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Archive for "Zumba"

Aqua Zumba Gear

Posted on June 9, 2019 by under Shopping, Zumba.    

Many years ago Zumba partnered with Speedo and launched swimsuits and shoes for Aqua Zumba. That line has been discontinued and I’ve been at a loss for what to wear when taking an Aqua Zumba class ever since.

Honestly, you can wear pretty much any swimsuit to Aqua Zumba but I recommend something that offers great support and stays put. Probably no string bikinis.

For those who are serious about their Aqua Zumba workouts, I found some great options on Amazon:

           

           

For those who prefer separates over a one-piece suit, Amazon also sells two-piece suits that look like regular workout clothes:

           

As far as footwear goes, water shoes are completely optional but they also have some great ones on Amazon:

           

As far as other tips go, remember to wear sunglasses and lots of sunblock for outdoor water classes. Even an hour outside can cause sunburn. A hat or a visor wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

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Y Takeover at Chicken N Pickle

Posted on May 28, 2019 by under Events, Zumba.    

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The YMCA had their first Y Takeover event and it was massively successful. It was held at Chicken N Pickle on May 19 and involved several Zumba and Sh’Bam (another type of dance fitness workout) instructors.

First of, most people are probably already familiar with Zumba but not quite sure what Sh’Bam is or how it differs. When people ask me what Sh’Bam is, I often tell them it’s just a different flavor of dance fitness much like Zumba. It’s basically the Les Mills branded version. There are other slight differences though.

Here are a few of them:

1) Here in Wichita our Sh’Bam classes typically last an hour like Zumba but as I’m doing research, it sounds like 45-minute Sh’Bam classes are more common. As for Zumba, classes are typically 55-60 minutes.

2) Zumba uses various genres of music from all over the world but has a lot of Latin music influence. Sh’Bam primarily uses more popular music. Brian has never set foot in a Sh’Bam class but, after the Y Takeover event, he confessed to me that he actually prefers the Sh’Bam music selection. If you listen to the radio a lot, then you’ll probably find Sh’Bam music more relatable. As for someone like me, who doesn’t really listen to the radio (except for NPR), I go for danceable tunes and there’s an abundance of them in both formats.

3) The Sh’Bam instructor certification process is much more rigorous than the Zumba Basic 1 training so you’re less likely to run into a Sh’Bam instructor who isn’t very good. The Zumba process isn’t a certification so pretty much anyone who completes the Basic 1 training is licensed to teach classes. That said, I never have to worry about the quality of the Zumba instructors in town because we have some of the best ones in Wichita. Plus, the market really takes care of this situation.

4) Zumba has better name recognition than Sh’Bam. Almost everyone know what Zumba is whereas people usually don’t know what Sh’Bam is. Zumba does a really good job marketing their brand by partnering with movie producers and artists to get the brand out there. Even people who don’t take Zumba classes know what it is or at least have heard of Zumba. Unless you’re a Les Mills person or have taken Sh’Bam at some point, you won’t know what it is.

5) Another big difference is the gym carries an additional expense to be able to offer Sh’Bam. With Zumba there is no additional cost to the gym because the instructors are paying monthly membership fees to Zumba for the license (right) to teach classes. With Sh’Bam not only are instructors paying fees but the gym also has to pay fees to Les Mills for the right to offer the format. It’s kind of a double hit.

Anyway, now that you know the difference between Zumba and Sh’Bam you can tell they’re very similar and as such it made a lot of sense to have a combo event. The event at Chicken N Pickle was basically just a massive dance party alternating between Zumba and Sh’Bam.

Here’s a clip of Sarah, backed by Rose and Jessie, kicking off the dance party with a fun warmup. The clips below are also from their set.

It was a beautiful day for a dance party and we had such a great turnout.

Here are a few more videos from the event. The video above is of Aimee with Amy and Francie as her backup instructors.

This next one features Melissa with Todd and Brynden backing her up.

Here’s a clip Brian got of Vi’s Sh’Bam set.

Lastly, here are some videos of our set led by Charis with me and Amanda as her backups. The video above features Peligrosa and the one below is Little More.

This next one is Firehousee, a class favorite. Brian a great video, making his way through the crowd. We had such a blast leading these songs!

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the event.

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Amanda, Charis, and Me

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With Sam, one of our devoted class regulars

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With Melissa below

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Brynden, Melissa, and Todd

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Amanda, Rose, Charis, Jessie, and Me

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Same group this time with Sarah in the middle

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Brian and Brynden

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The three of us this time

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Hideki and Me

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Charis, Hideki, and Me

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And just a few more pics…

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This was such a fun event. And, very well-attended. I hope that we get to do it again soon before Fall/Winter season.

