Fitness Center hires Zumba instructors as interest and class size grows


Sandra Gomez-AcevesSpecial to the Southern News 

Past the treadmills and the weight lifting section at Southern Connecticut State University’s fitness center is a large workout room where all types of student-instructed classes take place. Among the highest demanded is Zumba, a high cardio workout that is based on dancing to the latest lively songs.

Zumba at SCSU has had such a high demand over the last couple semesters that the fitness center director, Jess Scibek, had to hire more instructors. There are three new instructors and two that are substitutes in case demand continues to grow.

Sam Cohen, a sophomore liberal studies major with a focus on public health and psychology, is among the new instructors hired to teach the Zumba classes. Cohen says that in order to become a Zumba instructor one must attend a 10-hour training session at a Zumba camp to learn four different styles of dance. The cost for the license is $300.

Scibek, the fitness center’s director, said that there’s a maximum allowance of 25 students per class but that the average attendance is roughly 20 students. Tuesday’s class, Feb. 10, that was taught by Cohen, had an attendance of 21 girls.

Cohen said this night, only girls attended but there are days that guys do go and participate just as much as the girls do.

Deepeta Ramesh, a senior finance major, was among the ladies that participated in the Zumba class.

“It’s working out while doing a high cardio workout and it doesn’t feel like it,” said Ramesh. “In Zumba no one cares if you mess up, it’s not judgmental and it’s just a fun environment.”

The environment is described as fun by many of the girls. Christine Mungai is a sophomore public health major and said she chooses to do Zumba because “dancing and working out is so much fun.”

The need for fitness in general at SCSU has grown vastly as well. Lushka Vazquez works at the desk for the fitness center and said there was an enrollment of 1,067 students and possibly up to 50 more that hadn’t  been billed yet as of Feb. 4.

Vazquez thinks the enrollment has gone up because the price that was $60 last year per semester went down to $45 per semester this year.

Vazquez said, “It’s picking up every day, I mean we’ve had 10 signups in the last few hours.”

Chelsea Nevin, a senior English major said, “I joined just for the Zumba but I also take advantage of the rest of the gym to get my $45 worth.”

Zumba at SCSU is full of upbeat music and energetic dancing. The songs range from Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” to Prince Royce’ “Stand by Me.” In total, six to eight dances are done in the one hour time frame.

From the class warm ups to the cool downs, the class is full of laughs and most importantly sweat but it has a lot to do with the motivation and energy the instructor depicts.

Cohen said that during the Zumba packed hour, the average amount of calories lost ranges from 400-1000. It is such a large gap because it depends on the movements and if they are all being done correctly. Cohen said that if they are sweating then she knows she is doing her job and it makes her feel great.

Cohen decided to become a Zumba instructor because she loves to dance and loves fitness.“The combination of the two is just perfect,” said Cohen.

To the students that wish to take a Zumba class at SCSU or anywhere else, Cohen says, “It’s a great workout. It isn’t just like running on the treadmill. It’s an accepting atmosphere and it is all about feeling good.”

Photo and Video Credit: Sandra Gomez-Aceves

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