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Archive for "Zumba"

Back in the Zumba Groove

Posted on April 4, 2024 by under Zumba.    

I rejoined the YMCA team back in December and since then I’ve been trying to grow my Wednesday night class attendance by providing prizes on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Right now class consists mainly of Zumba enthusiasts most of which are women. Occasionally, I will see Efrain or another guy in class but it’s almost all women 100% of the time. I am trying to get more of my pickleball friends into Zumba but right now it’s just mostly Zumba people so my giveaways are mostly Zumba swag and goodies.


This water bottle is what the winner got last month. I do have more pickleball-oriented prizes because I tend to host a bunch of pickleball events so I’ve amassed some prizes for that. I think as I have more pickleball people come and try class, I might give away some pickleball swag too. Our special prize day this month is on Wednesday, April 24.

April is a big month for me. Initially, I started with only one Zumba class a week on Wednesdays at West YMCA. However, my friend Jessie Silva who is the coordinator at the Downtown Wichita YMCA recently reached out to me about helping her cover some of her classes while she recovers from foot surgery this month. While we were chatting about covering her classes, she mentioned that she would like to add an Aqua Zumba class in the evenings. Voila! Just like that I picked up my second class — Aqua Zumba at the Downtown YMCA on Tuesday evenings. My first class was just the other day, April 2.

You’re probably wondering what possessed me to pick up another class. Well, a couple of months ago, I volunteered to host a Zumba party as one of the silent auction items at West YMCA (to raise money for the Greater Wichita YMCA’s annual strong community campaign). The winner wanted an Aqua Zumba party instead of party in the studio.

Rather than having to scramble a few days before the party (which is on April 20), I figured having a weekly class would help me prepare by refreshing my Aqua Zumba choreography ahead of time. Plus, I’ll get weekly practice. Besides that, I have an abundance of free time right now because I am unable to play pickleball everyday.

Although, my free time will considerably be restricted once Jessie has her surgery because I’m picking up her Sunday afternoon and Monday evening Zumba classes so, starting next week, I’ll be teaching Sunday through Wednesday.

Here’s my new schedule effective April 14:

  • Sunday 1:00 PM – Zumba at Downtown YMCA
  • Monday 6:30 PM – Zumba at Downtown YMCA
  • Tuesday 5:30 PM – Aqua Zumba at Downtown YMCA
  • Wednesday 6:30 PM – Zumba at West YMCA

The Sundays and Mondays are temporary. I’m only covering them until Jessie returns. The Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my own permanent classes. I hope to see you soon at one of these!

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Zumba Is and Will Always Be

Posted on January 29, 2024 by under Hobbies, Zumba.    

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed but, now that I’m less focused on pickleball (I don’t plan to play any tournaments this year – so far so good), I’ve had a bit more time for self-reflection. Today, I thought about reflecting on my Zumba journey. I’ve had many hobbies come and go over the years but Zumba is the one passion of mine that’s always been a constant.

Now that I’m back to teaching at the Y (will expound on this later), someone in class recently asked me how long I’ve been doing Zumba. Well, I’ve been teaching classes for about 12 years but I’ve been “doing” Zumba since the beginning of time. I first discovered Zumba through an infomercial (back when those were a thing) over 20 years ago. I bought the VHS tapes and started doing Zumba at home. A few years later, in-person classes became available. Much like my pickleball addiction, shortly after attending my first class, I found myself driving all over town to various gyms just to get my Zumba fix. There was a period of two years when I was a member of both Genesis Health Clubs and the YMCA and I was going to Zumba classes at independent studios and rec centers.

