Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Zumba, Interview with Beth Elder

As you know, I've been taking Zumba for several months now.  I love it because, although it is wonderful for the body, it's more like a dance party than a workout.  I had the opportunity to interview my instructor, so let me introduce you to Beth...

When did you become interested in Zumba?
I got into Zumba when my gym (Wellstar Health Place) first introduced Latin Cardio class back in 2007.  It was taught by Claire Dunaway, the daughter of the former Mayor of Marietta.  In early 2008, she got her Zumba license and changed the name of the class to Zumba.  We started off in the small aerobic room upstairs, and it got so big, they had to move class downstairs to the big aerobic room.  The class is currently one of the biggest in Cobb Co. with nearly 80 participants every Monday and Thursday PM.
How long have you been instructing?
I got licensed to teach in September 2008.  During one of the Zumba classes at Health Place we had a substitute who didn't know all the dance moves.  She asked for experienced Zumba participants to come up front to help her teach.  I didn't want to go up, but the rest of the class kind of "pushed" me up there.  I had a blast!  It was then that I really started thinking about becoming an instructor.
What makes Zumba something that you are so passionate about and why is it such a great workout?
I used to be very devoted to the most intense kind of workouts like Kickboxing, Boot Camp and Kombat.  I used to go run about 7 miles around Kennesaw Mountain in the heat of the summer.  I thought the more red I get in the face, the more out of breath I get, the more I'm drenched in sweat, the more calories I will burn. 
When I started doing Zumba, I really had to start slow and simple, just doing the basic steps until I figured out how to advance the moves and wiggle my hips.  My Zumba workout began to get more intense, but not the same intensity as the extreme workouts I was so used to.  But you know what?! I saw results just the same without the feeling like I was going to die halfway through the class!  I would have so much fun shakin it, and performing the moves, class would just fly by leaving me wanting more.  I thought,"How can working out really be this much fun?"

How do you come up with new routines and music choices?
All the best Zumba instructors pay a monthly fee to Zumba to belong to ZIN (Zumba Instructor Network).  With this membership, I get new music every month and a DVD with new dances every other month.  I can choose to use these dances and tunes for my class, or just download my own.  I really like the Latin songs they send me because I know they've cleaned them - no bad language.  This is important to me.  While I cannot speak Spanish a lot of my clients can, and I don't want to offend anyone - especially since one of my biggest classes is in a church! ZIN gives me a great selection of Latin tunes for my traditional Zumba steps like the Salsa, Cha Cha and Samba.
I try to introduce one new song every week to keep my classes fresh and energizing.  For the very best Zumba experience, make sure your Instructor is a member of ZIN.  You can plug in their name under "find instructor" a www.zumba.com.  If their page is in color with a listing of classes they are ZIN.  If the page and name are in black and white, they are not ZIN.  Without the new songs coming every month, I'd be forced to do the same songs and dances over and over, and would have a very limited selection of Latin songs if any.

Why do you feel that exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle?
Diet is half of an important factor for a healthy lifestyle, but exercise is the other half.  You've got to be able to burn off the calories you're putting into your body each day.  If you are trying to lose weight, you've got to burn more calories every day than your body is taking in.  It's that simple!  Other pluses of regular exercise include increased energy, increased metabolism, reduced stress, cardiovascular benefits and decreased risk of cancer - just to name a few. 
I've been a regular exerciser ever since I graduated from college, and especially found it a crucial outlet I needed every day when I was a mother of 2 small children.  It's so exhausting getting up all hours of the night to nurse them and change diapers and when they get older - running after toddlers.  Exercise helped me to keep up the energy and stamina I needed to face every day with little ones.  Now that my kids are older (and so am I) I need the energy for being a personal taxi service and keeping up with all the sporting events. I've also noticed that as I age, my body wants to hold onto more weight , which is a natural part of aging, and exercise is as important as ever so I can fit into my clothes comfortably.

Tell us about your class schedule and location.
Te location of my Due West United Methodist Church class is 3956 Due West Rd. Marietta, GA 30064. The class costs just $3!  The church is made up of a campus of 3 buildings.  My class is in the old sanctuary in building "C" that sits directly on Due West Rd.  The sanctuary is octagonal in shape, and I usually have a bright green side directing you where to go.  Class begins at 9:30 AM and goes for one hour.  Please arrive 5 minutes early for your first time. There is FREE nursery care provided in the "A" building, which faces Burnt Hickory Rd. in the back of campus.  Entry is through the "cross and flame" doors (you'll see the actually painting of the cross and flame on these double doors).  The nursery workers are paid for by our church budget and no payment is necessary.
 I have 2 new classes also open to the public at Boots-Ward Recreation Center at Lost Mountain Park.  The address is:  4845 Dallas Hwy., Powder Springs, Ga 30127.   The classes are 5:45 PM on Tuesdays and 9:30 AM on Thursdays and cost $4.  There is no childcare at this location at this time, but am considering adding that for the summer classes.
I want to thank Beth for taking the time to answer my questions.  If you are local to Cobb County, GA, come and join in one of Beth's fantastic Zumba classes.  You can usually find me at the Tuesday morning class. 

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