Zumbathon to Benefit Adela Cufre-Alvarez, MN Zumba Instructor Who Lost Leg to Amputation, Saturday, May 31, 2014 at The Rink in Monticello, MN

May 20th, 2014

Here’s a link to the Facebook event page for the Zumbathon Charity Event to benefit Adela Cufre-Alvarez, a Minnesota Zumba instructor who lost a leg to infection after going into cardiac arrest while instructing a Zumba class. Please share and consider going if you are in the Twin Cities metro area.


If you can’t attend, please consider donating towards Adela’s medical expenses for a athletic prosthetic leg and rehabilitation that will allow her to return to teaching Zumba classes. Thank you for sharing the Zumba love!

Adela Zumbathon 05312014

Embarrassing Zumba Instructor Moment #2 – I Split My Pants!

March 21st, 2014

It was the third to the last song of class, Call on Me by Eric Prydz. I use it as a toning/abdominal and gluteal song.

As I squatted down, like we do many times during the song, I felt a strange shift in the fabric of my pants. As the song went on, I occasionally felt a cool draft on my bottom from the fan in the back of the room. I scanned the faces of the participants behind me. No one seemed to notice anything odd happening at the back of my pants, but I knew what had happened. I had split my pants!

rencsi after zumba 2012 1

After Call on Me, it was time to cool down. As I walked over to lower the music volume for the cool down, I casually checked my rear view in the mirror. I couldn’t see or feel anything out of the usual. I led the cool down as usual, but I avoided an positions where my behind was exposed or up in the air.

After class, I went into the instructor lounge. With further inspection, I found the split: My cotton exercise pants had a 2 inch split on one side of the seam at the back of my pants, and a 1 inch split on the other side. At one area low in the bottom/crotch of my pants, my pants were holding on my the seam!

This was a first for me! I have never split my pants during a group fitness class before.

What I learned:

I guess exercise clothing has an expiration date. Check your clothes for thinning areas or weak seam before wearing them to class – especially in the bottom before doing squats!

I hope my embarrassing Zumba instructor moment can help you too! Feel free to share your embarrassing Zumba instructor moments and how you recovered in the comments below!

Embarrassing Zumba Instructor Moment #1 – My iPod Won’t Work!

March 21st, 2014

It was a day like any other: I set my playlist, synced my iPod, and drove to the studio. Everything was fine. Or so I thought.

At the studio, I connected my iPod nano and… nothing. No lights. No sound. Nothing.

I connected and disconnected. I pressed the Power button over and over. I checked the Hold button several times. Still nothing.

My iPod won’t work! What am I going to do!??!

green ipod nano

Fortunately, I had a regular in class who downloads a lot of the music she hears in my Zumba classes. We hooked up her phone to the audio system and went through the songs she had from my classes in order. Unfortunately, the songs with explicit lyrics were not the edited versions and the class got an earful.

What I did I learn?

1. I learned Zumba lovers are very patient and kind when faced with a Zumba instructor crisis. One of my regulars saved my a$$!

2. I learned to have a backup plan! Zstudio now keeps an extra music player full of Zumba music at the studio for emergencies.

3. I learned how to reset an iPod nano! It is easy. Just hold the Menu button and the Center button for 10 seconds. The Apple logo appeared on the screen and I was able to use my iPod again and it’s been working ever since.

I hope my embarrassing Zumba instructor moment can help you too! Feel free to share your embarrassing Zumba instructor moments and how you recovered in t the comments below!

Mingle and Jingle Christmas Party at Zstudio in Duluth, Minnesota

December 16th, 2013

The owners, instructors, and staff of Zstudio in the Zenith City of Duluth, Minnesota would like to invite you to our annual Mingle and Jingle Christmas party this Friday, December 20, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

This holiday event is open and free to everyone!

From 5:30 to 6:30pm, join us to eat, drink, and be merry. Mix, mingle, and get a sneak preview of the renovations happening over the holiday break.

From 6:30 to 7:30pm join us for one-hour class made up of the fitness classes offered at Zstudio.

Zstudio is located at 116 W 1st Street, Duluth, Minnesota 55802. For more information, visit the Mingle and Jingle Facebook event page.


Good Portable CD/MP3 Player for Zumba

November 17th, 2012

I teach Zumba at a variety of locations. My favorite will always be a studio with mirrors and hardwood floors, preferably one dedicated to dance or Zumba only.

Community education programs commonly offer Zumba in a variety of locations, especially schools. I have taught Zumba classes in gymnasiums, empty classrooms, and even cafeterias.

