FEATURE / OPINION— As a teenager or early college student, if I had been able to look into my future and see my 32-year-old self, I wouldn’t recognize this person. I always pushed through school, graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in health and fitness at the age of 21, feeling all along like I was missing my thing or my passion. After I married at 22 and had a couple children by 26, although I was happy, I was still seeking something to make me, me.
That’s when I stumbled upon Zumba fitness. My first class was truly a bit of a nightmare. “How are these people moving like that? I look so ridiculous. Is that humanly possible? What am I doing here?” were all thoughts spinning through my head as we pivoted, jumped, yelled and shook everything.
After 60 minutes of the most sweaty, amazingly fun party, I knew I would be back. That insecure, stiff, two-left-feet, young mom was about to change her stars and didn’t even know it. I cry just typing that last sentence, I still don’t know if I quite recognize myself. I had finally found my thing and my calling. Fast forward six years and I now instruct several Zumba fitness classes a week at Summit Athletic Club. I teach Zumba, a new Zumba format called Zumba Step and Aqua Zumba.
My passion isn’t all wrapped up in the dancing and moving but rather in my students. Being able to recognize the scared new-timer and comfort and encourage them and see them transform from introverts to loud, dancing maniacs is my joy.
When I say anyone can enjoy Zumba, I mean anyone. I have young girls, to middle aged women to 70-year-old men in all of my Zumba classes. We become a Zumba family and can encourage each other along the way. I look forward to each class, knowing my students are counting on me to help them forget worries or make them smile for an hour.
Zumba isn’t all about fun and no gains. We are working every muscle and burning anywhere from 400-800 calories in an hour. I’ve seen person after person become a self-proclaimed zumba addict and drop anywhere from 10-100 pounds in a few months. I always encourage my class to drink lots of water and cut out extra sugar (especially soda) and increase their protein intake.
My philosophy about fitness is: 20 percent is results and good health; and 80 percent is good health is the nutrition we put in our bodies.
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet; I promise, I’ve tried.
Surprise yourself, no one is ever too old, too uncoordinated, or too scared to find joy in music and movement. I always start my classes with the same sentence: “It doesn’t matter what you look like, calories come off no matter what you are doing.”
See you on the dance floor!
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Written by Camilla Clawson for St. George Health and Wellness Magazine and St. George News.
Camilla Clawson, her husband Todd and their three young boys love calling St. George home. She received her Bachelor in Human Performance Management from Weber State University in 2004. She is licensed in Zumba Fitness, Aqua Zumba and Zumba Step, as well as licensed in Group Power. Camilla has made a name for herself in the fitness community of Southern Utah, especially in the world of Zumba. Aside from being a wife and mother, sharing positive energy and spreading health and wellness is her passion.
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