Tips for Zumba Instructors

Hi friends! IT’S FRIDAY <3 So happy to see the weekend again. What are you up to tonight?

Sorry no blog last night, but very important things were happening.


[That’s a butternut squash my nana left for me at my mom’s house. She knows me so well]

Ok, not at all, but it ended up being a very chill and relaxing night. The Pilot flew late again, so after taking Bella to the park for a nightly walk, instead of just coming home, I really felt like going to hang out with the fam. I haven’t been going over there as much since the house is farther away, and it was so nice to chat with the madre, watch X Factor, and unplug for an evening. When I went to leash Bella up to leave, she hid, per usual. She loves the madre’s.

Some recent eats:


Snacks and salad beast [with arugula, goat cheese and a leftover bean burger] taken to work

Egg-stada with 2 eggs, mustard, spinach, goat gouda




I have my gestational diabetes test this morning, so I’m off to chug the sugary orange drink, get robbed of blood and then meet a friend at Nordstrom Rack.

I’ve been enjoying a little more simple sugar this week to warm my body up for the 50g that’s coming its way…

pb cups


I’ll be back with a Family post re-cap on how it goes!

Have a fabulous Friday <3


Today’s tip: Is for fellow Zumba instructors, or those who would like to teach Zumba eventually:

I’m definitely not a Zumba pro –I’ve taught for only 3 years- and am not an educator -would LOVE to be in the future- but I receive quite a few comments and questions about tips for Zumba interviews and teaching classes. Here are some of the things that have helped me:

[Also applicable to other dance fitness classes]

1. Know your music and choreography.

This one may seem like a given, but it still shocks me to take a Zumba class and the instructor keeps going after the music has ended, or forgets their choreography. [Occasional mistakes happen –in this case, just keep going and pretend like it was nothing- but when it occurs repeatedly throughout class, it can be a major distraction and also effect the quality of the workout for the participants.

As far as the music goes, pick songs that you LOVE. These should be songs that you can rock out to in your car, and you choose to because you enjoy them so much. This will help you learn the music- especially the little extra beats or rhythm changes that can be thrown in there. If your music doesn’t pump you up, how will it pump up your class? Oh yeah- it won’t.

2. Make a playlist, but be ready to change it.

Have a playlist set and ready to go, so that you aren’t fumbling with your iPod or CDs in between songs. It will help the flow of the class so much, and this way you can plan it out so you aren’t doing the same types of rhythm in a row [3 reggaeton songs right after another can get old fast].

That being said, be ready to assess your class and change your playlist as needed. Sometimes I’ll have a group of people that can handle more intense choreography or music, while others need a more mellow class. Use the warm-up and first song (both should be fairly easy to build confidence) as an assessment point to see if your playlist will work and if you’ll need to add or skip certain songs.

3. Have fun and get excited. Make it a party!! Don’t feel like partying? Fake it ‘til you make it.

Zumba’s whole slogan is “ditch the workout, join the party.” Try to live up to that- yell, clap to the beat or shake your hips as the song is starting, make grito mexicano sounds (my personal fave), and tell them what a great job they’re doing. An easy way to get your class *into it* is to play with them. Don’t be afraid to pump and shake with a lucky person in the front row, face the class as much as possible, use facial expressions, and have fun.

Of course everyone has days where the last thing in the world they want to do is teach. Fake it. After the warmup, chances are that you’ll be good to go.

4. Focus on your own personal strengths.

Very few people are amazing at every single type of rhythm, and that’s ok. Have one that you hate or is just a weak point? Skip it. About 70% of class should be Latin-inspired beats, but there are so many out there. If you aren’t a merengue fan, choose something else. You can still keep the class authentic without using rhythms you aren’t comfortable with.

5. Dress the part.


I used to think that this wasn’t such a big deal, but have learned with time that people really like the crazy Zumba gear. The more funky colors, the better, and it helps set you apart from everyone else in class. The only bummer is that Zumba gear is kind of pricey, but with ZIN membership you get a discount – they also have pretty good sales.

When you take a dance fitness class, what makes or breaks it for you?

Never taken Zumba before? Here’s a Focus On post describing what you can expect in a class 🙂

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  1. teeny sheeny on September 14, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Hi, i go to zumb 3-4 times a week, absolutely love it, I’m doing the training course next month but am terrified of forgetting the routines, any tips on remembering them?

