Doreen Warfield is the face of Zumba at the MetroRecPlex, but she wasn’t always the confident, strong, woman that she is today. After working in the baking business for years, Doreen was in an accident that caused her to lose some of the fine motor skills in her hands; something that drastically changed her career path. She didn’t go to her first Zumba class to make a career change, but that’s exactly what happened.
“I was two hundred and forty pounds at the time. I had two small children and I knew it was time for me to start to take care of myself for all of us. I started taking different kinds of exercise classes and I found this crazy, wacky class called Zumba. Before I knew it, people were asking me to teach them, and that was it. Zumba found me.”
Zumba is only one of the many group exercise classes that are offered at the MetroRecPlex, but it’s definitely one of the loudest, craziest, most exciting classes that is offered. A fusion of Latin and International music and dance, Zumba has one basic principle; it’s fun and easy and anyone can learn. Zumba is a great aerobic workout that is especially beneficial for toning and sculpting the body. Students can modify the moves to make them more or less difficult and are encouraged to go at their own speed throughout each class. Doreen knows what it feels like to be the new kid in class, and she makes sure that all of her students feel like they fit in right away.
“When people come in to my Zumba classes, I like them to feel like they have just had a fun party. I want them to come in and feel welcomed and to check their inhibitions at the door and relax. This is their time to let go and just enjoy taking care of themselves. Students don’t have to have rhythm. I don’t care if they just march in the back the first few classes because I know that it won’t be long until they are moving right along with music and coming back for more.”
There’s no predefined requisite to join a Zumba class at the MetroRecPlex, and with Doreen instructing, everyone has a place and an opportunity to work at their own pace. From foot-tapping to full on stomping and swaying, women and men will learn to love their bodies in a way that they did not know that they could. It’s Doreen’s hope to teach all of her students to “Do Life Better.”
“A lot of women, specifically, who come in to my class don’t like their bodies. That’s why they are exercising, to change what they feel doesn’t look right. What I teach my students is that it doesn’t matter what shape or size they are, or if they are perfect in the movements that they are making, but instead to have confidence, maybe even feel a little saucy after they’ve worked out with me. That carries on in to their lives and that’s what Zumba is all about. You learn that you just have to do life, but better.”
This surely isn’t the first time that most people have heard about Zumba, but at the MetroRecPlex, it’s more than a class, more than just a place to work out and members at the become part of something bigger. For Doreen, the MetroRecPlex has become a home.
“Working out with me and at the MetroRecPlex as a whole, whether it’s my class or another, is about camaraderie. We have small class sizes and we really get to know each other, to rely on each other. No one is lost in the shuffle. It’s one big family party.”