My Zumba story

After the ZIN Jam session on Saturday, Eric stopped to give us some tips about our classes. He gave some awesome advice -especially the fact that you don’t have to be a Zumba Jammer to host your own Master class- and also told us his family’s Zumba story.

While it’s not really the place to post the details – I looked online and couldn’t find it published, so I’m going to just hold onto this one- it definitely made me think about the fact that everyone has their own personal fitness story, whether it’s Zumba or another type of activity that they love.

I’ve tried a lot of workout formats throughout the years, and while I have my favorites (spin, yoga, strength and any dance cardio classes will always be up there), Zumba has always had my heart. I think it has a lot to do with the facts that it came to me at a turning point in my life and brought me back to “home” in so many ways.

Insert cheesy hair-flippage pic here:

DSC 0046

When I first found out about Zumba, we were living in Valdosta and visiting family in Orlando. I took my cousins’ favorite Zumba class, and even though I had no clue what I was doing (the instructor was shaking body parts I didn’t even know I had), I was hooked. I had been teaching fitness classes (step and spin) in Valdosta, but there was a deployment looming and I was just starting to feel really homesick. I still wasn’t too familiar with Valdosta, missed my family more than anything, and even though I was fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends, I knew it would be challenging to spend a deployment alone, away from my family.


For that second deployment, I debated coming back to Tucson, and my friend Renee talked me out of it. She told me that I wouldn’t always have the chance to run home, that eventually we’d have kids and I’d have to know how to be strong for their sake, and that I’d have a lot of fun with my friends. She was right on all counts. (It’s good to have friends who will give you a kick in the pants when you need it.) The deployment was hard, as all deployments are, but I used that time to enjoy the company of amazing friends, work on the blog, and teach fitness classes. With everything I did, and how much I loved it all, I really put my heart and soul into Zumba. I was SO nervous before my first class (and to be honest, it sucked), but by the time we moved, I had over 50 shaking and screaming participants packed into a racquetball court turned aerobics room at the base gym.

Zumba gave me back a little piece of the things I’d missed so dearly: dance, my dance friends, and the Latin rhythms that I grew up with. By having the chance to hear Latin music (especially salsa), it kind of made it feel like my family was close by, even though they were across the country. Teaching Zumba, I was surrounded by inspiration and success stories. Women who just had kids, who had never worked out, finding their fitness passion; active duty military, dancing at the end of their workday; a woman who used Zumba in addition to therapy for depression, because she said it made her so happy to dance; the little toddler who came with her mom to class and knew all of the moves.

Jam session

Teaching fitness taught me a new level of compassion and empathy, because you never know what your participants are going through, or what their personal battles are. Before one class, a frequent Zumbie, who had always been so quiet, told me that she loved Zumba because her family lived in Colombia. Living far away from family was something that we shared, and if she wouldn’t have told me, I’d have no idea; I would just think of her as the cute, quiet girl who took my class.

Everyone has a story about what brought them to their fitness passion- I’d love to be able to hear and/or share some of yours.

Please hit me up in the comments, or if you’d like yours to be featured, send me an email (fitnessista at gmail dot com, subject: my fitness story). It can be about anything you love: yoga, strength training, spin, ping pong, you name it. There’s a reason WHY you love the activities you love, it’s just a matter of acknowledging it and writing it down πŸ™‚ If you’d like me to share yours anonymously, that’s totally cool, too.

I can’t wait to read <3




Focus on: Zumba

Zumba with me!

Is ZIN worth it?

Tips for Zumba instructors



Post Navigation:


  1. Amanda, RD- The Nutritionist Reviews on January 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Love the picture of you dancing! Cute.

  2. Eva @ Committed2Nutrition on January 21, 2013 at 11:18 am

    This post hits so close to home for me, too. I also teach Zumba and it has changed my life in ways I never thought possible, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I put my heart and soul into it as well, and it shows. Like you, it was just what I needed in my life when I got licensed to teach 2 years ago. It pulled me out of a bad relationship and pushed me to work so hard in ways I didn’t think I could! Plus, I am able to DANCE (grew up as a dancer) and shake it latina style.. I swear I was latina in a past life! ALL THE WHILE, helping OTHER people get into shape. I just can’t even express how much it means to me and it’s something I could NEVER give up. Not to mention, my body has never looked this good, and zumba is the ONLY thing I do! I loved reading your story and LOVE that Zumba is the class you teach that has your heart. One day we will have to do a Master Class together πŸ˜‰

  3. Lisa on January 21, 2013 at 11:35 am

    This is a cute post. And a great story. I’ve never actually tried zumba. I’m very dance challenged, but I feel like everyone can relate and find an exercise that truly makes them happy and can be life changing!

  4. Emily on January 21, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I sent ya an email πŸ™‚ Love this post!

  5. Fel on January 21, 2013 at 11:46 am

    i love this story! it’s so amazing how you loving to do something helps and affects so many other people. i am still dying to try it–i have to! do you happen to know if there are any really good online zumba workouts that would be good to try? xx fel

  6. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on January 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Definitely a cute post! I’ve only tried Zumba a handful of times, but I’d be up for going again if it was offered near me.