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If you’ve never been to Chicken N Pickle, I highly recommend it. It’s such a cool hangout spot. There’s plenty of stuff to do, including free yard games. The huge complex is also pet-friendly so you can bring the whole family!

I’m so grateful that we now have a Chicken N Pickle in Wichita and I’m grateful that I got to be part of such a wonderful community event. Until next time. GNG.

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Sweat in the City: Glow Up

Posted on February 13, 2019 by under Zumba.    

These next few pictures are from the first major Zumba event of 2019, Sweat in the City: Glow Up! It’s kind of a reprise of Joel and Sarah’s super successful Sweat in the City event last summer.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I didn’t want to have to keep track of my phone (or risk losing it) so most of these pics are courtesy of other people.

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They did a blacklight/glow in the dark theme this time.

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I think Mara (middle) had the best outfit, hands down.

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Just a silly pic of me with Rose and Amanda.

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Fun group photo with local ZINs. (In case you were wondering, ZINs are Zumba instructors who are members of the Zumba Instructor Network.)

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I didn’t have to buy a special outfit for this event because I found I had stuff in my closet that actually glowed in the dark. It was a good thing too because I didn’t really have time to buy stuff.

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Here’s a pic of me and Brynden. Her shirt was bright!

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It was a sea of bright, glowing, colorful bodies!

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Here’s a pic of Amanda, Charis, and me that we took while we were waiting for our tacos at the restaurant next door after the Zumba party. We worked up an appetite! Two hours of non-stop dancing will do that. LOL.

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Here’s a pic of my tacos. Yum!

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I earned my tacos (and my Churn and Burn — more on this in a bit) that night. Joel and Sarah know how to throw a great party! I was bummed we didn’t get commemorative shirts this year but, other than that, I thought this event was even better than the last one. We actually had a live DJ (DJ Hashtag). Sweat in the City just keeps getting better and better!

Since Amanda and I live pretty close to one another, we decided to carpool to the event. The carne asada tacos were super spicy that night so we thought, even though it was freezing, it would be a good idea to stop for ice cream on the way home. Churn and Burn is on the way home and they’re open late — and Amanda had never been there! The stars just happened to align. Anyway, I figured I burned enough calories that day between my two Zumba classes in the morning, pickleball in the afternoon, and the two hours of dancing at Sweat in the City that I could enjoy some ice cream guilt-free. Actually, what am I talking about. I never need justification to eat junk. I enjoy all my foods guilt-free. LOL.

It was such a blast! I can’t wait until we do this again. Great job, Joel and Sarah!

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Year-Round Aqua Zumba

Posted on February 7, 2019 by under Zumba.    

When I completed Aqua Zumba instructor training at the LA Zumba Instructor Conference five years ago, I didn’t start teaching it right away. I was somewhat reluctant to jump in. I guess I was the same way with teaching Zumba (I just wanted to get discounts on Zumba wear and go to ZINCON) and all the other formats. I complete all the trainings with no intention of teaching. I just like to collect the licenses. What can I say? The buttons look good on my ZIN profile page.

Anyway, I got my license to teach AZ in January 2014 and I didn’t teach it for months. Later in the year, I started shadowing Alexa at Andover YMCA. I taught some AZ songs in her class that summer but I don’t think I actually got my own AZ class until the following summer.

My early years of teaching AZ were just okay. I taught it because there was a time slot available on the schedule but, honestly, I really didn’t enjoy it as much as teaching regular Zumba. Probably partly because I had to teach it in 100+ degree weather, outside, in the middle of summer. It was so dreadful.

I taught it on Thursday nights at 7:00 pm and on Saturday mornings from June to September. The Thursday night classes used to wear me out so much because of the heat. I preferred the Saturday morning classes. In the beginning we started at 8:30 am (now we start at 8:45 am), which wasn’t the best earlier in the year because the water would still be kind of cold. It was great for me though, because it was as hot.

The teaching conditions weren’t the best but the students seemed to really love it so we plugged on. I did have to get rid of the Thursday night AZ class eventually. Not because I was a wuss who hated teaching in the heat (I was perfectly fine suffering for the sake of the students) but because I started working on a project that required me to practically live in Topeka. I couldn’t, in good conscience, take up a prime class time slot and have to sub it out week after week. So, for the last three years, I’ve only been teaching AZ once a week on Saturday mornings, and only during the summer months.

