Friday, March 5, 2010

Zumba: "Quiere Mas"

Like many of you, exercise is one of my biggest struggles. Getting up super early to go the gym sounds pretty torturous to me, and being lied to by a skinny screamer on an at-home DVD is even worse. Stay in squat for just ten more seconds, you say? I clocked it, you devil-woman, and you lie! 

Enter Zumba, the fitness "craze" that's sweeping the nation! Tae-Bo is soooo 1999, and I'm sorry Richard Simmons, those oldies you're sweatin' to are way past their expiration date.

I recently sat down with Karen Bardales, a Zumba instructor based out of New York City. Check out my interview, and then search for a Zumba Meetup Group in your area!

How would you describe Zumba to someone who has never heard of it?

It’s a cardio-fitness class, and it’s Latin dance. You incorporate different types of Latin dances such as Salsa, Merengue, Samba, Reggaton, at varying levels of intensity. It’s very international, and you do cardio activity for a whole hour.

What makes Zumba different from a traditional exercise class such as sculpting, Pilates, yoga, etc.?

The music. The music drives you, you know? You love the music. It’s really high-energy, and it’s very interactive. It makes people laugh! I remember the first time I did it I started laughing. I felt like even though I’m Latino and I can salsa, and merengue, I just couldn’t stop laughing at myself! You’re having fun and don’t notice that you’re working out. Before you know it you’re sweating and you’re done. You’re actually working out!

Joshua: That’s a big thing I noticed. If I do an exercise DVD at home, I watch the clock like, “Okay, I have ten minutes left, eight minutes…” But with Zumba it’s, “Oh, it’s already over?”

Karen: Yeah, you’re laughing with people, you feel your body, you’re sweating, and you’re just having fun.

What first got you interested in Zumba? How did you hear about it?

I gained a lot of weight, and I decided to lose it. I joined a gym, but I’m not a gym person. I don’t like running. I don’t like going alone. I like to have somebody with me for pressure to go, so I have to take classes. I had the choice between sculpting, step class, or a Zumba class. I didn’t even know what it was, but I figured it was maybe Brazilian, y’know, Samba/Zumba. Okay, let’s go for it. I was a student for probably eight months before I became an instructor.

Some people may be intimidated and think that Zumba is too dance-oriented for them to handle. What would you say to them?

You don’t have to know how to dance, but you have to like high-energy music. A lot of people ask me, “Do you think I can do it?” Yes, I think everybody can do it. If you’re optimistic and you like international music, then it’s a fun class to take. Every time we have a new person I say, “Please, I know today may not be the easiest day, but just focus on your feet. Either right, left, front, or back. Focus on your feet, and then we can incorporate the arms. The second and third time it becomes much easier, and then you start teaching me!”

How do classes vary with different instructors? Do you choose your own music, etc.?

It depends. We get music all the time, and DVDs that teach instructors how to do different routines, but ultimately it’s up to you. Maybe you’re a person that likes Salsa more, so you do that and incorporate more of your own music. That’s one of the things I love: other exercises are set in stone, but with Zumba you can incorporate everything you like to make it your own. That’s another reason why I think people really like it. You can come to my class and find something totally different than someone else. It’s not like a step class where you do the same thing over and over.

Why do you think Zumba has turned into such a phenomenon? It seems to be all over the media, there are Meetup Groups about Zumba, etc. Why?

I think because it’s a different type of workout. You’re not stressed about, “Oh let’s do the cardio activity”, or “Let’s focus just on this…” or that you have to be so good or so skinny. It’s for every age, for women, for guys, for anybody. Also, it makes it fun to lose weight. When you’re losing weight and you’re looking at yourself and you’re dancing, you feel so optimistic. You have a different energy. It changes your life.

How has Zumba changed your life?

Well you don’t even realize, but it really is a change in your lifestyle. Before I even started losing weight, it changed my attitude, which was a big thing. Once I changed my attitude towards how I saw myself, everything changed. Whether you’re 200 pounds, 100 pounds, when you’re dancing and you feel sexy, you’re feeling better about yourself. You’re learning the moves, and you’re getting it, and you look in the mirror and see that you’re changing. It changed not only my weight, but also my attitude and style. I was happier, and I started to know what I wanted, what I was looking for, what Karen was all about. I knew that if it changed me, it could change other people. I have women in my classes that have been through cancer, for example. They’ve come up to me and said “Karen, this helped me through a difficult time. I did your class, and I finished it. After two or three months, I come here not because of the weight, but because of how I feel. It makes me feel good.” It does something to your energy. When I first started doing Zumba, I would go somewhere and people would ask, “What’s up with you? What did you do? What’s different?” Well, I’m happier. I’m doing Zumba. I have so much energy. Believe me, if I go to one class, I’m not going to stop talking for hours because I have all of this energy. My husband can always tell, “Ohhh…you went to Zumba!”

You can visit to learn more, or find an instructor in your area.

"Sube en volumen que esto apenas esta empezando...Dale que dale que z├║mbele que bueno que te mato..."

1 comment:

  1. Hey Josh!
    Great interview, its making me consider taking a Zumba class, but don't tell Karen that or she'll kill me......