Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2013
Today after Nia Class a Nia White Belt and I were talking. We were talking Nia over coffee and a friend from her past happened by. So she joined us. She was coming from Jazzercise and so, of course the conversation turned to us sharing some information about Nia with her. She sounded as if she was willing to try it but also as if she was never going to move away from Jazzercise. I love that she is moving. I think it is important that people exercise and one of the ,best ways to ensure that is to find something you like or better yet — love. I appreciate that there is so much out there for people to participate in. Of course, I would love for you to come to my Nia class. I would love for you to love Nia. I think it is great because it addresses the BMES, but not everyone likes that in their exercise. In the course of our conversation she said she tried Zumba, but it didn’t work for her that well. She had already mentioned that she takes it easy on her knee so I felt justified in recommending the correct type of shoe. I often hear people don’t like Zumba because it hurts their knees and it often has to do with the shoes they are wearing. In Nia we dance bare foot. We do not twist on our foot or scoot, we pick our feet up off the ground. When doing a dance exercise or a fitness class, like Zumba the need for shoes is apparent. In Zumba there is a lot of twisting, shuffling, and sliding. You need the right shoe for that.
Exercise sneakers, tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes are not the correct shoe for doing Zumba or any type of dance that requires shoes for that matter. An exercise sneaker or tennis shoe has what you want in regards to cushion, construction and support. A cross trainer has even more support in the shoe because with cross training you are moving forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down. So the shoe itself is made to support your foot and keep it secured in the shoe. And running shoes are great for the cushion. They cushion your step and help absorb the shock of your foot landing on the earth. So these types of shoes are great, the “upper”, because they are built for impact and moving in different directions, but it is the sole you do not want to dance on. These shoes are made for traction. They are made to stop you from twisting and sliding. When you are playing tennis, doing cross training, or running you don’t want to be slipping, sliding, and twisting around. So the soles are made to keep that from happen. I mean, have you seen some of those soles? They look like tire treads. Great for outdoors.
Now a dance shoe, say a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper is perfect for dance. Without all of the cushion and support that is an athletic shoe they are usually light and easy to lift and move in. The bottom of the shoe has material that allows you to slide and glide, spin, turn, and twirl on the dance floor. Perfect for moving to the music and getting your groove on. And THAT is the kind of sole you want. Something you can twist in. Something you can slide in. Something that won’t stop you foot dead as you dance across the floor. But then again, those shoes have the SOLES you want, but not the support. Since you are doing cross training type of motion (forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down) you want that type of support. And it would be nice to have some cushion too, huh?
Well, do your knees a favor and do not do Zumba in tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes. And do your feet a favor and do not do Zumba in a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper. What you need is a dance sneaker. Someone, somewhere – I don’t know the origin of them – decided to combine the two. Brilliant. Someone added the support, cushion, and comfort of an athletic shoe to a sole that can slide and glide. Whew! This is genius. This will help save your knees and other joints!
I know Zumba has a brand of shoe that has a great dance sole, I don’t know about the cushion and support of the shoe. I bought Capezios because they don’t have a sole over the arch so they allow for the foot to really move.
Since you are investing in your health and wellness by going to a dance exercise class, please take it a one step further and splurge for those dance sneakers. They don’t have to cost more than $50.00, and you will be saving yourself so much more in the long run. You will be allowing your body to move with greater comfort on the dance floor.
What do you think? Do you think a shoe that allows you to slide a bit is better for dancing? Doesn’t it make sense to have a dance sneaker?
Posted in Zumba | Tagged: athletic shoe, BMES, Capezio Dances shoes, correct type of dance shoe, cross trainers, dance exercise, dance fitness, dance soles, exercise class, exercise sneakers, fitness class, Jazzercise, Jazzercise class, Nia, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia exercise, Nia White Belt, running shoes, tennis, tennis shoes, What type of shoe to wear for Zumba, Zumba, Zumba class, Zumba shoes | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2012
I teach a Nia Class for the city of San Jose. The city has it set up pretty cool in that instructors can have a day and a time at a specific community center that we can call “my” class and we can also teach other people’s classes as a substitute. We have this forum where we post requests and needs. Many instructors have full time jobs and kids so they have other responsibilities that call them away from their regularly schedule class. Plus there is always a cold, a serious illness, or a bump/bruise or strain. This network of teachers allows us to live our lives and take care of ourselves when necessary. It also helps expose our community to different types of workouts and different teachers. I have shared before how at one point I was trying to make Nia be more like whatever it was I was subbing for. If you haven’t read that post, I am sure you might be able to imagine how that turned out. It made this Nia teacher very unhappy and I don’t think it was a great service for the attendees either. One of the reasons I applied for the job with the city was so that I could share Nia with the community. Recently I taught Nia as a substitute class for Zumba, and my thoughts on Zumba and agility were confirmed.
