Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cool down spotlight: 'Mariposa Traicionera' by Maná

I am certainly not fluent in Spanish, but we all know this does not stop me from singing along! I understand enough to get the gist of many of the songs that we dance to, and some of them have fantastic lyrics. The cool down song we have been doing the past few weeks is actually one of my older songs, that I brought back as a request. It's a really beautiful song, called 'Mariposa Traicionera' by Maná, to which we dance a combination of Cha Cha and Flamenco moves. The title means "Treacherous Butterfly," and the lyrics are just so poignant that I would like to share them with you, as I feel that they really add to the enjoyment of the song, along with my best translation from Spanish to English.

Mariposa Traicionera by Maná

Writer(s): Jose Fernando Emilio Olvera Sierra
Copyright: Tulum Music

Spanish   English

Eres como una mariposa
vuelas y te posas de boca en boca
facil y ligera de quien te provoca
Yo soy raton de tu ratonera
Trampa que no mata pero no libera
Vivo muriendo prisionero

Mariposa traicionera
Todo se lleva el viento
Mariposa, no regreso

Ay, mariposa de amor
Mi mariposa de amor
Ya no regreso contigo
Ay, mariposa de amor
Mi mariposa de amor
Nunca jamas junto a ti
Vuela amor, vuela dolor
Y no regreses a un lado
Ya vete de flor en flor
seduciendo a los pistilos
Y vuela cerca del sol
Pa'que sientas lo que es dolor

Ay, mujer como haces daño
Pasan los minutos cual si fueran años
Mira estos celos me están matando
Ay, mujer que fácil eres
Abres tus alitas, muslos de colores
Donde se posan tus amores

Ay, mariposa de amor
Mi mariposa de amor
Ya no regreso contigo
Ay, mariposa de amor
Mi mariposa de amor
Nunca jamas junto a ti
Vuela amor, vuela dolor
Que tengas suerte en tu vida
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay amor
Yo te llore todo un rio
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay amor
Tu te me vas a volar


You are like a butterfly
You fly and rest, going from mouth to mouth
Easy and light for anyone who excites you
I am the mouse of your mousetrap
A trap that doesn't kill, but never lets you go
I live dying a prisoner

Treacherous butterfly
The wind takes everything
Butterfly, I'm not coming back

Ay, butterfly of love
My butterfly of love
I'm not coming back to you
Ay, butterfly of love
My butterfly of love
Never again back with you
Fly love, fly pain
And don't return to a side
Just go from flower to flower
Seducing the pistils
And fly close to the sun
So that you can feel what pain is

Ay, woman how you cause pain
The minutes go by as if they were years
Look, this jealousy is killing me
Ay, woman how easy you are
Open your wings, colorful thighs
Where your loves rest

Ay, butterfly of love
My butterfly of love
I'm not coming back to you
Ay, butterfly of love
My butterfly of love
Never again back with you
Fly love, fly pain
May you have luck in your life
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay pain
I cried a whole river for you
Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay love
You are going to fly away from me

Watch the music video on YouTube >>

Did I get it right? If you speak Spanish, let me know if I got something wrong!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How many calories do you burn in a Zumba Fitness class? A heart rate monitor is a great way to find out your real number!

Students often ask me, at the end of class, how many calories I have recorded on my Polar heart rate monitor.

I typically burn anywhere from 650 to 1000 calories in and hour of Zumba, depending on my energy level that day, and the number of minutes of cardio in the class. The number of calories burned over the course of an hour of Zumba will vary based on many factors: your level of effort, of course, but also your age, height, weight, and sex.

Because all these individual factors come in to play in determining how many calories you burn doing Zumba, I highly recommend that students invest in a heart rate monitor of their own. It is very motivating to have a “concrete” number of calories you have burned at the end of the hour.

There are so many heart rate monitors out there, it can be overwhelming trying to choose. Many have sophisticated technology and features that can even include GPS, pedometer, fitness tests, and more. Personally, I was just looking for a simple device that would read my heart rate and calculate the number of calories burned over a session of exercise, and that's it.