    • vivian on November 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      hi teeny,
      my suggestion is to practice practice practice. Just be yourself know your songs and choreo… feel the beat and you are ready to go! =) Love love zumba

      • Brenda on November 24, 2016 at 5:38 am

        I just got my Zumba license and will be teaching Zumba Gold… I usually use cds for my regular fitness classes .. I’m not sure how to make music otherwise. My question is this… how much time do you leave between songs and where do I start… I’m overwhelmed with all the cds and choreography they gave me in the class..

  2. Jeannie on September 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Hi Teeny Sheeny, I am a newly licensed instructor. I haven’t taught my first class but I will be on the 23rd. I too am very nervous and I have done routines in the class I normally attend and I must say I have already messed up a few times. The best way to help you not forget routines is to do simple moves that you can get your class and yourself to follow. I have seen some instructors that constantly switch up moves during their routine and frankly it is downright confusing. And if you mess up don’t stop just keep going. More than likely your students won’t know and when you do the routine again you can add the right moves. Teaching Zumba is not as easy as it looks and often take precision that’s mixed with dancing and fitness. I now know that even if I mess up on my first class that only gives me the window to make it better. As long as you are giving your class a workout, everyone is having fun and you bring some latin rythym with you, you should be fine. Also, don’t over practice…If you are getting frustrated then it is time to leave the song alone for a minute and next thing you know the routine will come to you! Best of luck and lots of Zumba love!

  3. Annie Cee on October 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Don’t kid yourself…some of that Zumba gear is weird. What’s with all the neon?

    • Fitnessista on October 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm

      that’s what i used to think, too. it grows on ya

  4. Megan on August 1, 2013 at 11:02 pm


    • Fitnessista on August 2, 2013 at 12:08 am


  5. Nia Maye on September 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    We’ll the first tip should’ve been KNOW HOW TO DANCE!! And secondly it’s 70% international music which includes more than Latin you can use Bhangra soca dancehall belly dancing azonto and soooo much more but being that 99% of instructors can’t dance I doubt they will use these rhythms and I guess for the most part it’s ok that y’all can’t dance because neither can the students and they can’t pin point a horrible dancer but when a student like me walks in they most def will

  6. stefania on October 11, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Hi there,
    I’m teaching zumba since july 2013 and I’ve got three community classes in the town,but is very difficoult for me to take new people.I mean my followers are some friends and some people that know me.I’ve advertised a lot and I will do some open days(free) for let the people try my zumba classes.Probably it takes time but I’m a bit worry….
    thanks for your attention

  7. Crystal on November 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

    For the 2nd to last comment, Zumba is about having fun and fitness! Not about being a perfect dancer. Some of my best instructors in the past were not wonderful dancers, but can move to the beat and bring an energy/intensity that is contagious and I’ll leave drenched! And I think they are more likely to add that fitness aspect which is so important for cardio/toning. Not perfecting a pivot turn. This is even stressed in the training. If your a great dancer, good for you and fabulous! If your someone like me with no dance experience, but love dancing and fitness intertwined and give it the best shot like the majority of us out there, then even better for us because we learn and grow as we go along and we have an awesome time doing it! Zumba was not created for professional dancers to show up one another or perfect their form/choreo, it’s about everyone coming together as one for fun fitness with no judgement and learning from one another. If I wanted to be a professional dancer, I would take dance classes, not Zumba. Because I love fabulous music and fitness, Zumba will always be a passion of mine…..and it was created for everybody! I am a new instructor myself and hope I can be inspiring and continue to be dedicated for years. It’s a lot of work for little pay most of the time, but definitely worth it! Zumba love to all of y’all!! 🙂

  8. Eric Aglia on September 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Great advice Gina!!!

    I think ZES may be in your future:)

    • Fitnessista on September 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      DUDE. what a compliment! i WISH 🙂 miss you guys! (missed you at idea this year too!)

  9. Gregory Horne on December 30, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I got certified in zumba like 2 weeks ago. And I’m going to start subing. Like next year in January. I’m joining g Zin this week. What website could you find Zumba playlist at . Sincerely Gregory Horne !

  10. John on August 6, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I’ve tried a few times now to teach a few songs. I feel I’m terrible at it, mentor teachers that let do my songs keep telling me to listen to the music but I think i am. They look so good at it, I look like kid trying to make it make sense. I want to teach pretty badly, but I just can’t do it. My choreo is from ZIN, but it looks terrible and I forget a lot. It’s not bad after i practice at home but in class I forget a ton. Is there a class for teachers to get much better at teaching? I already took B1 and Aqua.

    • Stepper on September 13, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      Pro Skills is a great one to take if your goal is to be a better instructor! You learn how to cue, the balance between performing and instructing, how to let your personality shine through. Pretty great training!

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