5 Things I’ve learned as a Zumba Fitness Instructor

This year, I celebrate three years of teaching Zumba Fitness classes. I still can’t believe it.

I went to the instructor training class after taking Zumba classes at my local gym for three months. I was hooked, I found an affinity for the rhythms, movement, and dancing, and I wanted to learn how to share my enthusiasm with others.

I’ve learned a lot in three years {and the learning still continues!}. I can say for certain that I’ve improved as an instructor. I’ve even started to branch out! This spring, I traveled to VA for PiYo Strength training, and will travel to Philly this month for TurboKick training. Before the end of this year, I will also get the ball rolling for AFAA or ACE group fitness certification. 

Here are five things that I’ve learned in my past three years of teaching Zumba Fitness:

1. Embrace criticism. I’ve learned this: every instructor has a different style. No one instructor is “better” than another, just different. When presented with a criticism of class, my response is always “thank you!” first. And then I listen to determine what they’re really saying or asking of me. Almost 100% of the time, it has provided a learning experience that has made my classes better and has made me a stronger instructor.

2. Listen to your students. Just as fitness instructors are different, so are the students in your classes! I’ve learned that it’s important to listen to your students and their needs. I have some students who want more attention in class than others. Once they make it a priority to tell me (either verbally or through body language), I make it a priority to fill their needs. Class would not be possible without the students! Treat them well.

3. Train, train, train. This is so important. Beyond the initial certification or licensing, more training is crucial to ensure proper knowledge of technique, to keep the students safe, and to keep up with the program. I know for a fact that the Basic I training manual has changed since my initial licensing.

I also learned to take other classes. Explore the world outside Zumba Fitness – there’s so much out there! I started taking kickboxing classes, Yoga, Pilates, and even started getting serious about strength training and running. As a result of branching out, I’m stronger, have new moves to mimic and incorporate into my classes, and feel more confident as an instructor.

Another element of training is knowing the music. I like to be prepared for class. In the heat of the moment, sometimes I’ll switch up my playlist on the spot. So, it’s good to be flexible, too.

Zumba provides a couple of great training options, in addition to the licensing all-day instructor training: ZIN Jam Sessions and the annual Convention. These are great for sharpening the skills, learning new moves, and meeting friendly Zumba instructors.

4. Show up. I know in the fall that my work schedule gets hectic with traveling. If I can, I like to provide lots of notice for no classes or find a sub right away. I have three amazing subs that I know I can lean on for support. I also enjoy being a sub! It’s great to meet new faces and share my style with others.

5. Make friends with other instructors. Build that network. For me, half the fun of teaching is getting to know the other instructors! There are some amazing, talented instructors and athletes in my area. I’ve learned so much from them, too. I’ve helped organize events, traveled to FL for the convention, traveled to WV for toning training, and spent time choreojamming with some of my local instructor buddies. Couldn’t do it without them!

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One Response to 5 Things I’ve learned as a Zumba Fitness Instructor

  1. I listen to determine what they’re really saying or asking of me. Almost 100% of the time, it has provided a learning experience that has made my classes better and has made me a stronger instructor. http://www.rx247.net/canesten.html

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