expiration of the Initial Term, Instructor shall pay a termination fee equal to US
    $10.00 for each month remaining in the initial term of six (6) months. For example, if the ZIN membership is cancelled
    after two (2) months, Instructor shall pay Zumba a termination fee equal to US $40.00.” So you can’t really just try it out for a month or two without facing cancelation fees, as I understand it.

  40. Cydne on November 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Among is correct, currently there is a minimum of six months if you sign up for zin. Once you do, there is a ton of bonus material on the website available to you (music, videos, choreo, playlists), so you can definitely make it worth the money if you use it.

    Answers to other questions asked above: you do get a set of music and dvds when you take the Zumba certification class so that you can practice at home. There is also a manual (downloadable) that goes through class structure, choreography, playlist structure, 4 basic Latin styles used in class, and other really useful info. I have been teaching dance for years and still found this info comparable to what I got in a semester-long college course.

    You can cancel zin or choose not to join it during your first year after training, as long as you join before your year is up. If you let it lapse before joining zin, you have to re-certify.

    Clothing discount is typically 20 off or a little more, even off sale prices.

  41. Kellea Tibbs on December 5, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Thanks so much for this. It’s a great resource and answers a lot of questions. I’m definitely aiming to get my Zumba license in spring 2015.

  42. Kim Barnes on March 18, 2015 at 5:46 am

    BUYER BEWARE: Although I believe it was true at the time of this article, Zumba had revamped the ZIN contract for their own benefit. Although you used to be able to continue teaching and had to recertify within 1 year, canceling your membership now CANCELS YOUR CERTIFICATION WITHIN THE MONTH OF LAST PAYMENT.

    As a part time instructor who has been barely making enough to cover costs, I was hoping to save enough on stopping ZIN payments to take a specialty training within the year. I was certified in May 2009, took B2 training in 2010, & have been a ZIN member for over 5 years. When I told the customer service rep my plan, she informed me not only will I not be able to take a specialty training without first taking B1 again, I also must stop teaching Zumba at the end of my last paid month. I was and am very disappointed, I love teaching Zumba, but financially it has not been worth it for a long time.

    I told her to cancel me, but refused to go through their clear sales pitch. When she still continued, I told her to cancel my membership and that I was going to hang up now. So I received a voicemail saying I needed to call back and complete my ‘inquiry’. I did, restated to a different rep that I cancelled the first time I called, this was my second call, and considered my membership cancelled. I have since recieved 3 more voicemails and an email thanking me for my ‘inquiry’ and to call back to finish my ‘request’. I don’t consider 2 phone calls clearly stating my decision a request. I’ve put a stop payment on the auto deduct. Good luck ZIN members, play the game their way and you may not get harassed.

    • Caro on March 31, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Thanks for this solid reality check. I’ve read some pretty lousy reviews on ZIN and am scared to get sucked down its money hole. Even if I can barely do anything with my B1 licensing sans ZIN, I’ll be happier than having the entire process soured by having to fight with Zumba to get money back or get out of the membership. My intention was to do B1 followed by a Zumba Kids training, but I realize you have to do ZIN to do the kids class and arrrghhh…

      It really sucks the joy outta the whole process. Jeeze, and not even a week trial or something, like Netflix? BollyX gives you a free month of their version of ZIN after you take their class.

    • Nik on November 16, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      thank you for this comment this is what I am worried about and this is the main reason I am not teaching Zumba anymore despite my love of it. This whole thing is pushing away the passionate instructors who are creative enough to create their own choreography away just because we can’t teach enough classes to financially remain a ZIN member. Very disappointed.

  43. Jenn on March 19, 2015 at 5:37 am

    I’ve been thinking about becoming a zumba teacher too! seems there’s a lot of us around. I’ve done salsa dancing for years and enjoy attending zumba classes, though I do think I could do better than some teachers! Although, like some of you I have a full time job and am trying to see whether the costs of taking the course and the monthly £30 Zin membership would be worth it, if I were only to do say one or two classes a week. Plus, if I were to rent out a town hall or perhaps it’d be best to try get job at the gym? And how much time it would take during the week to prepare. Though the more you do the easier choreo will become. It’s been interesting to read some of your experiences and similar dilemmas. Any advise would be welcomed! Thanks.

  44. Shivam Tripathi on August 24, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Questions –

    1. What is the advantages of JAM session(s) once I become ZIN. DO I get some money OR it will go to ZUMBA group since I think all the money needs to pay directly to Zumba site. Right?

    2. I had taken ZIN member ship two month ago but other then the DVD’s I got during my B1 certification nothing been received so far, then what is $30 is charged for other the ‘ retaining’ the licence.

  45. Larissa Kennedy on October 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

    The certification I plan on taking is called “Jump Start Gold Training”. My question is, can I receive my certification from that if I’ve never been to a B1 training (or any other training for that matter)? It’s made to sound like it’s for beginning instructors but I just want to be sure.

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