Zumba Basic Training 1

As promised, here’s a recap of how my Basic Training class went! In short: it was WONDERFUL. I had so much fun and learned a ton!

I left Winona around 7:15 (after stopping at Midtown to pick up lunch and Blooming Grounds for coffee, of course!) and arrived in La Crosse shortly after 8. After signing in, we had the chance to buy some Zumba clothes! I had heard they were going to be discounted, but unfortunately they were still very similar prices as the online store. I was hoping for a pair of cheap cargo pants – no dice here unfortunately, but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed. I did walk away with a tank top though, which I was super excited about (you’ll see why) and you can’t get it online anyway so I was pretty stoked.

The check-in table, and clothes at the far end! The woman in pink standing up is Debbie, our wonderful instructor for the day!

Our room at the UW-L Recreational Facility at the beginning of the day. Everyone’s still waking up!

We got a goodie bag when we checked in! Manual, schedule, info about ZIN, and a CD/DVD that reviews everything we learned.

My new Zumba Instructor tank top!! :) I ended up wearing this for the second half of the day.

The day started out with an introduction from Debbie and an intro demo. It was never really explained what it was other than a “You can blame Beto for this, not me! We love you Beto!” (Beto is the creator and founder of Zumba) We basically started out doing a slow merengue march, no music, but with a few different arm variations. The last one we did was called the Beto 7 – a slightly awkward combination of arm movements that looked much like the macarena. It took us all awhile to get that down, but I’ve seen variations of it used in class so I know it will probably be beneficial for us to know. After that we went right into a master class – basically just a normal Zumba class. It was a lot of fun to be doing Zumba with other future instructors – everyone was really into it, hollering and dancing and it was just so much fun. We were all sweating at the end for sure! We took a short break before sitting down and talking about Zumba – the history, the foundations, and what makes Zumba different from other fitness classes. This part was interesting for me because we also talked about some of the physiology of fitness, which is completely new for me.

After that we got up and started moving around again! We talked about how to warmup and what kind of steps to use, and how the first three songs of the class should go. We talked a lot about targeting different body parts, which again was interesting for me since I’m new to this. After that we broke down our first step – the fun and lively merengue! We’d start out with a basic move and learn how to do all kinds of variations with arms, legs, traveling, and intensity. When it comes down to it, Zumba really is based on only a few basic steps – it’s all about what you do with them and how you make them your own!

After an hour of dancing it was already noon so we took a break for lunch. I remembered I was at a Zumbathon a few weeks ago, on UW-Madison’s campus in the midst of a wellness expo. We went downstairs to find fresh fruits, veggies, subs, lots of healthy snacks, and I remember how much I craved that fruit and how good it tasted after dancing for an hour! So I made sure my lunch was healthy.

My lunch – ham and cheese on a (Bloedow’s!!) sub bun, apple, pear, granola bar, and greek yogurt for extra protein. And of course, water!

We got 45 minutes for lunch, but we let our food digest a little longer when we reconvened and talked about ZIN, the Zumba Instructor Network, and the business aspects of Zumba. You have the opportunity to join ZIN when you check in and they push it pretty hard, but don’t feel bad if you don’t want to join – they were equally as understanding that I didn’t. For $30 a month, you get music and coreography each month as well as access to online resources and the ability to do more with the Zumba name. I decided to hold off because $30/month, to me, seems a little steep when I’m not even sure when I’m going to start teaching. I’m sure I’ll join eventually – maybe even later this year! But I already feel like I have adequate music resources as well as access to a community here, so I’m going to save some money and just wait for now.

After that, we were up and moving for the rest of the afternoon. We covered three more basic steps – salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton – and did some short exercises in cueing and leading with partners and in the big group. I found the cueing exercises really helpful because I know I’m shy when it comes to that sort of thing, when in reality it’s the most important part! We learned why Zumba is so heavily nonverbal – mainly because unless you know the names of the moves, they’re impossible to call out and it’s just easier to demonstrate instead – and that there’s no one right way to cue. Obviously we can talk and explain things if we need to, but we learned if you don’t absolutely need to say something, don’t! Just move and cue early and your class should hopefully be able to follow.

We ended the day with a review of everything we learned and how to apply them to songs to teach in class. Some of us (including me, for salsa, of course!) even got to go up and co-lead part of a song. We learned 4 different moves within each of the 4 styles, so 4 of us came up for each song and were assigned a different move/number. Debbie played a minute or two of each song and when the number was called out, that’s the move that was done. Lots of fun and very helpful, since Debbie would help us with our cueing/leading while we were up there.