For this purpose, I love the Polar FT7, available on Amazon in a variety of colors. It’s simple to use, not excessively pricey (price varies between $59 to $100 depending on color), and gets the job done beautifully. It comes with a sensor that attaches to an elastic strap that you wear around your rib cage. The sensor sends your heart rate readings to the watch, which calculates your total calories burned. I start it at the beginning of the hour, and stop it at the end and get my reading of calories burned. Both the sensor and the watch have replaceable batteries, and when the strap wears out you can buy a new one for about $15.

If you are carefully tracking your food intake and exercise expenditures, or if you just want feedback on your workout and the satisfaction of seeing how many calories you burned having fun with Zumba, I absolutely recommend making the investment for a heart rate monitor of your own!

Which shoes to wear for a Zumba fitness class... some options, and my personal favorite!

One of the questions I am asked most frequently by first-time Zumba students as well as regulars is: "What kind of shoes should I wear for Zumba?"

There are basically three categories of shoes you can choose from when deciding which shoes to wear or purchase for your Zumba classes: athletic shoes, dance sneakers, and hybrids. As an instructor, I have worn them all. My personal experience is that there are trade-offs in every case, so it is really up to the individual to decide what is most comfortable for them.

Let's talk about the options.

Option 1: Athletic shoes

Athletic shoes that are made for running or walking, such as these New Balance, are what most people already have in their closet. They offer a lot of shock absorption, so they do a great job at diminishing the impact on your legs and joints as a result of jumping movements. They also tend to offer superior arch support, when compared to a split-sole dance sneaker, and they often offer some additional stabilization for over or under pronation, and ankle support. The one major disadvantage to this kind of shoe can be that they have rubber soles that offer a lot of traction. Twisting or turning actions will require more force, since the shoe is resisting, and this kind of resistance can result in knee pain over time.

For this reason, this is my least favorite option. I don't advocate using these kinds of shoes long term, but if you're just starting out, not ready to invest in a dedicated pair of Zumba shoes, or maybe only go to one class a week, then these will definitely do the job.

Option 2: Dance sneakers

Split-sole dance sneakers, such as the Bloch Boost DRT Mesh Dance Sneaker, tend to have soles made of a less sticky plastic, with little-to-no tread, and a pivot point on the ball of the foot, all designed to facilitate turning and twisting motions so that dancers can pirouette across the floor unimpeded. This makes them much easier on the knees. However, they are designed with a split sole to allow dancers to point their toes, so they do not have the same arch support that an athletic shoe provides. They can also sometimes be quite slippery on hardwood surfaces.


Only a couple of years ago, you basically only had athletic or dance shoes to choose from. These days, dance-based fitness classes have gotten so popular that shoe manufacturers have gotten wise and started making a wide selection of what I call "hybrids." These are dance sneakers, such as these Ryka Tenacity, that are styled like athletic lifestyle shoes but with the sole of a dance shoe AND the superior support of an athletic shoe. It sounds like the best of all possible worlds, and it can be, you just have to find the pair that's just right for you.

These Zumba shoes have the green spin spot on the ball of the foot, to allow for easier twisting and turning.
Zumba Fitness also now offers their own line of Zumba-branded hybrid dance sneakers, which can be purchased from the shop, at other major online retailers, such as, and also at select Lady Footlocker stores. They come in fun colors and styles, and have the spin spot on the sole along with the sneaker styling. I have found them to be good quality, and the price is not too bad either, especially if you manage to score them on sale!

My favorite pair of shoes ever (so far) are the Zumba® Energy Push High high-top sneakers. I'm already on my second pair I love them so much, and I'm considering buying a third to have a backup. They are lightweight and breathable, and come with two colors of shoelaces, so you can coordinate with your outfit that day!

They are a high top, which provides good ankle support – a must for me as I tend to roll and twist my ankles. They also have the right amount of "twistiness" on the floor without being too slippery, thanks to the spin spot on the sole. I did purchase an additional shock absorption insole, which I use instead of the factory insole, because I require more cushioning. The insoles that they come with the shoes are too light-weight for me, I have high arches. I have a student who just got the same style, and she loves them just as they are.

Remember, we are all different, and what works for one person may not work for another. The most important thing is to find the shoes that feel comfortable to you, so that you can enjoy your Zumba fitness workout to the maximum!

Monday, August 18, 2014

New classes @ Hi Five start Wed August 20!

I'm excited to announce that I am adding two more classes per week: Wednesdays @ 7 p.m. and Fridays @ 6:30 p.m.

