Get your ZUMBA on!!

In Fitness, Life, Tennessee, Weight loss on September 10, 2012 at 2:33 am

I asked my dear friend if she would write a guest post for my blog and she happily obliged. Rachel and I have known each other 10+ years and have remained close as adults. She is truly an inspiration to me and many others! Here is her story…

Hey Ya’ll! Greetings from Northeast Tennessee! My name is Rachel O’Dell and I am so excited to be Cayla’s guest blogger today! I am a Pre-K teacher by day and a Zumba instructor by night. I want to take a few minutes and share with you my fitness story. I danced for 15 years-from the time I was in preschool thru my freshman year in college. When I say I danced, I literally danced everywhere I went. After my freshman year, I decided to give up dancing and focus on my studies. When I gave up dancing, I also gave up any type of fitness and physical activity that I could be getting. I kept up this lifestyle for several years and eventually, this lifestyle caught up with me. I gained a lot of weight, had a few health problems, and lacked self confidence. In the Fall of 2009, I decided that I needed to change the way my life was going-I needed a lifestyle makeover and change! I started walking each afternoon after work. When I first started walking, I could only walk for about 25 or 30 minutes, but I did this each day. After a couple of weeks, I was able to bump up my time. During the winter months, I kept up my walking, but this time on the treadmill. Once spring and summer came, I was able to resume my walking outside. I even started running-just for about a minute during each walk. Then, during the fall of 2010, I was introduced to Zumba. I was told I needed to try Zumba because I had a dancing background. I went into my first class thinking, “This is crazy, I am not going to like this Zumba. It is not real dancing!” Boy, was I ever wrong! I came out of my first class HOOKED!!!!! Eventually, I was taking 3 or 4 Zumba classes each week! I just couldn’t get my fill! I also started loving exercise! I was noticing a difference in me and I liked the difference I saw! In January 2011, I decided that I wanted to help people get fit, lose weight, gain confidence, and live a healthier life. I decided to get my Zumba Instructor License! Now, I mentioned earlier that I am a teacher. That does not mean that I like to be in front of people talking or leading exercises! So, becoming a Zumba instructor was definitely out of my characteristic and comfort zone. I have been teaching classes for a year and half and I usually teach between 5 and 6 classes each week! I love teaching Zumba! I love helping people get fit and burn calories and lose weight. I love Zumba because it is a non-threatening exercise program-meaning, you can be in this class and be with people from all various exercise and fitness levels. If you don’t know what Zumba is, let me share with you a little bit about it! Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness party! You just come into a Zumba class and you get ready to shake it. It doesn’t matter if you are the most fit person in the class or if you are just a beginner at physical fitness, you move how your body allows you to move! Zumba is a class for anyone! 

Since beginning my fitness journey, I have lost 80 pounds and I have toned up my body as well! I credit a lot of success to Zumba! I might have lost a lot of weight, but I have also gained some things. I have gained my health back-I can breathe easier, I feel like I have more energy, and I can move around with my students better because I am able to now! More than that, I have gained my self-confidence back! I love that I am able to help others gain that confidence as well! I know that I am doing my job when they share with me their success stories! When my students leave Zumba, they leave laughing and smiling, and sweaty! That is what exercise is all about! Also, because of Zumba, I have more endurance and I have started running. I have completed several 5K and 8K races. Now, I am training for my first half-marathon in December!

 If you want to try out a Zumba class in your area, go to , click on Find Instructor and enter your information. If you are in Northeast Tennessee, look up my schedule, I would love to have you join me and my Zumba classes!    



Rachel’s visit to San Diego

Auntie Rachel

Hope you enjoyed reading Rachel’s fitness journey.

Have you taken Zumba classes before?

  1. I totally agree that zumba is for all sizes and also for all ages. If you’re doing the zumba dance to lose weight, you wouldn’t think of it as chore unlike other form of exercises because you’re having fun and before you know it, you are sweating heaps already.

  2. Good for you! All that sweatin’ is showing! Keep up the good work. What is your fave exercise right now?

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