Chances are, in the past few months you have heard your friends or coworkers raving about Zumba—and we think we have a pretty good idea as to why. Zumba turns working out into what it should be: an exhilarating and social way to get your heart rate up! With this form of exercise growing in popularity, we decided to jump on the bandwagon by featuring a Zumba instructor wellness guru this month. Suzy Fenton pens the popular Confessions of a Fitness Instructor blog. We believe she captures the spirited essence of Zumba (and fun workouts in general), and love her emphasis on living a life that’s full of passion for great workouts, Lululemon, cupcakes, and cats.
1. Tell us about your path to discovering that you wanted to be a fitness instructor.
I took business classes in college and have a very strong foundation in accounting which landed me working at a local insurance brokerage. After 4 1/2 years I was ready to make a change. I had seen what a difference exercise had made in my own life and wanted to help others find the same benefits. I was actually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia approximately 10 years ago, and staying active is the most beneficial way to keep my symptoms under control. I figured the best way to make sure I didn’t slack off on my exercise was to make it part of my job. Now I don’t really have a choice, I have to do it whether I want to or not!
2. Your motto is “because being fit isn’t about being perfect.” Can you elaborate on that?
I like eating really healthy clean food, but I also really like cupcakes and brownies. I felt there was a need for someone to be honest about what they ate and did. So many healthy living bloggers seem afraid to post when they’ve gone crazy and eaten 8 cookies straight out of the oven, or when they choose the French fries over the side salad when eating out. Just because someone eats French fries now and again doesn’t mean you aren’t fit – or healthy. I think we all need to cut ourselves a little slack.
3. What are your favorite ways of maintaining balance in your life?
Balance is a hard one for me. I teach a lot of classes, and when I’m not teaching I’m usually doing paper/computer work for my business or working on my blog. My husband and I work opposite times of the day (he goes to work early in the morning, I teach most of my classes in the late afternoon and evening) so we rarely see each other during the week. On the weekends we like to just hang out, watch movies and TV. I think if it wasn’t for him I’d work every waking moment!
4. How do you recommend easing your way into a fitness regimen, for those who are new to it?
Someone who is truly a beginner should start slowly. Begin by adding 1 or 2 workouts/week that are at least 30 minutes in length. Once your body adapts or adjusts to being more active you can add a third day into the mix. I find people who start off exercising 3 or 4 days/week right out of the gate often burn themselves out in a matter of weeks. You are much better off to start slow and build your way up!
I will admit I’m a bit of a sucker for Zumba. It’s just so much fun! You get to dance and listen to awesome music and burn mega calories in the process!
5. What is one lesson you’ve learned over your years of focusing on health and fitness?
Listen to your body. If it tells you something doesn’t feel right or that you shouldn’t do something listen to it! I want my participants to modify and change any moves that don’t work for them. I’m the first one to ask someone if they should be in class when I know they’ve been sick or are recovering from an injury and if I’m not convinced they are okay I will send them home.
6. What is one thing that makes you different from other fitness instructors?
I hate being in the spotlight. Which is crazy for someone who chose a profession where I am in the spotlight all of the time. I guess the difference is while I’m teaching classes I might be up on stage but everyone is too busy trying to keep up with the routines and choreography so I don’t feel like I’m in the spotlight. Outside of work though, you’re much more likely to find me sitting by myself at an event than walking around chatting or dancing or something!
We hope that you all enjoyed getting to know Suzi and learning about her outlook on fitness and life! If you’re interested in hearing more of her thoughts, check out of her blog: www.confessionsofafitnessinstructor.com.
Tell us: what’s your favorite tip for easing your way into a fitness regimen?