As convenient as that is (I don’t have to worry about times when I had to be out of town for work), it posed its own challenges. Since I’m not teaching AZ the rest of the year, it felt like I was starting over every year. Each year, I would tell myself that I’d work on my AZ songs a month before my first AZ class for the year. I would inevitably procrastinate (because life happens and you get busy with stuff) and then I’d be frantically working on my songs a week before. Sometimes it would be a couple of days or the day before. Anyway, that feeling of panic and lack of adequate preparation wasn’t fun.

It took a few years but I finally wised up. I figured the solution to my problem was to teach AZ year-round. Then I wouldn’t end up forgetting my songs and have to frantically try to recall them the following year before summer session. Amazingly enough, that’s actually improved my attitude towards AZ. I’m enjoying it so much, I’d venture to say I even prefer teaching it to Zumba at times.

When my AZ classes ended at the Andover YMCA, I started teaching it at VASA Fitness (a new gym that opened in Wichita in July) — on the exact same day and time. The only difference is I actually have to drive in between classes, whereas before both my 8:45 am AZ and 10:30 am Zumba classes were at the same location. I have 45 minutes in between the two classes so having to drive from VASA to Andover isn’t really an issue. I have more than enough time to get to class (and even stop at Scooter’s if I need to). I’m absolutely loving the back to back classes. I’m glad that I get to continue this cadence in fall and winter.

Since I’ve been enjoying the back to back classes on Saturdays, I’d been trying to figure out how to replicate this on Sundays. As luck would have it (or perhaps it’s the Secret — also known as the Law of Attraction — at work), an opportunity presented itself at North YMCA. I started teaching AZ there at 12:30 pm on Sundays at the beginning of this year. It’s perfect because it precedes my 2:00 pm Zumba class on Sundays at the Andover YMCA.

I feel like I now have the perfect teaching schedule on the weekends. The only thing that could make it even better is if my back to back classes were at the same place. In the meantime, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to teach these classes to a bunch of lovely people who fill my heart with joy.

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Here’s a picture of my new friends at VASA.

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Here’s the lovely North YMCA group.

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I’m enjoying teaching AZ so much that I will even sub it on occasion. Here’s a picture from when I had to sub for Hideki at Northwest YMCA a couple of weeks ago. He and Amy were in Thailand. He always subs my classes when I’m at ZINCON so I figured I owed him. The roads were ridiculous that night because of the snowstorm. I actually asked Brian to drive me. Anyway, these two ladies came to class despite the horrible weather and we had a great time working out. They gave me some positive feedback that totally warmed my heart and made the 45-minute drive to the gym and 45-minute drive home so worth it.

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I’m finding teaching AZ rewarding in so many ways. Besides the positive vibes I get from the class, I actually get tangible (and yummy) rewards from time to time. This very nice man gave me a chocolate bar on Super Bowl Sunday. It was such a nice and thoughtful (and sweet, pun intended) surprise!

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I am loving every minute of my AZ classes and I’m so happy that I’m able to teach it year-round now. I hope I can keep it up.

If you’ve never tried AZ before, I encourage you to join us. It’s such an amazing workout and I promise you will have blast. Here’s where you can catch me:

  • VASA Fitness8:45 am, every Saturday (non-members can get a free trial pass here to join the fun)
  • North YMCA12:30 pm, every Sunday (there’s a $10 drop in fee for non-members but it’s good for the entire day for all Greater Wichita YMCA locations — just keep your receipt and show it when you visit another branch)

See you at the pool!

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Andrea’s Superhero-themed Zumba Birthday Party

Posted on November 26, 2018 by under Events, Zumba.    

We had a blast celebrating Andrea’s 32nd birthday on Friday night. Charis turned her normal Friday night class into a 90-minute Zumba party in honor of Andrea’s special day. We invited several instructors to teach and it turned it in full-fledged Zumbathon for the ages!

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Here’s the official instructor line up (from left): Johnna, Andrea (the birthday celebrant herself), me, Jessie, Rose, Francie, Charis, and Amanda.

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I wasn’t the only Wonder Woman. We had a few people dressed as Wonder Woman that night, including Danielle above. Jessie also wore her Wonder Woman head and arm bands. I love it when we have theme parties.

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We had a wonderful turnout and a few even stayed for the group photo after class.

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This one of me and Charis is one of my faves. She’s an excellent selfie-taker.

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After Zumba we kept the party going at Los Cocos.

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Here’s a video from dinner. It was such a fun night. I just love Zumba birthday parties and can’t wait until the next one!

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