I know, I know... I've said it myself... How is it October already?! That means stocking up on trick or treat sweets, preparing costumes and spending ages traipsing up and down the veg aisle to find the perfectly carve-able pumpkin.
The family start asking about Christmas lists... Feel like screaming? My Grandma started asking that question before my birthday in July!
So to help get past the October stresses I picked a quote to lighten the mood...
"Why be moody, when you can shake that booty?!"
Let's face it, a good booty shake is good for the soul.
I can't count the number of times someone has said to me, that they've had an awful day, but an hour away to dance and laugh with friends has literally shaken the stress away. Whatever it is that works for you; having a giggle with a bunch of mates, getting lost in an hour of heart-lifting music, or simply sweating out the bad vibes, take that time for you and forget the rest of the world for a while.
So let's get in the spirit ladies and gents... The best tune to shake your booty to is what? Might even give a prize to the winner...
I'll get you started:
Shake, shake, shake... Shake your booty, shake your booty!
Motivational Monday is coming to Zumba With Alexandra. The first Monday of the month will bring a little something to get you going for the coming month. Here we go, with the start of the September...
"Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me."
By Carol Burnett.
Who's feeling ready for a change? Whether it be new fitness goals, something spiritual or just getting out in the world and making new friends, your Zumba® family is here to support you.
In my time of teaching I've met many people who have made some big changes in their life, everything from weight loss, increased self-confidence and major surgeries. It all begins with the decision to take the first step, the rest is the easy bit. Take it from someone who's been there... I'm 6 stone lighter and still counting!
What changes are you going to make? What new challenges will you face?
We're with you all the way!
It is with great sadness that we have to say goodbye to a few of our regular class members. I would like to dedicate a little moment and a few words to those who will be greatly missed...
David - Nutfield House
For those who came to our class at Nutfield, everyone will remember David. On weeks he was able to attend he could certainly be described as the life and soul of the party, he made it his personal goal in life, to inject as much laughter as possible into class, usually by doing his best to make me forget the dance. I remember vividly the week we had our disco diva class, one moment I was handing out pompoms, the next the class erupted into giggles and applause at the beauty of David's new blue hair...
He never let his limitations get to him, whether it was a coughing fit followed by a superb shimmy (a very manly one of course), or a cheerful one handed clap, with or without the assistance of whoever may be sat next time.
I simply cannot say enough to describe the wonderful character David was. Zumba Gold® will simply not be as golden without him.
Avril - Nutfield House
Another sad loss.
When able, Avril enjoyed accompanying us in class. Music had always been a big part of Avril's life, and she made it clear by singing and humming along to every track that we played. Avril made creating her own moves an art form, mostly preferring to rock her wheelchair in time to the beat, than trying the choreography I'd put together. I can see why, her style was much better than mine ever will be.
She was an inspiration to those who joined us, choosing to do things her own way, and enjoying the world she lived in.
Our thoughts go to Jeff, her loving husband, and family. She will be missed.
I would also like to say goodbye to a couple of regulars who have had to leave our classes due to circumstances life has thrown in the way.
David (Nutfield House) has had to move on to somewhere more fitting for his needs. A former Zumba Sparkling Star due to his attitude and enthusiasm for class, we are all wishing David the best with the move and happiness in his new home. You will be missed in class, and hopefully we can dance with each other again somewhere in the future.
Alice (Yate) has moved away from the area. Best wishes with your new life, and we will think of you every time E.T. by Katy Perry finds it's way into class. You are more than welcome to join us anytime you are out this way visiting! See you soon!
We will regularly think of all of you, and be dancing with you in our thoughts... Farewell!
Feeling snowed under and stressed out in the run up to Christmas? Bank account starting to run low? Fed up of having to battle the crowds for the best deals to bulk up the stash of presents hidden under the bed? Got a few bruises from the aggressive shoppers rushing to get the last item on the shelf?
I know the feeling. It's that time of year where we got torn in so many directions that we don't know which way's up. Between trying to fit in shopping trips for those last minute gifts, Christmas parties, school fayres, charity events and visiting the family we forget to take a little time out to unwind and have some much needed me time.
Then when you do get in from work and have a spare hour the last thing you want to do is get back up and head out to an exercise class, right? The weather's rubbish, traffic is bad, it's too cold, you could be wrapping presents or working your way through the pile of unwritten Christmas cards.
Maybe you need some inspiration to escape the Christmas panic and do something for yourself.
Zumba Christmas stars...
Being an instructor doesn't make me any different from anyone else. While setting up for class I've still been mentally going through the list of things still to buy, or checking the diary for up-coming bits and bobs to make sure I'm not double booked for anything. It can be hard to keep the enthusiasm and motivation for the everyday things, it just feels like going through the motions.
