Welcome back Fitlandians! We are continuing our exercise series again this week and we are talking all things Zumba with Heidi K.!


Heidi and Christa met over two years ago when one of Christa’s friends suggested she try out Heidi’s class and they connected right away. Heidi embodies all the things we find really important at Fitlandia like body inclusion, modifying, honoring your body and having fun!

Heidi always says that having fun is the number one important thing to remember with all exercise, especially Zumba. There is no such thing as perfection, just having a good time is the priority.

Heidi and Christa talk all about the diversity and fun nature of a Zumba class. Christa remembers in the first class she went to she saw such a wide variety of people, bodies, skill levels and more and it was so refreshing to know it was a place you could be you and have fun. Christa asks Heidi to explain what got Heidi into Zumba.

Dancing is where Heidi can let go and be free…even forget what time it is! She grew up dancing and got into other arts like singing, instruments, and other dance like ballet. When she moved to Portland she could no longer afford ballet lessons so she left the dance behind and a part of her was really incredibly sad.

Time passed until one day her cousin begged her to go and try a Zumba class! Finally, when a friend asked if she wanted to try with her, she went for it. Her first class was in February of 2012 and within a week of taking classes, she knew she wanted to teach it. Zumba is secretly super addictive and she was hooked! She’s been teaching since October of 2012.

Principles and Background of Zumba

  • Started in the mid 90s by Berto Perez
  • Invented when he forgot his usual music and used latin music instead
  • Found investors in the US
  • Started as an at-home DVD practice
  • Exploded in popularity all around the country
  • Now popular worldwide
  • Inspired by latin music with hip-hop/top 40s/Bollywood mixed in

Unique Benefits of Zumba

  • Zumba is really interval training with more dance involved
  • Geared to get the maximum calorie burn
  • “Exercise in disguise” Not looking at the clock!
  • Gets heart rate up and then back down many times
  • Prevents disease of the body and brain (studies linked)
  • Amazing connection to music
  • Creates a family community of Zumba

Zumba fits perfectly with Fitlandia’s 4 cornerstones of fitness: daily movement, healthy eating, power of the mind, and community connection. Zumba’s community connection is incredibly powerful and motivating for healthy living! It provides a safe space for anyone starting to explore or working to get back into fitness and wellness.

For those of you worried about not being able to keep up…never fear! Everyone is accepting of others and if all you can do is march in place, do that and pick back up where you can. It’s not about perfection!

“You’re just lost in a sea of beautiful people having a blast.”

Another amazing thing about Zumba is that there is so much passion involved. People connect to the music, they connect to each other, they feel empowered and vulnerable and safe all at once and it is a truly beautiful thing.

Tips for Modifications in Zumba

  • There is inherently no competition (do you!)
  • You will get familiar with the steps by going often
  • Usually 4 to 5 classes before you feel totally comfortable
  • Focus on the feet (arms are secondary)
  • You know your body, listen to it and do what works for you
  • The routines have modifications easily accessible
  • Just keep moving in some way
  • Helps you get out of your head and into your body…what feels good?

Big thanks to Heidi for bringing her fun self and her Zumba enthusiasm to our show. You can find Heidi and her classes here in downtown Portland, Oregon at The Perlene or go to Zumba.com and type in your zip code to find fabulous instructors near you. All the classes are verified regularly. It’s not hard to find a fantastic instructor. Heidi’s Zumba Page: heidik.zumba.com

As always, be sure to follow Fitlandia on Instagram and join our Facebook Group to stay connected with the community.

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