Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Dance Class at CBRC

Last week, I spoke with the manager of group fitness at CBRC (Columbia Basin Racquet Club). I offered up a new class idea, for which she gave me the 'OK' to pursue a trial period.

I haven't danced for a while... like actually danced, with a partner. Also, since I've joined CBRC's Holiday Fitness Challenge, I could use an excuse to spend at least one more day at the gym each week. Those things considered, my idea was a partner dance class focusing on either an introduction to ballroom dancing or an introduction to salsa dancing.

I think ballroom would be more fun, since I could use the refresher, but my manager thought that Salsa might be more successful. I can agree there, since we could all plan to meet out at the Red Lion in Pasco on a Friday night or at Jokers on a Saturday night.

I checked the current calendar, and the big fitness room is available starting at 7pm on Thursday evenings and at 5:30pm on Friday evenings. In my head, the class feels like a 6pm Friday kind of class, but I know people can be particular about their weekends.

So, now that you know what I'm thinking, I'd like to hear what you're thinking. What days/times work best for you? What would you like to learn? Would you like it to focus on partner dancing, or just learn choreography?

Finally, something that I worry about is getting guys to show up. It's not that I wouldn't love to dance with all of you, nor is it that I don't think ladies can 'lead'. It's just that I want you all to be able to learn and dance the parts you would be dancing if you were out at a club or a ballroom. In order for that to happen, we have to get some guys to show up. So, feel free to lay some ideas on me. That being said, YOU WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO BRING A PARTNER. In fact, even if you bring a partner, you will not be able to just dance with them. We'll rotate so that everybody can get some practice.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CBRC Holiday Fitness Challenge

I teach Zumba at 2 different locations among the Tri-Cities. One of them, Columbia Basin Racquet Club (CBRC) in Richland, is having a fitness challenge that I'm very interested in. The challenge: check in to the front desk of the CBRC 4 times a week from Nov.18th until Jan. 12th. Effectively, the challenge is to Avoid the Holiday Bulge.

It only costs $12 to sign up, and you'll receive a CBRC water bottle just for trying. Make sure you check in every time you visit!

What will you get out of it? Well, you can win prizes that vary from massage and personal training to workout apparel. More importantly, successful participants' names will be posted in the fitness center each week. So, you'll know that you're not alone in your efforts.

I'm hoping, except for the 2 weeks that we disappear to Lake Tahoe for late December, that I'll be able to keep my name on the list. Since I teach one Zumba class at another facility, I'll actually be upping my gym visits from 3 times per week to 5 times per week! I'd love to keep track of my Zumba dancers that are kicking butt, too, so let me know if you're participating. Maybe I'll do something special for dancers using Zumba to get 2 days toward their 4 in a week.

If none of my dancers end up participating, I know I will not succeed. Like group fitness, I need the motivation of others to help me succeed. You can talk to the front desk for more information, or you can read the posters with Santa on an RPM bike that are posted throughout CBRC.

Happy Dancing,

Monday, November 4, 2013

Plank Challenge

A week or two ago, a plank challenge blew up all over Facebook. The challenge:  go from a 20-second plank to 4-minute 30-second plank in 30 days. My partner and I decided to start it, but missed the 3rd day, so we started back over on November 1st (along with a bunch of Facebook friends).

This is the form of plank we are attempting.

Since it's early in the month and I'm already feeling it, I thought I'd offer up the challenge to my dear Zumba dancers. I'll also let you know that my personal goal is only a 4-minute plank by the end of the month. Also, at the beginning of the month, both my partner and I could already hold a 1-minute plank. So, if you saw the challenge on Facebook, you'll see that my path is more gradual, but starts at 60-seconds:

Day 160Day 11105Day 21165
Day 260Day 12120Day 22180
Day 360Day 13RestDay 23180
Day 475Day 14120Day 24195
Day 575Day 15135Day 25195
Day 6RestDay 16135Day 26Rest
Day 790Day 17150Day 27210
Day 890Day 18150Day 28210
Day 990Day 19RestDay 29225
Day 10105Day 20165Day 30240

Now let's say you wanted to hop on this train today (Day 4). If you can already hold a plank for 1-minute 15-seconds, then perfect. If you can't, then try your best to be caught up by Day 12. See how long you can plank today and try to increase it 10 or 20 seconds every day until you're on track with us. In my mind, I can't actually imagine planking for 4 minutes, but I'd be ecstatic to see us all get there. Don't be discouraged if all of us have to try again next month to get our time up there. It'll also give us a chance to get more people to join us!

Your core means everything not only when you dance but also in every other action your body does. You'll be surprised how much a strong core makes everything feel easier. Now we just have to get there.

Happy Dancing,

P.S. If you're looking for another way to focus on your core, I've personally found no better way than TRX. Look into the program at your gym. You might also want to try CXWorx.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Can't Nobody Hold Me Down

For those that don't know, I'm moving to Washington (the state) in the beginning of May.  I've just started announcing it in classes, so I wanted to give you an explanation.

