Personal stories

Email us at info@gozumbauk and if we use your story in the newsletter you will receive a free 5 class pass!!

Jodie Horton-Stanley

Zumba with jodieYou may have been to a hundred of my classes but you might not know much about me beyond how I salsa and merengue!  I’m 37 years old (I know you’re always guessing!) and was born in Bristol. But I’ve been lucky enough live and work all over the world before I settled in Yate 8 years ago.

I met my amazing now husband “Zumba Dave” when I was 20 and working as a choreographer for an Airtours hotel in Mallorca. Dave was an entertainments manager in the next hotel and to cut a along story short (we probably could write a book!), we ran a hotel entertainments program before building our first British style Fish and Chip shop called “Seaview”.  Another one followed in a resort called Called Egos (Seaview II – how original!!) and for 5 years I was an expert at battering fish. I don’t mind admitting it was hot and sweaty work!

We married in Florida in an intimate ceremony in 2007, sold up in 2008 and decided to move to Yate to visit family for a few months.  Our precious little girl Eden came along soon after and I started a childrens Theatre School Franchise in Yate called Razzmataz. It was so rewarding and kept me very busy and we had adapted back into Bristish life after 10 years away.

I was still unhappy with my flabby body after my pregnancy and years of not dancing (and eating chips everyday), so I decided to try a Zumba class out.   That Zumba class started me thinking that I could maybe teach a class once a week as a way of keeping myself fit (I felt so tired and wanted more energy but just put it down to being a mum).  The thought of being able to dance again was exciting as I’d accepted that my dancing days were behind me.

I taught my first Zumba class on a dark and freezing cold Friday evening at the Parish hall in Yate over 6 years ago and had no idea if anyone would be there. I was actually sick beforehand with nerves as I felt so unfit and unsure if I’d make the hour.  I think there were around 25 people, and some are still coming to classes today (thank you for your dedication)!!  I remember the embarrassed giggles when I showed them a wiggle and a shimmy and back then we weren’t sure how to whoop but how things have changed!!

It soon became clear that we were going to need a bigger hall and more classes as word got around about this crazy dance class where you actually burn calories and have fun! We moved to Yate international academy, St Mary’s School, Shireway and St Saviours church hall.  Over the years I’ve seen hundreds of lovely ladies (and sadly just a few men) attend classes and form friendship groups of their own which is wonderful to see.

Together we’ve raised thousands upon thousands of pounds for local and national charities, with parties, Zumbathon’s, performances, making a naked calendar, clothing collections and so much more (and we’ve more planned for this year).

In 2013 I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis but, luckily I knew a bit about it as by chance Tracey (one of our instructor crew) has also had it for many years.  It’s an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself. Doctors think it was brought on by pregnancy (I was very ill while pregnant at around 20 weeks while my body was rejecting Eden, so my little lady is a double miracle).

It has caused me to have an underactive thyroid – it’s actually a really common condition and can diagnosed with a simple blood test.  I was anaemic, bloated, exhausted, feeling cold, had poor circulation, mood swings, puffiness in my face, dry skin and hair loss but it was only when I changed doctors that they picked up on it or I might have never got the medication I needed and the boost to change my lifestyle.

I was advised that to reduce the inflamation in my body I should try a gluten free, unprocessed diet and take better care of myself. I decided to go for it along with Tracey and the results were almost instant. I lost a stone in a month – the weight loss was so dramatic that I’m sure some people thought I had an eating disorder but I guarantee you I was eating well and lots of it!  I was eating what my body needed and also making sure I was relaxing and getting enough sleep.

Not only that, I felt like I had more energy, my moods lifted, my puffiness was gone and I didn’t have the usual energy slumps.  One of the best side effects was almost curing all of my allergies. Before going gluten free I had severe hayfever,  tree nut/fruit allergies and couldn’t be around cats and dogs.  I am happy to announce that this Christmas we adopted a sweet rescue cat called “Princess” (that was really her name) and she has completed our little family.

