There are not many prerequisites to becoming a Zumba® Fitness Instructor, except attending Zumba® instructor training. The training may be offered in Toronto, but depending on your preferred schedule you may need to travel to another city just like I did. After the training you will receive a Zumba® Instructor license and only under that license will you be allowed to use the Zumba® trademark (calling your class a Zumba® class). You will also be asked to join the Zumba® Instructor Network (ZIN™) which is optional, and given opportunities for additional courses offered by Zumba LLC, and most of those courses are exclusive to ZIN™ members. For example, you can take Zumbatomic ™ workshop which is Zumba ® program for children, or you can pursue Zumba ® Toning license and teach toning class which is similar to Zumba® class but it uses weights (a great way to quickly tone up your body). Another interesting workshop available through ZIN™ is Aqua Zumba, which are Zumba® classes in water! With summer coming up it is certainly very attractive activity to consider.
Pursuit for learning never ends. What really helps is learning the various forms of dancing that this genre holds as there is a lot of choreographing involved in preparing for Zumba® classes. Granted, there are workshops to teach you choreographies and Zumba® will send you CD or DVD on a regular basis with new songs and choreographies as a part of your ZIN™ membership, but it’s still a lot easier if you can learn to choreograph songs by yourself. Having a sense of musicality and rhythm is a great start and will help you start teaching Zumba® classes with confidence from the very beginning. Performance skills as well as cueing are extremely important and are gained through experience. I found that no workshop or instruction was able to teach that other than simply teaching my classes and seeing if/how are participants able to follow. You will learn a lot more then cueing if you are attentive to your participants and if you ask for feedback. Another reason why I feel my dance experience helped me personally is because I am able to produce choreography with clear and visible movements as well as contrast between groups of steps. That was the single most important factor why my participants were able to follow the choreography despite it being quite complex at times.
One more factor important for teaching Zumba ® fitness is staying fit yourself. Let me tell you, it is hard to teach fitness classes if you are not fit. But don’t worry, you will get there and do so with a big smile on your face.
Here is what I would suggest as a start towards your Zumba ® career:
- Attend as many Zumba® classes as possible with variety of instructors
- Join our Facebook Instructor Page as well as Zumba® classes in Toronto page
- Identify potential mentors from field of dance and fitness (we can help with this)
- Register for Zumba ® Instructor Training
- Start teaching a few songs along with your current Zumba ® instructor and seek opportunity to expand teaching at other classes
- Look for job after you’ve acquired some experience
- Attend ZIN™ jam session if you need more songs and choreographies for your class
- Contact us for song ideas, feedback or suggestions how to learn to choreograph songs by yourself
- Attend and get involved in Zumba® parties! Toronto Zumba ® party attracts many instructors and you are bound to make a lot of friends!
If you decide to venture deeper into teaching fitness, it is a good idea to consider a formal fitness certification such as Can Fit Pro, but before that, work hard to learn how to execute your Zumba® class in a safe manner and strictly follow all instructions provided on ZIN™ DVDs as well as through Zumba ® trainings.
Although fitness certification does provide additional knowledge, it does not ensure a safe fitness class, guarantee a job, nor greater income compared to other instructors. Why is that? It is because the fitness field is unregulated. Working in an unregulated field has benefits and challenges. For example, benefits include easy and inexpensive access to enter the field and learn quickly what you need to know in order to be able to function and start working. Challenges mostly affect those individuals who are already in the field of fitness for a long time. Some of the challenges include:
- In an unregulated industry there are no set standards (practice or professional) about what are you supposed to deliver to the public. As a result, there is no research or performance evaluation against established standards. In addition, there are no enforceable safety guidelines nor policies to manage and report adverse incidents or situations so that everyone learns from it. Let’s say there are a number of participants who got injured as a result of classes being thought on a certain kind of floor. That information will not reach the public or other instructors, nor would the facilities be required to pay any attention what kind of floor they installed for dance fitness classes
- There is no professional code of conduct policies, so we can encounter individuals who are superbly professional and knowledgeable and those who are not
- If you have a concern with an instructor, there is no regulatory body to go to and address it
- Title protection is non-existent unless you are teaching a trademarked specialty program. Therefore anyone can call themselves a fitness instructor, which has resulted in thousands of fitness instructors being present in any given city
- Although formal fitness education exists, it is left to the instructor to decide whether to incorporate the knowledge into the class
- Fees and prices are not set for group fitness classes. It seems that the fees dropped about 15% on last two years
- Not only can you teach a fitness class without additional training, you can actually invent an entire fitness program, trademark it, and license others to teach it! It is completely up to the corporations to choose how rigorous are the standards they want to enforce. Go figure?
This is what made the fitness market, prices and job sustainability a nightmare for previously experienced and educated fitness instructors who devoted many years and a lot of money to advance/maintain their education in fitness. This is something I encourage everyone to keep in mind if considering fitness as a full time career or a source of reliable income.
Moral of the story:
Zumba® Fitness is a lot of fun. It leads to healthy and happy lifestyle where you enjoy music, dance, make valuable connections, and learn from other instructors and participants. Don’t be intimidated and think you have to finish loads of certifications to teach it, however take every step possible to learn how to safely execute your class. Have fun!
To your success,
Zumba Classes in Toronto team