We also talked about song diagramming, and used one song to demonstrate how each different part of the song (intro, verse, chorus, break, etc) will usually have a different move associated with it. And, we sat down and listened to different styles of music that we learned steps for and tried to identify what they were. This entire section was undoubtedly the easiest for me, but it was still fun to go over and it was good review. Finally, at the very end, we said our goodbyes and received our certificates – making us officially licensed Zumba instructors! Plus, Debbie said my last name right on the FIRST TRY, so +100,000 kudo points to her. :)

My certificate – it’s officially official!

It was a long and tiring day, but not nearly as tiring as I expected. Breaks in between definitely helped, and the fact that I know I’m able to get through more than an hour of intense Zumba helped make it seem like the breaking down of steps wasn’t so bad, since it wasn’t constant motion. As for tips for anyone planning on taking the class… first of all, if you think you want to do it, just DO IT! Had I not received encouragement from my instructor I probably would’ve waited, or worse, never gone through with it. The expense of the training seems like a lot at first, but you have a year until your license expires, so even if you don’t start teaching right away, you still have time to prepare and decide. Of course, the sooner you start preparing the better so you don’t forget everything you learn – but luckily they send you home with a CD/DVD that reviews all the steps, so that helps, too!

Other tips include the obvious – get a good night’s rest and eat healthy! Since I was visiting friends in Winona that weekend I didn’t get much sleep the night before, nor did I eat a huge breakfast – just coffee and a granola bar (or two, don’t remember). I honestly don’t know how I made it through the whole day on 4ish hours of sleep without collapsing – pure adrenaline, I’m sure! It didn’t negatively affect me but I probably wouldn’t recommend trying it for yourself. As for breakfast, everyone’s body is different. I know if I have any food within an hour of normal Zumba classes… let’s just say it’s a bit uncomfortable. I wanted to have energy but not a full stomach, so I’d recommend a low-fiber, high-carb breakfast (or coffee! ;)). Same goes for lunch – be sure to mind your fiber intake. :)

Debbie said multiple times during the day that this training is only the first step in our fitness journey… and I couldn’t agree with her more! I’ve said it before, but had you told me 5 years ago that someday I’d be interested in teaching fitness classes, I probably would’ve laughed at you. But I’ve found something wonderful in Zumba and I can’t wait to see where my fitness journey takes me!

Oh, and one more thing. As for other licenses/extra certifications: I’m taking a CPR/AED/First Aid class next week, as that’s really important to have. Debbie gave us “homework” to look into ACE/AFAA certifications – something I’ve also already done! If you’re feeling a little lost, don’t worry. Like with ZIN, I recommend starting out slow and seeing if you can get on sub lists and networking with other Zumba instructors in your area before going all out and spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on certifications you might not need. I will probably get one or both certifications – eventually! I plan on taking the Basic 2 training and getting some teaching experience before doing either, but that’s just IMHO.

Can’t wait to talk to you about Zumba-ing in Vibrams (which got me through my entire training course!) and diet. Stay tuned :)

The entirely necessary bathroom selfsie of a newly-licensed Zumba Instructor!

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jaye-l Price
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 09:17:03

    Hi there, Just a little note to you to say hello and commend you on how you put your Zumba training together for everyone to see. Very good job. I love zumba as well. I got into zumba by a dare. A co worker dared me to come to a class at our wellness center at work. The rest became history. I became a instructor in November and I am getting ready to do some things in 2013. I hope that things are going well for you. You certainly have a plan with how you want to use zumba for yourself. I went ahead and took the zin membership because you must recertify the next year if you don’t. Money wise our instructor explained it was about the same. I love the challenge of putting together my own playlist. I use some of the zumba arrangements. The good thing to me is mixing my own styles with other styles on selected music that I have chosen. I wish you much success. Well done! Jaye-l

    Reply

  2. arehrauer06
    Dec 18, 2012 @ 16:58:41

    Thank you for your kind words! Congratulations to you as well!! I’m glad things worked out for the best for you :) I’m definitely joining ZIN by the year’s end, I put it on my Christmas list and am going to do it either way. I’m ready for it and very excited! I’ve slowly started to accumulate routines of my own but I’m looking forward to the reinforcement from ZIN as well. Best of luck to you in your Zumba endeavors!!

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    How much was you zumba instructor shirt at your training so I can take money my class is next week :)

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