I am so grateful to Zumba for keeping me fit, strong and motivated and feel sure that it has helped me keep going through the lowest point of my illness. I now feel in the best shape of my life (even better than when I was a 18 year old  professional dancer) and I love the Zumba buzz I get from each and every class. I’ve met some lifelong friends and heard some truly inspirational stories along the way and everyday I get up to a job that I love. I feel extremely lucky and hope I can continue teaching for many years to come.  I hope that you all get something out of class and that I can help you in some small way on your journey – here’s to a fabulous 2017.  We are stronger together, Jodie xx

Nigel Drew

NigSo why does a 63yr old bloke go to Zumba with a class that is nearly always all female? Well, sport bores me and I have always enjoyed music and dance. My wife definitely isn’t keen, but my daughters (25 & 29) also enjoy the classes when they have time to go, and encourage me with little phrases like “Dad, you are getting too fat” and “I am worried that you are going to die unless you do more exercise”; (My younger daughter Tamsin is a doctor and a great believer in vigorous exercise. Zoe worked in Russia and married a Russian there).  So you see we are a cheerful family and always looking on the bright side!

Life was not so sedentary at the start of my career in the electricity industry as I had to carry heavy instruments and gas cylinders hundreds of feet up flue-stacks, but over 30 years testing and developing chemical instruments work became more of sitting at a PC, especially when it was just data analysis from the nuclear stations. Hence, at about 40 I took up high-energy aerobics. 

I come from a sleepy town in Wiltshire, so I was 18 before I discovered the joy of Rock music. Fortunately, i was already into building BIG amplifiers and speakers, ideal for Santana, Pink Floyd, Guns ‘n’ Roses etc. (Camel-best ever!) Dance to loud music…you bet! Lucky I’m not shy, I know the ladies think I am eccentric! I like this class because it IS vigorous, I especially enjoy the special events, loved the 2 hour ones at the night club. I think Jodie had just started classes when I discovered Zumba, I tried a different class but I like our class best, the dances are not just designed for fitness, but complex and not repetitive, more fun. In my late 50’s I had a short period of depression, that is when I started Zumba because Tamsin said exercise and social events were the key to overcoming it, and it worked.

Anyway, The dances are great, the music fun, can’t wait ’til next Zumbathon. Having to come more often now as weight approaching that of a small planet, or give up the beer and thats not going to happen.

Jo Pullin

Jo PullinMy name is Jo Pullin, 42 years old, married for 16 years with a 13 year old daughter and an 8 year old son.

I have always been big and can remember at the age of about 10, trying on my mum’s size 14 clothes to see if they fit…they didn’t. After Sam was born I was at my heaviest at 16st 8lbs. When Sam was 2 I made a decision that I didn’t want to be “the fat mum” hiding behind my children in photos so that no-one could see how big I was.

In February 2008 I joined Slimming world, but was to embarrassed to go to any fitness classes. In the 1st year I lost 3 stone and gained some confidence but knew I still needed to loose more weight and get fit. I tried every type of class, aerobics, swimming, the gym, boxercise but didn’t enjoy them enough and so never stuck to any of them. Then in 2008/2009 I found Zumba, it started with 1 class a week but I soon became addicted to the music, the dancing and the people.

I increased my classes to 2 or 3 a week and lost a further 2st 7lbs, my goal at last 11st 7, I can’t ever remember being slim and even now still doubt myself when buying clothes and end up taking bigger sizes into the changing room, only having to ask staff for the smaller size, I just can’t seem to get it in my head, but finally I am a comfortable size 12 (mostly) I gain half a stone here and there but still go to slimming world and my get my weekly fix of Zumba which helps me stay on track. As soon as I had done my first Zumba class, I wanted to do it all over again and sometimes did a double class in one evening so 2 hours of Zumba.

I live for my weekly fixes of Zumba and I can now wiggle with the rest of them (although some bits tend to wiggle for longer than they probably should) but I am enjoying myself, zumba cheers me up if I have had a bad day, motivates me and I have met a crazy bunch of people who love to dance like I do and it’s lush.

Please, if you are thinking of joining a class where you can dance like you just don’t care and meet and socialise with like minded people then Jodie and the crew are where you need to be, be warned though one hit a week will never be enough and with 7 classes a week to choose from, what’s stopping you?

Joanne Faulkner

JoHi, I’m Joanne Faulkner from Yate, 31 years old, married for 9 years with 2 children aged 7 & 5. I am an organiser of Chipping Sodbury’s, Mind Body Spirit Show, which run’s twice a year in the town hall. I started Jodie’s classes around 2 ½ years ago in order to loose a bit of weight to be a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding. Since then I have lost around 2 stone.