While studios usually have a good sound system equipped for CDs or MP3 players; gyms, classrooms, and cafeterias do not. Last fall, I had to find a reliable, portable stereo that would travel and work well in a variety of spaces.

I bought this red and black boombox from Amazon for approximately $50 new. So far, it has good sound and has worked well for teaching a Zumba class of 25 in a middle school gym and an elementary school cafeteria. It’s slightly larger than a breadbox and attractive. Between classes, I carry it in a box in the trunk of my car. The model is QuantumFX and the model number is J-30U.  It appears to be sold under several brand names,. If you are looking for a portable CD/MP3 player for Zumba or other group fitness classes, I recommend it. I have been happy with the performance of this portable stereo.

zumba portable stereo

“No Shoes Please” Zumba Class

October 11th, 2011

A newly-certified Zumba instructor I know recently posted a new Zumba class on her schedule. It’s at a popular yoga studio and in the description, it is asked, “No shoes please!”

No shoes allowed? For a Zumba class? Really?

Kicking your shoes off at a wedding dance – we’ve all done that. But no shoes allowed for a Zumba class… All I can say is, “OUCH!”

Every Zumba instructor is different, but my classes involves high-impact dance moves like jumping and stomping. According to the article, “The Effects of Weight on Feet When Running” on Livestrong.com, when you run, each foot hits the ground with 3- to 4- times the force of your actual body weight with each step you take. In Zumba, your feet could take 2- to 4-times the force of your actual body weight with high-impact moves.

There are 26 bones in the foot. 26. Think about how small each bone has to be to fit 26 bones into your foot. Now, think about how much you weigh. Multiply that by 2- or even 4-times and imagine those 26 tiny little bones in your feet distributing 2- to 4-times your body weight for an hour long Zumba class. For me, that’s 115 pounds – 115 x 2=230 pounds to 115 x 4=460 pounds. Ouch.

Of course, one might argue barefoot running is gaining in popularity, why not barefoot Zumba? Well, to be fair barefoot running-related injuries are also becoming increasingly popular. So much so, that one article on Competitor.com calls it “The Barefoot Running Injury Epidemic.” If you do Zumba barefoot, chances are you are putting yourself at risk for foot and leg injury.

One might also think, Shakira dances barefoot, why can’t I? Well, Shakira’s dances moves are not high-impact – she usually has both feet on the floor. Shakira is obviously not a weekend Zumba warrior, she is a highly-trained dancer. Trainers and coaches most likely monitor her fitness to be sure her body, muscles, joints, and bones are able to support her dancing. She most likely has access to the best athletic trainers, physical therapists, and doctors at any given moment if any part of her body gives her pain.

If you see a Zumba class offered that requests, “No shoes please!”, I recommend looking for another Zumba class where you are allowed to wear a supportive pair of Zumba shoes.

Pop Music for Yoga

October 5th, 2011

I love movie soundtracks, yoga, and Pilates.

Inspired by the mellow “About Her” Malcolm Mclaren version of The Zombies “She’s Not There”  on the Kill Bill Vol. 2 Original Soundtrack and the instrumental cover of “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” by the The Smiths in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off I am looking for popular music covered in a yoga-class appropriate style for the yoga class I teach once a week.

I know some yogis would frown upon this, and I want to be clear that I am not a professional yogi. I teach a free yoga-Pilates-stretching hybrid class once a week for 45-minutes. It is in a group fitness studio in a busy college wellness center so I like to use music to try to create a yoga-like atmosphere.

In my search, I came across the Yoga Pop Ups on Amazon.com. I like the concept, but not the music. You can download music to yoga to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Morrissey and The Smiths, Sublime, Jimmy Buffet, Journey, Lady Gaga, and Mötley Crüe to name a few. Mötley Crüe? Really?

If you’re interested in doing yoga to Girls, Girls, Girls, check out Yoga Pop Ups on Amazon.com MP3 downloads.

Zumba – Kicks like a workout, feels like a party

December 22nd, 2010

The Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota Star Tribune recently published an article about Zumba.

University of Minnesota kinesiology professor, Beth Lewis was quoted as saying: “For someone who’s physically fit, probably going for a run is going to provide a better workout, but for people who work out rarely, this is a fabulous gateway exercise…”

I very much disagree with Ms. Lewis. Zumba is a great interval workout for people of all fitness levels, not only “people who work out rarely.” The Zumba format allows each individual to work as hard as they choose or as hard as they are able. Zumba recruits muscles from the entire body while challenging the cardiovascular system. Choreography may be difficult for some former athletes to pick up and therefore, some “physically fit” participants may need more time and practice to feel comfortable enough to work at a high intensity.

