The plethora of fitness options available these days can make it tough for exercise enthusiasts to choose a routine and stick to it. Those seeking a less traditional method for burning calories may steer clear of the treadmill or the elliptical machine in favor of a group activity or class such as yoga, pilates or even Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program.
According to Zumba.com, since its inception in 2001, more than 14 million people in more than 150 countries have tried Zumba.
The Liberty County/Armed Forces branch YMCA offers Zumba classes three days a week. Thursday night’s class is taught by Carmen Roman, who has taught the program since last year.
Roman said her class is not simple or boring because she incorporates every muscle group and body part into the workout, changing things up from class to class and modifying the program for participants of all fitness levels.
“All our bodies and movements are different,” she said. “If you need to start slow, I do that. We can do low-impact until you work your way up. I want you to be comfortable, and I watch everyone so that I can tell if I need to stand beside you and help you along the way.”
Roman’s classes focus more on toning than weight loss. Safety also is one of her priorities. The instructor takes responsibility for making sure no participants get hurt in class.
Her goal is to encourage attendees and push them out of their comfort zones while having fun. Several participants say the high-energy routine makes them forget they’re exercising.
“I want them to feel it and push themselves,” Roman said. “I love doing something to help someone else, and I am beside them every step of the way encouraging them to just keep moving.”
Sonya Golden has been taking Zumba two days a week at the YMCA for six months. She said she likes the class because it is works and is designed for different parts of the body, which allows participants to take baby steps. She also said the old-school music makes the routine enjoyable.
“There comes a point where you have to stop looking in the fun mirror and switch to the real one,” she said. “The more you do, the more you’ll be able to do, and this class allows you to start out slow and work your way up.”
Golden said that unlike other instructors, Roman demonstrates the proper technique so students don’t get hurt, and she motivates everyone in her classes. Roman takes individual fitness levels into consideration and cares about every participant, she added.
“The high energy of the class drives me,” Golden said. “The class brings back the muscles and the parts of the body that went to Hawaii on vacation and that’s one of the reasons I love it.”
For more information on Zumba or other YMCA programs, call 368-9622.