It will actually be my 16th move since graduating high school (just under 10 years ago).  I've never even been to Washington, and I'm super excited.  Here's what my life has looked like over the past decade:

Crazy, right?
Annie and I moved to Lexington in January of last year when her engineering company asked her to relocate here from California for a 6-month assignment.  While we were here, her home office was closed.  So, 6 months turned to 9 months turned to 12 months, and finally it took 16 months to find another project to send her off to.  She's already actually working in Washington, and I haven't seen her since March 1st.

On May 10th, we'll load up my car and drive across the country (for the third time).  What does that mean for you?  I only have 4 weeks of classes left in Lexington!  Since I'm wrapping up a bunch of business and visiting family & friends on this side of the country, I'll actually have subs for a few of those classes.  If you've enjoyed my Zumba classes over the past year-plus, you can do 2 things for me:

1) Come say 'bye'.  Come to at least one more class, walk up to me afterward, tell me you've enjoyed Zumba w/ ~RoB, and I'd especially love to hear success stories.  I know many of you, but I suck at names, so introduce yourself (even if you think I know your name, because I don't) and some of you have never actually talked to me.  Here's your last chance (well, a couple more last chances).  Don't be shy.  I'm sweaty, and stinky afterward, but I won't bite.

2)  Leave me something in the newest page of my blog:  Drop ~RoB a Line.  Facebook posts are great, but they don't last very long.  They tend to revolve around song requests and class announcements and other miscellaneous temporary comments.  I'm hoping this new page will eventually combine with my Testimonials page to provide a yearbook of dancers throughout my years of teaching across the country.

Also, if I'm being honest, I'm hoping I can show the new page to potential employers in the future.  I don't expect to get a very glowing recommendation from the studio that was recently purchased from a national chain, so I'm hoping my dancers can have their voices heard.  I don't actually do well at Zumba job interviews.  I don't look like a fitness instructor, nor is my background in fitness.  I teach Zumba for the fun of it, and I feel like that translates into fun classes.  That doesn't, however, translate into an interview.

So, come say bye, and drop a line on my new page.  It's been great, but I'm a gypsy, and can't nobody hold me down.

Happy Dancing (with everyone you can find to dance with),

Monday, January 28, 2013

New LA|Fitness Schedules

Those of us who were members or instructors at Urban Active got used to the schedule changing 3 times a year (Winter, Summer, & Fall).  With LA|Fitness taking over, it's felt like we've been waiting for something to change since January.  And now they have!

Here are links where you can find the online schedules for your LA|Fitness group exercise classes:

Palumbo, click here.

Palomar, click here.

How does this affect you?  Well, there are a dozen new classes between those two Lexington locations.  And... Zumba got the biggest bump on the schedule.  Rebecca snagged a new Friday class, Theresa has her own class, and Kasey is teaching for us again.  There are now 10 Zumba classes a week between the two gyms!

My late-night Monday class at Palumbo has been moved to Tuesdays at 7pm.  I'm pretty sure that means that childcare will be available during my class.  When I started at UA, my first class was Tuesday nights, and I'm happy to be returning to them.  The Saturday class at Palumbo has also been moved back 15 minutes so that it is at noon on the dot.  (I will continue to say good morning, since noon on a Sat is morning in my book.)

I know many of you have been asking for this.  All of the Zumba instructors appreciate the number of you that have been showing up to our classes and bringing friends.  Our huge numbers were one of the biggest factors in considering adding new classes.  Thank you, also, for being vocal with management about what you want and what you enjoy.

These people need more sweat to feel like our classes lately!

So, feel free to add another Zumba class to your schedule, and feel free to try all of the instructors and enjoy the variety that we all have to offer.  And, most importantly, keep coming and sweating en masse.

Happy Dancing,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Class (Branching Out)

Starting Thursday, January 24th, 2013, I will be teaching a weekly Zumba class for the YMCA of Central Kentucky.  It's open to the public, and it's ONLY $3!!

The best part?  I live 11 houses away from the new venue (refreshing after driving over 30 minutes to teach some classes)!  I couldn't be more happy to have fallen into this class.  Plus, I think it's where many of us live, and what's more convenient than that?!

The class will be on Thursday evenings at 6:15pm in the cafeteria of the Athens-Chilesburg Elementary (ACE) School off of Hays Blvd, just south of Todds Rd.  If you're ever interested in attending (and you should be ;), my best advice is to come early to fill out some quick paperwork and get your bearings on the layout of the school.

Also, make sure you enter from Hays Blvd!  Recent national incidents have forced the elementary school to lock all of the doors except the one closest to the cafeteria.  You will not be able to get in from Jouett Creek Dr!  If you're coming from Todds Rd, you'll need to make a U-turn immediately after passing the school on your left (the next, small intersection after Jouett Creek Dr).  If you're coming from Athens-Boonesboro/Richmond Rd, reaching the Jouett Creek Dr intersection means you've gone too far.  Here's a little map I edited:

It's in an elementary school cafeteria, so don't expect all of the amenities you're used to at the fancy gyms I teach at (like mirrors).  However, it's cheap and fun (and hopefully close to where many of us live).  Ideal for those of you who don't like other people looking at you in the mirror while you dance.