As with most of my hobbies, I tend to go all in so I was completely obsessed and was spending a lot of money on Zumba wear. In 2012, my friend and Zumba mentor Gina Ann encouraged me to join the Zumba Instructor Network. I didn’t necessarily want to teach classes. The biggest selling point was the 20% OFF discount on Zumba merch. I completed my training in April 2012 and joined the network but had absolutely no intention of teaching. However, in June of that year, my friend Patricia told me they needed someone to teach Zumba at Evergreen Recreation Center. I didn’t really want to teach classes but, because I was trying to learn Spanish at the time and the rec center is in a predominantly Hispanic area of town, I figured why not? That was my introduction to teaching Zumba and I haven’t looked back since. Nowadays, I get input from class participants on what songs I should add to the playlist but, at the time when I was first starting out, I didn’t really know any of that mattered so I just built my class playlist around all of my favorite songs. When I was a student, I used to take a water break or go to the restroom whenever the instructor would play a song that wasn’t really my cup of tea. Now that I was in full control of the playlist, I found it totally liberating. I thought, “This is awesome! I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner.” I only used my favorite songs. It was great.

I was enjoying it so much that I started to add more classes. At one point, I was working for Genesis, the Y, and the city of Wichita just teaching classes all over the place. Once I was more established, I quit teaching for the city (they paid the least), and mostly just taught at the Y. My regular full-time job was also a contributing factor to giving up some of my classes. There was a period from 2015 to 2018 when I was mostly working in Topeka and Kansas city so I could only teach classes on the weekends. By 2018, that project had wrapped so then I was back to mostly working from Wichita and not having to travel anywhere for work so then I could get back into a regular routine. When VASA opened in Wichita in August 2018, I joined their team. From then until 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit, I was teaching classes for the Y, Genesis, and VASA on evenings and weekends. I peaked at 9 classes a week at various locations — a class each night on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; two classes on Saturdays; and three classes on Sundays.

I was also so obsessed with Zumba that I attended all the conventions, went on Zumba cruises, and completed training for nearly every form of Zumba imaginable. I even got licensed to teach Strong.


When I got into pickleball in 2019, I gradually started giving up classes so I would have more time to play. I got to play pickleball quite a bit before the gyms reopened in 2020 (after the “stay at home” mandate was lifted). When the gyms reopened, I decided to only return to VASA because I wanted more free time for pickleball and they paid the most out of all the gyms. For the last few years, I had been mostly teaching Aqua Zumba because we couldn’t find anyone else available who was licensed to teach that format besides me but there were many other Zumba instructors on the roster. I enjoyed teaching Aqua so I didn’t mind but, I have to admit, when I decided I wanted to pursue opportunities to teach Zumba again it was rough. I had forgotten all the land routines so I basically had to relearn and memorize choreography again. Thankfully, it’s a lot like riding a bike and it just comes back to you naturally.

I am currently teaching one class a week. I’m teaching Zumba at West YMCA on Wednesday nights from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. I’ve been back for two months and I have enjoyed every minute of it. My friend Andrea Burk who was a regular at my Andover YMCA classes and also a former Zumba instructor has been coming to class and it’s been great reuniting with her. I also got a couple of my pickleball pals (Colby Fugit and Susie Ternes) to come and try class a couple of weeks ago.

With Colby and Susie With Andrea

Words simply cannot express how grateful I am to have Zumba as an outlet. I’ve had many hobbies over the years — hobbies that I’ve enjoyed for a time but no longer pursue (racquetball, crocheting, bowling, sword-fighting – just to name a few) — but there’s only one thing that has remained constant in my life over the last couple of decades and that is Zumba. Maybe years from now I can look back and add pickleball to my list of life-long hobbies. Check back in with me in 2030 but, for now, Zumba is and will always be my #1 passion.

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Making My Zumba Comeback

Posted on November 13, 2023 by under Community, Zumba.    

Guess what, friends. I’m gearing up for my Zumba comeback. As you know, I started teaching Zumba over ten years ago and, at one point pre-COVID, was teaching nine (9) classes a week. I started dialing it back after I discovered my passion for pickleball in 2019 and then really cut it back after COVID to the point where, for the majority of this year, I’ve only had one regular class – my Wednesday night Aqua Zumba at the East Harry Genesis Health Clubs location.

We eventually canceled that class as of October 1, 2023 due to low numbers (I could never get my 21st and Woodlawn regulars to come over, so I would have people between both locations but not enough at either location to warrant keeping the classes going). So as of the beginning of October, I have had zero (0) regular classes each week, which has never ever happened since I started teaching in 2012.

