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Zumba® Fitness and My Quest for True Love

Growing up, I loved to dance. Most days after school, I grabbed a bus and headed to the studio for a class. Some evenings, I had two classes. I simply couldn’t get enough of them! When I was about 17 years old, I stopped taking classes and then moved away for university, where there were no classes offered. I didn’t realize then how big a loss that was … losing my true love.

Since then, I’ve tried rugby (played winger when they let me off the bench), ultimate (loved it, but managed to fracture my hip doing a layout), a variety of yoga styles including hot yoga, boot camp fitness, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and jogging via the couch to 5k program. With the exception of ultimate, I can’t really say I ever felt even the least bit “hooked.”

So I’m still searching. I really want to find a form of exercise that I like – that I actually want to do – rather than feel obligated to do. This brings me to Zumba® fitness. People are totally ga-ga over this stuff!

In fact, I have a friend whom I would most definitely classify as “addicted.” One look at her Facebook status updates confirms it — after teaching a Zumba class or two a day, she goes back into GoodLife Fitness to take Zumba classes on the days when she’s not working!

Trish Roche, Zumba Instructor Extra-ordinaire!

Naturally, this intrigues me. I want that kind of love in my life. And since it’s dance-related, maybe it could be my true love too? I asked this same friend, Trish Roche, to answer some questions for the blog on Zumba fitness and she was kind enough to jump on board.

Julie: You are a woman possessed! Why do you think that you — and so many others! — love Zumba so much?

Trish:  Well, Zumba Fitness says, “Ditch the workout; join the party.” The music is also a key success factor — it’s just fun to move to it, and because the moves are based on Latin dance styles, it doesn’t feel like a typical workout. Most participants come to have fun and walk out (as they gaze down at their sweat-soaked clothes) that they had a good workout! To me, that’s a huge upside.

Julie: I did try a couple of Zumba classes, but I couldn’t follow a lot of the choreography. Is this normal?

Trish:  I think a few things come into play. First, if people are in their brains trying to figure out all the steps, it can be more stressful than fun. So, I always encourage people to try to relax and just enjoy the music. When they can do that, they are more likely to move the entire time, which is far better in terms of a workout anyway.

Julie:  What was wrong with the old fashioned 80s aerobics classes? Why don’t people do those anymore?

Trish:  I assume you mean, apart from the clothes??? You know, the fitness industry is really no different than anything else — there are trends and fads and “the latest thing.” You’d be surprised that some of the “old school” style classes, with high-impact moves are still around and are quite popular with certain crowds!

Julie:  Do men ever take your Zumba classes?

Trish:  I can say this, the men who come enjoy being in the company of women who are relaxed, having fun and know how to move their hips! We do have some husbands and wives for whom it is date night!

Julie:  How many calories do you think a woman my size (5’6″ and 165 lbs) could burn in one of your Zumba classes?

Trish:  Some online calculators exist, but the most accurate picture is to wear a heart-rate monitor with a calorie calculator. However, it all comes down to body weight, age, exertion level and some other variables. My typical expenditure in teaching a class is somewhere in the 400 to 500 range and I’m 5’4″ and 135.

Julie:  Tell me the truth: Are your abs strictly from doing Zumba or do you also do sit-ups and other ab exercises?

Trish:  Oh Julie. If I tell you then I’ll have to kill you*. :-)

*I’ll share Trish’s full answer on the Coffee with Julie Facebook page.

Have you found your “true love” in fitness? (Last I heard, Oprah hasn’t either, so we’re in good company I guess.) If you have, tell me what it is and how it makes you feel! Also if you’ve got questions for Trish about Zumba fitness, just jot it down in the comments and Trish will respond!

Zumba® and the Zumba Fitness logos are trademarks of Zumba Fitness, LLC.


  1. Funny enough, I just tried my first Zumb class last month. It was a lot of fun but I can’t say i would ever find it “addictive”. I also didn’t find it was a great work-out (didn’t sweat much) but my mind sure was tired trying to keep up with the steps. I liked it and have done a class since.  None of the men (from our regular group of mostly seniors) showed up!  i think it is a great class to mix into your exercise regiment.

    I like the “Body Pump” style of fitness class, lots of squats, lunges, weights…. that seems to work for me. 

    But, ny real LOVE is sports, especially basketball, but alas it is something I had to give up for health reasons.  Right now, I am taking a break from exercise altogether (for these same health reasons) and i am really missing it.  Hopefully I can get back into it soon….. Zumba too!


    • coffee with Julie says:

      I found the class kind of frustrating because I was trying to so hard to get all the right steps! But I am always inspired by Trish’s madness for the program and it makes me think I need to give it another try. 

      • Zumbatrish says:

        Julie (and anyone else!), you are welcome in my class any time. :-)

        • Note to readers: She’s serious here! If you want to give a Zumba class a try and you’re in Ottawa, she’ll hook you up with a free entry to try it out! :)

          • Zumbatrish says:

            You betcha!! I have free passes if you want to give Zumba a try. And I can recommend GoodLife instructors in all parts of the city. I can also suggest instructors who are not at GL (but I don’t have free passes for those class — sorry!).

  2. p.s. i agree with Trish that when i relaxed and enjoyed the music i had way more fun. and i think it’s like any class, you get out of it what you put into it. I think I was slacking off a bit and that’s why i didn’t sweat much. 

  3. I did Zumba 2+ years ago and loved it! Then the instructor changed and all the replacement instructors were just meh, so I stopped. I swam outdoors last summer 3 times a week and want to do that again this summer. It’s a great workout and relaxing at the same time.

    • I would really like to get into swimming because of its “no impact” virtues! (I have a old neck injury that nags me) But I mostly like swimming in theory only … I usually find the water too cold and uncomfortable, not to mention the “thrill” of being in a swimsuit 😉

    • Zumbatrish says:

      Giulia — keep trying!! I’m sure there is a Zumba instructor out there who will light the fire again. It’s like any relationship — you have to find the right chemistry. Good luck!

  4. Yeah, I’m one of those people who found “true love” in fitness.  Right now I go to a place that offers a program with a variety of activities (Body Pump, Body Balance, aerobics, step), and I do a little of each…and I also joined a Latin Dance class, which I absolutely love.  We had a teacher who did a little Zumba as part of our Fitness program a couple of years back, and I really enjoyed it.  Here in Spain you find more Batuka, which from what I’ve seen, is very similar to Zumba, but it’s a Spanish-made program.  Right now our center doesn’t offer Zumba or Batuka, just regular aerobics and step, which I also love, but I wish they would add Zumba for a little more variety.  

  5. Toucan_Pat says:

    Trish’s zumba classes are top notch!  I am in my 40s and can’t keep up with Body Attack or Body Combat… too go, go, go for my liking. But with zumba, there are intervals in the tempo of music so you can catch your breath.  I am drenched with sweat at the end of class.  Trish is VERY motivating and she makes her classes fun… especially for an older gal like me!  Some zumba instructors just go through the motions, there is no “oomph” to their routine. Trish is all that and then some! :)

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    Zumba® Fitness and My Quest for True Love – coffee with Julie

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