Invented by Columbian fitness instructor and choreographer Beto Perez in the 1990s, Zumba has taken the world by storm with its fun and easy dance routines that help you burn up to 800 calories an hour. This Latin dance-fitness routine has recently gained a lot of popularity in India as the first choice for many fitness freaks. There are many people who enjoy Zumba, and then there’s Yamini Sharma, the talented Zumba enthusiast who went on to pursue her dream as a Zumba instructor. Take a look at the inspiring interview, this Indore based Zumba instructor gave to Qalfit.
What motivated you to start your fitness journey
“I am quite short and a few years back, I was a bit overweight too. At that time, I had very low body confidence. But I loved dancing. One day I attended a Zumba class and realized that it combines both the fun aspect of dance and the fitness aspect of a workout. I felt refreshed and happy after the session. I took a few more classes and this is when I realized that I wanted to go in this line. After a year of hard work and training, I got my license as a Zumba instructor”
She added, “I always wanted to help people feel confident about their bodies. I see a lot of people who are frustrated with work or school attend a Zumba session and just 1 hour of the session makes them feel happy and confident about themselves. This is what motivated me to become a Zumba instructor”
Did you face any particular challenges during this time which you think would be common to other people?
“I had a very low body-confidence when I first started Zumba, I was overweight, short and I almost gave up. It was difficult for me to lose weight and I had a lot of negative thoughts about my body, but I never gave up my training. My friends were very supportive and helped me get through this.”
“Also, to be a Zumba instructor and to stand in front of a group of people, you need a lot of confidence. I even received a lot of negative feedback initially from my students that they can’t follow my moves. But I trained hard regularly and over time, I got better at Zumba and reached a level where I’m more confident about my body and got very good at teaching Zumba”
Yamini added, “You should not feel bad about your body and demoralize yourself just because you don’t have a perfect physique. You need to have self-confidence and self-esteem and start working out to get fit.”
How did you overcome these struggles?
“Honestly, leaving a stable job and switching permanently to become a Zumba instructor was one of the toughest decisions I had to make. I knew I wanted to follow my passion and I want to make a living out of something that makes me happy. Leaving a stable job with regular income was a brave decision, and now I’m happy that I took this path”
“After a while, I made a name for myself as a Zumba instructor, and people started noticing me. Then things got easy and life is good now. It’s my hard work that got me this far. Hard work will help you overcome any kind of challenge you face in your life.”
How are you spending your time in this lockdown?
“I regularly practice Zumba and take live Zumba classes to help other people who are stuck at home in this lockdown. Apart from Zumba, I like designing clothes. I style and design my clothes and post them on social media. I also love to read books and teach kids in my neighbourhood during my free time. This is how my days are going in this lockdown”
How do you think you inspire people around you?
Even though Yamini is a licensed Zumba instructor, she still thinks of herself as a learner. She adds, “I always try to help people around me. On my Instagram page, I post workout videos, conduct live Zumba sessions, and clear all the doubts about fitness. It motivates a lot of people to get out of their comfort zone and to start working out. Whatever advice and instructions I give to my followers, I have tried and tested it.”
Who are your role models?
“Sucheta Pal and Shweta Mehta. Sucheta pal is the first woman to introduce Zumba in India. Her journey to become a brand ambassador of Zumba in India is amazing. Shweta Mehta is a super achiever whom I admire the most. They both are my role models.”
What are the misconceptions that people have about fitness?
“There are quite a few. People think that starving themselves will make them thin and fit. Being thin is not being fit. You need to eat healthy foods and workout to get fit. Another thing I note is that women think that weightlifting is only for men. But weightlifting is a good workout that helps women build physique. So, girls need to try it too.”
Yamini added, “People have a lot of misconceptions about Zumba too. They think Zumba is for girls and you need to know dancing to learn Zumba. This is completely false. Zumba is a cardio workout. You don’t have to be an expert in dancing to learn Zumba. It’s the same as working out on a treadmill, but a lot more fun. There is no gender boundary here. Everyone including men, women, and kids can learn Zumba”
What is your current fitness routine?
“I currently do Zumba and weightlifting. I’m working on my core strength in this quarantine.”
How does your daily diet chart look like?
“I don’t follow a very strict diet but I steer away from junk foods while keeping to a protein-rich diet. I usually start my day with a banana shake or black coffee and I try to include as many greens as possible in my food.”
How has your overall journey been and how do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
“It’s pretty amazing to think about it now. Whenever I come to class and realize that I can help people get fit and make them feel happy about themselves, it is wonderful. It makes me happy. This is how I know I’m going on the right path. In the next 5 years, I want to work hard like I always do and want to have my own fitness studio”
Do you have any advice for people who have just started their fitness journey?
“Consistency is very important. You need to set a goal and regularly work towards your goal, and never hesitate to ask guidance from the right people before you start your fitness journey. Don’t give up!”
From genuine hard work that had brought her to this stage to the electrifying energy she brings with her, there is a lot we can learn from the journey of Yamini, the talented fitness influencer and Zumba instructor. Her journey teaches us that no challenge is too mighty for our hard work and dedication!
You can follow Yamini, the talented Zumba instructor and fitness influencer on her Instagram page @yummy_1396 to catch more of her awesome Zumba sessions and fitness tips.