The class members start plodding through the door, wrapped up in winter wear, waiting until the last minute to brave the chill. During class I can't help but smile as little groups giggle amongst themselves while comparing wiggling bottoms, or sharing a smug grin when they finally nail that move they haven't been able to work out for weeks. You guys remind me as an instructor to relax for a few moments and just have a bit of fun forgetting all the holiday stresses outside our little Zumba bubble. Then the real inspiration comes at the end of class when you get that one person hovering nearby, waiting for their moment to speak to you and share their most recent success story. I've had a few of these happen lately and I thought if it's inspired me, then maybe it will inspire someone else. Check out the examples below...
A little Christmas miracle...
Recently I was approached by one of our regular Zumba and Zumba Gold class members, waiting to share big news. For a long time they have had multiple health problems and being rather shy struggled with trying new things. With a little persuasion they've come along to our class, built up confidence and have even started introducing new people to our Zumba family. With a big hug of thanks (even though I didn't do much, the work was all their's) they told me that after a trip to the consultant for an up-coming operation...
They have been given the great report to say all the exercise has paid off, dramatically reduced the health concern, therefore cancelling the surgery! Massive congratulations are in order! It's amazing what a little bit of determination and hard work with a smile can do.
A Zumba trip down memory lane...
Not to be biased, but this is possibly my biggest inspiration. I can't help but grin like a proud mum at the school nativity when I think about the achievements this person's had. After an accident many moons ago, one person I teach has been left with significant issues with memory loss. However the change since coming to their first class is quite simply, unbelievable. I look back and remember that class with them watching me and vaguely following along to some of the movements. Compare that to now, when as soon as the first dance starts, that infectious cheeky smirk starts to form and the giggling commences. We have reached the point where they are able to remember the steps without prompting, regularly beating me to the next move. Whether it be singing along to the tracks, or making naughty little comments about my dancing skills they have become a real character in class, and a joy to be with. Thank you!
Be the inspiration...
This may be my biggest and most important point of the day. I have had a new member join one of our classes only a few weeks ago. They have come in and looked around at the group doing the moves in their own individual way, in awe of the ability in the room. They couldn't believe the crowd had only been attending since June when the class opened, due to their flexibility, suppleness and success with the choreography. It has inspired them so much that they have asked for tips to practice at home, so they can build up to the level of what they have seen everyone else doing. They felt right at home with such a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, that they could not be anymore grateful to have found us.
So you may have other things on the never ending Christmas to do list that need your attention. You may be exhausted from another hectic day in the pre-holiday buzz at work. But where's the harm in taking a little time out for yourself. Even if it's just to share a dance and a shake with your friends, or burn a few extra calories now - so you've got an excuse for an extra turkey sandwich later... You never know what you could achieve in that little hour of 'you time'.
You're thinking, but I don't have any health concerns that need addressing now? Or, it's jumper season, no-one will notice a few extra pounds? You may be right, but so what? Even if it's not something that affects you, maybe your fabulous Cumbia two-step will positively affect someone else.
It's the time for gift-giving, so give a little a gift to yourself and temporarily forget the world. Or give a cheeky wink to someone else and spread some Christmas spirit and inspiration.
Every now and then we all have to let loose for a while, right? And why should Zumba® lovers be any different? Well, what better excuse than a national holiday, in this case... A chance to get a little creepy...
We spooked out a little early...
As promised, part of the Livin' The Vida Zumba® blog is all about the mischief we get up to in class, and our ladies were keen to get trick or treating Zumba® style...
Bringing out our evil side, we danced in the darkness with a little help from a few pumpkins to light up the dance floor. A big thanks to all who brought along their brilliantly carved pumpkins, a fantastic effort by everybody. Congratulations Sally for being voted the overall winner, who knew pumpkins could turn cannibalistic?
A rather haunting evening...
By the end of the evening, we had come the conclusion our hall is certainly haunted. With numerous ghostly goings on throughout the night more than a few of us had our knees knocking... Even Horace, our poor hanging skeleton had reached his terror limit, breaking free of his noose and collapsing to earth, rather fittingly during the introduction to Thriller. He obviously wanted to get his zombie on and dance with us.
I probably should have warned the class that the hall staff were preparing for a Halloween party the following night. It was an interesting reaction when the lovely gentleman lurked through the door behind me unannounced. The best blood-curdling scream goes too... Sorry Rachel! :D
Need a little inspiration?
Are you having your own party on this night of fear? Or are a fellow instructor looking for some different tunes for the witching hour? Take a look at our playlist and get in touch if you want the full description to find and use them for your own event.