Anyway, the universe knows how much I like to keep busy so I was presented with an opportunity to sub a couple of Missy and Todd’s classes while they were on their two-week Panama Canal cruise a few weeks ago. I ended up subbing a class for each of them. I hadn’t taught land in nearly four years. I’ve been stuck teaching Aqua Zumba because they could never find anyone licensed to teach water but we had a plethora of regular Zumba instructors who could teach land so I ended up giving up my Monday night Zumba class to help cover Monday night Aqua Zumba and it ended up eventually becoming my regular class, which I eventually gave up to make more time for pickleball. But I digress, getting my playlist ready for subbing (pretty much starting from scratch because I hadn’t had a regular Zumba class for years) rejuvenated my passion for Zumba and so now I’m ready and actually kind of excited to get back at it.


I attended Missy’s Halloween weekend class a couple of weeks ago and cameo’d three songs. I’ve been so obsessed with pickleball the last few years that I had forgotten how fun and exhilarating it is to let go and just dance like no one is watching. I think it’s the jolt I need to find a new regular Zumba gig.


I’ve been talking to the leadership at West YMCA and it seems like they will have a spot for me there so I am now going through the process of getting rehired. I’ll share updates as things progress and, of course, I’ll be sharing my schedule and promoting my classes here and everywhere. Until next time, GNG.

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Other Stuff Besides Food

Posted on May 7, 2021 by under Hobbies, Zumba.    

I know it seems like all I do is eat these days. I’m definitely feeling it. I’m currently at 135 lbs, up from my immediate post-COVID weight of 127 lbs from back in December. I’m not really doing anything to get fit beyond just teaching my group fitness classes and playing pickleball and I’m finding that I really need to do something because I can see and feel the additional weight on me.


I took a short 4-week hiatus from teaching Zumba in April so I could play in a Monday night league with my friend Chris Wilson. I was supposed to resume my Zumba classes this week but we are short an aquatics instructor so I’m teaching the Monday night aqua class instead. It’s easier to find instructors who can teach Zumba because we have several on the VASA bench. Aquatics instructor are in short supply unfortunately. Or, I guess, fortunately for me because I actually enjoying teaching Aqua Zumba.

I’m currently teaching Aqua Zumba four times a week: Monday and Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings at the Harry location, and then Saturday mornings at the Woodlawn location. Once we Ivette returns or once we find another aquatics instructor, I’ll probably go back to teaching my Monday night Zumba class unless someone else wants to take it over. Then I would be free to participate in pickleball leagues on Monday nights. It can be quite tricky juggling multiple hobbies.


Speaking of Aqua Zumba, it can be pretty hit-and-miss. I’ve had classes that range from 0-14 at VASA. Of course, when I was teaching at the YMCA, we had a much bigger pool and so many more members so some of my Aqua Zumba classes would average 30 students, specially in the summer time when we are outdoors. At VASA, I normally average 3-5. I would see 6-7 people on a good day and zero on bad days.

Having only a handful of participants is fine because our three-lane lap pool is quite small and can’t really accommodate that many people. Plus, it’s easier for me to learn names and connect with the members on a more personal level when there’s only a few of them.

I’m not quite sure what was going on this past Wednesday, though. At one point we had 14 people exercising with us in the pool. I think it’s the most I’d ever seen since I started teaching Aqua Zumba at VASA and it was quite refreshing. The more people we have in class, the more festive and party-like it is so I absolutely loved it.

This weekend I am teaching back to back classes on Saturday because I am filling in for Brynden’s Zumba class at Woodlawn. It works great because I’ll already be there to teach Aqua Zumba. I just need to end Aqua Zumba a few minutes early so I can put the portable stereo away and get ready for the next class. It’s a bit hectic but it’s the least I can do since Brynden is covering my Aqua Zumba class the following weekend so I can be at Picklemania. It’s the pickleball tournament fundraiser for my Rotary club. Plus, I have missed teaching Zumba. The month and a half of not teaching it feels like forever.

