These hips don’t lie
Zumba fitness craze hits UB
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Lifting weights and running on the treadmill becomes tedious. Costly memberships to off-campus gyms do not fit well with a college student’s budget.
That’s why many UB students are turning to Zumba.
Amy Newsome, the assistant director for aerobics and indoor cycling, directs recreational fitness on campus. Newsome hires instructors to teach classes such as spinning, yoga, circuit training, biking, Pilates and Zumba – the most popular class, which typically ranges in size from 20 to 45 people.
Zumba is a Latin-inspired, high-intensity dance party.
Caroline Cuyler, a sophomore psychology major, is a new Zumba instructor at UB. She loves every second of it.
“The students inspire me when they continue to come back,” Cuyler said. “I feel like I’m on cloud nine. I truly enjoy teaching.”
Devin McMillian,a Zumba instructor at UB, has been teaching for six years. His mother got him interested in Zumba because she was an instructor herself. McMillian hopes to become a hip-hop choreographer in California, where he can put his love for dance and music into dance routines.
He makes sure to put a lot of energy and hip-hop in his class, so it’s different from the typical Zumba experience.
“I teach Zumba because I like seeing their progress,” McMillian said. “I like seeing them do something they didn’t think they’d be able to do before taking my class.”
The instructors come up with their own workouts for each class and have the freedom to do what they feel is best. McMillian loves being able to get creative.
Cuyler usually takes about a week or two to practice and learn her routines before performing them for her class.
“I don’t really get nervous about messing up,” Cuyler said. “When I do mess up, I just laugh it off. We’re all human, I guess.”
Going to the gym may seem impossible to some people because they don’t have the motivation of an instructor there to get them to workout and push them harder when they think they cannot continue.
“Fitness classes are important because it gives structure to your workout,” Cuyler said. “You have a set time and work out to do so you have less of a chance to back out. Also, group environments are so much more fun.”
Arielle Nathanson, a senior occupational therapy major, found out about the classes online and has been frequenting group fitness sessions like spinning, Zumba and total body fitness classes for over a year. She thinks it’s easier when there is an instructor in front of the room to motivate her.
“It’s easy to find classes that suit your preferences and needs,” Nathanson said. “You can find different kind of instructors for the same classes that you may like better.”
The classes aren’t just geared toward students; anyone can get a group fitness permit and attend as many of the classes as they want. Student permits are $40, staff permits are $60 and permits for general public are $65.
All of Alumni Arena’s instructors are certified and trained for the specific classes they teach.
Anyone can get certified in fitness instruction.
Newsome ensures each instructor is certified and trained to teach the class by conducting a written evaluation and videotaping them prior to beginning of classes. Not all the instructors are students.
“I will partner teach with an instructor for as long as they need before they’re launched out there to do it independently,” Newsome said. “There’s more than just doing the routine; you have to be able to cue the students while you’re doing the steps. It’s a lot to do at once so you need to know what you’re doing [and] be comfortable and capable.”
Depending on what the instructors need to improve on, Newsome is involved with progressing and enhancing the instructors’ teaching ability.
Instructors can pay up to $400 to become certified fitness instructors. The exam is not just a monetary investment, however, because instructors genuinely enjoy helping students change their lives fitness-wise, according to Cuyler.