In my teens I suffered with an over-active thyroid, when diagnosed I had treatment which then subsequently turned to “under-active” and now take medication (Thyroxine) daily for this. I have been recently inspired by Tracy & Jodie’s “Paleo” diet & have adopted a few aspects of this cleaner eating regime. I feel this has really helped to keep my weight under control & symptoms in check.

I used to attend Egyptian / belly dance classes for 4 years, but eventually found it a bit repetitive, and was searching for a new dance/fitness class for long time to fill that gap. Finally I found Zumba!!! I really love everything about Zumba, the music variety, the moves & the high energy routines. Reggaeton being my favourite. My fitness level has really improved & the classes feel as good as a night out partying – which are few and far between these days!

I find I can really go for it, get lost in the music and not worry what I look like. I aim to attend 3 classes a week.  When people ask me what zumba is like I always say just go at your own pace, some days you will naturally have more energy than others. It really doesn’t matter – there are no prizes for being the most energetic!

It’s taken me a long time to realise that exercise should be part of my weekly lifestyle, NOT something to do for a few months to loose a few pounds. It’s also a positive attitude for my children to adopt as well.

Alison Robbins

AlisonI am 41 years old  and have always struggled with my weight. I have  yo-yo dieted/comfort eaten since I was 16 years old and  gone from a size 10 to a size 28 and then back again. I have never felt comfortable with the  way I looked and hated having my photo taken or looking in the mirror. As I piled on the weight I became even more depressed and started eating even more and  I spent years caught in this vicious cycle. I needed to reach an all time low in order to force me to do something about my weight and eating habits once and for all.

This happened when I discovered how unfit I really was during December 2012. One morning the lifts in my office building  broke and I was forced to climb the stairs to my office on the fourth  floor. I had to send my friend on ahead of me because I was so out of breath after climbing only 2 flights of stairs which was very embarrassing because she is 25 years older than me. I decided that in the New Year I would again join my local Weight Watchers class and get fit.

I attended my first Weight Watchers meeting on 05/01/13 and weighed in at 24 stone 9lbs and wore a size 30 clothes.  I found the pro points plan easy to follow and over the following months I started to grow in confidence as I continued loosing weight and noticed how my health/fitness was improving.

During September I  started  attending  my local zumba class twice a week. Initially it was a challenge learning the routines but I didn’t feel uncomfortable if I turned the wrong way or did the wrong step (unlike previous exercise classes I had attended).  I really enjoy  going to Jodie’s classes because they are so interactive and everyone is there to get fit but most importantly of all to have fun!  There are people of all ages, sizes and fitness levels and everyone is so friendly. I have noticed that my fitness, co-ordination and balance have greatly improved since starting zumba and it has given me the courage to join my local Active gym. I like the variety of routines and the music used in the classes and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys dance based exercise.

On 01/02/14, I achieved my goal weight and became a Weight Watchers Gold member. I now weigh 11 stone 9lbs and my bmi has reduced from a frightening 52.9 to a more healthy 24.7. I have lost exactly 13 stone in just over 13 months and  I feel a lot better about myself. It’s great to be able to wear more fashionable/pretty clothes in a size 12. I am also loving my more active life style and I am determined that this time I am going to keep the weight off once and for all!

My top tips for loosing weight would be:

  • To set yourself  small goals ( to loose your first 7lbs then your first stone).
  • Keep a jar into which you can place a  £1 coin each time you loose a pound in weight. You can then use the money to treat yourself to a reward such as a manicure, a spa day or that special dress.
  • If you have a bad day, don’t beat yourself up about it, just start afresh the next day.
  • Join a weight loose group and go to regular weekly meetings because the advice and support which you receive from your fellow members and the leader is invaluable.
  • Get yourself to a Zumba class 🙂

Nia Wills

NiaI am Nia Wills, 37 years old, married with two girls. I have worked at Eastwood Park women’s prison for the past 16 years.  I stumbled across Zumba purely by accident at a girly weekend at Center Parcs and couldn’t wait to find a class once I got home.  I have been attending Jodie’s classes for just under 2 years, starting off with one or two a week, now I attend whichever classes I can.

Since starting Zumba I have gained a massive amount of confidence and really feel that the classes have had a positive effect on me, so much so that I trained to be an Instructor six months ago so that I could teach classes at work.  The women at the prison have had a fantastic reaction towards my classes and appear to really enjoy taking part. In fact, I am always being asked when my next class is going to be held.

Having spoken to the women who attend my classes they have said that they find them less daunting as the feel comfortable with me, also my classes are less formal than the programmes that are provided by the P.E department.  I hope that by teaching classes it may encourage the women to make more positive and healthy choices upon their release.

