Aqua Zumba Sandals

Sixteen lucky women in my Aqua Zumba training got free Aqua Zumba sandals from Speedo. I was jealous but happy for them at the same time also. Check out the two designs that they are testing right now.

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2014 Zumba Instructor Conference — Day 3

Day 3 consisted Aqua Zumba training. Yes! I am finally licensed to teach Aqua Zumba. Finally! I really wanted to get my Aqua Zumba at the 2013 Zumba Instructor Convention but the training sessions were full by the time I registered. I’m so glad I was able to get in the training this time around.

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Here’s a photo of me with out instructor Caroline Parsons. She is the new lead Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) for the Aqua Zumba training program.

As they say, things happen for a reason. I never did catch Beto at the convention last year but this time he actually got in the pool and took the Aqua Zumba master class with us. What at treat!

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Not only did I get a photo with Beto, I got photo with Beto with his shirt off!

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I caught a glimpse of the Zumba Step demo during our lunch break. I was too late to participate in it, though. I think I’m going to ask for the Zumba Incridible Results DVD set this year for either my birthday or Christmas because I doubt that any of the gyms here in town will pick it up. It’s just too much like other existing group exercise formats. At least, I don’t think the YMCA will offer it.

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Oh, and guess who I ran into while I was watching the Zumba Step demo. None other than the handsome David Velez, of course. You might recall him from my post about day 2 because he helped Steve Boedt with our Pro Skills training.

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Besides photos with Caroline, David, and Beto, I also got a photo with Richard and Jill from the Aqua Zumba team.

Actually, practically the whole Aqua Zumba training team was there on Sunday afternoon. I wish that I could have gotten a photo with all of them.

2014 Zumba Instructor Conference — Day 2

I missed mentioning the Burlesque and Fierce Funk workshops that I took on day 1 of the conference because I didn’t have any photos. My phone ran out of battery.

Burlesque was awesome. Gina Grant taught it along with Betsy Dopico and Melissa Chiz. They showed us five Burlesque routines. I wish there were choreo notes because I can’t remember any of them to save my life. They were super fun, though.

Fierce Funk with Pepper Von was great too. Check out his Fierce Funk web site for links to music and choreography.

So those two workshops happened between the kick off session and the Augie’s Quest fitness concert. The fitness concert was great but it wasn’t half as good as the one in Orlando. It was still a lot of fun, though.

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Day 2 consisted of Zumba Pro Skills with Steve Boedt. He is beyond amazing. Seriously. What a treat too because Gina Grant, Donna Giffen, and David Velez all helped with the training. How many people can say they took Pro Skills with four of the best Zumba Education Specialists? LOL.

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And the best part? I was third in line so I was front and center during the training. In other words, I was in the splash zone. Literally. Steve sweats a lot. I actually got some of his DNA on me and I almost didn’t want to shower at the end of the day.

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Here are some of the photos I took during training.

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This is where he showed us how the A/V team used condoms to keep the mic receivers from getting gross. I guess condoms were the best way they could think of to keep sweat and dirt off the technology. Interesting.

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This is my favorite photo of the day. For obvious reasons.

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Here’s a picture of the theme party. This one wasn’t as cool or as fun as the one in Orlando. There were entertainers working the crowd. No photo booth. No face painting. The conference hall decorations were sparse. Actually, other than the lighting, I’m not sure there were any. No big name performers. Not even an impersonator. LOL.

The party was fun but pales in comparison to the theme party at the 2013 Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando. If you guys get a chance, I highly recommend attending the conference first before attending the convention that way you’re building up. After attending the convention, you have such high expectations that it’s hard not be disappointed.

The event itself was fantastic and the trainings and workshops were high quality but the fitness concert and the theme party were not as elaborate as Orlando. That’s all.

2014 Zumba Instructor Conference — Day 1

Here’s a photo of my travel mates — Lisa, Pat, and Stephanie — at breakfast.

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The three of them traveled together because they flew through United. I used Brian’s frequent flier miles (thus, my airfare only cost me the $10 handling charge roundtrip) so I had to use American Airlines. I arrived only an hour behind them so it wasn’t too bad. Although, they had a nonstop from Los Angeles to Wichita on the way home so that was nice. I, on the other hand, had another layover in Dallas.

I can’t complain, though. Even though my choices were limited, using the frequent flier miles saved me almost $500.