Besides teaching back to back classes on Saturday, I also agreed to play in the Kaycee Mac Pickleball Tournament at Chicken N Pickle from 11 o’clock in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. It seems like a lot but I’m pretty used to it. Before the pandemic I would teach three classes and play 2-3 hours of pickleball in the same day. That was usually on Sundays — my most favorite day of the week back then. Anyway, I thought I should write about something else besides food so you wouldn’t think I’m a complete slug. I have been pretty lazy lately but still quite active compared to the average Joe. I’m only lazy by Ching standards.

I guess that’s all the news I have for now. Have a wonderful weekend and will check in again next time. GNG.

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Group Fitness Kickoff Event at VASA

Posted on January 15, 2021 by under Community, Events, Health, Zumba.    

I did very little Zumba last year because of the pandemic and other things. By the end of 2019, my addiction to pickleball had reached new heights and I decided that I need to cut back on my Zumba and Aqua Zumba classes to free up more time to play pickleball. I had already given up my Sunday morning Aqua Zumba class at South YMCA (Brynden took it over) and so I started 2020 with only seven classes. I wasn’t going to stop there, though. I had already plans to get rid of other classes, the first one being my Saturday morning Aqua Zumba at VASA Harry. Liz had actually hired someone to take it over for me starting in March.


I started 2020 with seven classes but I was gradually and systematically getting rid of classes one at a time to make room for pickleball. And then COVID hit. All the gyms closed (along with other local businesses) at the start of the pandemic. So I went from teaching seven classes to none. I guess I didn’t need someone to take over that Aqua Zumba class in March after all because, when March rolled around, there were no classes happening at all. Anywhere.

When the gyms reopened, I brought back only one class — my Monday night Zumba class at VASA Harry. I wanted to be available for pickleball in the evenings and weekends, and play a lot of pickleball is exactly what I did. Over the summer, in addition to playing in the evenings, I was even playing at 5 AM on most weekdays. Pickleball completely ruled my life last year.

But then as fall approached and the sun began to rise later and later, I couldn’t play before work anymore. We were mostly playing at Seneca Park, and we couldn’t play without the sun because there are no lights there (except for the one security light, which isn’t really enough). That’s when I decided to look for other options — enter my Wednesday morning (5:30 AM) Zumba class at VASA Woodlawn. This actually gave me the idea to add more classes. If I know exactly what days of the week I’m devoting to pickleball then I can teach classes on the other days. Seven classes was clearly too much but I could add a few more classes and maintain a good balance. This leads us to where we are today.

Last year I turned down a lot of Zumba events because I fully committed myself to pickleball. I decided this year my time would be split between the two so when the VASA team decided to have a group fitness sampler extravaganza on the first Saturday of the year, January 2, I volunteered to help. I’m really glad I did because it reminded me of how much I enjoy these Zumbathon events.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that day…


We had 30-minute sampler sessions of STRONG and the other formats in the studio and held two hours of Zumba in the gym.


I got to lead a few songs along with my fellow Zumba instructors.





And I got to see Jessie (above) and Charis (below). I hadn’t seen them in forever.


Here’s a group pic of some of our Zumba instructors at VASA. Of course, it’s hard to tell who is who because of the masks. Not ideal but necessary given the current situation with COVID. I really can’t get infected right now because I’m still within my 90 days of immunity (some say you could even been immune for up to eight months) but I still wear my mask any time I’m around a group of people mostly for everyone else’s benefit and comfort.


We didn’t wear our masks while exercising just when we were standing around together. Masks or no masks, social distancing or not, it was a great time. It made me realize how much I love group exercise and participating in these events. I’m glad I decided to devote more time to teaching my group fitness classes in 2021.

Here’s current group fitness schedule:

VASA Harry
Monday – Zumba at 6:30 PM
Wednesday – Aqua Zumba at 6:30 PM
Sunday – Aqua Zumba at 9:00 AM

VASA Woodlawn
Wednesday – Zumba at 5:30 AM
Saturday – Aqua Zumba at 9:00 AM

Seven classes was clearly too many and one was not enough so we’ll see how this balance thing works out with five classes a week this year. Until next time. GNG.

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