Attending Jodie’s classes have really helped to build my confidence for Instructing and I have felt really encouraged by the support offered by everyone. Since starting Zumba I have lost 3 stone in weight, the first stone solely by doing classes and the other two by following the Weight Watchers programme and increasing the number of classes that I attend. Obviously taking part in the charity calendar was a huge incentive for me.

When people ask me about Zumba classes, I always advise them to come and give it a go. More often than not at work I start off with a few spectators at the start of class but most join in after a song or two. Zumba is about having fun and getting fitter not about how coordinated you are or how good you are at dancing.

Claire Chandler

photo

I have been coming to Zumba now for just over a year after being introduced to it by Carol my partners mum. I started off doing 1 -2 classes a week and now can’t get enough. I attend 4 a week double Monday session then Tuesday and Wednesdays class.

I don’t think I could pick just one thing that is best about Zumba, there is so many!  It’s a fun workout that you can do at your own intensity level and you burn soooo many calories just having fun. You can dance like no one is watching and loose all inhibitions. I used to go to the gym but would always come up with excuses not to go as it was mundane boring and like a chore.  Zumba is the complete opposite I can’t wait to rush from work and get to class to shake my booty!

Zumba isn’t just a workout it’s a party everyone is so friendly and welcoming even if you don’t know everyone’s name we all smile and say hello.  It’s also a proven fact that it helps de-stress you and you will come out of class lifted and happy it certainly does for me after a busy day at work.

Before I started Zumba i did struggle with weight and confidence and now not only have i lost nearly 2stone in weight but i have gained a lot more self confidence and can say zumba has changed my life for the better. Jodie, Tracy and Selena are fantastic and are probably some of the most caring and friendliest people I know.  The commitment they put in for us is amazing and is testament to how packed the classes are and close our little zumba family is.

After starting zumba classes in June last year I discovered I loved it sooo much that i wanted to try and see if i could qualify as a instructor.  I used to be  a cheerleader many years ago for about 6 years so as a personal goal wanted to see if  I could do the intense instructor training and boost my confidence.  I also thought that this could be a potential career in years to come when I am settled with kids etc.

The training course was a day long session full on from 8am until 5pm with non-stop zumba learning all the basic moves how to choreograph a routine and also gave us helpful business pointers about how to set-up your own classes. I learnt so much and it was really interesting.  Our instructor Naomi was amazing and she really did push us so hard and was so encouraging and passionate.  It was a exhausting day but I enjoyed every second of it and came away proud as punch with my instructor certificate and a boosted confidence.

The thought of doing a naked calendar had never once crossed my mind.  I’d never been asked to do one but if someone had asked me I would of said no without hesitation.  I did however think that anyone doing one was very brave.  The thought of me getting my body out for all to see would terrify me and didn’t have the confidence to do something like that…….. This was of course before I found Zumba 🙂

When the naked calendar opportunity came up I’d already lost nearly 2 stone in weight thanks to zumba and gained a lot more confidence as a person and with how my body looked.  Before I knew it I was stood there in my robe excited to start our photo shoot.

Strangely, when we got there I wasn’t nervous at all just excited to see how the shoot was going to go.  Our theme was 50 shades of Grey and we had many props and ideas of poses to try.  I felt totally at ease getting naked and confident about how my body looked.  We had Selena supporting us behind the scenes then Jodie and Tracy doing the actual shoot.  It was so professional and such a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  It was so nice to see women of all ages shapes and sizes supporting each other and having fun and feeling comfortable around each other, our zumba crew really are special.

To put the experience in words I’m not sure what would really justify it but that would come close are fun, liberating confidence boosting, free and inspired. The fact that this was all for such amazing charities makes it all the more worthwhile.  It’s so nice that we can just a do a little something to support our local charities and help to change lives.  It truly is humbling, if i could do it again for more charities then I would.

I can safely say I know what all my family and friends will be getting for Christmas!  xx

Christine Pinker

Christine PinkerMy name is christine I am 67 years old I have been married to Patrick 50years in September. I have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls all in their 40’s, 10 granchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

I opened my own saddlery shop in 1980. I sold secondhand clothing as my children had a interest in horse riding and pony club etc. Over the years it has grown into a very successful business now being run by management. In 1993 my life took a different direction two days a week I became a volunteer at headway house based at Frenchay hospital working with the heád injured which I really enjoyed for 10 years. The attenders taught me to do many skills how to listen to people who can’t even Speak And to enjoy life.