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I’m glad that I saved money on airfare because our hotel was not cheap. We stayed at the JW Marriott at LA Live which is right across from the Staples Center and just a short walk from the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). That convenience came at a price. It’s worth every penny, though.

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Check out the view of our hotel from the LACC.

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The one nice thing about the Los Angeles Zumba Instructor Conference compared to the Zumba Instructor Convention in Orlando is that there were no lines at registration. Probably because the conference is a much smaller event consisting of only about 5,000 or so Zumba instructors.

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We got badges and goodie bags in no time. We didn’t get free conference shirts this time. However, we did get free Zumba sweat towels in our goodie bags.

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The goodie bags are just like the backpacks they gave us at the convention except they’re in the conference theme colors. Lisa is modeling hers below. She must have a sixth sense or something because her day 1 outfit perfectly matched the conference colors. Even her Asics and cellphone case matched!

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Here’s a photo of Stephanie, Pat, and Lisa, on our way to the kick off session.

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And then here they are at the kick off session.

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It was insane! I think there was enough energy packed in the conference hall to power a small village for a month. LOL. Zumba instructors are so energetic!

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There was an LA Lakers game that same night at the Staples Center but we had a date with the Augie’s Quest Fitness Concert. A basketball game would be something fun for Brian to do if he does go with me next time so I made a mental note of it.

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Here are some pictures from the fitness concert…

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If you think this is a lot of people, wait until you see the size of the crowd at the fitness concert at the Orlando convention. This is nothing compared to that.

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That was pretty much all of day 1 in a nutshell. I’m amazed that I lasted the entire fitness concert considering I was running on 3 hours of sleep that day and I was up for almost 24 hours the night before. I must have absorbed some energy from my fellow Zumba instructors. What an amazing experience!

World Party Party

What do Zumba instructors do when they get together on a Saturday night? Well, we WORLD PARTY PARTY of course! LOL. Get your own copy of the game here.

P.S. There are a ton of photos so be sure to click on the left and right arrows.

Pictures from Missy’s Birthday

Here are some pictures from Melissa’s Zumba birthday party at Zeal last Friday. We did almost two and a half hours of Zumba and it was super fun. So much fun that it’s got me thinking about having my own Zumba birthday party.

Catching Fire

Saturday was busier than usual. Started out with my last Saturday Zumba class of the year at Evergreen Recreation Center. After that it was off to Chipotle for a quick lunch before our dental appointment.

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We arrived at the dental office early hoping that they could get us in earlier than our scheduled appointment. No such luck. Instead we ended up going to Pier 1 to pass the time. But it worked out because I got to pick up some new Christmas decorations.

Lucky for us the dentist was running on schedule so we were both able to get out of there shortly after two o’clock, which meant I was able to make it to the Zumbathon at Bishop Carroll High School on time. That was a lot of fun.

After that Brian and I had to shower and get ready quickly so we could head to Cheddar’s and put our group on the waiting list. They don’t take reservations or call ahead. They are strictly first come, first served. The hostess I spoke with on the phone on Friday night was pretty adamant about that. LOL.

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We had to wait at the bar for our table because of the 40-minute wait. And, Cheddar’s isn’t able to accommodate large groups so we were actually seated in three different booths. Thankfully, the booths were pretty close to one another so at least we weren’t in opposite sides of the restaurant.

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I took some pictures while we were waiting because that’s what I do.

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I had two of these yummy concoctions that night.

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Booth number one…

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Booth number two…

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Cheddars on Urbanspoon

Cheddar’s does pretty well for a restaurant that just serves okay food. I think the one thing they’ve got going for them is their proximity to the movie theater. I bet they do extremely well whenever there’s a big movie out.

Their croissants are pretty good too. Brian and I always order some when we’re there. So there is that. The food prices are pretty reasonable also so you can’t really go wrong there. It’s an easy choice for a pre-movie dinner. I just wouldn’t recommend them for large groups like ours. We had a total of 17 people that night at the restaurant, with 16 going to the movie.

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The movie was great. I definitely felt my two Maui margaritas during a couple of parts, but I managed to stay awake.

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I think everyone enjoyed the movie and had a great time. Thanks to Andrea and Carla for hatching the plan to go to the movies together.

We’ll definitely need to do this again soon!

Mastering the Warm Up and Cool Down

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I pretty much followed Tony around on the final day of convention. On Sunday morning I had Ballroom Beatdown, which he and his wife Jessica presented. Then in the afternoon I had the warm up and cool down workshop.

