Sunday, October 27, 2013

The report from Saturday or how certification went

It's the day after my Zumba certification class and I am so tired. I felt awesome yesterday. Even when some of my fellow participants were dragging around 3pm, I was still going strong. I felt very pleased with myself about that, but today it seems that it's all caught up with me. I've been dragging since I got out of bed this morning - after sleeping in until almost 9am. I get up at 5:45am every day so 9am is pretty good. It's days like today that make me wish I kept sources of caffeine in the house. I don't because it will give me an ulcer. Seriously, I had one at 17 which gives you an idea of how much Coke and Jolt I used to drink.

Anyways... On to yesterday! How -did- it go yesterday? I went great. It was a fantastic experience and I feel like I learned a lot. There were several moments where Debbie the trainer said/did something that made my brain go, "Oh! That's why Jae and Rae do     X    . Okay..." In spite of having done Zumba for three and a half years, there was still lots to absorb and take in, so in my opinion, this was very worthwhile and time well spent.

I left my house a little before 6:30am with the idea that I would arrive at Michigan State University at around 7:30am. I'd forgotten how much I hate highway driving in the dark... I made it on time and with no problems though. Navigating MSU in the dark is something I haven't had to do in a very long time so I wound up circling the area once before finding the correct building and the correct entrance to the parking ramp. The parking ramp was open that early in the morning so I didn't have to pay to get in and by the time I left for the day it was open so I didn't have to pay get out either. Bonus!
The walk from the parking ramp to the building was actually surprisingly short, given how large MSU is, so I was early by 15 minutes and I was actually the very first one to check in. Through those open doors you see in the photo to the left, is the studio room where the class was held; it had an awesome floor. At the back of the room were some long tables set up and on one end was a woman with a computer, a stack of waivers, and crate full of green bags ("goody bags"). At the other end were piles and piles and piles of Zumbawear. Squee! Okay self...stay cool and don't make a spectacle over all the shiny new things...

I very calmly gave the woman with the computer my name, she handed me a waiver (which I filled out and gave back) and a green bag. She told me that inside the green bag was an instructor's manual and a box with a CD and some DVD's that went over the basics. She also told me that inside the manual was a form to fill out to join ZIN. I was pretty sure I was going to join before I got there so I just filled it out and gave it back to her right away. Incidentally, sometime around 2:30pm, I checked my email on my phone during a break and there was an email in my inbox saying "Welcome to ZIN"; she works fast I guess. So, after calmly handling the paperwork, I calmly made my way along the table to have a (calm) little look-see at the Zumbawear. It's wholesale, so I am actually paying the trainer, but I don't have to pay for shipping so, all in all, a good deal. There on the table was the black/white version of the latest football shirt. I've been watching that one a while, it's long sleeved so I was thinking it might be a nice every-day kind of shirt.
Hey, you all know I'm a freak about Zumba... What's stopped me from buying it up until now was that I didn't know what the weight of the cotton was. If it's intended for exercise, then the cotton might be too lightweight. But, being able to hold it in my hands, I decided that I liked it and was going to buy it. They had a lot of that shirt available so size wasn't an issue.

Me: Do you have the orange and grey version?
Check-in lady: No, sorry. No orange.
Me: Aaw. Okay then.
But I was only disappointed momentarily, because next to the white/black football shirt was another kind of football shirt, the Zumba Team Spirit Jersey in black/pink. I've seen pictures of this floating around the internet, but I know Zumba no longer sells it (it also used to come in black/yellow). There was only the one shirt and it was my size. Shoink! You see dear readers, it pays to arrive early. The black shirt actually didn't have tags anymore so it had probably been hanging around for quite a while. Below is a picture of the back. Aren't those little buttons adorable? I can understand why there was only one of these left. I feel really lucky that it just so happened to be my size.

I think I managed to contain my enthusiasm and glee as I payed for my shirts. The email I received in advance had said that cash was preferred, but the lady with the computer also had a smart phone with a credit card swiper so I cheerfully hand my card over, used my finger to sign my name, and then typed in an email to get a nifty little e-receipt.

I did check out the other shirts, pants, and accessories too, but with the exception of some socks, everything else was either something I already owned (or a version of it) or something I wasn't really interested in. I have a lot of socks though so I left those and called it good with my two shirts.

It wasn't even 8am yet so I decided to stake out a spot in the room along the wall where I could set down my stuff and kind of camp out for the day. Debbie the trainer had her iPod going on the room's sound system and as I sat there changing my shoes, the song Zumba Mami came on. That song is actually where the inspiration for the name of my blog comes from. My shoulders started reflexively moving in circles even though my hands were busying tying shoes and any nervousness fled and I knew at that moment that it was going to be a really good day. I couldn't resist a little Facebook update to all my people about it. The room started filling up, and I think there were roughly 49 women in the room...and one man. Brave guy. Heh.
Check-in and shopping
Around 8:30am, pretty much everyone had shown up and checked in so Debbie the trainer gave us all a little hello and a welcome and an overview of what to expect for the day. All that took about 15 minutes and then we all arranged ourselves into rows and got started with the master class.

I had never taken a master class before this. I found it really interesting the way Debbie taught the class. She'd get the group started on a specific step, then she'd stop and walk up and down in front of the class and at the appropriate moments in the song, she'd pick up the next step and get us all going on that one and then resume her walking up and down. A few times, she walked in and out of the rows and joined us. In between songs, she had us rotate rows so that no one got the same one spot the entire time (something she continued to do all day long). It was a lot of fun. So much so, that I was half way through the class when I realized that I hadn't wrapped my ankle before getting started. Oopsie! Well it was too late at that point. But I was surprised to find that by the time we were done, my ankle wasn't hurting me at all. I'm pretty sure a lot of that had to do with the floor. It was excellent, providing just enough traction so my shoes could grip, but just enough smoothness so that I could twist and slide.