I have always enjoyed some form of exercise although being a person who has a form of dyslexia I usually choose running or the gym. I was introduced to Zumba two years ago which was quite a challenge for me having to know my left from my right. I soon overcame this fear of people watching me and making the wrong moves. Now I feel I have found the perfect  way to exercise.

I love the music and dancing, the hour goes so quickly. It is amazing how you can walk into the hall and immediately your spirit is lifted with people who greet you and are  so friendly. I would encourage ladies (and we are short of gentlemen) who are looking for exercise, music, dance and laughter to join us. We are fortunate to have a wonderful instructor, Jodie and her talented helpers Tracey and Selena.

We have social events every two or three months where we get together, have a chat maybe even a meal and dance. Those ladies like me whose partners don’t dance or are on there own will feel included and safe. I would like to thank Jodie Tracey and Selina for making all this possible and raising lots of money for different charity’s.

To sum this up I never went dancing or socialised in my teens as I was married at 17 years of age, had 4 children and a business to run. Now as a 67 year old, young at heart lady I feel it is now my time to do this,. You are never to old and it is never to late.

I try to do Zumba three times a week  -it is now part of my life. It keeps me fit, It has certainly toned my figure and keeps my joints supple.T hey say everything is for a season and I feel this is my season for laughter, making new friends and doing things that give me joy.

Amanda Mills

Amanda MillsI’m 26 years old and I’ve been a firefighter in Bristol for 4 years. I also train as an amateur bodybuilder and am a recovering food-aholic! At my heaviest I weighed about 14 stone. It’s hard to tell because I refused to weigh myself and never went clothes shopping, living only in baggy t-shirts and jogging bottoms. I was bullied at school for years for being overweight and as I got older it didn’t get any better. One day I woke up and said ENOUGH! I’m sick of always being the biggest person in the room. Then I realised my dream of becoming a firefighter. The people who laughed and said I couldn’t do it only spurred me on more! I started by joining the gym and when I joined the fire brigade I stepped up my training to a new level. Now I train with heavy weights at a bodybuilding gym and do 4 cardio sessions a week. Zumba is my favourite form of cardio, i aim to do 2 or 3 sessions a week and I manage to burn around 600 calories on average, I never knew cardio could be so fun as I hate the treadmill!

There is no such thing as too much weight to lose, although it may feel like it sometimes. Trust me, I know! No matter how un-fit you are or how low your self esteem is you can absolutely be who you want to be. 4 years ago I barely said a word to anyone. I never went anywhere alone and I couldn’t wear the clothes i wanted. Now it’s getting me to shut up that’s the trick! And I couldn’t care less about what people think. Everyone has days when they don’t want to get out of bed because you feel too fat or too ugly but those are the days when you must be strong and try harder- I say to myself, ‘I may not be there yet but I’m closer than I was yesterday’.

My all-time hero and inspiration Arnold Schwarzenegger once said:

‘Strength does not come from winning, your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender- that is strength’

And if i can do it, anyone can!!

Tracey Barron

TraceyMeet Tracey Barron. Circus performer, paramedic, teacher, psychotherapist – no one could accuse Tracey of having a boring career. The last few years have been eventful ones too. Researcher for emergency services worldwide by day, Zumba instructor and Photographer by night! Tracey is 36 and originally from Somerset. She moved to Brighton where she worked as a water-sports instructor for a year before joining the ambulance service. After 10 years as a Paramedic, instructor and manager, an opportunity to work for a Salt Lake City based company arose. She jumped at the chance to work in their Bristol office and moved back to the West country.

Whilst a lot of international travel makes it hard for Tracey to commit to a regular Zumba class, having 8 to chose from means she can usually fit some in each week. Tracey fell in to Zumba by accident after some knee problems stopped her from running regularly. “Zumba is so much fun and best of all it keeps me fit without spending hours at the gym or running miles like I used to.” She has managed to strike a wonderful balance between her day job and her passion for fitness and photography.

Tracey is passionate about photography, from landscape to portrait to Zumba! Tracey is also our photographer for the Go Zumba UK Naked Calendar and can’t wait for the first shoot. “No-one needs to worry. Together Jodie and I will help all the ladies find the best poses and positions for their props whilst they have fun and enjoy a very liberating experience.”