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Here are some of the bits I learned (or re-learned) that day…

For best results classes should begin with five to ten minutes of warm up. The warm up is designed to increase blood flow; raise the body’s core temperature; stretch your core or postural muscles; loosen the joints, ligaments, and tendons; and preview movements that will be used during the workout. By starting with a good warm up you can prepare class participants for the workout and decrease the risk of injuries.

A good cool down consists of five minutes of diminishing intensity and five minutes of stretching. Moderate to low activity in the cool down is designed to return the body to a normal state and create the ideal state for stretching the muscles used during the workout. Doing a proper cool down also helps to prevent muscular and cardiovascular injuries. Remember to stretch all of the muscle groups including neck, upper and mid back, deltoids, chest and arms, core, quads and hamstrings, gluteal and hip regions, calves, ankles, and shins.

I’m going to try and incorporate all of these tips beginning with my playlist for Fall 2013. Saturday Zumba classes at Evergreen Park Recreation center start on September 21. Be sure to register for the 10-week session if you haven’t already. The cost is $24, or you can drop in for $3 a class. What a bargain!? See you all soon!

Sebastian

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I forgot to post this picture of Sebastian the other day when I posted pictures from my Zumba Kids training. Sebastian is the son of Alfredo and Aileen Padilla, a couple of Zumba Education Specialists (ZES) based in California. He is so adorable and cute. He actually helped with the training and got into all of the activities. What a great spokesperson for the program!

Pictures from the ZIN Soiree

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The ZIN Soiree was one of the events I was most excited about but it almost didn’t happen due to a wardrobe malfunction. Since I’m not crafty, I bought an inexpensive costume online to wear to the event. It arrived early, at least a week or so before departure. Had I been smarter, I would have tried it on upon receipt and planned for contingencies but I made the decision to pack the costume as is because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to fold it back into the same compact packaging if I took it out.

ZIN Soirée costume has arrived. I can officially pack!

Fast forward to our arrival in Orlando. After we checked in and got settled into our room at the Peabody, I decided to unpack my suitcase and hang up my dress. I decided that I ought to try it on before hanging it up. That’s when I figured out that the zipper was broken. At the time, the gap was pretty small so I figured that I could use safety pins to close the gap. No worries.

Fwd:

The night of the event, the zipper was in worse shape than it was originally and now the dress was completely open along the side. I was faced with three options: skip the party, attend without a costume, or improvise. I’ve never been one to give up when faced with adversity so I decided to trudge on.

I threw on a Zumba tank top and wrapped a coin skirt around my waist to cover the zipper opening. Instead of being a generic fairy, I turned into a Zumba fairy. It actually worked out fine. I was still able to use the accessories (wings, headband, and light-up wand) that came with my costume. I’m glad I didn’t let the issues with the costume ruin my evening as I would have missed out on such a fun night.

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Believe it or not, the simple rope around Brian’s neck got him into the party that was supposed to be for Zumba instructors only. I’m glad he got to hang out with me.

New photo added to "Camera Roll" I had a costume malfunction so I ended up coming as a Zumba fairy..

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My awesome makeup was courtesy of one of several face painters at the event. The Zumba Fitness folks sure know how to throw a party!

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Here are some more photos from that night…

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My costume malfunction was actually a blessing in disguise because it gave me a reason to wear Zumba sneakers to the party. If it weren’t for the sneakers, my feet would have been screaming because we were standing around most of the evening.

Oh, I almost forgot one of the highlights. While we were in line to take photos at one of the photobooths scattered around the party area, this guy that looked like Marc Anthony got on the stage and started performing. Everyone thought it was Marc Anthony because the line to the photobooth cleared and in an instant we found ourselves at the front of the line. We didn’t really care so we just went on to take photos at the photobooth. Afterward, we worked our way toward the stage to see what all the commotion was about.

The impersonator they hired did a really good job. We all really thought it was Marc Anthony. It wasn’t until the next day that I realized it was only an impersonator. Brian was like, “No wonder he wore his sunglasses the entire time.” I was thinking that, had it truly been Marc Anthony, I would have been very impressed. Sean Paul is one thing, but I’m not sure the event could afford to hire Marc Anthony. They only charged $500 for registration after all.

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As for my defective costume, it didn’t come home with me. My suitcase was full of new zwag so I didn’t have room for it. It ended up getting left in the hotel room trash can. The skirt still lights up and I probably could have gotten the zipper fixed. Oh, well.

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