A few of the student came up afterwards to talk to me about Nia. Some shared how they like it because it was gentle yet allowed them to work up a sweat and get a great workout. One woman made me giddy because she said the same thing that I had just decided about Zumba. It took me a while to get to this conclusion and she jumped to it her very first time. She said that Nia is more complete. She said that she loves Zumba, she does it three times a week, but the moves are not completed. She said it was nice to be able to finish a move. Nia allows you to move through the entire range of motion, through the entire range of the joint. I loved that she was able to get that from one class. I also love and appreciate that she can like both, Nia and Zumba. They are both cardio dance exercise workouts, but they are different. Seeming to always have to explain the two together, I am always thinking about it and just recently reached the agility conclusion. I explained in one of my posts how I feel Zumba seems to only move in one sensation. Well, having gone to a training and experienced the Zumba Fitness Program I believe a Zumba class can move in all five, but it concentrates on agility and touches on the rest. But they are in there if you know to look for them.
So this student who was talking to me after class picked up on that fact that in Nia we move through all five sensations and Zumba focuses on one. This is not to say that is bad, this is just again pointing out how they are different. Also this is me sharing that it is not just other Nia teachers and my Nia students that think that, it is other people who are more familiar with Zumba than Nia. This is just a happy confirmation post sharing that I felt I got it right when I explained Nia and Zumba in that way. Yay.
Both Nia and Zumba are great fun. I encourage you to do whatever it is that will get you up and moving! If you decide what type of movement you want it can help you decide what you can do to get it.
Do you like to take different types of exercise classes? Do you like to just stick to one type of class?
Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: agility, cardio dance, cardio workout, City of San Jose Nia Classes, dance exercise, Dance Workout, Nia class, Nia five sensations, Nia instructors, Nia network, Nia San Jose, Nia students, Nia teachers, San Jose Nia, San Jose Nia class, Zumba, Zumba class, Zumba Fitness | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on September 13, 2012
Zumba is astronomically popular. The marketing and “it’s a party” advertising has attracted MILLIONS of people. My first few Zumba classes were fun but I left feeling as if Zumba was not a very safe product. Not all the classes contained a warm up and a cool down. Most had no instruction, just the teacher pointing and making other hand signals I was not familiar with. After having taken the required Zumba Instructor Training, I see that the Zumba Fitness Program is constructed to be safe and meets with the general fitness guidelines. It could have been that the classes I had taken were not following the program with the prescribed class format.
A standard guideline for fitness classes that is considered safe for the general pubic is 10 to 15 minutes warm-up and at least a 5 minute cool down. Since Zumba is marketed as being something everyone can do, the program incorporates these guidelines. Zumba instructors are trained to follow this set formula for the safety of all participants. It is understood that many people who attend a workout class come in “cool”, it could even be that their muscles and bodies have been in one position for most of the day. Muscles need to warm up and get blood flowing in order for there to be less risk of injury. A warm up is necessary for the body, it is also nice for the brain so that one can “shake off” the happenings of the day and embrace the workout that is ahead.
In addition to the Zumba Fitness Program following the standard fitness guidelines in regards to a warm up, a “formula” for the warm-up section of the class was created. The formula has three components, and if they are used correctly they should allow for a nice smooth transition into the remainder of the class. The warm up is built into the Zumba Fitness class model to prepare you for the bulk of the class. The bulk of the class, as you may know, has a very unique formula.
Zumba was not created to be an elite fitness class, it was meant for everyone to enjoy themselves. There are moves and steps to follow, but each participant is allowed to add their own style and their own “flavor” — as it is called in the Zumba world. That means not everyone will be doing it the exact same way. Not everyone can shake their hips as the instructors do on the training DVDS and I don’t think anyone is as loose a Beto.
While I was taking the Zumba Instructor training I kept wondering if the creator of Zumba, Alberto “Beto” Perez and the co-creator of Nia, Carlos AyaRosas know each other, even though one is from Columbia and the other one is from Mexico. Some of the same ideas and philosophies are in both exercise/fitness programs. To me they have a lot of ideas in common. I had no idea how similar the programs were until I attended the Zumba Instructor training.