You can see more of Tracey’s work at www.traceybarron.com

Maxine Hillier 

image-5I started zumba a week after jodie started up the classes. After my mate sally saw an advert in the local observer. I like Zumba because it feels more like a social event than exercise. I’ve made a lot of friends over the last few years which encourages me to keep going each week.

I would say to anyone who wants to try zumba give it a go. As jodie is very friendly and welcoming as are all the ladies and Nigel.

Sam Hinde and Helena Steel
Sam and helena

Helena: I’m 30, live in WUE with my boyfriend if 4.5 years and our dog Digger, our cat Charlie. I’m an accountant and work for EE… Love the countryside, cider and walking the dog… Or walking the dog, with a cider in the country. Been Zumbaing for about 18 months after Sam invited me at work one day…

How did we think of the Zumbacathlon? It was all Sam’s idea – I can’t take any credit, we thought it would be a great way to raise more money. People have been so generous, more than I ever thought. We also pestered all our work colleagues and promised them photos and tutus if we raised more than £500 – they responded well to that!

There was some special preparation. Digger got a lot of walks and we stepped up the Zumba classes in the weeks before hand doing a few doubles etc. I really enjoyed the week – Tuesday night , 3rd class was a real toughy, and when I became ill on Thursday night it made everything so much harder (and sweatier – a fever will do that!).

Sam: I’m 32, live in Yate, been doing Zumba with Jodie for over 2 years now, three cats no children, work with H as an accountant for EE, enjoy cooking/baking, wine, camping & Zumba (obviously)

Ignore Helena’s comment – I just instigated the idea of the Zumbacathlon. It wasn’t all me! We’d worked out that nobody at work would sponsor us to do 2.5hrs of Zumba as they know how much we enjoy it and that it was such a fantastic cause we would have to do something big! It was Tina doing the 9 class challenge that week that sparked the idea. I suggested to Helena that maybe we should do the 7 evening classes plus the Zumbathon then we’d be more likely to get sponsorship – it sort of escalated from there to “nah let’s get the mornings off work and to the whole lot” … Scary concept but after we started telling people we just couldn’t go back!

We raised money by setting up a Justgiving page and sending a link to all our friends & colleagues via Facebook, on the intranet at work and via e-mail, before going round the last few people with sponsorship forms. We managed to raise £885 in collections from friends, family and colleagues – and our company will top up any money raised for charity by 25% which will give us a grand total of £1106.25 – which we are amazed by as a total! In the beginning we thought we’d raise about £200 which is why we said we’d wear tutus and tiaras all week if we reached £500 as we never anticipated to get anywhere close!

After communicating our challenge to the masses we started upping our zumba sessions on the run up to the event – however on the week before the Zumbacathlon both myself & Helena fell ill so were unable to train – all we could think was at least it wasn’t the Zumbacathlon week as there would be no way we would be able to complete it feeling that bad!

It was so much fun and all of the ladies in all of the classes were so supportive – checking to see how we were doing and generally keeping us going. The hardest day was Wednesday – having done 5 classes in 2 days I woke up absolutely exhausted – just physically drained – which led to me eating like an absolute piggy and I only started to get energy back into me after a bottle of lucozade and a Mars bar … those two evening classes were sugar rush driven! From Thursday onwards Helena wasn’t feeling poorly bunny again so the aim was to keep strong and wooping to keep her going Thursday night and Friday morning.

Sunday’s Zumbathon was great because it was so varied – old, new, different instructor – but at 12 I think both my arms and legs didn’t want to play anymore – 30 mins to go … and we did! An amazing experience and very proud of the amount of money we managed to raise for such a brilliant cause.

Tina Mayor

Tina

Hi! My name is Tina and I live in Yate. Oh how I love Zumba! I know I’m meant to start off with a bit about me but these classes are really good. They take me back to when I used to go to discos in Bristol with my best friend. Five nights out of seven we would be there, dancing all night. Of course, I don’t think I could manage that now, the Tuesday and Friday morning classes are just right – hey – I’m 35 years older than my disco days!

My love of dance has always been with me, I’ve done some choreography for my drama group, The Court Players, and Zumba comes in handy for that, to keep my stamina levels up for the shows that I’m in.

The friends I’ve made at Zumba are special and the camaraderie is uplifting. They are my “Zumba Chums” as my husband puts it! Jodie gets me up on stage now and then, so I really try to keep up with her and throw in a move or two of my own, just for good measure.