2. Witch Doctor
3. Walk Like An Egyptian
4. Bad Romance
5. Time Warp
8. Bat Out Of Hell
10. The Purple People Eater
11. Little Shop Of Horrors
12. Harry Potter
13. Hero (everyone needs a hero to rescue them from the evil monsters, right?)
Even though we were all a little frightened, it was a fantastic night. Well done to all who took part, you were brilliantly disturbing dancers! Thank you to Debbie for sending us the photos she took before and after as our usual man with the camera had real work to do for the night.
Have a haunting Halloween folks!
What better way to start a Zumba® class blog than with the top tips straight from the instructor?
As the person standing at the front, making sure the class is OK, you start noticing people's little habits before and during class. So looking back at a few things I've seen and thought to myself while teaching, I've put together my top 5 tips for class... And they're probably not what you're expecting them to be...
Drum roll please, in reverse order...
5. Prepare For Class
Simple. And probably sounds obvious.
Come to class as you mean to go on, and you'll probably find you're more comfortable from the beginning and therefore willing to keep going. Get yourself kitted out with supportive clothes and shoes, and don't forget your drink or towel.
If you have an existing medical condition or are new to fitness then try checking with your doctor beforehand just to be on the safe side of life. Let your instructor know so they can help you modify to a level that suits you.
4. Find A Friend
Again simple. Drag a friend along with you and you're more likely to step into class for the first time. Make some friends while you're there and you're more likely to stay. In my experience those who are laughing and singing along with each other are working harder without really noticing. So buddy up and work it out!
Time to start getting more interesting...
3. Speak Your Mind
I want to know what you're thinking as the class is about you, not me!
If you don't think much of the music I'm playing, the moves are too easy or too hard or even if you've got some favorite music that you think would be a great track for class, then say it. Any feedback is appreciated. As with any business there's a whole world of background stuff going on that the customers probably aren't aware of, but rule number 1... Keep the client happy!
Without a class, we're going to be pretty bored and lonely salsa-ing on our own, so give us the not-so-subtle hint to help make the class the best it can be.
2. Leave Your Ego At The Door
Wait, what? I know, it's an odd thing to say. It's something said by the woman who inspired me to get into Zumba®. Not just in Zumba® but in any fitness class you see people looking around at what everyone else is doing. They might be thinking 'how am I ever going to look like that?' or 'surely they can work harder than that?', but either way forget about it...
When you stop judging the others in class, it becomes so much easier to stop judging yourself so you can let go and really get down to work. And hey, if you do catch someone looking over at you, smile, give a cheeky wink, shake your booty in their direction and carry on dancing. You never know, it might encourage them to do the same...
1. Stop Thinking, Just Move
OK, so there is a key difference between Zumba® and most other fitness classes. The instructors are trained not to talk, as it's meant to feel like a party not a hard-core fitness class with someone shouting at you. When we do talk it is to build atmosphere and correct technique that could put a person at risk of injury, and in both cases we address the class as a whole.
But, this has an odd side effect. There's usually someone who doesn't get the step straight away so stands there trying to work it out. If that's you, chances are the instructor is itching to say, don't worry about it, smile and just move! Think about this... What's going to burn more calories?
Standing still, staring blankly at the instructor. Or, smiling, flailing your arms, wiggling your behind and hoping for the best?
And ultimately... Sometimes an enthusiastic pelvic thrust with an interesting grunt is just so much more fun than a perfectly practiced Reggaeton Destroza. Go ahead. Ask for a demonstration at your next class. I dare you!
On that note,
I'm excited to introduce our new blog! Some of you regular class members might have smiled a little in recognition of the name, correct? Yes, I would like to thank my lovely ladies and gents who took part in the vote for naming our newsletter The Zumba Sparkle. It was a close run contest, and this was such a popular option I couldn't resist using it to name the blog. Anyway, let's get down to it...
What's Livin' The Vida Zumba About?
Basically, it's here so you can get to know all the things that I might not have time to tell you in class (we're there to dance, not for a lecture right?).
Sometimes it will be the fun stuff like...
Zumba With Alexandra class diaries. Why your Grandma should be strutting her stuff at Zumba Gold®. Dare I say, class bloopers...
Other times it will be a little more serious, such as...
How to prepare for class. Why dancing is good for depression. Why we say no judgement classes.
Or... Anything you guys are asking me for!
Our classes are tailored around the people who come along, so why not let you guys help shape the blog as well?!
When does it start?
Now! Today's was a little introduction, so our first blog entry will be posted tomorrow for all to read, comment and get involved. From there on in, they will be posted regularly both on the website and facebook. Happy chatting everybody!