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Thursday, December 15, 2011

: lts talk about zumba! : fun interview with zumba tiff!! :

hey everybody!
i have a fun treat for you today!
my friend, tiff is here to talk about zumba.
so, i met tiff last spring ; i took a zumba class through community ed and she was my instructor.
i think she is wonderful and her story is really great.
you know how i feel about health & wellness and if you are looking for a great workout ; i suggest zumba.
dont have a gym membership? well, search for workouts online. check community ed//nearby churches. our neighborhood clinic offers a 6-8 week zumba course ; and its super affordable. buy the dvd set [i have it!] zumba is one of my favorite workouts!
go tiff ;

1) who are you? where do you live? what do you do [real-life job]?

Hi there!  My name is Tiffany, and I live in Golden Valley, Minnesota with my husband of 10 years, Chris, and my Newfoundland dog, Zoe, who has her head on my lap right now.  Golden Valley is about 7 minutes west of Downtown Minneapolis, so I'm not too far from all the action!  I'm grew up in Tawas City, Michigan, a small town on the shore of Lake Huron, and am an alumna of the University of Michigan (Go Blue!)  My husband, Chris, and I moved to Minnesota about 11 years ago, because we're both engineers and the Twin Cities has a really diverse economy.  While I miss the lakes and my family in Michigan, I LOVE the Twin Cities!  In addition to have some wonderfully maintained outdoor spaces (we have AWESOME parks here!) the Twin Cities has a constant array of cultural events which we enjoy attending regularly.  

My interests are "all over the map."  I have a passion for music of all kinds; I enjoy attending live performances, and I play the trombone in a community band.  I like to travel to lesser-known places, cook from magazines and online recipes (rarely the same recipe more than once ever), scuba dive, and read novels.  I taught myself how to sew in the past couple of years, and I am totally ADDICTED!  I like scary movies, and have (don't laugh) an unreasonable love for the New Kids on the Block.  It's not a creepy, stalker kind of love, but a love that I cannot rationally explain. :-)  I also teach Zumba Fitness classes (where I met Diana!  yeah!) for Minneapolis Community Education, and this summer branched-out to teach independently.

2) tell us about zumba!  when did you become certified? how did you get involved with zumba in the first place?
Zumba Fitness is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program.  What does that mean?  It means that for an hour, we basically throw a party and move to music with Latin beats like salsa, cumbia, cha-cha, merengue, reggaeton, bachata, and samba.  We also include other international beats like Bhangra, American hip-hop, swing, Rumba/Flamenco, and bellydance. It's SUPER FUN, and it's a really good fitness option for people of all ages and fitness levels, because pretty much all moves can be modified or tailored to each person's individual needs.  

I have NO dance training whatsoever.  (Okay, my parents made me take tap when I was in like 2nd grade, but that's the extent of my formal dance training.)  I discovered Zumba at my local YMCA, where I have a gym membership.  I'm a big fan of challenging myself to do things outside of my "comfort zone," and my friends (also Y members) were too chicken to try this new class.  So one day I just went for it by myself.  I'll tell you - I was addicted from DAY ONE.  Yes, the moves were a little tricky to catch onto at first, and I'm sure I looked super silly attempting them, but I was having so much fun doing it that I didn't care.  I started attending that one class regularly, and then I progressed to traveling to other local Y locations on different nights to attend their Zumba Fitness classes.  After awhile, with some encouragement from a couple of instructors, I decided to get certified to teach.  I became certified in 2009, and have been teaching since then.  

For me, Zumba is a release.  It feels like a party.  It's the first group fitness class that I could come back to again and again, and never get to a point mid-class when I start looking up at the clock, wondering how much longer I've got to go.  This correlates with Diana's blog post from a couple of days ago - I think that exercise should be FUN.  It should be a reward for yourself, not a punishment.  For me, Zumba is really a joy.  I hope that this shows when I teach, because really I'm having so much fun doing it!

I adored Diana's blog post the other day about body image, and want to share something.
I am 34 years old.  When I was 28, I weighed 80 pounds more than I do today.  EIGHTY pounds.  (I don't tell many people this, so I guess I'm really "spilling it" on Diana's blog!  haha!)  No, I'm not about to tell you that I lost a ton of weight from Zumba... Zumba came later and is part of my lifestyle today.  I've battled weight "issues" my whole life.  When I was young, I kept myself active enough to keep it from getting "out of hand."  But by the age of 28, I was horribly out of shape. One day I took a hard look at myself and decided that I needed to make some changes.  I made a simple goal.  On my 30th birthday, I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and see a healthier person than I was at the age of 20.  It was a lofty goal; I had a lot of work to do.  :-/  

I went from being an eat-what-I-want couch-potato to being a person who started to read labels and understand nutrition and eat right and exercise regularly.  I joined Curves.  Curves is a wonderful, non-threatening atmosphere in which to start a fitness regimen.  Slowly but surely, and with a lot of hard work, the weight came off, and for the most part I've managed to keep it off these past 6 years.  I am still nowhere near a skinny lady.  On the contrary, I still wear plus-size clothing.  But I eat well, and I exercise 3-4 times a week, and if this is my healthy body shape, then this is my healthy body shape!  (Seriously Diana - LOVED that blog post the other day.)

Anyway, what's my point?  Back to Zumba - I remember the very first song of the very first Zumba Fitness class that I taught, I almost burst into tears.  I was proud of myself.  I am the very LAST person in the whole world who I would expect to ever be teaching a fitness class.  But there I was.  And here I still am.  I'm loving it, and hope that my students are enjoying the journey, too!
Diana has probably heard this a hundred times, but I really mean it when I tell people in my classes that I don't care if they come to class and don't follow a single move that I do.  If they want to "rock out" with their own moves instead of following mine, then I absolutely encourage it.  As long as you show up, you leave your worries behind, move your body and get your heart rate up, and just have FUN for an hour, then that is my goal.  This is why I teach; I want to share that joy, and get people moving.  My goal in each class is to have every student leaving the room with a smile (and maybe some sweat!)
3) best part about teaching? favorite songs? style of dance?
Oh shoot, I got a little "deep" and blabbed on too long!  Okay, the best part about teaching is when I can visibly see people having fun in class.  I love it when they "hoot and holler!"  :-)  Ummm... favorite songs.... Well, I can tell you that student favorites are Shakira's "Waka Waka," and nearly anything by Pitbull.  I like the Zumba original African/Arabian song, "Mawa Sillah," and the salsa/reggaeton song, "Dejala Que Baile" by Charlie Cruz.  I loooove me a good salsa.  Yeah!

4) tell us why we should *all* try zumba at least 5 times ;)
Okay, you need to try Zumba Fitness because I'm telling you, it's really really a ton of fun.  Some people love it right from the very first class.  However, for some people it takes a couple of classes to get a little repetition and to really become comfortable with the basic steps.  So yeah, I definitely encourage you to try 5 times!  Like anything, it make take that long to learn what it's about and really get comfortable with it.  Just remember, nobody is watching you; every person in that class is concentrating on himself or herself.  So just cut yourself a break and dance like no one is watching!  It's fun, I promise... :-P
she is so cool! 
ya know, i have been back in minnesota a little over a year, after living across the country for a few years and i feel *so* lucky to have met really wonderful folks [like tiff!!]
and she is totally right ; take small steps everyday. you don't need a miserable diet. you dont need to kill your self-esteem in the mirror. 
work for what you deserve!
day by day. you work and change will happen.

want more?
check out tiff's website for fun info & events happening in the minneapolis zumba universe
follow her on twitter here!

and dont forget to enter the blog giveaway here 
[katie is giving away two pairs of earrings!]