I don’t think I’ve lost any weight, because I’ve upped my wine consumption to offset the calorie loss at classes! But d’you know what? ZUMBA MAKES ME HAPPY! And that’s the bottom line…

Carol Blackwell

Well my name is Carol I am 54. I grew up in Bishoptson and moved to Yate when I got married, I have been married to Les for 33 years this year. I have two sons Paul who will be 30 in November and Lee who will be 28 in May. Paul’s girlfriend is the lovely Claire who I introduced to Zumba, she loved it so much that some of you will know is now also a qualified Zumba instructor.

My first Zumba class was during November in the Community Centre on Station Road. A friend had told me about the classes, and as it was just outside my front door, I thought I would give it a go. I had an idea of what the class might be like as I had purchased the Zumba DVD’s and toning sticks, and although the DVDs were good I soon lost interest at doing them at home. I remember that I stood at the back on my first and second lesson but soon found my nerve and stood in the front row, so I could get a better view of Jodie has there was no stage in those days!!!!

Where do I begin, when explaining why I like the classes? Well firstly Jodie makes the class fun and puts everyone at ease. It doesn’t matter what shape size or ability, anyone can do the class, and the music and routines are great. Everyone is friendly its more like a social club then a fitness class.

Since going to Zumba along with a change of lifestyle to more health eating, I have dropped a dress size from 12 to 10 and lost 1 stone in weight. As long as I haven’t been on holiday, I have been to all the social and charity events and wouldn’t miss them for the world. They are so much fun, its nice to get to chat to new people who’s faces you know but do know a lot about them.

Sharron BarberCarol Sharron

Hello my name is Sharron Baber i was born in Chipping Sodbury 57 years ago and have lived in Yate for most of my life.I have been married to Alan 30 years this September, we have lovely son Paul and his Dublin born wife Dee,we also have two beautiful grandaughters Ella 5 and Sophia 5 months,we are very blessed.

My very closest friend Carol had started zumba just before christmas and was telling me how fab it was and I should try it too,work was keeping me very occupied so I went along to my first class in january. From the very first class I was hooked, Jodie was a very bright and enthusiastic instructor I think we realised we had someone special teaching us. I love music and dance but never really managed to look very cool on the floor, Jodie has a way of showing you how to move and have a lot of fun,I think that is what has kept me motivated to keep coming back.

Jodie’s classes feel more like a party with all your best buddies ! we have met a lot of lovely people at zumba and we love meeting up and having some fun with lovely bubbly Jodie. If you want to try zumba just give it a go,we all think we have no rhythm or grace just two left feet,forget all that and follow Jodie she helps you to (feel the music) its magic ,by lesson three you have found your inner diva ! the bonus is you will feel fitter ,happier and look better than you have in years .

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Rosemary Cook

Back in February 2011, whilst at my slimming class two of my friends and I spotted a notice about a new Zumba class starting on a Monday evening at King Edmunds school. It said it was open to beginners so we decided to go along. Not sure what I was heading for, I went, stood at the back and tried to follow the moves as best I could.

After that first night I was hooked. I’m not sure if it was the music, the moves or the exhilaration of spending an hour dancing which didn’t really feel like exercise, but I am still attending regularly after nearly 2 years.

I enjoy the music as it is so varied and it’s great being able to ‘wiggle my bits’ without having to worry what everyone else is thinking because they are all doing it too!  I have made lots of new friends whilst being at Zumba as well as meeting up with some faces I hadn’t seen for a while.

I have lost 100lbs (7 stone 2 pounds) in weight by following the weight watchers plan and the Zumba has helped over the last 2 years with getting me fitter, which I notice when i’m out walking. I hadn’t really tried much exercise before Zumba, although I enjoy swimming and a few years ago did some line dancing. Nothing has grabbed me like Zumba has!!

I look forward to the sessions I go to after a busy day because I feel refreshed afterwards, even though we are all hot and sweaty.  I have been to all of the charity nights and social evenings as I think its a good time to get to know everyone, during a class isn’t long enough. I’m normally a fairly quiet person when out with people, but Zumba has given me confidence to whoop it up with the best of them!

I think the best way to lose weight is to find the best weight loss plan for you and don’t expect all the excess weight to fall off overnight. It is a long slow process and i’m still heading towards my goal.

I must thank Jodie for making the classes so enjoyable and welcoming xx

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