I have been a long-distance runner for over 15 years and I never saw the rapid results that I saw from Zumba from running. Since doing Zumba for the first time in March 2009, I personally have lost over 30 pounds. I consider myself well-conditioned and toned. I ran my best-ever Ragnar Relay race in the summer of 2010 after training by primarily leading Zumba classes.

I love seeing my participants smile and build confidence, spirit, and attitude through Zumba. Viva Zumba!

I Hate Clif Bars

August 6th, 2010

My mom used to say, “I hate the word ‘hate.’” I don’t use it very often, but when I use it, I mean it. I can only think of a few things I hate – like February. I also hate Clif Bars.

I mean it when I say, “I hate Clif Bars.” I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Everyone I know loves Clif Bars, but the thought of eating one makes me gag. Even after long, grueling runs, I can’t choke down more than a few bites of a Clif Bar simply for nourishment.

I admit, Clif Bars are hard to beat nutritionally and unfortunately, they’re everywhere: race goodie bags, grocery store checkouts, gas stations, sports supply stores… What’s a good alternative to Clif Bars? Here are some suggestions:

Snickers Marathon Bars
I got one of these in a race goodie bag and I now buy them on the regular. They are so good, I feel like I’m eating a candy bar! I get them at Wal-mart in the pharmacy section near the Boost and Ensure meal replacement drinks. It seems unnatural to eat anything with the Snickers name on it for nutrition before or after exercising, but I’ve had success with them. I will continue to buy them and eat them until further notice.

Kashi Go Lean Protein & Fiber Bars
Eh. These bars are OK. I like the Chocolate Caramel Crunchy Protein & Fiber Bar, but it’s the only one I’ve found that I’ve liked.

Luna “The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women” – Lemon Zest
Yes, I know Luna bars are made by the Clif company. I never said, “I hate the company that makes Clif Bars.” I said, “I hate Clif Bars.” I can’t eat Clif Bars, but I can eat Luna Bars. I don’t know why. I’m a woman – maybe that’s why. Lemon Zest is my favorite so far.

As I noted, Luna Bars are The Whole Nutrition Bar for Women. So can my boyfriend eat a Luna Bar?

From the post Will Eating Luna Bars Make a Guy Grow Breasts? on Chow.com:

Clif Bar, manufacturer of the Luna nutrition bar – marketed “for women” – is asked this question all the time. The concern is baseless, however. Luna bars, which come in flavors including Lemon Zest, S’mores, and Dulce de Leche, contain no estrogen or other hormones that might cause men to grow mammary glands. They’re for women because they’re fortified with nutrients females typically need more of or sometimes have a hard time getting in their diets. These include folic acid, calcium, iron, B vitamins, and fiber.

Kashi Go Lean Protein & Fiber Bars – Chewy PB & Chocolate Versus Crunchy Chocolate Caramel

August 6th, 2010

Some days, meal replacement bars are a group fitness instructor’s best friend. On my latest trip to the grocery store, Kashi GOLEAN Protein & Fiber Bars were on sale 10 for $10 so I decided to give them a try. I bought four Peanut Butter & Chocolate Kashi Go Lean Chewy Protein & Fiber Bars (13 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 290 calories) and six Chocolate Caramel Kashi Go Lean Crunchy Protein & Fiber Bars (8 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, 150 calories). These two varieties were my only options at the time.

I started with the Chewy Peanut Butter & Chocolate Go Lean Bar on day one. I eat in the car between classes. I opened the package and it looked like a giant chocolate bar, and in my opinion, that is a good thing. The first bite was sadly disappointing. Inside the chocolate was a grainy, flavorless mass that did not resemble any peanut butter I’ve ever tasted. I forced myself to eat half the bar for nourishment, and I left the rest in my car to melt in the summer heat while I taught Zumba.

After my bad experience with the Chewy bar, I hesitated a couple of days before trying the Crunchy Chocolate Caramel Go Lean Bar. Actually, my boyfriend tried it first. He described it as a Rice Krispies bar. I tried it and agreed. It was something like a soggy Rice Krispies bar or Special K bar with chunks of marshmallow on a bed of chocolate. Between me and my boyfriend, all six are now gone. I will buy these again.

The Kashi Chocolate Caramel Crunchy Go Lean Protein & Fiber bar is low in calories and protein, but it was the clear winner of the Rencsi.com Crunchy versus Chewy taste test.