This will be a new location for me, the brand new kids sporting facility that opened up in the old Walgreens space on Geary. It's right next door to Golden Donut... so maybe the smell of tasty deliciousness will be floating in as we dance. One can only hope!

Click here for more info and to get a free class pass >>

Friday, August 15, 2014

5 reasons why school teachers make awesome Zumba fitness class participants

The other day I was sitting in the waiting area of the yoga studio where I teach, waiting for the previous class to finish up so we could go into the room. I was listening to two of my students, who both happen to be school teachers for young children, get to know each other and talk shop.

It made me think of another student, absent that day, who is also a school teacher, and I realized that in addition to their profession, they all have something else in common: they are all really awesome people to have in class. I really miss them on days they can't come – I feel their absence. It made me think about the shared qualities that make them so wonderful to have in class, and why those qualities may come from what they do for a living.

Reason #1They understand that learning is a journey.

Many people are much too hard on themselves. They get frustrated very quickly if it takes them more than a couple of tries to get something. They are self-conscious and hold back out of fear of failure. They feel as though they are somehow not up-to-snuff if they don't nail something on the first try.

One instance that sticks out in my mind: I once had a woman come take my class for the first time, this was her first Zumba class and also the first time she had ever been in any kind of exercise or dance class.

After class, clearly frustrated, she approached me and demanded that I teach her how to move her hips the way I had been doing. I took a minute to show her the basic idea, and after she was able to follow my example for and do the same on her own for about half a minute I exclaimed "There you go! You're doing it!" Her response to me was "Yes, but I still don't look the same as you look doing it." My reply to her was "Well, I have been doing this a looooong time." Not surprisingly, she didn't come back. She didn't know how to accept that this was going to be a learning process.

Teachers understand that learning is a journey and they know how to embrace it and enjoy it. They're not shy about trying their very hardest from day 1 or worried about getting it all perfectly right away. They put their best effort in without hanging their sense of accomplishment on reaching the destination right out of the gate.

Reason #2  They know what real effort is.

Following on Reason #1, teachers don't sit back and phone it in. They give you real effort, and that means 100% of what they've got. Sometimes, if they're tired or have had a hard day, the 100% for that day isn't as much as it might have been the day before or the day after. But whatever they have to give in that moment, they are going to give it all (this also ties in to not holding back out of fear of failure).

One of the reasons I miss my school teacher students when they don't make it to class is that they are like batteries, little cells of raw energy, that rev me up and push me to always reach for my maximum too.

And, 100% effort is also one of the reasons why school teachers are more likely to be burning their maximum amount of calories and getting the most out of their workout.

Reason #3  They don't give up.

No matter what I ask them to do, no matter how crazy it seems, they never quit. Ever. They try their very hardest for as long as I ask them to try, and at the end, no matter how rough it was, they just laugh and move on to the next thing. If something is really out of their reach because of a physical limitation or an injury, or simply because they haven't worked up to it yet, they exercise the option to modify or adjust so that they CAN keep trying. They don't suffer from an "all or nothing" mentality, and if they can't do squats or jumps because of an injury, they'll do something else, but they won't ever just stop.

Reason #4  They are still in touch with their inner child.

Whereas most people in the workplace are dealing with other adults, teachers spend their days with children, so they don't ever lose touch with what it's like to be a kid, what it's like to play and run around carefree. They seem to tap into that and dance with the kind of reckless abandon and glee that reminds me of a little kid charging around the backyard with a tablecloth for a superhero cape. I see real joy in their movement and it's a thing of beauty.

Reason #5  They have empathy for the instructor.

Because they are in the position of being the teacher every day at work, they know first-hand how it feels to be in front of a group who is quiet, or shy, or low-energy that day. So they always make an effort to make eye contact, to smile, and to make sure you know they are having a good time. They know that teachers need appreciation and support, and they are always ready to give it.

One last thing before the bell...

I want to stress that I see plenty of people in my classes who are NOT school teachers who are also embracing the journey of learning, giving 100%, and not giving up. This was just a fun exercise for me to contemplate how the qualities these teachers share reflects on their participation in class, and to take a moment to highlight how they shine! Now, class dismissed!

Do you agree? Did I leave something out? Let me know your thoughts!