  7. Kate on January 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Running! The sport that I think people either love or loathe.
    I found running almost 3 years ago, after a very painful end to a super short marriage. It literally almost broke me.
    I craved the time on the road, to focus my energy on something other than my pain. I could feel the discomfort in my legs, rather than the pain in my heart. And I could think about everything and attempt to solve all my life issues, or simply zone out and forget about life for a while. It was like the perfect therapy for me. Admittedly now, three years later, I think running saved me, or it helped me save myself.
    Now, 3 years later, I have completed countless 5Ks and 10Ks, eight half marathons (improving my time PR by over 28 minutes) and my first full marathon. I am happier than I have ever been, in better shape than ever, and am planning my wedding to the man of my dreams in June.
    How something so simple like moving your feet can change your life! πŸ™‚

  8. Paige @ Your Trainer Paige on January 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    You can definitely tell zumba is your passion! You really shine when talking (or teaching) it.
    I love a good spin class, and will always love the weights.

  9. Kay on January 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I love me some Zumba-I danced in college and fell in love with it, but dance classes on the regular just don’t work with my schedule all the time, whereas my gym has Zumba just about every day.

    I was wondering if you posted at all on Zumba during pregnancy? Like if there were modifications that you did and such? I’m 19 weeks, and I’m just not sure if there are things I should be doing differently because of the little girl in my belly. My doctor is awesome, but a 50ish dude, so he’s been mostly like “do whatever feels good” and I don’t think he has a clue what Zumba is πŸ™‚

  10. Danielle on January 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    What a fun concept. Zumba has brought dance back into my life too and I couldn’t be happier. I love it!

  11. Camille on January 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    For me it’s running! It’s so liberating and helps me declutter my head πŸ™‚ I’ve tried Zumba before and liked it. But I think classes change a lot depending on the teacher (like any class) and you have to find one that suits you. Just moving in general feels great πŸ™‚

  12. Fionnuala on January 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    One of my favorite posts!

  13. Cai on January 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    I actually took my very first Zumba class today!!
    I had always been curious at my gym, but never brave enough to try. I like other group classes, like yoga and spin, but I’m a TERRIBLE dancer (super white girl, right here!). One of my good friends from school recently joined my gym, and we went together. As expected, I was no good (haha), but it was an absolute BLAST, and I’ll definitely be going back! πŸ™‚

  14. Ilane on January 21, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    You rock!!!

  15. Joyce on January 21, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Dancing is definitely an activity I enjoy. Consumes 70% of my efforts in life up till now.

    I never fully engulfed myself in dancing until about 3 years ago when I joined a hip hop dance company in Markham, Toronto. But up till then I had done ballet and jazz for a couple of years but nothing to love because it was my mother who had signed me up. Now that I am grown up and my own decisions, I think the reason I stick with dance is because it gives me the confidence that I am good at something and I can be even better with practice. It only gets better from here! Also the community of dancers is amazing! I love how we support each other, whether it be teaching a dance step or sharing youtube videos; its all in the purpose of growth and development. And of course, a big plus, is when you get gigs, they pay you! And how much better can it get to get for something you love to do?

    I will probably be dancing the rest of my life. I hope to get into ballroom dancing later on, especially latin dancing!!! πŸ˜‰ Which is closely related to Zumba! haha I also really love cardio dance classes at the fitness centres πŸ™‚

    Thank you for letting me share my story πŸ™‚

  16. Naomi on January 22, 2013 at 12:23 am

    I love Zumba too! I don’t have a story like yours, but I took it as a J-term class my sophomore year of college and loved it. It was a party and didn’t even feel like a workout. To this day, it is the only workout I will happily wake up early for πŸ™‚

  17. Mandi on January 22, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I grew up dancing so it’s always been one of my fitness loves. My sister and I started going to a class together and it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the week. I work in a hair salon and can’t keep anything to myself. Soon after I started going to Zumba some of my co-workers came to check it out. One co-worker has completely fallen in love and her new nickname is the “Zumba Queen”. She has lost an amazing amount of weight and made a new group of friends. She’s always been a happy person but now she radiates happiness and inspires women on a daily basis to fall in love with fitness. She even keeps our Zumba instructor’s business cards at her station to hand out.

  18. Erica June on January 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    I love this post; I think fitness can save your life more than physically. It is healing and therapeutic for me. After a hard or long day at my full-time job, getting to rock out and teach a class with my favorite faces is more than a calorie burn. It changes my perspective and adjusts my attitude! <3

  19. brown_organics on January 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I tried Zumba once and I just felt like I could never keep up!
    Your love for Zumba shines through and I think I am going to try it again!

    <3 K

  20. Jessica on January 23, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    “Teaching fitness taught me a new level of compassion and empathy, because you never know what your participants are going through, or what their personal battles are.” — that is one of the best statements about teaching fitness I have ever heard. I teach spin and I totally agree with that sentiment. Thanks for your blog, always inspiring.

    • Fitnessista on January 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.