I'm not sure whose coat that is, but the silver ribbon attached to the black pants is me.
After the master class, we took a brief break. I used the opportunity to have a little snack from my food stash and wrap my ankle. Yes, it had made it through the master class unscathed, but there was no reason to push my luck. After the break, we all dug our instructor manuals out of our green bags and listened to what Debbie had to tell us about warm-up and cool-down songs.
She also went over the basic aspects of merengue and then we all got up and practiced some merengue. The rest of the day went a lot like that. We'd have breaks (one of which was lunch), followed by a break-down of a dance style, followed by some time to practice that style. After merengue came salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton.

Before we finished dancing for the day, Debbie had us do a "mini class", two songs from each style. She had volunteers come to the front to take turns directing the group for just one step of the song. So there were four volunteers up front at a given time each taking turns with their assigned step. Taking a turn was not mandatory, and I was shocked to hear, for a very brief moment, an annoying little voice in my head telling me to just stand in the back. I decided to ignore that voice. I volunteered for one of the salsa songs and wound up being assigned the salsa step that happened to be -the one- that I had actually never done before yesterday. Figures...but it worked it out alright. I could do it, I was just a little stiff at it. My turn only lasted 10 seconds at a time and I went three times so really, I was only leading the group for about 30 seconds total.

My certificate from Zumba
When the dance and movement portion was over for the day we had a Q&A session to discuss anything that hadn't already been discussed. We also filled out evaluations of the class. Then we were told that our certificates were waiting for Online, what? I had to print the thing myself at home.
B1 charm
I was really hoping to receive it at the class. I wanted to have someone take a picture of me holding it while I was still dressed from the class. It's my Rhythm Rocker shirt, when it comes to photos, that shirt is cursed. I have yet to get a picture of myself wearing it because somehow it just never quite works out. And yes, I was still wearing it by the end of the day. I never did change into my second set of dance clothes. The locker room/bathroom was very small and thus very crowded (49 women remember?). With limited time to change and get back, I decided to just live with sweaty clothes. I had to squeeze in to change when it was time to go home, but at that point there wasn't the urgency so I could wait my turn.

The picture above and to the left is of my new key chain charm. I bought it back in August with my birthday money and I've been saving it for this day. The certificate is my reward from Zumba, and the charm is my reward from me.

***Side note: Isn't the beaded key chain pretty? Our older son made that for me at school last Mother's Day. Proud Zumbamommy moment!***

So that was my day, and it was a very good day. Walking out of there knowing that I was licensed and legally able to teach Zumba (for money) was a pretty surreal thing; I'm part of the club now. In some ways, I feel exactly the same and in other ways, I feel completely different. Zumba has taught me a great deal about myself over the last three and a half years and I realize, based on my experience yesterday, that I have a lot more to learn. It would have been easy to fall back into my old habit of hiding in the back row. So very easy and almost without realizing it. The fact that that is even true, tells me something about myself - that the timid back row dancer from a few years ago is still lurking around in there somewhere. But the fact that I didn't let it happen tells me something too - that I'm braver than I used to be and considerably more confident. The voice of strength drowns out the voice of fear these days.

Best advice: Let the voice of strength be louder than the voice of fear, and see how you like that version of yourself.


  1. Thank you for the detail blog about training. This is the absolute first blog that goes into detail about a training. I've been looking for a month for a blog to tell me what to expect at the training and in detail. I go to my jump start gold training on April 5th. I'm super nervous but your blog made me feel at ease.

    Thanks :)

    1. You are so welcome. I was in your same position between August and October last year. I had signed up but then I hunted and hunted and couldn't find anything that went into enough detail to give me a good idea of what to expect. I figured that after I came back, I'd better write about it myself. It was a long day, so I was glad that my drive there and back was only an hour each way. I was also glad I'd packed a lunch because then I didn't have to give up my parking spot or waste time walking and waiting in line. It was also a really fun day. The experience is a lot to take and when all is said and done, you'll probably find that a week later, pieces of it are a bit blurry. Which is another reason that I'm glad I wrote it down relatively soon after the fact. Good luck with your training day, and have fun with it. Here's an early "welcome to ZIN!" to you too. Thanks for stopping by my blog, just something I do as a little hobby.

    2. thank you. We were told since its jumpstart in the outline of the day that our lunch is a working lunch. My drive is 40 mins there and back and My husband is driving me bc I really dont know How I may feel after that day since I have to get up at 6 am to head out the door at 645 no later than 7 am. Thank you so much. I really like your blog btw :)

    3. 40 minutes is a really good drive. At my B1, I chatted with someone who had driven from Ohio the day before and stayed over night in a hotel. She wasn't the only one, about a third of people had stayed over somewhere the night before. That's sweet of your husband though. One thing I've learned over the last 4+ years of doing Zumba (as student and then now as ZIN) is that having a supportive husband makes a world of difference.

      How you will feel after has a lot to do with what your endurance is like already and what you take to eat and drink. I have pretty good endurance, but I packed a lot of healthy food that was fast to eat and easy to pack. Way more than I needed. Two different drinks. Oh and some not so healthy food in the form of mini Oreos. The reason being that on a day like that with continuous activity, your body is going to need some glucose periodically. That's what Gatorade does (and others like it) but if you don't like the taste, Oreos (or something similar) is a good substitute. ;)

      And thank you! Glad you like the blog, I appreciate that.