I have posted a bit in the past about Zumba because people are familiar with what Zumba is but not with what Nia is so they often ask me for comparisons so they can understand. Well, in the past my answers were coming from the perspective of a Nia Teacher who had taken a few Zumba classes. Now my answers and my comparisons will be from an instructor of both Nia and Zumba. So I will be posting more about Zumba in the future. I will be sharing and clarifying a bit about the actual Zumba Fitness Program. I will also be doing my best at delivering the Zumba Fitness Program making my Zumba Fitness classes fun and accessible for everyone.
I’ll see you in class!
Posted in Zumba | Tagged: Beto Perez, Carlos AyaRosas, class format, class model, exercise program, general fitness guidelines, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia Teacher, Zumba, Zumba cool down, Zumba Fitness, Zumba Fitness class model, Zumba Fitness Classes, Zumba Fitness Instructor, Zumba Fitness Program, Zumba formula, Zumba instructor, Zumba Instructor Training, Zumba party, Zumba warm up | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2012
I teach Nia. I have been teaching Nia for three and a half years. Not as many people who I talk to have heard of Nia as have heard of Zumba so I am constantly being asked the difference between Nia and Zumba. Since I am often asked I am often thinking about them and comparing them. First, they are actually the same in that music is played and participants dance to it. Second, in both the instructor leads the participants through the various dance moves. Third, participants of both claim they are both fun. One difference is Nia is an experience in five sensations, Zumba seems to concentrate on one.
The experience is such a big part of Nia we actually call them the five sensations of Nia. I have posted about them before (FAMSS). They are the sensation of flexibility, of agility, of mobility, of strength, and of stability. In a Nia class your body will move in a way that allows you to sense the energy moving out and away. You will bend and stretch to play with flexibility, either retaining what you have or improving upon it. There are moves in the routines that require the start and the stop. The movement that is agility could be done with our feet, our arms, our hands, our bodies, our heads or a combination of body parts but we sense the start and the stop. With every routine there is a lot of mobility, some routines have more than others, but all of them that I have experienced have a lot. With mobility it is just the same as agility in that it could be a body part that is moving or our whole body. Whatever the case there is a lot of movement from each joint that helps create a healthy joint by allowing the fluid to move to it and within it. Then we also play with strength. We might squeeze our muscles sensing the energy moving in as if the bones are being hugged by the muscles. We might do squats or sit-ups, punches and/or kicks, but there is time where we play with strength. I say Nia is very big on balance because we do many moves that requires us to be stable. Many of our moves are balancing on one leg, could be a kick, could be a stance, but it requires stability. Moving from one move to the next often requires us to call upon our stability. In a Nia routine we experience all of these sensations. I’ve reached the conclusion that Zumba is primarily agility.
In Zumba the moves are always fast. So it is a constant state of start and stop. The only sensation I sense while doing Zumba is agility. Fast start, fast stop . . . . even when there is a stretch where your muscles are yearning for a second to move to their fullest length, it is a fast stretch that does not allow for the muscle to be fully stretched. Doing a full hour of agility is not a bad thing at all. It can be fun and it can produce a lot of sweat. And many of us are programmed to think that sweat equals a good workout. I think that if you are adding Zumba to a stretching program that has some balance practice in it that is great.
I am also a believer that there are a lot of things that compliment Nia too. I actually think that if you like Nia and Zumba and you are able to do both that is a nice combination. You get two different types of cardio. One that is a workout in the sensation of agility and one that can move you through more use of the entire body to get that heart pumping.
I really believe that whatever gets you moving is GREAT. I think that you have to like what you do in order to make it a constant in your life. So Zumba, Nia, Jazzercise, U-Jam, yoga, kickboxing, bootcamp, weight training, whatever works for you is great. Do what you will do! That is the key!
It is that I am always asked about the difference between Zumba and Nia that I am always thinking about it and this was my latest thought after I did a Zumba class. I think I posted before about how I am left wanting to extend and finish my moves in Zumba and it dawned on me that it is the sensation of agility that is predominant in Zumba. Some Zumba classes I have attended do take a song to stretch at the end, but not all of them. So I guess it depends on the instructor. Nia instructors are encouraged to infuse their classes and the routines with their personalities, so I am sure that every Nia class has a few differences too.
Both Nia and Zumba are great cardio workouts. It just depends on what you want to do during your workout and what you want to get out of it. Do what you will do!
So, what is it that you do?
Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: agility, bootcamp, cardio dance, cardio workout, dance exercise, FAMSS, five sensations, flexibility, Jazzercise, kickboxing, Mobility, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia instructor, Nia Moves, Nia participants, Nia routines, Nia Teacher, Nia vs Zumba, stability, strength, U-Jam, Ujam, weight training, Yoga, Zumba, Zumba classes, Zumba instructor, Zumba participants, Zumba routines | 11 Comments »