Happy Dancing,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Best Compliment Yet

I got my license to teach Zumba in May of 2011.  I made a few friends at the training, 2 of which were a married couple (since he was the only other guy at the training).  At the time we lived about 45 minutes away from each other, but we hoped that we'd be able to meet up again at some point in the future.  Before I knew it (like 2 weeks later) they had contacted me saying that they were subbing for their regular Zumba class and wanted to know if I could come do a song or two.  I had been working on choreography and jumped at the chance to teach in front of a real class.  I drove out to their regular studio in Concord, CA, and we had what we called a "mini master class".

4 brand new instructors after our first class, June 8th, 2011.

Since then I've taught over a hundred classes from California to Kentucky.  I've had classes with 1 person in them, and I've had classes with 150 people in them.  It doesn't matter how many classes I teach, my first will always stick out in my memory.  It was scary, but it was fun, and I think it went well.  Skip ahead 18 months, and this little gem was left on the wall of my Facebook page:

"Hi Rob! You were a guest instructor at the first Zumba Fitness class I ever took. It was at Dance Connection in Concord, CA in Summer 2011. Your energy and fun choreography were very memorable and inspired me to keep taking Zumba classes. Now, I'm an instructor, too, and just taught a sweat-flying, fist pumping class this morning and remembered that first class and wanted to let you know the effect you had! If you're ever back in the Bay Area I would love to host and collaborate with you! You're awesome! :)" ~Kathryn D.-H.

The first class that I partially taught turned out to be Kathryn's first Zumba class, which started her on the journey to become a Zumba Instructor herself.  Not only did this almost make me cry, but it also pointed out an interesting parallel.  I'm a Zumba Instructor today because of a sub that I had at a yoga studio in Oakland while an instructor was out for maternity leave.

I had been taking her classes for a few weeks when she decided to have a Cinco de Mayo Zumba party.  Afterward, while munching on some guacamole, she told me that I should consider becoming an instructor.  I laughed it off, but then she made it clear that she was serious.  In fact, I remember exactly what she said.  "You sparkle.  You are so high energy.  I'd take your class".  She said she was considering opening her own studio soon.  She handed me her card, told me to get my license, and told me to call her afterward.

The instructor that convinced me to become one:  the inspiration.

That instructor eventually got me a job teaching at Club One in San Francisco.  Actually, before I moved to Kentucky, I taught at almost every branch of Club One in San Francisco and Oakland.  From there, I got a job teaching at BORP, and I had plenty of opportunities subbing throughout the Bay Area.  As far as Zumba is concerned, a sub changed my life.

I'm not taking full responsibility for Kathryn becoming an instructor, but words can't describe how proud I am to be even the slightest bit of inspiration in helping her achieve her fitness goals.  I keep a page full of testimonials, more as motivation for myself than to brag (though it could use updating), but it's going to be hard to find a testimonial that means more to me than Kathryn's has.

Thank you all for the support over the years, and I assure you that you all inspire me way more than I could ever return.

Happy Dancing,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

This is an exciting time of year for all who teach group fitness classes.  There are so many new faces in our gyms.

However, as an engineer, I like to think realistically about resolutions.

It's around this time every year that gyms fill up with all kinds of New Year's Resolutionists.  Losing weight is the top New Year's Resolution every year.  75-80% of the year's annual gym memberships are purchased in the month of January.

What's the typical percentage of people that succeed at keeping a New Year's Resolution (NYR)?  About 8%.  Typically, only 64% make it all the way through January.  Only 45% will make it 6 months.  Scary thought:  almost 1 in 4 people have failed every NYR they have ever made, ever.

Don't fret though, you are ten times more likely to attain a NYR if you are explicit about it and announce it to someone.  However, support for NYRs ebbs pretty heavily after the first few weeks, so don't rely on others to be your constant motivation.

My advice:  at this very moment, forget about your health-related New Year's Resolutions.  Instead, tell yourself you're making a lifestyle change.  Pretend that you decided to change your lifestyle today and remove yourself completely from the thoughts of failed NYRs in your past.  (Heck, pretend that you made the change last September if you need to; don't get caught up in January NYR syndrome.)

Finally, I'd recommend not to focus on weight or body shape as your goals.  I've gone through periods of intense workouts as well as intense couch-sitting over the last decade, yet my stomach has almost always remained the same shape.  Focus on eating better or trying to lift more or trying to run further or trying to last longer.  Those will always help, and they give you goals you can reach without beating yourself up over body image.

And most importantly, come dance with me ;).

Happy New Year & Happy Dancing,